Sunday, June 12, 2022

Manitoba Esports Presents - Activate Series X

On the weekend of June 24 to June 26, the largest Esports convention in Manitoba history will be held downtown at the Radisson Hotel. Manitoba Esports Association will present Activate Series X across the entire 11th floor of the hotel. This will be the first time the organization has been able to hold any in-person events since 2019. Throughout the pandemic, online tournaments were the only way to continue operation via Twitch broadcasting.

The Canadian Championship Series will feature two teams in the finals for Valorant. It will be broadcast on Twitch and later show on Shaw Spotlight. Online media sponsorship is from Access Winnipeg so be sure to check out their contest tickets.
There will be a gaming lounge as well as a table top game area. Red Bull has a featured lounge for those wanting a drink and to watch the championship.
As always with Manitoba's big cultural festivals such as Comic Con and Aikon, the volunteers make it possible. Manitoba Esports Association is a non-profit and a lot of time and effort went into prepping for this after pandemic cancellations. Many festivals have reduced their size this year such as Folklorama because organizations are still recovering. In the case of Manitoba Esports Activate Series X, it will be the largest event they've ever done. 
Kids under the age of 12 are free with a guardian so the hope is this will be a family friendly environment. Artists, collectible and toy vendors and charities will be among the many vendors selling in the marketplace.

Parking is free on the streets after 5:30 PM and all day Sunday. On major bus routes along Portage Avenue and loading zone out front for drop offs for Activate Series X.

Access Winnipeg, proud online media sponsor will having a draw for contest tickets. Ticket' can also be bought online at as well as at the door for one day or three day passes.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Northwest Airlines Memorabilia 1989

In August of 1989, I went to live in Japan and work for the Japanese government. At the time, the Japanese Consulate was on Garry Street in Winnipeg and the Consul House was a Japanese styled house on Wellington Crescent near Kingsway.

I have detailed some of that experience elsewhere in the blog.

There were about 30 of us from Manitoba and Saskatchewan who made the trip to Japan to begin one year contracts with the Jet Program. One week orientation in Tokyo and then by planes, trains and automobiles (and a few ferries for some) to their homes where they would teach.

The flight route for the Manitoba and Saskatchewan JET participants was Winnipeg to Minneapolis for a little more than a one hour fight in business class about a 727 which was fairly noisy compared to many aircraft today. 
There was to be a layover planned for around three hours in the Twin Cities while our luggage (which was three full suitcases and carryon for everyone) was transferred to our Minneapolis-Seattle-Tokyo leg aboard one of the Northwest's new 747s. Travel was to be business-class all the way.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International is a lovely airport. It was from there first international flight within North America took place with a trip to Winnipeg in 1928. The route has never stopped since although Northwest Airlines is lost to the mists of times as is Delta Airlines now.
As business-class travellers, passengers had the private first and business-class lounge to layover at as their connecting flight was receiving baggage transfers and then passengers. The WorldClubs lounge was pretty posh and a revelation that they served alcohol at 8 AM in the morning.
Once in the WorldClubs lounge, we barely had a chance to even look around when a Northwest attendant came by and said that business class on chosen 747 flight had been double booked and that there was space on another 747 leaving within the hour in first class!

I don't think my arm shot up faster to volunteer for those seven spots. Better yet, the three hour layover was no longer in the offing for our original 747 flights. We were boarding now! Luckily, I was aboard with two new dear friends Shelly and Nicole along with four other from the Manitoba/Saskatchewan group.

I've never been first to board a plane till that time and once we were on board, it took 75 minutes to pack everyone else and their luggage in. For those of us in First Class though, the drinks and snacks began the moment we sat down.

It was a four hour flight to Seattle where we would deplane, have a two hour layover and take on more JET participants. During that Minneapolis to Seattle flight, I had a brunch of quiche to die for. And food and drink never stopped. In the landing at Seattle we noticed on the ground the Concorde which has been in Washington for some sort of airshow on July 31, the day before. It was spectacular.

In Seattle, we deplaned but left everything in the seats we were assigned as we would be back. We just had time to go to the Duty Free store to pick up some additional omiyage (gifts) for our schools of employment. Once that was picked up, we got called back again for First Class Boarding call. 

