Are you in Winnipeg and surrounding areas? If you are then do you know of the S.H.E.D.? This is the city’s attempt at rejuvenating the downtown experience and stimulating commerce in the core. The full schtick is “ Sports, Hospitality & Entertainment District” just so y’know. The area encompassed within the SHED includes the Convention Centre, MTS Centre, the glossed up Met, Burton Gambler's Theatre, the RWB and the Millennium Library. This area is from now and forever more to be known as the thriving SHED (as per your city)! Are you excited? Does this make you want to spend the afternoon with the family in downtown Winnipeg? If so, please peruse this factual story first, then decide.
Regardless, the facts remain consistent with the past. Winnipeggers generally avoid downtown unless they live there, work there, have a Dr’s appointment there, go to MTS or are forced to meet a friend at some SHED location to dine….otherwise…cut the bullshit…no one comes downtown of their own free will. The city has faith in you though. They feel that you will want to indulge in all the SHED has to offer from Casino’s (Shark Club) to a fancy pants reno'd MET to the safe bubble of Cop Shop HQ in the old Canada Post building. What the city also has faith in is that the common elements of downtown Winnipeg can be hidden, pushed away or at the least, kept at bay. The city hopes the commotions orbiting the Giant Tiger and other discount dumpsters around Portage can be ignored and heel clicked away. Good Luck with that. The city is relying on a common trait of most interlopers to downtown Winnipeg; put your head in the sand and pretend the socio-economic realities of Winnipeg are gone!
So let’s unite fellow Winnipeggers, let’s love the SHED and congregate by the big shitty sculpture in the Millennium Library skate park while we ignore the realities of urban dynamics scurrying in the shadows cast by big, pretentious circular screens and cab headlights. Come, let us spend our money on making Winnipeg a vibrant and energized metropolis! Oh…you’re busy? Not interested? Going to a BBQ by the Perimeter…oh well…at least the city tried.
After living for years across the street from the Korean controlled Sun Food Mart, I have decided to do a critique of the sandwich offerings at the little convenience store.
For $7.50 you can purchase the double cheeseburger. The 2 burgers are likely made in Calgary and shipped over here in a container on a semi truck. A person has to be drunk as a skunk to actually enjoy this treat. The buns look like they were spewed out of a volcano, hard and sand-like. The patties have the taste of dried-up paint. But if you are highly intoxicated and douse the burgers with copious amounts of ketchup they can be digested with satisfaction.
The Steakhouse Roast Beef Sandwich only costs $8.29. I think these are made in Singapore as they are suffering from severe Jetlag. Tasteless yet filling, the sandwich does the trick if you are going for a major hike through the Grand Canyon. It will not go bad in +40 C temps and will provide the necessary calories for energy.
The Bistro Deluxe Sandwich will make you barf after you pound one of these back after drinking 12 beers. It is a great gut cleanser. The human body will not tolerate the ingredients in the Bistro Deluxe. The lettuce in the sandwich was likely grown in Huyuan province, China. It tastes like air pollution and is as dry as a downtown bum.
And lastly the Triple-Decker Torpedo Submarine Sandwich made up of Black forest ham, Genoa salami and Swiss cheese with lettuce and Dijon mustard on Asiago bread. This sandwich was probably made in Silicon Valley using a 3-D printer. This sandwich is unpalatable, insipid, bland and flat. But at least it doesn't make you upchuck. Drink 14 Extra Old Stock beers and the sandwich gets better. But the next morning you may not want to breath in another humans direction as you could make them pass out.
The little Korean ladies at Sun Food Mart, they have been in Canada for 30 years and still can't speak English, only charge $10.50 for the Triple-Decker. Remember most guys that buy this sandwich are pissed out of their minds. No regard for quality cuisine or cost in that state.
Just have to thank the Lord of Donald Street that Chicago Phil's pizza joint is 2 doors down.
Every morning when I'm off to the grind and I traverse Donald Street, I am accosted, harassed and pressured by an army of downtown denizens. It is always the same thing, with slight variances in wording, but it goes something like this,
"Hey. Do you have any change? No. How 'bout a smoke?"
