Discovering the North

This past weekend was a little nostalgic for me. I realized it when I was driving from Brandon to Flin Flon and I said that we were “going up north”. Saying that phrase is second nature to me, as I would regularly go back up north while I was living in Hamilton to see my parents and friends in the Sault Ste. Marie area. And then came the trees. The long lasting evergreen trees that were practically suffocating the highway – I loved it. Then came the rocks. I loved that even more. I didn’t realize how much I took rocks for granted until I saw them again near the Flin Flon area. Needless to say, I loved going up north and discovering some different parts of Manitoba this past weekend.

I was up in Flin Flon for a friends wedding, which was at the beautiful Bakers Narrows Lodge. The surroundings were just gorgeous and I couldn’t have asked for a better long weekend! It was so refreshing to see how diverse different parts of Manitoba are. Oh, and another interesting quirk of the north…the roads are a lot better up there than they are down here! Just putting it out there…

My friend and I also ended up camping for one night at Duck Mountain Provincial Park near Swan River, which was a great experience as well. Once again, it was just beautiful and awesome to see some of the amazing lakes that Manitoba has to offer. We stayed at Childs Lake, but also took in the multitude of other lakes within the park. I can be a little bit of a lake snob, having lived in northern Ontario and having Huron right at my feet, but the trip this weekend gave me a little more respect for Manitoba and what it has to offer in terms of its natural scenery.

Next trip up north? Churchill!

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Department of Holidays

It’s that time of year again. The snow has gone (knock on wood!!!) and summer is arriving (ish). That means that the roads are, well, painfully awful. In lots of places anyway.

I was in Saskatchewan yesterday (obviously, just to get my hair done by my amazing friend who is a hair dresser – why else would I go to “The Gap”? Kidding!), going through Virden, then Melita (where the creepy banana man lives, who me and my friends affectionately call “Lester the Molester”) then onward to Carivale. The roads. Oh the roads. Especially near Melita, which is a notorious spot for flooding. There were “surface breaks” everywhere…thank you orange signs for telling us to go 40km/hr when the term “surface breaks” is so ambiguous anyway, as my friend pointed out.

My friend’s dad actually used to work for Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation and she said that he liked to call that department the “Department of Holidays”. How incredibly true! Anyone who has spent even a little time in Manitoba knows how awful some of these roads are. I’ve spent the majority of my time in the South Westman area and the highways are certainly not impressive. The roads in Brandon are always needing improvements. Pot holes, pot holes, pot holes. I think Manitoba must be the pot hole capital of Canada. I whole heartedly agree about the joke of the “Department of Holidays”.

I understand Manitoba isn’t made of riches. There isn’t tons of money. But I think we can all agree that if more money was spent on Manitoba’s infrastructure, it would make all of our lives easier and more enjoyable. I’m certainly not trying to get political. It’s difficult trying to balance out what is needed for the province, but the infrastructure doesn’t only help us who live here – it gives an impression to those who don’t live here, but are driving across the province to their respective destinations. Don’t we want to make a good impression? Just a thought!

Recently, CAA told a poll to see what the worst roads in Manitoba were (totally coincidental with this post!), and apparently St. James Street in Winnipeg got the most votes, along with several other Winnipeg streets. Understandably, most votes came out of Winnipeg, and there are many bad roads in Winnipeg, but I can tell you, highways in the Westman area are crumbling and main roads in Brandon aren’t any better. When I went back to Ontario in February, I could really tell the difference between the roads there and here.

I hope that the CAA poll will make the government pay a little more attention to what the road conditions are like all across the province.