There were 14 seats in the nose of the 747-400. The curtain was pulled but we could hear additional rows of first class to row 14 followed by business and economy classes being filled behind us. There were also 22 first class seats above us in the second deck behind the cockpit. For the next hour as we enjoyed snacks and drinks. Soon we were taking off and having one long last look the Concorde on the ground and for me, my last look at North American soil for the next 18 months.

It wasn't far into our flight that the main course of in flight meal was ordered. I had the Cornish Game Hen. However, there was a lot of sharing and I ate from fellow JET program people  like Shelly and Nicole who ordered Jumbo Shrimp and Makunouchi. This was elite level chef created meals and we ate for three hours when economy was done in thirty minutes.

Sad to say but I couldn't sleep. Even with the space, I was too excited and as spacious as it was, and with more legroom and recline in the seats, best I could do was watch movies and listen to the variety of stuff on the 18 channel stations. There were no seatback TVs back then. A big projector took up the nose of the aircraft.

Around five or six hours in, I went for the first of a few walks through the plane. It widened immediately out of the nose of the plane but got considerably more crowded two aisles and stretching way back where 500 people were seated. It was quite the aircraft.

Upon return to my window seat in Row 4, I saw another Delta 747 below ands away some distance but same course. I could only assume it might have been the other originating flight from Minneapolis with the rest of the Manitoba/Saskatchewan JETS aboard. It was blue skies and very few clouds and the expansive Pacific Ocean below went on forever. The 920 kilometer speed meant we stayed just ahead of the sun. We eventually crossed the dateline and it became Monday.

At 10 hours we began out descent. From my window there has been some evidence of coastline as we approached Japan. It was still bright out but as we got lower there was evidence of streakiness and cloud. Rain. Still far off. The green of Japan was very evident and shipping activity below was more evident.

Attendants started clearing stuff away as we crossed over land and over Chiba prefecture. It was remarkable green and well ordered. Rice fields, cities and towns. Lower over Chiba till we were on final approach to Narita International Airport and their very long runway.

We had arrived August 1, 1989 Tuesday around 6 PM. As we taxied in, the sun was starting to dip and the clouds began to close in and light mists have way to spitting rain. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Dominion News Closed

In 2024 Dominion News would have been 100 years old. Alas, Covid 19 robbed it of customers over two years to the point that it just couldn't last any longer. It was an old school store with no website and totally reliant on pedestrian traffic. While people are slowly trickling back, the result for restaurant and retail business has been awful. 

The store was till the end the seller of everything from out of town newspapers to 100 different porn magazines as well as a peep show. Despite its reputation the store lasted many decades. Cigarette sales in recent years were affected by contraband tobacco and dollar store prices made it hard to compete with other products. Likewise, the legalization of cannabis meant stores that sold marijuana paraphernalia were in every neighbourhood. No need to tramp downtown when cannabis stores are on every street in the city.

Despite all travails, the store still might have survived had Covid not emptied Portage and Main. The last of the restrictions might have been dropped but workers will not fully be back for months yet. And apartments that have been going up in large numbers are only now being leased. Too hard to wait for when the pandemic has lasted two years.
Dominion News was the longest operating store downtown and survived when Woolworth's, Eaton's and The Bay all closed before. It is not known which store has the honour of longest running downtown store anymore. There are very few candidates left since Covid wreaked havoc on so many businesses. Perhaps O Calcutta on Portage Avenue which started in 1976 or Toad Hall Toys on Arthur which started in 1977. There might be others so give me a shout.
Dominion News used to have two stores on either side of Portage. Not to mention a number of mall locations over 40 years ago. The old owner ran Circus Circus pinball on north Portage Avenue but alas, most of the pinball places on Portage did not survive the expropriation of Portage Place.

The lack of a subway or train system in Winnipeg means the city has not the news stands that can be seen in places like Toronto with Gateway News. The move to digital in all things has meant people no longer need or want a print newspaper for commutes even when it is free. What they want is highspeed WIFI everywhere.  However, not too long ago, the free Metro newspapers were available, at many bus stops in news boxes and at every convenience store.

Likewise, Free Press and Sun boxes were much more prolific than they are now. In fact, at a busy intersection, it was possible to see Free Press, Sun, Globe and Mail and National Post boxes all side by side along with free newspapers. During the 1980s through 90s, USA Today boxes were in the city in many places and it was possible to buy the weekend Toronto Star at 7/11. They also had USA Today for many years at the convenience store. At McNally or Chapters, it was possible to pick up many out of town newspapers.

