Thursday, December 29, 2011

You've Had a Helluva Year, Winnipeg

When I moved here four-and-a-half years ago, the little hamlet of Winnipeg was having a bad day. Well, more like a bad couple of decades. You've all read about how much that bugged me. How I struggled to understand how people could feel so lousy about their city. Well, fast forward to 2011. Big changes are in the works, and Winnipeggers are PUMPED.

I'd wager to say it's a phenomenon that not a lot of people experience. It's like those cartoon snowballs that start out tiny, gain momentum, and morph into a massive hurtling snow planet. The progress snowball started with rumours of the Jets return (for 15 years they've been returning, so it was a mostly ignored rumour), then we see construction on Portage of funky new rental apartments. Next thing we know, the snowball's getting bigger: Ikea is coming to Winnipeg! Not just any Ikea, but the largest Ikea in Canada. Then construction of the first national museum outside of Ottawa. A Grey Cup final for the Blue Bombers to match their new home stadium. Then the beautiful reconstruction and revitalization of the city's Assiniboine Park and Zoo (the snowball's getting HUGE). Next the swishy new James Richardson International Airport. And oooh, how about a new entertainment district downtown?

Of course you know by now, the Jets DID come back. And wow, they couldn't have wished for more appreciative, adoring, decibel-busting fan club. I saved this one for last because arguably, it catalysed the biggest mood-transformation I've ever witnessed. And while I'm not a huge spectator sport fan, I am a huge fan of community pride. And for the first time in a long while, Peggy's got her mojo back. And just in time to rock 2012. Happy New Year, Happy Winnipeggers. GO JETS GO!

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