- 1. Um, OK,
"I wasn't born yesterday, dearie."
- 2. I wasn't born yesterday, dearie.
- 3. "I know all about fur
and all about blood."
- 4. I know all about fur
and all about blood.
- 5. - "Where did it happen?"
- Where did it happen? In the backseat?
- 6. - Where did what happen?
- The real party.
- 7. We'll just do that over again.
"The real party. Did he pin you down?"
- 8. - The real party. Did he pin you down?
- "Or did you just lie back..."
- 9. Or did you just lie back
and let nature take its course?
- 10. "Or did you just lie back
and let nature take its course?"
- 11. Or did you just lie back
and let nature take its course?
- 12. "Was it a boy on the track team
or the man with the tire iron?"
- 13. Was it the boy on the track team
or the man with the tire iron?
- 14. OK, a little angrier.
"Was it a boy on the track team?"
- 15. Was it a boy on the track team
or the man with the tire iron?
- 16. - Excellent. Cut.
- Cut it.
- 17. All aboard!
- 18. Winnipeg.
- 19. Winnipeg.
- 20. Winnipeg.
- 21. Snowy, sleepwalking Winnipeg.
- 22. My home for my entire life.
- 23. My entire life.
- 24. I must leave it.
- 25. I must leave it.
- 26. I must leave it now.
- 27. But how to escape one's city?
- 28. How to wake oneself enough
for the frightening task...
- 29. of how to find one's way out?
- 30. The greatest urban train yard
in the world.
- 31. Arteries. Iron veins.
- 32. Ways out.
- 33. The dream train.
- 34. Chugging, dreaming.
- 35. Sleep-chugging,
out of the lap of the city.
- 36. Out of the lap described
by the Forks,
- 37. of the Red, the Assiniboine.
- 38. The Forks,
- 39. Assiniboine and the Red.
- 40. The rivers that forced animals and hunters
alike onto the same waterside pathways.
- 41. The Forks, the lap.
- 42. The Forks, the lap.
- 43. The Forks, the lap.
- 44. The Forks, the lap.
- 45. The reason we are here, right here,
- 46. in the centre of the continent,
- 47. the heart of the heart
of the continent.
- 48. The hunted lap. The woolly lap.
The lap of my mother.
- 49. Arteries.
The Forks beneath the Forks.
- 50. An old tale from the first nations
has it there are subterranean Forks -
- 51. two secret rivers meeting,
directly beneath the Assiniboine and Red,
- 52. this double pairing of rivers being
extra supernaturally powerful.
- 53. The animals, the hunters,
the boatways, water and rails -
- 54. these are the reasons we're here.
- 55. Pulling out of the station.
Pulling out of the station.
- 56. What if I had already left
- 57. What if? What if?
- 58. Winnipeg... always winter.
- 59. Always winter.
- 60. Always sleepy.
- 61. Winnipeg...
- 62. Winnipeg... Winnipeg.
- 63. The train tracks cross
the streetcar tracks
- 64. and in turn cross the streets
and the alleyways...
- 65. everything beneath thin layers
of time, asphalt and snow.
- 66. Are these arteries still here?
- 67. Are they dug out every night
and reburied every dawn?
- 68. We Winnipeggers are so stupefied
- 69. we're actually never quite sure.
- 70. I never really know anything
- 71. except that after a lifetime of trying
and many botched attempts,
- 72. this time I'm leaving for good...
- 73. Back in Winnipeg's earliest years,
the Canadian Pacific Railway
- 74. used to sponsor
an annual treasure hunt.
- 75. This contest required
our citizens to wander the city
- 76. in a day-long combing
of our streets and neighbourhoods.
- 77. First prize was a one-way ticket
on the next train out of town,
- 78. the idea being that once someone
had spent a full day
- 79. looking this closely at his own hometown,
he would never want to leave.
- 80. That the real treasure
was right here all along.
- 81. And you know what? Not one treasure-hunt
winner ever got on that train and left.
- 82. Not one, not in 100 years.
- 83. Well, I don't need a treasure hunt.
I've got my own ticket.
- 84. I just have to make my way
- 85. through everything
I've ever seen and lived...
- 86. everything I've loved and forgotten.
- 87. Through the thick, furry frost
and out to the city limits,
- 88. then I'm on my way, out of here...
- 89. out from the heart
of the heart of the continent,
- 90. the woolly, furry, frosty lap.
- 91. The Forks, the animals, hunters,
boatways, trains and Mother.
- 92. These are the reasons we're here.
- 93. These are these reasons we've stayed.
These are the reasons I'm leaving.
- 94. These are the very things
that are going to help me get out of here.
- 95. The Forks, the lap, the fur.
- 96. The Forks, the lap, the fur.
- 97. Mother appears occasionally on the train
to check on the passengers.
- 98. My mother...
- 99. a force as strong
as all the trains in Manitoba.
- 100. As perennial as the winter,
as ancient as the bison,
- 101. as supernatural
as the Forks itself.
- 102. Her lap, a magnetic pole,
- 103. a direction from which I can't turn
- 104. It must be the sleepiness
which keeps Winnipeggers here.
- 105. If only I can stay awake, pay attention
to where I'm going, where I've been,
- 106. and get out of here.
- 107. Stay awake.
Stay awake. Stay awake.
- 108. We sleep as we walk...
- 109. walk as we dream.
- 110. Winnipeg has ten times the sleepwalking
rate of any other city in the world.
- 111. And because we dream of where we walk
and walk to where we dream,
- 112. we are always lost...
- 113. befuddled.
- 114. Asleep on foot, the Winnipegger
is a citizen of the night -
- 115. the Winnipeg night.
- 116. Why is this so?
- 117. Why are we so sleepy?
- 118. Why can't we just open our eyes?
- 119. Is it the mystically paired
- 120. The bio magnetic influence
of our bison?
- 121. The powerful northern lights?
We don't know.
- 122. We sleep.
- 123. We sleepwalk.
- 124. We sleepwalk.
- 125. We show up on old doorsteps,
- 126. old homes - our old homes,
those of our sweethearts -
- 127. and we are allowed by civic law to carry
the keys of these old, dreamy domiciles,
- 128. of these old, dreamy addresses.
- 129. And those that live at the old homes
- 130. must always take in
a lost sleepwalker...
- 131. must let the confused one
stay till he wakes.
- 132. In Winnipeg, it's the law.
- 133. These old dreamy addresses.
- 134. Keys... keys.
- 135. Winnipeg.
- 136. Home.
- 137. Unlike other sleepwalkers who carry
with themselves great balls of keys,
- 138. keys to all their old addresses,
- 139. I keep just the one key with me
at all times,
- 140. the key to 800 Ellice.
- 141. Home.
- 142. Dreams...
- 143. dreaming...
- 144. dreaming...
- 145. Every night,
I have the same happy dream,
- 146. that I'm back
in my childhood home.
- 147. It was the biggest house
in the neighbourhood, also the strangest.