Surprisingly, while newspapers in print form are far harder to find in delivery, news boxes or bookstores, there remains as aisle or more of magazines in convenience, grocery and bookstores. It proves there is still a market for such material and that digital is not eliminating paper everywhere.

There are a number of empty store fronts such as where Dominion News once stood that could be an opportunity as people return to work downtown and ever growing number of apartments are built. It will be interesting to see what ends up in there and other places.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Manitoba's Response to Ukrainian Refugees

 Above, Biden addressing the G7 about response to Russian invasion of Ukraine. White House Photo

The invasion Of Ukraine by Russia continues and refugees are now fleeing across the borders to Europe. Canada has evacuated its embassy in Kyiv and moved our 200 troops out of the country. There hundreds more Canadian military forces being deployed troops to bolster the nearly 500 in Latvia as well thousands more on standby. 

Vladimir Putin seems intent on taking more than the eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea with attacks are in every part of the country. Watching women and children cross the border into Europe as their husbands, fathers and brothers are required to stay and fight is heartbreaking. Many never believed it would come to this.

Ukraine has 40 million or so people and some will not likely be able to return safely or freely to their country. Among the population are probably Canadian passport holders. Our ability to help them in a war zone will be impossible and there only hope is to flee. How long the conflict goes on is unknown but as point of reference, the battle in the east has lasted eight years.

Canada’s response seems wholly inadequate. The only thing we can is to act as a refuge as we have done many times in the past. In 2016, Canada took in 25,000 refugees from Syria with little to no problem other than making sure the supports were in place.  In the 1990s, Canada took in over 50,000 from the former Yugoslavia fleeing the conflict. From 1975 and onward ten years, Canada received 120,000 Vietnamese from refugee camps all over southeast Asia.

In 2006 when conflict flared in Lebanon, Canada began sea and airlift for thousands of the 50,000 Canadian passport holders. We can move with purpose when we have to.

And right now we have to. Refugees move faster than governments. As we enter the weekend, decisions by governments in times of crisis can’t be kicked down the road for a few days later. Canada should be a refuge for the Ukrainian people who are feeling the conflict as it closes in on them on three sides.

Canada has the largest population of Ukrainians outside of the Ukraine. If there is any nation well equipped to receive citizens from there, it is Canada. Moreover, Manitoba has one of the largest concentrations of Ukrainians of any province. We also have the capacity insofar as jobs. Despite Covid 19 or rather because of it, we have shortages of workers in many areas because immigrants are the lifeblood of the economy. Canada has led G7 in population growth while maintaining low unemployment.

There are 150 Canadian military in Poland right now to assist refugees. Canada needs to do all it can to speed up the process so that there are not camps of suffering all over Europe. Manitoba should be at the forefront of that effort.

We can do more and we should do more. Sanctions or support for Ukrainians to fight back won’t help those who are displaced now. Manitoba could really assist people presently and benefit from offering safety and jobs to those in desperate need. Maybe Manitoba end the fear and despair and bring in thousands where they can live in peace in a society that welcomes them.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

1990 Yatsugatake Jazz Festival

I attended more jazz events in Japan that at any time previous from 1989 to 1992. Jazz clubs, restaurants and festivals abounded. The Yatsugatake Jazz Festival was in the mountains on the way to Kofu in Yamanashi prefecture. Just shy of two hours outside of Tokyo by slower trains. About one hour from my place. 

The big names for jazz were reserved for the Mt. Fuji Jazz festival which I attended twice. The picnic like atmosphere of Yatsugatake was amazing and the crowd relaxed and had fun.

Friday, February 18, 2022

War in Ukraine - Refugees to Canada?

Map from the Nations Project Online. 

Canada has evacuated its embassy in Kiev and moved our 200 troops out of the country. Other countries have moved their people out as well and airlines are starting to cancel flights. Over 130,000 Russian troops are poised at the border. They already occupy Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. 

