Friday, March 26, 2010

Winnipeg Love Letters -- N is for Not Vancouver

"Traitor!" They're shouting. "She leaves the city and the first thing she does is slag her old hometown!"

They're deleting me from Facebook. Demanding I return my Fleuvog shoes. Blocking me from the Stanley Park livecam. 

Dog-friendly sunsets on Lake Winnipeg
Oh Sweet and Darling Inhabitants of Lotusland this is not about you. Honest. It's not about you and your majestic natural vistas. Nor your orca-laden ocean, temperate climate, and pedestrian-friendly, densified downtown that you market so well. No. This is about how Winnipeg is Not Vancouver. And how, despite your incredulity, we're good with that.

I love these prairie people. At one point in the early days of settling into our new hometown, I wanted to make a customized t-shirt. I wanted it to say on the front: Aspiring Flatlander. And on the back: Recovering Vancouverite.

So how do I compare thee? Let me count the ways: Sunsets. Vancouver has lovely sunsets that while admirable, don't last very long as they dip behind the mountains and submerge into the ocean. Winnipeg and environs has jaw-dropping, crazy-ass big sky sunsets that seem to last forever (a boon to romantic evenings). CrowdsAfter a lifetime of arriving hours early, or even skipping events altogether because we had crowd fatigue, we still marvel at the fact that we rush to get somewhere early to "find parking" and battle "the crowds", only to find we practically have the place to ourselves. Traffic. It takes a helluva long time to get anywhere in Vancouver. Possibly a reason lots of people bike. Even in the driving sleety rain. Well, I can't say Winnipeg doesn't have traffic issues. But that usually involves the suburban part of the city, which no self-respecting urbanite would travel to anyway (sorry Loren). Housing costs. Century-old home in immaculate condition on a beautiful elm-lined street. Vancouver: $1.2 million-ish. Winnipeg: $285,000. I think you might be getting the picture. It's Quality of LifeSee previous points re: sunsets, housing, crowds, traffic.

I could go on. But I don't want all my wonderful friends in Vancouver to feel bad about where they live. I realize that not everybody is lucky enough to live in Winnipeg.


Downtown Peggy said...

Hi OliveBits! Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your letter today for "Not Vancouver". Did you really move here on a dare??

Olivebits said...

Yes...the tall tales are true. I'm nothing if not a novelty-seeker (much to my wee family's chagrin). I also thought it was a sign that a lot of my friends in Vancouver were from Winnipeg...they were all moving back and dared me to do it too...Hope you get a chance to read my other love letters. I wrote an article for Destination Winnipeg last fall'll like this... "Peggy Stole My Heart". :D

Anonymous said...

So happy to have stumbled across your blog. I agree!!

I lived on Vancouver Island for 15 years, then moved overseas for 3 years and chose to move back to Winnipeg upon my return Canada (I lived here in 1987-89). Like you, much to my family and friends' chagrin...they didn't really understand why I would choose Winnipeg over the west coast. I picked Winnipeg for a variety of reasons including the cost of living, good bus system and mostly the fact that there are lots of sunny days and minimal amounts of grey, rainy days. I also have some extended family and a couple of old friends here.

I love Winnipeg and think it's terribly under-rated. This is a fabulous city - especially downtown/Exchange District! I'm tired of hearing/reading negative stuff about downtown - I've lived and worked downtown for 2 years and love it! Anyway, glad to see another Prairie convert and thought I'd add my two cents.

Olivebits said...

Oh Anonymous! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm thinking it's people like us who should start the "Coalition of People Who Actually Like Living in Winnipeg". I know there's lots of us. And most people, when they know it's "safe" to say so, express their happiness with living here. The few people who truly hate it have choices. They can leave. And the sooner the better for the rest of us! Go Winnipeg Go! Boosters unite!

Anonymous said...

I went to university in Winnipeg in the late 90's, then moved back to southern Ontario. Wpg still feels like home when I come back to visit friends.