- 148. I was proud of this strangeness -
and ashamed, too,
- 149. depending on who saw me
enter its front door,
- 150. for it was actually
three structures in one -
- 151. most embarrassingly, a beauty salon
run by my mom and my Aunt Lil...
- 152. a sprawling seven-room suite in back
for my aunt and grandmother...
- 153. and up top, a big baby boomer
- 154. for my mom, dad, three siblings -
- 155. Ross, Cam, Janet
and Toby, our Chihuahua,
- 156. our long, long, long-dead
- 157. A big cube of home.
- 158. A chunk of happy home.
- 159. I've often wondered what effect
growing up in a hair salon had on me.
- 160. Designed by my mother in 1940...
- 161. I loved the noises, the shop
always a-whir with gossip,
- 162. laughter, buzzing, snipping,
- 163. the clatter of trays dropped on the floor,
door chimes, the phone always ringing.
- 164. Shrieks. Shrieks over the roar
of the dryers.
- 165. The air always acrid
- 166. or fuzzy with sprays -
- 167. cloudy, cloudy, cloudy
- 168. Helmets. Helmets.
- 169. Cutting of hair.
The torturing of hair.
- 170. Helmets. The drying of hair.
- 171. Sweepings of hair.
- 172. The hair chute for the sweepings,
leading down into the basement.
- 173. The air vent leading upstairs,
- 174. right into my bedroom,
bringing me every word of conversation
- 175. that roiled
out of that gynocracy.
- 176. At school, I reeked
of hair product -
- 177. pomades for the elderly,
lotions for the elderly.
- 178. I smelled of corn plasters
- 179. of girdles and talc,
fur coats and purses,
- 180. the insides of purses,
- 181. the smells of female vanity
- 182. I grew under their influences
into what I am.
- 183. I will always love this shop.
- 184. White... block... house.
- 185. White... block... house.
- 186. I can't stop dreaming of this home.
- 187. It's changed since we sold it.
- 188. It keeps changing in my dreams.
- 189. New shapes -
similar, but confusing.
- 190. All the other addresses that appear
where 800 Ellice should be...
- 191. smaller, longer, darker...
- 192. lower, older, bigger...
- 193. but never just my home.
- 194. Home. Home.
- 195. The dreams are sweet
back home, back home.
- 196. But the waking is bitter...
- 197. Bitterness.
- 198. Bitterness, sweet as the cold
of our winters.
- 199. We're the coldest city in the world.
- 200. What enchantments this cold offers up
to the person with the right attitude!
- 201. What exuberant lungfuls
of fresh air the city has
- 202. for those who want to scoop it up
in their mouths!
- 203. Happiness,
dazzling outdoor happiness
- 204. for anyone who cares to put on
a pair of mitts and embrace it,
- 205. squeeze every last snowflake
of joy from it.
- 206. Back in 1906, we Winnipeggers
built our own Happyland.
- 207. Our own Luna Park,
our own Dreamland.
- 208. You'd never know it, but between these
West End streets of Aubrey and Dominion,
- 209. between Portage Avenue
and the Assiniboine,
- 210. sprawled the immense permanent
playground, teeming with oddity.
- 211. Wind-chilled rollercoasters
- 212. and Ferris wheels
enveloped themselves in frost half the year,
- 213. a Happyland for us
- 214. Happyland... keeping us happy.
- 215. All a dream, all a dream.
- 216. I need to wake up,
keep my eyes open somehow.
- 217. I need to get out of here.
I need to get out of here.
- 218. What if?
- 219. What if I film my way out of here?
- 220. It's time for extreme measures.
- 221. I need to make my own Happyland,
back at 800 Ellice.
- 222. In commemoration of what would be
my parents' 65th wedding anniversary,
- 223. I sublet for one month
the house in which I grew up.
- 224. Mother, as always,
is game for anything.
- 225. Eager is she to dip into
the past of her home.
- 226. I hire movers.
Tax deduction. I'm a filmmaker.
- 227. Only here can I properly
recreate the archetypal episodes
- 228. from my family history.
- 229. Only here can I isolate
- 230. of what in this dynamic
is keeping me in Winnipeg.
- 231. And perhaps, once this isolation
through filmed reenactment is complete,
- 232. I can free myself from
the heinous power of family and city
- 233. and escape once and for all.
- 234. In addition to shooting everything,
I keep a meticulous logbook
- 235. charting this strange plunge
back in time.
- 236. It's 1963-ish, a time I believe
most likely to conceal
- 237. the key to all the memories and feelings
that enervate me to this day.
- 238. In my old living room,
Mother puts everything back just as it was.
- 239. The old black-and-white TV
in one corner,
- 240. the planters,
crummy sofa, comfy chair.
- 241. For one month,
I get to sleep in my old bedroom,
- 242. the letters Y-U-G still carved
dyslexically upon its door
- 243. so Santa will know I'm there.
- 244. Everything is the same
as in my childhood.
- 245. The scope of this experiment
excludes my father.
- 246. I decide to keep him
out of the formula.
- 247. My mother, missing him terribly
since his death 30 years ago,
- 248. lobbies strongly for his inclusion.
- 249. We settle on a compromise
- 250. we've had him exhumed
and reburied in the living room,
- 251. beneath a mound of earth
concealed by the area rug.
- 252. This seems to buy her off -
for the time being, anyway.
- 253. For the reenactments which concern me,
I hire actors to play my brothers and sister.
- 254. Finding these actors isn't hard.
- 255. In fact, I'm able to get substitutes
that bear uncanny resemblances
- 256. to the vintage originals.
- 257. My sister Janet, who in 1967
was a Pan Am Games gold medallist
- 258. and is now a member of the
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
- 259. My brother Cameron,
who died in 1963 at the age of 16.
- 260. My brother Ross,
always big man on campus.
- 261. My dog Toby - lived to be 11,
never successfully house-trained -
- 262. to be played by
my girlfriend's dog, Spanky.
- 263. Actors for them all,
- 264. At the last second,
the woman who has sublet this place
- 265. decides she doesn't want to leave.
- 266. She put a bit of a damper
- 267. all of our old things...
- 268. Experiment
seems to be going well.
- 269. We start with something easy
the first few hours, and everyone -
- 270. the hired actors, Mother, the strange lady
who won't leave her house -
- 271. are all comfortable enough
to gather around the TV
- 272. and watch the only television drama
ever produced in Winnipeg.
- 273. Don't try to sweet-talk me.
- 274. It's talk. Talk. Talk.
All you do is talk.
- 275. I'm going to do it
for real this time!
- 276. It was a daily TV drama
- 277. and my mother's been the female lead
in this show since 1956.
- 278. Don't think they don't know
that you're a coward and a baby
- 279. who has to get his own way
all the time.
- 280. You're looking pretty cocky
now that you've given me shingles
- 281. and made me lick dirt for
all those reporters down there.
- 282. Every day,
the show runs at noon.
- 283. The same oversensitive man
takes something said the wrong way,
- 284. climbs out on a window ledge
and threatens to jump.
- 285. - I'm gonna jump.