Can it be de-escalated? It seems that Vladimir Putin is the only one who can answer that. Oil and gas pipelines have Europe timid. The nuclear arsenal of the Russians have the U.S. cautious. Ukrainians are overmatched if it comes to fighting. They will resist and might mete out punishment but the numbers are so great. Ukraine stands alone against a three-sided attack. There are European countries to the west but none with cross over the border to help. Moreover, it is very likely that much of the 40 million population of Ukraine might be seeking refuge and headed west to Europe. 

How many Canadians are among the population? Not sure anyone knows. Perhaps not even government. It is only when a crisis happens that we learn just how many Canadian passport holders are out there. In 2006, when warfare was afoot in Lebanon with the usual parties, nearly 50,000 Canadian passport holders registered with the embassy and begged to be evacuated. Thousands did. Presumably, when things settled a bit, they returned. You never know though. Beirut continues to suffer from the explosion and Lebanon as beautiful as it is, struggles.

In an actual war, it will not be easy for any countries to extract their people, let alone Canada. Does a list of citizens present in Ukraine registered with the embassy been collected? And does it even matter when the embassy is closed and Canadian troops out of the country? For days Canada and other nations have warned their people to get out and get now.

Canadian passport holders might be the least of our concern. If Russia invades this week, the 40 million citizens of Ukraine will be on the move whether they are fighting or not. And the only way to go is west. And a lot of Europe is going to say: "No vacancy." No one wants to think about a refugee problem in Europe. There are already many people migrating into Europe and within Europe. 

In the 1990s, Canada took in many migrants from the Balkans as the former Yugoslavia broke up. Nearly 50,000 moved to Canada in that period. Years later, Canada took in migrants from Iraq and Syria conflicts.  Canada received 25,000 alone from Syria by 2016. In ten tears from 1975 on, Canada received 120,000 Vietnamese "boat people" migrants.

Largely, Canada has done very well by taking in those who are fleeing instability in the world. We don't always move fast though but immigration and refugees are Canada's lifeblood. In the most recent years, Canada has had the highest growth rate in the G7 due largely to immigration.

Immigrants have started businesses in Winnipeg and in the province or filled professional jobs where there was desperate need whether in manufacturing, transportation, services or health. They did not steal jobs from other Canadians. The low unemployment has remained consistent even as our population grew. Immigrants and refugees work as soon as they have a safe place to do so. 

As Russia looks to invade, we in Manitoba should be first to take in refugees from Ukraine. Rather than being caught with our fingers in our mouths, we should be taking in thousands. The tragedy is that things move so slow when people fleeing move so fast. If there is no plan for this somewhere in Canadian policy books, there should be. Heaven forbid an invasion happens on the weekend when our governments puts up the "gone fishing" sign.

We do have a new immigration task force set up in Manitoba. They should be in contact with the the federal government the moment the need arises. If, it arises. It doesn't look good. The response from Canada and the world seems not enough to stop what is coming.

People will suffer and likely die refugee in camps if we slow walk this. Where else might Ukrainians might feel comfortable to go if they can't go home? Manitoba. And all over the province, mind you. There are populations of Ukrainian Canadians spread out over the region. Amongst the refugees are people who can hit the ground running as professionals, students and contributors to our society rather than waste away in a camp with medical, driver, mechanics, academic and everything in between experience. There will be many vulnerable people that we do have the means to be supportive of in time of need.

We can do our part if need be if others can't or won't. It is unknown what will happen with Ukraine. But we should be ready and not caught off guard. This province has been a haven for many people. And it might have to be again. It is the least we can do.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Camp Manitou Manitoba 1971

This is the program guide for Camp Manitou in 1971 just outside Winnipeg. The Y and several other service groups in Manitoba started the camp in 1930. It was a partnership of Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg, Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg, Optimist Club of Winnipeg and the YMCA. In 1949, it incorporated as a non-profit charity. By 1953, the Lion's club of Winnipeg joined the group and for decades camping took place along the Assiniboine River.
In 1971, Winnipeg was not yet unified as Unicity. Camp Manitou was just across in Headingley but it was fairly rural even in the western part of St. James. By the time you arrived at the turn for Camp Manitou, it was farm country till you got close to the river. And then it gave way to river forests.

The Y ran day camps for kids and the buses travelled all over town. My stop was Carpathia Street with mom or dad taking all three of us for the pick-up and drop-off. We would walk although our family had graduated from Volkswagen Bug to Plymouth Suburban station wagon.
We went three years as we generally went camping every year till high school. I was in Odako according the age grouping. Still remember all the camp songs for bus trips and at camp.
The Y had CITs or Counsellors in Training, usually high school and university students who ran the programs. Canoeing, archery, swimming. The pool there was the coldest.

