Ten things I miss most about Winnipeg
by Dale Burgos
Mom on her recent visit to Nanaimo
The Burgos Bunch recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of our big move to Vancouver Island. In those two years we’ve had countless trips on the ferry to Vancouver and a few trips down into Washington, Oregon and California states.
Growing up on the prairies, cities like Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle seemed like exotic far off lands that you would visit every once in a while. The allure of the big city, combined with the backdrop of the mountains and ocean, are what memories are made of. Who would forget a stroll along the sea wall at Stanley Park? Watching fish fly at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle? Or how about flowers blooming in February in BC’s capital city of Victoria?
It’s been a great two years and we’re looking forward to more adventures. As great as it is here, I gotta say, there are so many things I miss about the city in which I was born – Winnipeg.
Sadly, Winnipeg is the butt of many jokes. I find myself constantly defending my hometown with West Coasties who say, “Winnipeg! It’s cold” or “The mosquitoes are huge!” I mean, sure it gets cold and the mosquitoes can get big enough to carry away small dogs, but there are so many great things about Winnipeg and Manitoba that people need to experience sometime in their life.
Here are some of the things I miss most about Winnipeg:
1. My mom. This seems most cliché, so this is where I’ll start. This is also the one thing I miss most about living in Winnipeg. Thankfully, she is healthy and always willing to fly out to visit. In fact, she just flew back to Peg City after spending almost a month with us. The family loved having her here and I rarely had to cook! Lumpia, sopas and my favourite, sinigang, was on the menu. We loved having her here! Miss you, mom. See you this summer!
2. Family and extended family. I left behind my brother (and his new bride) and my sister and her family. Sadly, I don’t get to attend my niece’s Xmas concerts or gymnastics competitions. When the holidays roll around, that is when I miss family the most. The family get-togethers were always enjoyable. Then you add cousins, titas and titos. You get the picture.
3. Friends. I spent almost 40 years in Winnipeg. There was a stint when we tried living outside the city, and yes, it was great, but we quickly realized we are city folk. It was also because we lived too far away from work and friends. Over my years, I have made great friendships, as did Elizabeth and the kids. There wasn’t any need to get to know new people, because the friends I had were great.
4. Snow. What? Is that a typo? Nope, it isn’t. We got some snow on the island this winter. I find it comical, because what they call snow here, is a light dusting in Winnipeg. Winters are dreary. The amount of daylight diminishes tremendously, but when there is snow on the ground, it helps keep it bright at night. The clear skies combined with moonlight definitely helped with visibility. Over here, when it’s night, it’s dark. So dark, people who walk at night wear reflective vests. I also miss sledding, and the main ingredient for sledding? You got it – snow.
5. The heat. Man, did it get hot in Winnipeg. I miss feeling the intense heat on my skin while sitting at the beach – plus 30 for days on end. The temperatures are quite mild over here. It doesn’t get too hot and it definitely doesn’t get too cold. If there were two things I don’t miss about Winnipeg, it’s the mosquitoes and the humidity. Air conditioning was my best friend; without it, I became a miserable old man.
6. The food. Jeanne’s Bakery. The cakes with the cookie on the bottom! Steaks at The Keg or ice cream at BDI, and now a Jollibee? How did Winnipeg manage to get a Jollibee before Toronto or Vancouver? I am truly impressed with all the old and new restaurants popping up. Nicely done River City, nicely done.
7. Thunder and lightning. Summer storms always made for a great show. It’s a rare occurrence to hear thunder or see lighting over here. Perfect example of, “You don’t know what you miss until it’s gone.”
8. The sub-zero temperatures. Haha! Who am I kidding? -30C is inhumane. It ranks up there with potholes for me. No thanks.
9. The people. There is a reason why the province in the middle of this great country is known as Friendly Manitoba. People hold doors for one another. Drivers wave when you let them in your lane. There is a genuine kindness in every Manitoban. That is something to be proud of.
10. The Forks. Enough said.
Dale is the Director of Communications for a school district in British Columbia.