- And every day, his mother appears
- 286. at the nearest window and tells him
to remember all the reasons for living.
- 287. In spite of what you think. You
have never been a disappointment to me.
- 288. Don't make me do it.
- 289. Why. When you were
a child model for Hudson Bay.
- 290. I was so full of pride
I could hardly breathe.
- 291. That little checked suit.
and not a hair out of place.
- 292. Don't try to sweet-talk me!
- 293. - By the end of each episode...
- I love you. Mom.
- 294. the son is convinced
to come in to safety.
- 295. But the next day,
he is back out there again.
- 296. Next... on "LedgeMan"...
- 297. Suicide on Portage and Main!
- 298. Mother's never missed a day in
the 50 years the show has been broadcast.
- 299. Surprisingly, after half a century
of acting on TV,
- 300. Mother is resistant to playing
the role of herself
- 301. in this exciting experiment of mine,
- 302. which could actually not just unlock
the secrets of a family,
- 303. - but create a new genre of film.
- Six alpha, take one.
- 304. Can't I have the lines?
It would be so much better for her.
- 305. She's always been stubbornly
resistant to my most important ideas.
- 306. Just to show me who's boss, she'll
forget a line or transpose its syllables,
- 307. anything to destroy a take.
- 308. OK, with the car? Oh, I'm sorry.
There's no such thing as an accident!
- 309. - Let's just try it again.
- Yeah, I just went a little off there.
- 310. I just know
she's doing it to be difficult.
- 311. Sorry, I'm getting further
and further away from the lines.
- 312. We fight on the set, but her
refusal to acknowledge the real past
- 313. becomes scientifically significant,
- 314. Very telling.
- 315. - Uh, may I hear that again?
- Sure."No innocent..."
- 316. This is gonna be a good month,
the month of my great escape.
- 317. That's good, and cut!
- 318. It's a singular chance,
- 319. Who gets to vivisect
his own childhood?
- 320. The first full scene up is
the straightening of the hall runner,
- 321. something we did every exasperating day
of my childhood.
- 322. An unbelievable source of frustration
- 323. for the rug could actually
never be straightened out,
- 324. no matter how much
anyone pulled from either end.
- 325. And Mother always nagged
from the sidelines.
- 326. The actors put in a limp performance,
displaying little affect,
- 327. and it's me behind the camera
who gets frustrated instead of them.
- 328. An inspired Spanky
tries to help out
- 329. by getting in the way
just as dead, dead Toby always did.
- 330. But almost none of the data collected
in this reenactment will be of any use.
- 331. But still, it's working.
Mother is in the moment.
- 332. Never underestimate the tenacity
of a Winnipeg mother.
- 333. The year 1957 saw Winnipeg embroiled
in the scandal of the Wolseley Elm
- 334. growing out of the centre
of Wolseley Avenue,
- 335. surrounded by a curb
and a fringe of grass
- 336. that Ripley's Believe It or Not declared
was the smallest park in the world.
- 337. In 1957, the city assigned a crew
to remove the elm.
- 338. In the ensuing standoff,
a dozen elderly neighbourhood women
- 339. encircled the tree arm in arm
to fend off the city workers' buzz saws.
- 340. Within minutes the police had arrived,
- 341. paddy wagons and all,
or the old biddies.
- 342. A crowd gathered. "If they want to
chop down this tree," said one woman,
- 343. "they're going to have to
chop us down first."
- 344. In the end, the matter
was settled peacefully
- 345. by newly elected mayor Stephen Juba,
- 346. who pulled up in his Cadillac
and sent the workers home.
- 347. Later that week, vandals,
- 348. obviously working for the city,
blew up the tree with dynamite.
- 349. What if? What if city hall ever listened
to the wishes of the people?
- 350. 1919.
- 351. Returning soldiers
and police on the right.
- 352. Our workers, stage left.
- 353. The drama of our city's
most glorious moment,
- 354. the 1919 General Strike.
- 355. The clash of the marchers,
- 356. their grand parades surging from
each direction, meeting in the middle.
- 357. Meeting where? On this day,
- 358. in front of St. Mary's Academy for Girls.
- 359. St. Mary's Academy for Girls,
- 360. where the quaking little princesses
of the middle class
- 361. tremble out their fathers'
fear of workers -
- 362. fear the workers might actually
get paid fairly someday.
- 363. But the workers are not to be denied.
Neither police truncheon
- 364. nor the wealth of the bourgeoisie
can stall their determination.
- 365. The newspapers paint the workers
as Bolshevik rapists,
- 366. which galvanizes the girls' worrisome
fathers into a frenzy of paranoia
- 367. and sets the nuns,
those ever-opiating nuns,
- 368. foolish as the turkeys they raise,
puffing up into a gobbling panic.
- 369. Such was the crucible of the continent's
labour movement here in Winnipeg.
- 370. Brave men, doing what had to be done,
- 371. teaching the next generation to throw off
its girlish fears of the inevitable.
- 372. The workers.
The workers' night school -
- 373. and some of their most eager
- 374. right out to the barricades
to meet their new teachers.
- 375. What they want they know not,
but they're gonna get it,
- 376. and our city will be at the forefront
of the workers' rights movement
- 377. from here on in.
- 378. You can feel the spirit
of labour still
- 379. whenever you walk around
St Mary's Academy at night.
- 380. You can still see the impotent
old fence, now snow-buried,
- 381. that once tried to keep
those heroic Bolsheviks at bay.
- 382. Now a single sleepwalker
re-marches the same historic route
- 383. the strikers took past the school.
- 384. Is he remembering with his blood
those long-ago days of excitement?
- 385. Or is he just another sleepwalker
jingling his keys in his pocket?
- 386. He's barely noticed
by anyone at St. Mary's.
- 387. He is as invisible as I am otherwise.
- 388. Maybe it is I.
- 389. The closest I ever got to
St. Mary's Academy for Girls...
- 390. I remember getting lost
as a three-year-old who rode off from home
- 391. on the seat of my little green dump truck
- 392. and ending up
on the grounds of St. Mary's,
- 393. forbidden territory for a boy.
- 394. Soon, I was surrounded by solicitous
schoolgirls who coddled me, teased me,
- 395. held my hand, pressed me
into their blouses and kissed me
- 396. in a kind of competition for me,
- 397. which ended only
with the arrival of a big nun.
- 398. Now my encounters with the students
of this fenced-in school
- 399. are limited only
to little lunchtime sightings.
- 400. The girls like to smoke
at Munson Park across the street.
- 401. Delinquent girls -
- 402. nothing stokes
my mother's engines more!
- 403. Well, delinquent girls are
all in the past for me, Mother.
- 404. It's time to get back to work,
- 405. back to the task
of disentangling myself from this town.
- 406. One scene I'm anxious to get at
is the re-creation of the time
- 407. my sister hit a deer on the highway
coming back from Kenora.
- 408. I felt at the time
my mother really overreacted.
- 409. I need to view this episode again.
- 410. Was it my sister's fault?