The Camp Manitou song went something like this:

High above the silvery river
Gleaming through the trees
Lies the banner of Camp Manitou
Floating in the breeze
rah, rah, rah

Here we learn to live together
Work and play and swim
Camp Manitou we will always
Learn to win!

Hey, with a beebo, with a bibo
With a beebo, bibo, bum

Johnny and the ratchup
Bigger than the ketchup

Rago, rago sis boom bah
Manitou, Manitou
Rah, rah, rah!

For Odako:

We are the best
We are louder than the rest
We are so glad
We'ee from Odako

Councillors are great
And the kids they really rate
We are so glad
We're from Odako

Oh, Oh Oh Dee Eh
Eh, Eh, Ay Kau Oh
Oh Dee Eh Ah Kay Oh

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Sir John's Restaurant Eaton's Winnipeg

Circa 1979 from Sir John's Eaton's St.Vital Centre. 

The Grill Room at Eaton's on the Fifth Floor and the Paddlewheel Restaurant on The Bay's Sixth are the department store restaurants often remembered by folks.

But Sir John's was was the posh restaurant at St. Vital Eaton's when it opened in 1979.

Not sure what possessed me to keep the cup coaster but I did.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Fire Damage to Kirkwood Block on Portage Avenue

The second floor of the Kirkwood block is gone. The Korean-Canadian owned Eben Grocery and residence is gone after 24 years. The West End Business offices are likewise done.

Taj East Indian restaurant had their doors open surveying the damage. It is unknown how bad it or whether the demolition of the Kirkwood will affect their structure.
The University of Winnipeg and McFeetors Hall next door to the fire were first to report seeing smoke and flames.
Not a Doughnut, The Rippers band, Spades salon and the former Spades nightclub are all a total loss. Security surrounds the building as a plan for demolition is made.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Civic Election in Winnipeg 2022

Brian Bowman was elected in 2014 and in 2022 will have served a full two teams. Some time ago the mayor announced he would not be running again giving a year and a half or more to prepare for potential candidates. Nearly no one took up the mantle. At least publicly. In fairness, Bowman himself did not announce he was running until May of 2014, six months before the October election.

It takes a while to announce a candidacy for many. Presumably, most have to discuss with family, take time off whatever work, retirement or home situation they are in, measure the risk of not being able to return to that situation, judge how much money, organization and support a candidacy with garner and lastly, think on what reason you are running for. 

While running for mayor without prior political office is common in Winnipeg, it is extremely difficult to gain traction and recognition or be taken seriously as a candidate. Presumably money helps. But what the message is and where the money is spent is important. Social media presence should not be presumed to be a key to office. It is just as likely to be a lightening rod and a time waster than a vote getter.

One candidate announced early. His name is Shaun Loney and has started several social enterprises. He is a NDP member and for a very long time the NDP has tried to capture the mayor's office to no success. He is distancing himself from the party but the connections are as important as those with Conservative and Liberal connections insofar as how influence of policy, money and associations go. Perennial candidate Don Woodstock has also tossed his hat in the ring.

It is an open seat for mayor which could draw the most candidates in a decade for the job. This means that the debate stage may feature two dozen people with some perennial candidates who could be just polishing their brand. Historically, some candidates could be charitably called eccentrics while others are activists. No matter, in terms of debates, organizers are under no obligation to invite two dozen people to a stage and no more than a minute or two of engagement. Candidates could outright refuse to be part of a spectacle. Some way of determining public debate qualifications should be determined. That could be public opinion polls or completion of questionnaires to qualify for the debate.

One of the reasons we don't see more City Councillors run is because they have to to quit their Council job to run for mayor. I believe this would never survive a constitutional challenge but no one has ever attempted it. The list of Councillors saying they won't run is long. Resigning their Council seat is a major fact in staying put. But an open seat is too big a chance for some on Council to pass up. This is why John Orlikow in River Heights-Fort Garry has indicated he is running.

