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Lily starts first year at University of Winnipeg by Ann Treacy
September 3, 2017, 2:12 am
Filed under: Canada, Winnipeg

This week grandpa and I dropped Lily off to school at the University of Winnipeg. It’s kind of amazing how excited you can be for someone else. Lily is so ready for college. She’s going to rock it. She’s going to love it!

She’s so brave. She went assuming she’d know no one. Turns out she knows one person and I think she’s grateful for that. She’s taking Rhetoric and Communication. Classes don’t start for a few days. She would prefer if they would have started a week ago. You know that feeling that you just want the start to be over.

We got her settled into her down – a single en suite! We did a quick trip to Ikea of Winnipeg to help fix it up. We got her sorted with a bank and wire transfers. (Pro tip – don’t wire money to people. Double pro tip: if you do and it’s a large sun find a Walmart. They could not have been nicer about helping us despite the fact that it took at least an hour. Yup – the other people in the Walmart line were wishing us into the cornfields!)

She thinks she got a job – not bad for 48 hours in the country. It’s at a hot dog joint attached to what we assume it the college bar hang out. (Pro tip for college seekers: drinking age in Canada is 18.) With reciprocity for Minnesota students the tuition (and board) at U of Winnipeg is not crazy. It includes some great perks – like a bus pass. Yet, it doesn’t include broadband access. (At $30 bucks a month per student I’m hoping the provider will use some of that crash to invest in rural areas!)

The people we encountered were unbelievably nice. Friendly Manitoba is more than a catch phrase.

We already miss her. Lily is the voice of calm and reason. She watches out for her sisters and she is a super pleasant person – especially after 10 am. We are already planning our first visit.

And here are some of our non-school pictures from the trip. Winnipeg is beautiful. Our weather was perfect. Lily may want to look back at this in January.

Last look at Toronto, quick look at Niagara Falls by Ann Treacy
July 10, 2016, 2:11 am
Filed under: Niagara Falls, Toronto

Dad and I took one last walk in Toronto while teen scene slept. We walked from the house to a shore of Lake Ontario. It feels a little bit like Lake Superior in Duluth (if you look at the lake) and like Lake Michigan in Chicago (if you look at the millions of fancy high rise apartments).

We walked by the Hockey Hall of Fame. We walked by a place where Charles Dickens had spent the night. Walked through another campus of George Brown College and the Aquarium, which is supposed to be good.

In short we did everything that made the girls glad they slept in. But I enjoyed it!

Then we drove toward Scranton – our destination for the night. We stopped on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, because I think the Canadian side is amazing. It was a quick trip but we got some great pictures.

Then we had a quick lunch in NY. Lucia pointed out it was good to be home where you get 412 options on the menu in the restaurant. Now the girls are swimming. Grandpa is in his room. I am enjoying a moment alone!


Road Trip: Toronto markets, colleges and street art by Ann Treacy
July 8, 2016, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Toronto

We’re on a summer road trip; it’s me, the girls, a friend and Grandpa. We spent the first night in Chicago. It was fun to see the cousins. We plowed through the second day to Toronto – with a drive-by sighting of Detroit for me.

I have to start by saying that Grandma found us an amazing place to stay in Toronto via AirBnB. It’s pretty central, very cool and plenty of room for everyone. And the beauty of AirBnB is that you can get some insider tips from your host.

We got in just in time for dinner and had a delicious meal at the House of Parliament – upon recommendation. Granted it was a gastro pub, but it really did have food that was more UK than US – smoked salmon and sticky toffee pudding. Yum!

Today we started the day at the St Lawrence Market. I was expected boutiques or flea market type stuff. It’s really an expanded food market. It was a perfect place for everyone to start getting their bearings.

The Lily and I took the subway to check out George Brown College. It appears to be in a very nice neighborhood – and of course it’s always fun to take an underground. I’m not sure this is top of her list – although Toronto might be. Kate, Aine and Lucia hit the shopping district and we met up with them after our meeting at the school.

Then the older girls hit the streets for more shopping while Aine and I walked back to the house – maybe not directly back. We visited a gallery, checked out the Blue Jay’s stadium and the Canadian Walk of Celebrity, we saw plenty of street art and Aine talked me in to getting her hot chocolate, a muffin and a chocolate croissant.



Art of Winnipeg – museums and murals by Ann Treacy
April 9, 2016, 4:19 am
Filed under: Winnipeg

Winnipeg has a host of great street art. We saw some of it in the neighborhoods we visited – Osborn Village, The Forks and driving around downtown, walking around the skyways and underground and the area around the University.

We also got to see some great art indoors. One treat for me – we visited an on-campus gallery at the University of Winnipeg. There was an exhibit called Cafeteria by Elvira Finnegan and Lisa Wood. .They invited students in to have lunch. The took pictures during lunch and used them to piece together pictures/collages, which became models for drawings. They also maintained the lunch tables and food as part of the installation. I think they used a brine crystallization process to preserve the food.

Then funny enough – I saw another work by Elvira Finnegan at the Winnipeg Art Gallery – a tea cup with the same process. The WAG featured a lot of local artists and a lot of Native artists. There were number of small-ish statues that looked like they were sculpted boxes of stone. The figures are very roundy and have a cute edge to them. They are playful. I’ll just include a couple of examples.