Was it my mother's?
- 411. and action!
- 412. Mother!
- 413. I had an accident!
- 414. An accident? With the car?
- 415. - I ran into a deer.
- A deer, on the highway?
- 416. There's no such thing
as an accident!
- 417. - What were you doing out there?
- I told you, a track team party.
- 418. Out in the woods where the boys
can run faster than you?
- 419. - Come on.
- The deer wasn't dead.
- 420. And I just stood there crying
until a driver stopped.
- 421. - And what did he want?
- He helped me, Mother.
- 422. He got a tire iron and he put
the deer out of his misery.
- 423. I'll bet.
Let's see the damage.
- 424. Now, what do you have
to say for yourself?
- 425. There's the deer fur and the blood
and the dent, just like I said.
- 426. I wasn't born yesterday, dearie.
- 427. Where did it happen?
In the backseat?
- 428. - Where did what happen?
- The real party.
- 429. Did he pin you down, or did you just
lie down and let nature take its course?
- 430. Mother. She knows
how to read all the signs,
- 431. those gentle substitutions
for dark wishes.
- 432. Who did it?
- 433. Was it the boy on the track team
or the man with the tire iron?
- 434. Mother, you're not making any sense.
You sound like a crazy person.
- 435. We'll see how crazy I am.
- 436. I know what it's like out there.
- 437. Every night, the same old story.
- 438. Take it off, put it in,
pull it out, do this, do that.
- 439. Don't try my patience.
- 440. The signs,
hiding in plain sight.
- 441. No innocent girl stays out past ten
with blood on her fender.
- 442. - It's my life, not yours.
- Well, who gave you that life?
- 443. - I never asked for it!
- Neither did I!
- 444. And so help me,
if I could turn you in
- 445. for somebody who knows how to
take care of themselves, I would!
- 446. Well, I wish you had.
I'd rather be an orphan!
- 447. Don't tempt me!
Every night I look at my pills.
- 448. One little push is all I need.
- 449. It was the man with the tire iron.
- 450. He saw the blood and the fur,
and that was that!
- 451. It wasn't like that.
You weren't there.
- 452. Did he pay you?
- 453. No! What do you think I am?
- 454. What did all the tears
for the deer accomplish?
- 455. All it did was put you
in the mood for the other.
- 456. I'll never see him again!
- 457. Of course not. It only took him
five minutes to find out what you are.
- 458. My sister hit
and killed a deer.
- 459. My mother sees through this euphemism,
for it is a euphemism.
- 460. Everything that happens in this city
is a euphemism.
- 461. Mother understands in a second
what this deer blood and fur means,
- 462. and somehow she's right.
- 463. She can read our family
and our civic secrets,
- 464. our desire and our shame,
as easily as she can read a newspaper.
- 465. Mother...
- 466. maybe the most psychic
of all Winnipeggers.
- 467. No matter where I am,
I can feel her watching me.
- 468. I can feel her hand on my shoulder
when I'm out sleepwalking,
- 469. guiding me back to my own bed.
- 470. I don't think it matters
if she's awake or asleep, living or dead,
- 471. she'll always know
exactly what I'm doing.
- 472. Winnipeggers have always been
skilled at reading past the surface
- 473. and into the hidden depths
of their city.
- 474. On a small scale, we had
Curious Lou Profeta back in the 1930s.
- 475. He was famous for de-spooking furniture
that Winnipeggers feared haunted.
- 476. The city once even hired him
to spiritually cleanse
- 477. a streetcar that was
giving passengers the jitters.
- 478. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
always cited Winnipeg
- 479. as having the greatest
- 480. of any city he had ever visited,
possibly because of the lap,
- 481. the fur, the frost, et cetera,
- 482. but especially because of the Forks
and the Forks beneath the Forks.
- 483. The first nation's people knew
how to read what Conan Doyle
- 484. only sensed in this city,
for centuries burying their dead
- 485. as close as possible to the most
powerful confluence of our four rivers,
- 486. Red and Assiniboine,
Red and Assiniboine.
- 487. In the 1920s,
Thomas Glendenning Hamilton,
- 488. distinguished Winnipeg medical doctor
- 489. held at his home
elaborately documented séances
- 490. in the hope
of contacting his dead son.
- 491. These nocturnal confabulations
quickly spun out
- 492. into the viscous and cottony
hallucinations you see here,
- 493. depictions of the war
constantly waged in this city
- 494. between the two worlds
in which Winnipeggers live now
- 495. and which they expect
to inhabit in the future.
- 496. The most intriguing work in
the paranormal field here in Winnipeg
- 497. was led by medium
Gweneth Lloyd back in 1939,
- 498. the same year she co-founded
what became eventually
- 499. the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
- 500. She conducted a number
of notorious séances
- 501. in which she danced out,
rather than spoke,
- 502. the restless messages
from the denizens of the beyond.
- 503. The most famous of these meetings
- 504. at our provincial
- 505. which also happens to be
the world's largest Masonic temple,
- 506. secretly constructed along
ancient occult specifications
- 507. in 1922 by our premier,
Rodmond P. Roblin,
- 508. who, along with his entire cabinet,
were third-degree Masons.
- 509. That's the Greek god Hermes
atop our dome,
- 510. disguised as the Golden Boy
by an armful of wheat,
- 511. our sleepy eyes never suspecting
his fearsome pagan power
- 512. and unlikely presence here
in modern North America.
- 513. Present at the medium's table that night
were our city's most respected city fathers,
- 514. including the incorruptible
- 515. and... the madams,
or shop stewards,
- 516. of our illustrious brothel collectives,
- 517. women respected for their political acumen
and clout in the community.
- 518. Countless streets in our core area
are now named for these great women.
- 519. One last time through January,
the coldest, darkest month.
- 520. Deepest part of the winter,
no end in sight.
- 521. The condoms come off.
- 522. These are the bareback months
- 523. Your breath freezes
in front of your face
- 524. and falls to your feet with a tinkle.
- 525. Man and dog,
we walk the streets...
- 526. my guide dog through time.
- 527. Even people who have never
- 528. can imagine what it's like
to walk through it.
- 529. You leave footprints, declivities.
- 530. When you step on fresh snow,
you pack it down.
- 531. You pack it down onto the sidewalk, and
when all the loose snow later blows away,
- 532. it actually leaves a positive record
of that negative space.
- 533. It leaves your footstep
as a kind of little relief record of it.
- 534. I like to think of these things
as snow fossils.
- 535. They don't last 600 million years.
They only last a few months.
- 536. But you can actually trace
through these snow fossils
- 537. your own passage up and down your
sidewalk over the course of a winter.
- 538. It's a way of walking backward
and forward in winter's time.
- 539. Winnipeg.
- 540. We negotiate the great white ways,
the snow labyrinths,
- 541. mazes of ectoplasm which determine
our paths through our lives here.
- 542. We have little or no choice
where we go, where we sleep,
- 543. what we feel.
- 544. A city of palimpsests, of skins,
of skins beneath skins.
