by Dale Burgos
Dale Jr. and me at a Jets game before we moved away in 2014
There are many times I find myself looking back at all the great memories I have of my hometown, Winnipeg. Sure, there are things I don’t miss about Peg City, but those are few and far between. Funny thing, those same characteristics are what people here in BC like to tease us hearty Manitobans about.
“You’re from Winnipeg? It’s so cold!”
“The mosquitoes are massive!”
True and true. It does get cold and yes, the mosquitoes have been known to carry away small children. But on the flipside, the summers are extremely hot and the winters have many days of endless sunshine. It’s not like you can’t do anything about it. We always had air conditioning to cool us down in the summer and multiple layers of clothes to keep us warm in the winter. As for the pesky bloodsuckers, I had a bottle of Dr. Watkins bug lotion in every car. I’ve tried Off! and Raid, but found this stuff to be the best.
Why the trip down memory lane? The recent success of the Jets reminded me how tight a community Winnipeg is. It has a pretty good hockey team and even better fans. We all know how raucous a Jets game can be. I was fortunate to have attended a few games after their return a few years ago. Nowhere will you find a more energetic and proud bunch of devoted followers. It’s been decades since the old and new iteration of Winnipeg’s hockey team won in the post-season. They were due, yet no one could have predicted what happened this year. Sadly, we lost in the conference final, but this season has proved what we Manitobans knew already, that our team is a contender.
I’m not a huge hockey fan and I would be hard pressed to name every single player on the roster, but when a game pulls a community together, like it did this year, it is awe inspiring. What I wouldn’t give to have donned my white jersey and joined the thousands in the streets of downtown Winnipeg. Out here in the West, people were jealous, especially the Vancouver Canucks fans that surround me.
Hockey isn’t the only reason I’ve been reminiscing.
It gets so hot that you have trouble breathing. Ok, that may not sound appealing, but we know it’s perfect weather for the beach or playing in the park. I grew up not too far away from Kildonan Park. Every weekend, early in the morning, you’ll see a few lolos reserving their spots in the picnic areas. In the afternoon, guaranteed you’ll smell Filipino BBQ on the grill. The food! Pancit or adobo. The games! Guaranteed there will be a three-legged race or even karaoke. The menu or games may differ, but I can safely say that Filipinos know how to party in the park!
The Burgos Bunch plans to make the trek there this summer. When we visit, we’re going to have to hit up the favourite eating spots. For ice cream, we’ll have to order a “Goog” at the Bridge Drive-In. Or chow down on a Fat Boy at any given Greek-owned burger joint.
As for family, my mom has already extended the invitation to stay with her. We will gladly sleep on the floor as long as she cooks my all-time favourites. Guaranteed, we’ll be making a few stops at Superstore on McPhillips.
Are you noticing a theme here? I’ve just realized that all my plans involve food!
Eating aside, we will be checking in with the oldest of the bunch. Johnny moved back to Manitoba last year. We’ll also get some quality time in with Izzy’s side of the family. It will be good to catch up them all.
Are you noticing another theme? It’s also about the people. They don’t call it “Friendly Manitoba” for nothing.
The list is endless when I think of all the great things about my hometown. For me, that’s a win. See you soon!
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C. and will continue to write from afar.