Winnipeg is the best city in Canada.
I know, I know - what about the weather? What about the mosquitoes?
Well, first off, what doesn't kill us makes us strong, and let me tell you, people who routinely go through an annual temperature range of 35 below to 35 above are not going to be easily killed by anything. Prairie folk are hardy and some of the best parts of prairie culture are born out of the geography and weather.
You ask what about the weather and bugs. I ask, what about the arts? The best professional ballet company in Canada. The amazing symphony, the best Folk Festival in North America, the Jazz Fest, Folklorama, the Fringe Festival, MTC, WAG, OMG!!
Restaurants? When I lived in Winnipeg, the city had the distinction of having more restaurants per capita than any city in North America. What do Winnipegers do when it gets really cold? They warm up the car, bundle up and go out for dinner. There's even a temporary restaurant on the frozen river in the coldest part of winter. Whatever world cuisine you are in the mood for, Winnipeg will have it - just another perk of the city's multicultural flavour.
Sports? I played ice hockey, ball hockey, spongee, floor hockey. I played volleyball, slo pitch, and touch football. If you can't find a team with whom to play what you want to play, you're just not trying. Prefer watching the professionals? There's baseball, soccer, hockey and football.
My recent visit was a reminder of why I loved my time in Winnipeg. The connections I made there are still important threads in the fabric of my life. I wouldn't trade the two decades I spent there for anything. It was a joy to be back and hug the people who made Winnipeg the best city in the world for me.
And, apart from Marnie's Books on Cortes Island, McNally Robinson is my favourite bookstore. It was a true pleasure to read in this lovely store (that had, days earlier hosted a Harry Potter Party in the park for 15,000 book-loving Winnipeggers!)
The launch featured a slide show of Cortes as an introduction to Full Moon Lagoon. We looked at some pictures, heard a bit of the book, had a little visit and then enjoyed a truly spectacular prairie thunderstorm. A perfect evening. Thanks again, to everyone who came out!