Every single morning I hear it. At least from the ones that can cognitively form words through their huff, booze, who knows what induced fog . I do not give anything to the beggars yet they still ask me for the same shit every time. Do I have a target on my mellon? No...no target, but there is some sort of precedence that has been set up downtown. The real problem is that there is actually an infrastructure for Pan Handlers to make a go of it. The problem is you! No not you, the other one over there. You who give them your pocket scraps and cigs. You may think you are being sweetly and contributing to some iota of happy in the world...but you are not. That $1 you gave the obvious substance abuser...he bought rubber cement to huff and then shit himself at Portage Place. That dude who said he " just needed a couple bucks to get home." went and bought crack and didn't make it home. You are helping nothing by giving the Pan Handlers your tokens of wealth. You are actually making every morning that I wake up and have to repeatedly say "No!" a painful experience.
When you give them money, they expect it from every person that walks by. Why try actually looking for a job, cleaning yourself up, exploring a sense of self, using an actual toliet...when you can just get some Suburbanite House-Bitch or hipster flake douche to throw you $2 everyday and all you have to do is look like a piece o' shit. Here's an idea? You really wanna help them? Do you really wanna earn yourself into some bullshit kingdom? Take them home with you. Feed them. No? Then make 10 bagged lunches before work and hand them out to the beggars when they ask for change. Oh...they won't take it. That's because they don't want actual "good" things, they want shit. They want to feed habits and make all the pain dull and drift into a day long blur. Do you really wanna be the cool kid on the street?... make a sidewalk community stand by just outside Citi Place. Have all the nice little pamphlets about government education grants and adult programs to help people make resumes. Have a big smile on your face and really try to help people. I dare you. I've seen some groups try this. It did one thing, it cleared the area out for a while of that dreg element. So, please...stop throwing beggars your bullshit trinkets and just say, "No"...or "No thank you." if you please. Just spare me, and the legion of others that get harangued daily, from your pathetic attempt at making things better. You're not.
If anyone knows what too much imbibing can do to the human digestive system, its the DSC. While the occasional regurgitation can purge certain blockages, there are situations that are simply non-conducive to the upchuck. The hurl can be of particular annoyance when using someone else's washroom or when presenting a project proposal to regional managers at 7:45 am, on a Monday...so, in continuing with the DSC's social agendas to educate, initiate and propagate all to fornicate with slightly less bodily fluid exchanges, here are some tips to assist in avoiding the vomit:
• Drink water (H2O) after every 2 drinks. One large glass.
• Avoid Vodka. Everything gets sloppy on Vodka.
• Eat something half way through the piss fest. Something heavy and meaty or dense and nutty.
• Stop Fuckin' drinking when you start spinning!
At approximately 22:15, April 18th, there was a fire at the rear of 59 Donald. While the investigation is still underway, it would appear that the recycle bins are the source of the fire and spread to a nearby vehicle.
The Vehicle was engulfed in flames and several explosions were heard by tenants within the apartment building.
One bystander stated,
"It was like being in a war zone! There were flames everywhere, smoke and then these explosions! I was terrified!"
Fire fighters arrived quickly and extinguished the blaze within minutes. A truck that was parked next to the exploding car was also affected by the intense heat (as seen in picture below). Damage is estimated to be in the range of $60,000.
While it is unclear how the fire actually started in the recycle bin, a mentioned theory is that it was not a malicious act but rather the unfortunate result of a full recycle bin, a bin picker, a lit cigarette and high winds.
Car explodes as tenants fear for their lives! More to come as news unfolds!
33 Princess St. and Notre Dame, where Donald Street starts. A furniture store was there for years and we managed to document it before it packed up and went the way of the dodo. A furniture graveyard.
Just a couple shots of the gutted interior before it got a shiny new paint job...and a $300 a month rent increase!
Continuing the DSC's Archeological pursuits in Winnipeg, we present a demolision site in North Kildonan, just off Peguis on Henderson Hwy. As the old Safeway was removed to make way for the new trendy version, our intrepid explorer ventured into the asbestos laden rot, to document and to share.
Remember the ‘good old days’ when grieving was done in private with the people close to you?