The announcement now is to discourage other Councillors from entering the race. It likely won't stop at least a few other Councillors from trying. Kevin Klein from Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood will likely announce soon. Scott Gillingham St. James is also on that trajectory. But then so is Markus Chambers  St. Norbert-Seine River. It remains to be seen if one of these four lose their nerve before the May 1st lick off to registering as a candidate. If not, all four seats will have to be vacated before they can officially run. That would leave four open Council seats and they don't come around too often either.

Early days yet but a lot of open seats should bring out a full house. The question is: Will anyone be able to figure what any of the numerous candidate's platforms are? Will it even matter?

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Winnipeg 100th Birthday Button

 Winnipeg's Centennial brought many activities and infrastructure as part of the celebration. Much like Manitoba's 100th in 1970, there was a lot of pageantry and legacy projects. 

The 1874-1974 buttons were everywhere back then.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Kirkwood Block Burns Down

In April 11 of 2021, on one of my walks I took in the block in between the University of Winnipeg campus. It was the one time home of Club Morocco and formally known as the Kirkwood Block at Langside and Portage Avenue. From 1957 to 1989, Harry Smith's nightclub was was of the largest in Canada and only the swanky paying a cover charge could come to dinner and dance. At its height, the club might have 200 couples dancing the the likes of Duke Ellington himself.

In the picture above McFeetors Hall, the large campus residence stands opposite. It appears the entire 575 Portage address will be demolished as a result of the fire that appeared to start in a church on the premises. There were many businesses located in the building. The West End Biz also lost their offices. Keystone Hobbies was at one time a tenant of Kirkwood Block. A pharmacy was also located there for many years. And even before Club Morocco, apartments were on the second floor.

Some of the businesses were closed even before the fire such as Spades nightclub that had a few incidents of violence over the last few years. However, with university life set to return...sometime, it seemed the block would find small businesses that would benefit from the student traffic up and down the block. Over the years, students would always find their way to the building. Prior to 1989, university athletes were head to Club Morocco for their Friday all night all you can eat Chinese food buffet.
The 1912 building was designed by John D. Atchison and was a handsome building. In recent years minority owned businesses have been the lifeblood of business in the spaces on Langside as well as Portage. The University of Winnipeg has slowly surrounded the block as the campus expanded but the retail reflected the new immigrant community, particularly the black business owners.  It remains to be seen whether the building next door which has an Indian restaurant, a Thai restaurant and a minority-owned salon will survive the damage. It is a terrible day for all these small businesses for the terrible loss they must be feeling.
The University of Winnipeg is literally across the street from the Kirkwood and were the first to spot the fire. Across the street is the former Union Centre and the former McDonald's converted into three restaurants. The CBC headquarters is just down the street. All in all, it is a very busy area with houses up and down the streets.
After twenty-two hours, the fire fighters are still pouring water on the scene. Temperatures are -32 C. Not great for exhausted crews. And the heavily damaged building will probably have to be torn down before the end of the weekend as it will be simply too dangerous to leave up. It is unlikely anything similar will go up on the site and the biggest danger is that a parking lot goes up...forever.
Post pandemic, had the block survived, the businesses located in the building would have benefitted from a return of students as well as a new residential construction down the block. The city is likely to resist a parking lot being the permanent solution for the spot. However, an empty spot with a fence for a number of years is very much a possibility.
It is is very sad, devastating for the businesses involved in the fire. However, the loss for the city feels painful as well. What will happen to this block? It is hard to tell if the entire thing end to end might be bulldozed as two days later the trucks are still thing hitting it with water.
What we could without is another building setback from the curb like the University of Winnipeg building seen above. It is a waste of space. Full stop. The university never effectively uses it. Potentially, the space could be used as a patio in front of Elements but it seems to have only bike racks. Parking a bike out front is an invitation to lose it. Patio sets ups have worked at Brown's and Canada Life Centre because they are more secure for staff and customers.

Any new building should have retail and restaurants on first floor and some street presence. It should also be more than two floors and have a residential component. Given the number of apartments the University of Winnipeg has built, it doesn't seem beyond reason that students could see another residential tower on the site. It could be the only bright spot in this tragic fire. 

It has been a brutal time for fires this winter. There are so many ongoing investigations and a few indications of a surge in arsons and deaths. This could have been unrelated to the deliberate fires but there have been quite a few heritage buildings, houses and shops and constructions sites razed. It doesn't feel normal.