- 545. How to decode the signs of the city?
- 546. Another civic law here -
- 547. we're not allowed to destroy
old signage, any old signage.
- 548. Instead it's kept, kept forever
- 549. at the old signage graveyard.
- 550. Dip into the layers
- 551. a city just four years older
than my grandmother.
- 552. Sometimes so young-seeming,
sometimes so ancient.
- 553. Frightening.
Frightening is one's place in time.
- 554. When the snow starts falling,
the city starts to feel lawless -
- 555. lawless but safe.
- 556. All the painted lines on the street
are erased by snow, and anything goes.
- 557. It's a big game
of bump'em-cars out there.
- 558. The lights look pretty.
- 559. You can't even see
out of your windshield half the time.
- 560. You know you can glide sideways,
skidding through a red light,
- 561. and the cops will let it go.
- 562. In Winnipeg, it's way more fun
for us to cross the city
- 563. using only its back lanes.
- 564. The city possesses a vast network
of these unofficial streets,
- 565. a fine grid-like work
of narrow unspoken-of byways
- 566. that hold a charm all of their own.
- 567. They're not even allowed on city maps,
but the populace knows all about them
- 568. and uses them
more than legitimate streets.
- 569. A dispute between the city's
two main taxi companies was settled
- 570. by giving one company the rights
to use the regular streets,
- 571. while the other company must pick up and
drop off its fares only in the back lanes.
- 572. It's inside these black arteries
where the real Winnipeg is found,
- 573. where memories
most plausibly come alive.
- 574. The network of these lanes suggests
the grid of a secret city
- 575. laid right on top
of the known one.
- 576. Lanes with names remembered
only by word of mouth
- 577. lie on top of streets named after
politicians and land developers.
- 578. The lanes are illicit things
best not discussed - shameful.
- 579. They receive the breech ends
of the houses,
- 580. the side of the home not meant
for polite company.
- 581. They are the weedy landscapes
of shameful abandonment,
- 582. the conduits of refuse removal.
- 583. Here we strew what we no longer
want to acknowledge,
- 584. and everything,
most notably the Winnipeg special -
- 585. a mattress bent over
with fatal stains -
- 586. is quickly covered up
by the forgetfulness of our snow.
- 587. I am man's best friend,
and also man's...
- 588. In the alleyways,
strange wavelengths dominate.
- 589. The dispatcher
seems to speak directly to you.
- 590. Yes, I got that this morning...
- 591. The driving is softer,
soft as a cushion,
- 592. a white pillow plumped.
- 593. Then there's the strange case
of Lorette -
- 594. a hermaphrodite street.
- 595. It's half front street,
half back lane.
- 596. No one speaks of Lorette.
- 597. Even the architecture
in Winnipeg is sad,
- 598. has an addled concept of itself.
- 599. Emblematic of this is
the Arlington Street Bridge,
- 600. a vast span of unfrosted
- 601. which arches over
the city's sprawling train yards,
- 602. where trains couple in the fog,
rumble on awhile, then noisily divorce.
- 603. The bridge, manufactured
some 100 years ago
- 604. by the Vulcan Iron Works of London,
- 605. was originally destined for Egypt,
where it was to span the Nile.
- 606. But a mistake in specs made the fit
with that river impossible,
- 607. and the bridge was sold at a bargain price
to bargain-crazy Winnipeg.
- 608. The bridge has not adjusted well
to its always-strapped foster home,
- 609. and it often turns in its sleep
when it is possibly dreaming
- 610. of its lush and joyous
originally intended home
- 611. and pops a girder out of place.
- 612. The sounds that groan up
from the yard at night
- 613. resemble the agonies
of some colossal arthritis.
- 614. Just as the Arlington Street Bridge
dreams of the Nile,
- 615. we have another dreaming
man-made feature of the skyline,
- 616. this one an impostor of
the landscape, Garbage Hill,
- 617. the only hill in otherwise
- 618. Made from a half-century
of the population's trash,
- 619. then grassed over and passed off
as a park a generation ago.
- 620. This great mound,
home to tobogganing children,
- 621. dreams its filthy dreams of garbage.
- 622. It's not uncommon for kids
sliding down this hill
- 623. to be impaled on a rusty piece of rail
or old car fender
- 624. that's been heaved up by the frost.
- 625. My Winnipeg.
- 626. A horrific chain reaction of architectural
tragedies started in the late '90s
- 627. when our titanic Eaton's department store
on Portage Avenue
- 628. hit that prairie iceberg and sank -
- 629. Eaton's once dominated this city,
to the point where over 65 cents
- 630. of every Winnipeg shopping dollar
was spent at this single store.
- 631. To say it defined Winnipeg retail
would be no exaggeration.
- 632. After the bankruptcy,
our civic government,
- 633. without even trying to dream up
a second life for the old store,
- 634. suddenly and unforgivably
- 635. Demolition is one of our city's
few growth industries.
- 636. Overnight, construction of a new arena
on the old Eaton's site was announced.
- 637. Curiously, after years
of fighting, resisting, refusing
- 638. to build a new rink
for the NHL Jets,
- 639. allowing them
to abandon us for Phoenix,
- 640. city council suddenly rushed out this
new architectural lie to Winnipeggers.
- 641. The result, a sterile new thrift rink
for minor league hockey,
- 642. with too few seats
to reach the NHL minimum,
- 643. should a miracle ever give us
another shot at playing in the big leagues,
- 644. a ridiculous,
politically motivated tragedy
- 645. with the corporate name "Empty Centre".
- 646. I'm sure memories will accumulate
in this "Empty Centre",
- 647. which has nothing but low-priced newness
to recommend it.
- 648. Until then, this thoughtless
new building just sits
- 649. on the windswept downtown corner
like a zombie in a cheap new suit,
- 650. its brick coat somehow meant
as an homage to atomized Eaton's,
- 651. but coming off more as an insult
to the grand old department store,
- 652. and an insult to us.
- 653. Now the real tragedy.
- 654. Since we've suddenly ended up
with two large hockey arenas,
- 655. the real Winnipeg Arena,
the old Winnipeg Arena,
- 656. the most fabled, myth-and-memory-packed
landmark in our city's history,
- 657. has been condemned.
- 658. Condemned!
In fact, demolition has already begun.
- 659. For 50 years, this ice hockey cathedral
fit Winnipeg and its sport
- 660. like a skull fits its brain.
- 661. This building was my male parent,
- 662. and everything male in my childhood
I picked up right here.
- 663. I was even born here...
right in this dressing room.
- 664. Look at it.
- 665. Born during a game between
the Winnipeg Maroons
- 666. and the Trail Smoke Eaters.
- 667. I was bundled up and taken
straight home after the game
- 668. and brought back a few days later
to watch my first complete contest.
- 669. My dad worked behind the bench
for the Winnipeg Maroons,
- 670. the 1964 Allan Cup winners,
- 671. senior hockey champs
in the days of the Original Six.
