I took a walk along Winnipeg’s infamous Portage and Main this afternoon. It being the month of June, I did not have the pleasure of experiencing the cold weather that has made the intersection a predictable question in the Canadian version of Trivial Pursuit.
What I did find was an interesting downtown urban landscape that reminded me of the City of Regina. The population of Winnipeg is at least three times larger than Saskatchewan’s capital city, but the spread-out downtown and its run-down residential buildings gave it a eerily similar feel. This downtown was rough around the edges. At the same time as I felt that Winnipeg’s best days may have already passed, I felt there could still be potential for better days ahead. I am sure the long-awaited return of the Winnipeg Jets (Manitoba Moose) to the National Hockey League is giving many Winnipegers a renewed sense of optimism.
On the political scene, all signs point to Manitobans heading towards a divisive provincial election on October 4, 2011. The New Democrats, who have formed government since 1999, are now led by Premier Greg Selinger. Premier Selinger replaced popular NDP Premier Gary Doer in 2009 when he was appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States.
Although Manitoba has a long-standing tradition of supporting the provincial NDP, a hint of “change” appears to be in the air. The beneficiaries of this feeling are the opposition Progressive Conservatives, led by long-time party insider Hugh McFayden.
You can view more photos from my walk around downtown Winnipeg on Flickr.