In modern times, of course, attention-seeking is the norm. As such, is it any surprise that we are seeing a proliferation of morbid roadside shrines at the spot where a tragic event occurred?
Throughout the years, I have noticed many of these shrines created on the side of the road marking where a person died, usually by vehicle or murder. ‘Loved ones’ make a pilgrimage to the scene of the event, with flowers, crosses, and random knick-knacks. Perhaps the attention-seeking helps the ‘loved ones’ cope in some odd way. Gives them comfort in knowing that they are getting the attention of strangers. Is it that in order to progress through the grieving process, one must know that people are aware of their grieving?
All too often, however, those same ‘loved ones’ who deposited the items at the shrine have since abandoned it. It then becomes coated in dust, filth, and dog piss; and the flowers wither and rot. These same ‘loved ones’ who failed to maintain the shrine would also – no doubt – be livid if the city’s public works department (or you as a good samaritan) took the time to remove what has become a very public pile of rubbish and place it in the trash where it belongs. This is actually one of the most non-trollish suggestions I have for you… do it to improve the image of your city! (Winnipeg needs all the help it can get).
The atheist in me has trouble understanding the ‘logic’ of the paranormal/superstitious mind… just why do people leave messages written to the deceased or adorn the shrine with religious symbols anyway? Are they under the impression that the person’s ghost or spirit is somehow lurking around, invisible to us, at the site? That the essence or energy of them is somehow present, and they will read these messages or have a doorway to heaven open up due to the religious symbols? Strange thinking, indeed.
Here's a thought... what if, to respect a particular dead person's beliefs, the family or friends erected a pentagram for all to see on the side of the road? Do you think, in this case, that the masses would still insist that it's okay because it's helping that person’s family/friends with their grieving process? Or would Christian hypocrisy rear its ugly head?
Are these morbid shrines to be located where the death or the event took place? These two are very often not one in the same. Person gets raced to the hospital in critical condition and dies in the ER. If it is based on death, should there not be hundreds of these shrines in front of the ERs of Winnipeg’s hospitals? Would it not make more sense that the invisible spirit lurks around the place of death, rather than creepily stalk the location where they earlier got traumatically injured? Then again, placing such a shrine at a hospital with hundreds of others would detract from the uniqueness and therefore the attention-seeking that the ‘loved ones’ are aiming for.
I will close with a tale of perhaps the crassest of any such shrine that unfortunately occurred on the front lawn of a neighbour’s house of one of my friends. A few years ago, two young women from a First Nation north of Winnipeg were well over the legal limit and speeding recklessly down Henderson Hwy inside Winnipeg. At a curve on the road, they lost control and wrapped themselves around a tree on the property. My friend’s unlucky neighbour not only had damage to an otherwise beautiful spruce tree, but a shrine went up on his front lawn, without anyone asking permission, of course. In addition to the flowers and other crap, he couldn’t help but notice his lawn getting covered in cigarettes, mostly half-smoked butts. Apparently, this was “the traditional tobacco offering!” That’s right, not a pristine tobacco leaf, but actual cigarettes… mostly all smoked on site and then tossed as a butt onto his grass or in the direction of his mangled tree. This is in addition to making it difficult to psychologically move on from having witnessed a gruesome scene by being reminded of it daily via a shrine on the front yard. Long story short, in this instance, because of the need to create a shrine there are actually three victims: the two Darwin Award recipients and the ill-fated homeowner.
Superstition and attention-seeking usually go hand-in-hand, is it any wonder why these morbid shrines have now become A Thing To Do when someone dies?
The Midtown Troll
Always on the lookout for Archaeological pursuits within contemporary environments, the Donald Street Collective would like to share an Urban Exploration submission from an intrepid explorer.
If interested, the actual historical context of this deserted exchange haunt is linked here:
108 Princess Street History
In one of my early days within the Winnipeg Woodlot, a sunny Saturday, I grabbed a local java and retired to the view out my front window. Though it was early, the parade was well on its way. The residents were spilling out of the cafes onto the sidewalks, folks were engaged with friends, and families were neck deep in strollers, dogs and good cheer.