- 672. And for the Canadian national team
- 673. as Winnipeg hosted
in wave upon frightening wave
- 674. visits from the revolutionary
juggernaut Soviet team,
- 675. years before the hubristic NHL
- 676. deigned to hold
its first Summit Series in 1972.
- 677. Here's my ticket for game three
of that series, a four-all tie,
- 678. a dull game compared
to the electrifying contests
- 679. typically held here at the world capital
of international hockey.
- 680. The NHL never liked us
here in Winnipeg.
- 681. They raked us of our best players
when we joined up with them in 1979.
- 682. I grew up in the locker rooms,
- 683. was breastfed there
in the wives' chambers,
- 684. and was often lent out to visiting teams
as a stick boy.
- 685. I met my first superstar
in the Soviet showers,
- 686. dazzled by Anatoly Firsov
as he emerged from the steam,
- 687. naked except for the lather
mantling his torso.
- 688. Positively smitten by him,
- 689. I once stole
his famed number 11 jersey,
- 690. taking it home and sliding it
over my nude body
- 691. to take a few erotically charged
secret slap shots
- 692. before tossing it into the Forks
for fear the KGB would catch me wearing it.
- 693. I nearly fainted from the touch
of its fabric and the fear.
- 694. On off days, I would go to the arena
for the strange pleasure I could produce
- 695. by flipping down
every one of the 10,000 seats,
- 696. admiring them,
then flipping them all back up again.
- 697. Urine, breast milk, sweat -
- 698. the hockey cathedral's
holy trinity of odours.
- 699. These are the smells that will haunt
this holy site forever,
- 700. no matter what blasphemy is built
here in its stead.
- 701. And rest assured,
it shall be a blasphemy.
- 702. When the national team was disbanded
- 703. by a federal bureaucrat's stroke of a pen
in 1970, my father died.
- 704. With nothing left to do, he died.
- 705. I'd like to say he spontaneously combusted
right on the ice of the arena.
- 706. That would have been great.
But it was quieter than that.
- 707. He shrank into a puff
of cigarette smoke and was gone.
- 708. Now my building lies
like a heart ripped open in the snow,
- 709. closed to the public
which worshipped in it.
- 710. What if Eaton's
had never gone down?
- 711. What if?
- 712. But an odd assortment of players
in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond
- 713. continues to play in the old barn despite
the first few thumps of the wreckers' ball.
- 714. The team is called
the Black Tuesdays,
- 715. in defiance of the day in October 1929
when the world crashed into depression.
- 716. The players are old Jets, Maroons,
or from earlier eras -
- 717. the Warriors, the Victorias,
- 718. even the Falcons, who won Canada's
first Olympic gold medal in hockey
- 719. in Antwerp, 1920.
- 720. Cec Browne, voted athlete
of Manitoba's first century in 1970.
- 721. Ollie Turnbull.
- 722. Curly-headed George Cumbers.
- 723. Smiley Dzama, so named
for the numerous head injuries
- 724. which have left him eternally happy.
- 725. Other veteran greats -
- 726. Fred Dunsmore,
greatest of all the Maroons
- 727. and best athlete
in the history of Manitoba.
- 728. As a child, lived at three different
addresses, all of them on Minto Street.
- 729. Strangely, and perhaps a testament
to the mystical synchronicities
- 730. always holding sway in this city,
his future wife Margaret dwelt as a child
- 731. in the same three houses, long before
ever meeting her future husband.
- 732. Billy Mosienko, Winnipegger,
- 733. scorer of the fastest hat trick
in NHL history of 21 seconds,
- 734. and owner of a fantastic
bowling alley on North Main.
- 735. On the Falcons,
- 736. Frankie Fredrickson,
the most beautiful of all the Falcons...
- 737. Huck Woodman.
- 738. It is even rumoured that the heavily
bandaged goaltender who plays
- 739. is the late Terry Sawchuk, the NHL's
all-time leader in wins and shutouts
- 740. at the time of his mysterious death
over three decades ago.
- 741. But that's impossible,
- 742. They suit up in the collapsing
old dressing room
- 743. where they laced them up as youths.
- 744. No one knows why the Black Tuesdays
formed. They aren't saying.
- 745. I'd like to think they did it
to protest the grotesque greed
- 746. of the National Hockey League,
which made the sport too rich
- 747. for this sleepwalking,
- 748. Game-playing reveries,
lost in time, mischievous time.
- 749. Time flies when you're flying.
- 750. The unfeeling coroner's chisel
breaks in the bones of the temples,
- 751. gets at the memories.
- 752. With great sadness, for the last time
ever, and wearing a hard hat,
- 753. I relieve myself as I've done
a million times before
- 754. in the building's famed
- 755. the last man in the illustrious history
of this temple to do so.
- 756. Within minutes,
the trough will be ripped into oblivion,
- 757. and soon, too, will the great careers
of these wonderful souls.
- 758. OK, we're gonna go.
Five, four, three, two, one.
- 759. Fire go off!
- 760. Go, Jets, go! Go, Jets, go!
- 761. Go, Jets, go! Go, Jets, go!
- 762. Kind of a strange victory.
- 763. Only the part of the arena
added in 1979
- 764. to accommodate the arrival
of the NHL in town
- 765. falls off the arena
when the dynamite goes off.
- 766. This I interpret as a sign,
- 767. a sign that we should never
have joined that league.
- 768. I really sort of hoped that this would be
some kind of stay of execution,
- 769. but, no.
- 770. Why did this happen?
Why was this allowed to happen?
- 771. The arena, my father,
- 772. the paternal amphitheatre
of our game, murdered,
- 773. all because he lacked luxury boxes.
- 774. Here we pride ourselves on
the tradition of labour,
- 775. and we allow our shrine to be outraged
for its lack of luxury boxes.
- 776. I'm ashamed of us,
ashamed to be a Winnipegger.
- 777. Farewell.
- 778. Farewell, beloved father.
- 779. One final experiment at 800 Ellice.
- 780. It was really rare for me
to side with my mother in family disputes.
- 781. I must revisit an incident
which puts her in a sympathetic light
- 782. to see if it parses out
the same way this time around.
- 783. frame, and action.
- 784. Wake up, Mother!
Wake up! Wake up, Mother!
- 785. - Wake up!
- No! Mm.
- 786. - Mother, please wake up!
- What do you want?
- 787. You have to feed us.
We're so hungry.
- 788. Well, go and make yourselves
- 789. I'm too old to cook anymore.
My cooking days are over.
- 790. - Do you want us to starve?
- I don't know where the pans are.
- 791. Well, just go make yourselves
- 792. - We burned the toast.
- Nothing tastes good unless you make it.
- 793. - We throw everything out.
- Or throw it up. It won't stay down.
- 794. Well, I don't have any more recipes
in my head.
- 795. My cooking days are over.
- 796. Whatever you make for yourself,
we can share a little.
- 797. No. What's mine is mine.
- 798. We brought the parakeet with us.
- 799. What was that?
- 800. - We brought the parakeet with us.
- How dare you!
- 801. - You were warned.
- We tried to be nice.