There were a few pictures by KC Adams – she explores a “dualism of human life and intelligent machines, reflecting on her own mixed Euro-Indigenous ancestry and her dependence on technology for communicating and art production.” The series included four pictures of stereotypes of women.

Another favorite was a work by Rosalie Favell – a take on a familiar image from the Wizard of Oz with text from Louis David Riel’s statement – My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.

University of Winnipeg – urban, friendly but cold by Ann Treacy
April 9, 2016, 12:35 am
Filed under: Winnipeg

Our reason for visiting Winnipeg was a tour of the University of Winnipeg. So we came, we saw, we conquered. University of Winnipeg is an urban campus. In the middle of town, the campus spans a few buildings but it seems like there’s one main building for most of the classes, a fitness center/gym, a high school and a shared building for student administrative stuff.

We got a tour from a senior studying political science from Winnipeg. He was nice and knew a lot about the school. Although having gone to a neighborhood school myself, I know you have different questions when you’re going away to an urban campus.

I think it was fun for Lily to see what a college is like. Not that she hasn’t spent tons of times on the St Catherine’s campus as a little kid, time in the child care at Normandale Community College or walking through Macalester on the way to work these days. BUT walking through when you’re thinking about attending is a different experience.

I need to note that Winnipeg is cold this weekend – well mostly it’s been brutally windy. Shopkeepers have been commenting at the terrible change of weather. So my guess is that Lily may not actually choose the cold winds of Winnipeg but I think this has been great opportunity for Lily to see the difference between college and high school. This is actually an off-week of UWinnipeg; they have finals next week but still kids are lounging everywhere. It’s a ready-built community or series of communities – and there’s a lot of appeal to something like that.

Winnipeg – The Canadian Museum of Human Rights by Ann Treacy
April 8, 2016, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Winnipeg

Lily and I are in Winnipeg looking at colleges. Yay! It’s only a 7 hour drive from home. It’s a very easy drive so here we are. We’re going to check out the universities today – but yesterday we went to check out the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. First impressions – the people are so kind and the building is amazing.

We only had an hour so we had to rush but we started at the top – the palm-sweat inducing top of tower of the glass building and made our way down. I think we found the sections on the Native communities most striking. There’s a Witness Blanket, which isn’t really a blanket, it’s a like a shelf of favorite, lost or forgotten items that is inspired by a woven blanket. It’s includes patterns like a quit and has the feeling of memory that you might get looking at a family quilt.

It is created in memory of the Native children who were taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools. A terrible atrocity that tears apart families and causes a people to lose a language, which I think is a big step toward erasing a memory of a people. How do you remember when your words are gone?

Contributions to The Witness Blanket were donated by residential school survivors and their families, band offices, friendship centers and governments. Other items were reclaimed from former residential school sites. Those responsible for the school system – churches and the Canadian federal government – have also donated pieces for this installation as a gesture towards reconciliation.

The museum itself is filled with tremendous information – mostly the brave people who speak up and act up for human rights. Lily asked a good question about why we know so much about the Holocaust and so little about terrible events in other parts of the world – generally non-Western areas. It’s a god question that answers itself. This museum is clearly one step in changing that. With the advent of the Internet and increasing access to broadband I think we have no excuse to learn more about what has happened in different parts of the world and sadly what is still going on.

On a lighter note, the people were amazing. We talked to one museum worker who met Hillary Clinton at the Museum. He gave Lily some tips on how to get a job there when she comes up for school. And one very lovely young women gave us a bird eye tour of the city from the tower. I asked if she would give us the 2-minute rundown of what we were seeing. She did much better and pointed out everything a future student might need to know – from where to hand deliver your water payment if your bill was late to where to get a tattoo or fun dinner. Which led us to a very tasty dinner at Deseo Bistro. They found a way to split the gnocchi so that Lily (veggie) and I (meat lover) were both happen. (Also a tribute to the power of bacon!)

Roadtrip to New York via Michigan and Canada: Niagara Falls by Ann Treacy
March 9, 2014, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Canada, Michigan, New York

Who loves a road trip more than us? No one! We had a family baptism in New York so we decided to turn it into a road trip. Yes we were in the car as much as out of it – but that’s OK. Mostly it’s OK because Grandpa is the best driver ever. He drove every single mile there and back!

We started by going through Chicago to Northern Michigan. I don’t think I’d actually been to Michigan before. It’s very pretty – especially in the fall. It seems like we spent the first day or more driving. We did get the thrill of entering Canada. We had lunch there. The girls recognized that Canada is not exactly like the US – but it’s not really like London or Dublin either.

Also we all got a lesson on data plans. Only the mom gets to use International data roaming plans! So everyone else spent a few hours unplugged. OK maybe not the favorite few hours of the trip, but we all lived to tell the tale. We ended our time in Canada viewing the Canadian site of Niagara Falls. Unfortunately it was pretty dark but still pretty impressive. Also I realized that Priceline does not differentiate between US and Canadian hotels when you search for a place to stay near the border – after getting through the curt and unfriendly US border control. Luckily we also learned that we can get out of reservations made via Priceline if you call as soon as you figure out your mistake.

So we spent the night near Niagara, which was super nice for the two of us who got up early enough to check out the American side of the Falls. Though it was very cool. I always think it’s kind of amazing to see something that’s been around for so long. Then we continued on our voyage to New York City!

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