I moved my family to Winnipeg in the dead of winter. There were many reasons for this decision, but coming from a luscious New Zealand summer, I felt I had made a grave mistake.
This year, it was noted by many news outlets that Winnipeg was colder than the North Pole–colder even than Mars. I presume this is not true most of the time, but on a few select days, this was the case.
Search for Winnipeg on the internet, and you will find it claims the less than savory titles “murder capital of Canada,” as well as “slurpee capital of the world.”
Winnipeg-grown indie rock group, the Weakerthans, is known for their song “One Great City,” which affectionately proclaims “I hate Winnipeg.”
On a more positive note, Winnipeg was the hometown of the famous bear that inspired A.A. Milne to write Winnie-the-Pooh, and from which he also received his name.
The city is full of beautiful parks.
Here you will find Mennonites, musicians, murals, and Metis. You will find Francophones, Filipinos, and football. Above all, you will find a celebration of hockey and a passion for the hometown team, the Jets.
It truly is a magical place–quintessential Canadiana. As I commute across town swerving to avoid potholes and terrible drivers, I ask myself why I like this place. I don’t always understand why, but I do. Despite its reputation, this is a deeply friendly town. Like most anywhere in Canada, the people are nice.
Best of all, in Winnipeg, you can indulge in that great Philippine invention, the halo halo. I discovered this treat in Manila a few years ago. Vanilla ice cream, bean curd, and cubes of jello. It’s a dessert made in heaven, and you can even eat it in style at Jollibee, which serves Phillipino noodles, spaghetti with spicy sauce and spam, hamburgers, and fried chicken. Sitting in Jollibee, you can escape for a moment and imagine you have entered the heart of metro Manila.
So come to Winterpeg. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. And when the snow thaws for those brief summer months, you may just find yourself enchanted with the place.