- 802. - And you didn't listen.
- 803. - Go get her, Muli!
- Oh, get him away from me, please!
- 804. - Spray your filth in her hair.
- 805. My mother's always had
a strange fear of birds -
- 806. I don't know where it came from -
and messy hair, too.
- 807. I remember once we were down
in Warroad, Minnesota,
- 808. visiting some friends who had
a 75-year-old mynah bird
- 809. that had an immense vocabulary
and was allowed to fly free in the house.
- 810. It landed on my mother's shoulder,
and she smashed it to the floor.
- 811. Destroyed, just killed the thing
with one blow.
- 812. The thing had been living happily
for 75 years
- 813. and its life was snuffed out
just like that.
- 814. Oh!
- 815. Get him away from me!
- 816. I'll call him off if you get up
and make us some meat loaf.
- 817. - Right now!
- 818. There's another one
for the logbook.
- 819. Whittier Park, 1926,
early in the winter...
- 820. a first horrible snap of cold.
- 821. A fire in the paddocks,
- 822. started when a squirrel
scorched itself on a power cable.
- 823. The horses panicked, frightened,
wildly fleeing from the flames.
- 824. One last race for their lives,
out into that cruel snap of cold,
- 825. no other way to escape the flames
but to cross the Red River.
- 826. Swimming in the current,
swimming, fighting the current,
- 827. that current clogging with
jagged chunks of freeze-up.
- 828. The ice takes on heft, deadliness.
- 829. Horribly, everything clogs.
Both horse and ice clog together,
- 830. an ice-and-horse jam
piles and paralyses, locks -
- 831. locks each animal in place
by its panicked, bulging neck,
- 832. by its frenzied head.
- 833. The heads stay this way
for the whole winter -
- 834. five months at the Forks -
- 835. like 11 knights
on a vast white chessboard.
- 836. A great public spectacle.
- 837. We grow used to the sadness,
simply incorporated into our days.
- 838. Soon, the Holly Snowshoe Club embarks
on weekly jaunts out to the horse heads
- 839. and holds little jamborees there.
- 840. Winter strollers visit the heads frequently,
often on romantic rambles.
- 841. Lovers gather to sit among,
or even on, the frozen heads
- 842. for picnics or to spoon beneath
the moonlit dome of our city.
- 843. The horse heads are always frozen
in those same transports of animal panic,
- 844. an abandonment reading unambiguously
to the young lovers of Winnipeg.
- 845. The city enjoys a tremendous baby boom
the following autumn.
- 846. Humans born of horses.
- 847. Happiness.
- 848. Now without a racetrack
to slake the city's thirst for betting,
- 849. Winnipeggers turn to wagering
on unsanctioned, illicit events -
- 850. the Golden Boy pageants held
at the Paddlewheel Nightclub,
- 851. which sits atop the brand-new Hudson's
Bay department store on Portage Avenue,
- 852. Eaton's little sister down the street.
- 853. Man pageants.
- 854. The men are beautiful,
the betting is heavy.
- 855. Otherwise incorruptible Mayor Cornish
ignores our city's bylaws
- 856. and presides as the lone judge
at these lurid contests.
- 857. He picks the Golden Boy,
makes or loses fortunes
- 858. for those patrons in thrall
to the vice of gambling.
- 859. Trotting, trotting, trotting...
- 860. on parade for the mayor...
- 861. on parade for Winnipeg,
- 862. thoroughbreds one and all.
- 863. Women only
in the Crinoline Court section, please!
- 864. The advent of modern
- 865. What does one have to do
to be named the Golden Boy?
- 866. What is beauty?
- 867. That's for the mayor to decide.
- 868. Desire.
- 869. Selecting the lucky one...
- 870. the Golden Boy.
- 871. The Mayor Cornish era ended in 1940
when scandal erupted
- 872. over the high number of Golden Boys
holding down golden jobs at city hall.
- 873. These debauched Cornish years
were known as "the orange Jell-O days",
- 874. when the city jiggled
to the tempo
- 875. set by that simple but timelessly
- 876. served in the Paddlewheel
as its house speciality.
- 877. Jell-O. Only orange Jell-O.
- 878. Night manna, squirting through the teeth
into the outer regions of the mouth
- 879. and then back
into its centre again.
- 880. An endless cycle,
the wheel of Jell-O, the Paddlewheel.
- 881. Betting action at the Paddlewheel,
that once-vibrant penthouse of iniquity,
- 882. drops off rapidly
in the decades that follow.
- 883. Hard to work up much enthusiasm
for the pipe-smoking contest
- 884. held every weekend in the '50s,
- 885. and by the '60s, there is nothing much
left but memories of better times.
- 886. Nowadays, I fear for the store.
- 887. Even sleepwalkers
are hard to find here.
- 888. One last time, I can still
make my way up to the fifth floor.
- 889. Unimpeded by any customers,
- 890. where the Bay rents out space
to the always nomadic
- 891. Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
- 892. There I can find my sister,
- 893. and of course, Fred Dunsmore.
- 894. Oh, Fred, why does the Hall of Fame
always choose such thin ice
- 895. upon which to erect
its memorial columns?
- 896. Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame has moved
many times since I first heard of it.
- 897. Every time it moves into a building,
the building goes bankrupt.
- 898. It has to pick up all its photos and banners
and sleepwalk to another home.
- 899. I worry about the Bay.
- 900. Will we always have
the Bay blankets,
- 901. the blankets worn by my dad's teams,
the famous point blankets
- 902. which have been currency
for our fur traders since 1670?
- 903. The city council can't possibly
tear this building down.
- 904. Not again would they dare
commit such a murder.
- 905. Well, why not? They've killed before,
and they're unrepentant.
- 906. What if they do it again?
- 907. Wake up.
- 908. You must make one last visit
to your beloved Sherbrooke Pool,
- 909. already two-thirds closed.
- 910. Built in 1931 as a Depression-era
- 911. the facility is actually
three swimming pools in one building,
- 912. but stacked vertically,
one atop another,
- 913. perhaps the only building of its sort
in the world.
- 914. Segregated by gender...
- 915. segregated by depths.
- 916. Families swam on the main level,
- 917. But one level deeper, it was girls.
- 918. Girls only.
- 919. And deeper still, in the deepest
of deepest basements,
- 920. it was the boys, only boys...
- 921. in the steam and dankness.
- 922. Back in grade five, I was invited
for a Saturday swim at the baths
- 923. by my old school chums,
only to find upon arriving
- 924. my friends had no intention
of ever getting into the water.
- 925. Instead, they stripped naked to cavort
the day long in the changing rooms.
- 926. The little savages in their Saturday trances
wanted me to strip too,
- 927. surrounded me,
aroused with excitements,
- 928. and threatened to send high-arcing
streams of urine onto me
- 929. unless I joined them
in their downy caperings...
- 930. with engorged little members...
- 931. Why? Why? Why?
- 932. Why don't we just swim?
- 933. While making my way
to this boys' level,
- 934. the pool beneath the pool
beneath the pool,
- 935. I always thought of the Forks
beneath the Forks,
- 936. and a mystical power overtook me.
- 937. Something shifted in my chest
the lower I went, a power shift.
- 938. It was always rumoured
the water in the boys' pool
- 939. came directly from the Forks
beneath the Forks.
- 940. I believe that rumour.
- 941. The two lower segregated levels of the pool
are closed now, since 1966.
- 942. Why?
- 943. What if? What if?
- 944. "If Day"! February 19, 1942.
- 945. At dawn, 5,000 Nazis invade Winnipeg
and declare martial law.
- 946. Fascist officers arrest Mayor Queen,
Premier Bracken and his entire cabinet.
- 947. Schoolteachers and politicians alike are
imprisoned in our historic lower Fort Garry,
- 948. which is suddenly a concentration camp,
flying the swastika.
- 949. By midmorning, Portage Avenue
is already renamed Hitlerstrasse.
- 950. Winnipeg itself
is renamed Himmlerstadt.
- 951. Citizens are bullied,
- 952. What if? What if? What if?
- 953. Talk about a terrifying detour
- 954. For us here in Winnipeg,
where time cuts many pranks,
- 955. this detour is horribly plausible.
- 956. The 5,000 Nazis are actually
Rotary Club volunteers
- 957. wearing costumes
rented from Hollywood,
- 958. and "If Day" is a huge success,
- 959. frightening Winnipeggers
into colossal war-bond purchases.
- 960. To Winnipeggers,
the word "if" is terrifying.
- 961. In Winnipeg, every day is "If Day",
- 962. and one must be careful
when changing trains
- 963. not to take the wrong line,
not to end up looping back endlessly.
- 964. That's why one must stay awake
if he actually wants to get
- 965. to where he thinks he's going,
to his Happyland.
- 966. For time, for the wrathful nature
of this ancient land,
- 967. plays one more trick upon him -
- 968. Quickly, prairie herds descend
upon us again.
- 969. From the plains of Silver Heights,
the pained cries rising
- 970. from between two mating tilinkti,
or homosexual bulls,
- 971. held to be sacred for their double spirit
by the Ojibwe,
- 972. spark a colossal buffalo stampede
down into Happyland,
- 973. trampling the playground under hoof,
- 974. leaving it completely flat
within ten minutes.
- 975. Then, a third stampede -
this one by our forgotten men -
- 976. our veterans of the Great War.
- 977. Joined by our first nation's people,
- 978. those swelling ranks
of our heartsick dispossessed,
- 979. these souls descend onto
the devastation of Happyland
- 980. and sweep up every last piece of
happiness they can, for they need it.
- 981. Every fragment of plaything -
rollercoaster, arcade and Ferris wheel,
- 982. every last sliver of... happiness -
- 983. they remove it with the swiftness
of a starving man clearing his plate.
- 984. These forgotten souls,
forgotten families, forgotten tribes
- 985. remove themselves and these odd spoils
to their secret homes upon the rooftops
- 986. to reconstitute, as well as they can
from this rubble, their own Happyland.
- 987. Out of sight, out of mind,
invisible, still there to this day...
- 988. still there to this day.
- 989. Wrathful nature...
- 990. benevolent bison.
- 991. For Winnipeg has always forbidden
the shantytowns and hobo villages
- 992. which typically pop up
in other cities.
- 993. Still on the books here is a law
which keeps our homeless out of sight,
- 994. up on the rooftops of our city, above us,
an aboriginal Happyland in the clouds.
- 995. Aboriginal Happyland...
- 996. forgotten Happyland.
- 997. Forgotten people... Happyland.
- 998. Happyland.
- 999. I'm near the edge of town now,
time running out.
- 1000. I'm really going.
How will Winnipeg be without me?
- 1001. Who will look after
all its regrets?
- 1002. I need to think of her as I go.
- 1003. The Winnipeg Citizen
was a collective newspaper
- 1004. that got the workers' word out
during the 1919 strike,
- 1005. the only collective
daily paper in the world.
- 1006. I know the Citizen never had
a Page Three Girl,
- 1007. but if it had, she wouldn't be
just any tabloid pinup.
- 1008. She would be... Citizen Girl!
- 1009. A concerned comrade,
sad but strong,
- 1010. strong enough to pry herself
from the inky pages
- 1011. and climb to the very top
of our city
- 1012. to tend to those
in our aerial Happyland.
- 1013. And from on high up in Happyland,
straddling our Forks from above,
- 1014. she could undo all the damage done
during Winnipeg's first trip through time.
- 1015. With one wave of her hand,
she could restore Eaton's,
- 1016. the Jets and the arena,
my old arena home.
- 1017. She would find a gentle forest
for the Black Tuesdays,
- 1018. those wonderful old souls.
- 1019. She would rename Minto
after Fred Dunsmore,
- 1020. reopen all three levels
of the Sherbrooke Pool.
- 1021. Citizen Girl would plant a new sapling
right in the middle of Wolseley Avenue.
- 1022. With one wave of the hand,
she would refill the Paddlewheel,
- 1023. raise Whittier Park
from its ashes,
- 1024. keep all our horses and schoolgirls
safe and right-minded,
- 1025. and once again turn on the sign
- 1026. She would look after this city,
my city, my Winnipeg.
- 1027. She would be its new lap,
- 1028. I would know it was OK
to finally leave,
- 1029. to leave the city in her hands -
secure, cared for, loved.
- 1030. Then I could go to where
there are no ghosts.
- 1031. Ghosts.
- 1032. How can one live
without his ghosts?
- 1033. What's a city
without its ghosts?
- 1034. Unknown... unknown...
- 1035. unknown.
- 1036. I don't know what this experiment
did to my mother.
- 1037. She really developed an attachment
for my dead brother Cameron,
- 1038. gone these 40 years -
- 1039. or at least for Brandon,
who played him.
- 1040. It's better between us.
- 1041. Yes.
- 1042. Now that you've gone.
- 1043. I didn't used to like
- 1044. Why?
- 1045. I just wasn't comfortable.
- 1046. Are you comfortable now?
- 1047. Mostly, I guess I am.
- 1048. Me too.
- 1049. That Freezie wrapper looks sticky.
- 1050. I don't mind. I don't mind.
- 1051. Who's alive?
- 1052. Who is alive?
- 1053. Who's alive anymore?
- 1054. So hard to remember.
- 1055. Sometimes... sometimes I forget.
- 1056. I forget my brother Cameron
- 1057. I forget my father's been gone
since I was 21.
- 1058. At some point,
when you miss a place enough,
- 1059. the backgrounds in photos become
more important than the people in them.
- 1060. The old living room where we spent
almost every waking hour,
- 1061. lying on couches
in front of the TV set.
- 1062. My parents and I...
- 1063. lying on couches,
- 1064. lying on couches,
- 1065. lying on couches.
- 1066. A chunk of home.
- 1067. White... block... house.
- 1068. Trailers.to: Watch Full HD Movies & TV Shows