One mouthful into the black nectar, looking onto the street, a middle-aged man, naked, in what appeared to be a meth-induced frenzy, entered the harmony of middle-class fellowship. How would this new motif, this fleshy note of discord be received? This was mandatory viewing and I had a premium balcony seat.
He ran out into traffic, then behind the building into a construction site and climbed a chain-link fence. He did not have any footwear. Oblivious to the rebar, nails, wood, aluminum and glass he climbed over the fence on the far side and introduced himself to the sidewalk cafe patrons. The folks at the cafe weren’t as amused as I was. Looks of disgust and disbelief multiplied. Women covered their babies’ eyes from the horror but the older children, especially the boys, embraced the ensuing chaos. Two men, perhaps with gallantry in mind, left the comfort of their love group to chase methman. They ran in a large circle which increased viewership substantially. However, our new friend was too damn nimble. They returned to their families defeated, eyes cast down, and palms up. What did they think they were going to achieve?
Our protagonist then sighted the city bus cruising slowly in my direction. Advantageous perhaps, there was an empty bicycle rack attached to the front of the bus. When the bus stopped at the intersection, he made his move. He jumped onto the rack, spread-eagled facing inwards through the front window. We now witnessed a spectacle. Pockets of outrage were gaining momentum as we watched the driver try to dislodge this large screen obstruction. He tried the wiper, the wash fluid, gave up and exited the bus. He moved towards methman but was unsuccessful in shutting down the show. Our friend jumped a residential fence and ran through several yards disappearing from view.
For some time the story developed, details were added, discussed and revised. The event became legendary then died soon after. Our lives are as transitory as the chaos introduced when this naked symphonist appeared. From birth we make a little noise, hope to leave an impression and then we are gone.
Fancy another cup?
(Check out Tales from the Woodlot Part 1)
(Check out Tales from the Woodlot Part 3)
Whether driving by as a child in the family vehicle, or having a smoke outside the Yellow Dog Tavern as an adult, The Midtown Troll has been studying this fading mural for decades.
River City Ransom. Part brawler, part RPG. This game worked (and works...) on so many levels it occupies its own specialized genre. The story concerns young Alex. A resident of River City with good intentions and love in his heart. When the troublesome sounding "Slick" decides to abduct the love of Alex's life, you know there is gonna be hell to pay. Alex goes on a frenzied mission to cause pain, learn new skills and explore River City to liberate his damsel in distress, Cyndi. Alex does have friends to assist him on this noble mission. His equally rage filled bud, Ryan, can join the fray and contribute to the rescue of Cyndi, ensuring Alex can some day get some. When two players game-on you can do combo moves which are exciting to pull off and cause destruction to the gang members that attempt to deny Alex his heroic quest. The game is simple enough indeed, but along the journey you will encounter shops, secret bookstores and floppish bosses and sub-bosses that are in need of retribution. The mission can be lengthy if one decides to explore River City from top to bottom and acquire all the skills offered by books and products that must be purchased. Money is received after one of the many gang members is beat down and sent to the "other" plane. Some baddies give more money than others and bosses really give up the goods. The gangs that await our heroes are legion and the titles vary from the "Squids" to the "Frat Boys". All gangs are not equal. Some are far more aggressive than others, while some will flee from your presence. Learning the gang dynamics is a crucial part of playing the game. Following the action like buzz on a fly, is the banter in text form on the bottom of the screen. Enemies can taunt you, drop hints or even scream in pain as they meet their maker. Constantly ticking away on the lower screen and usually humorous, the dialogue is an important part of the game as well. Scattered throughout River City are Shop areas where no fighting occurs. It is filled with peaceful city folk that only wish you the best and want your money. Doorways lead to a variety of shops from Bookstores to Desert Cafes. All items add to the players stats in varying degrees. Some items increase agility, speed, strength, to name a few; while other shops sell items that give Alex(or Ryan) new skills. The learned skill of Dragon Feet is always a pleasure to greet charging gang members with, and it is a must to pick up these tricks to combat the increasingly tough opponents that come your way. All these layers combine with little touches like naming your character , password saving, interacting with the inhabitants of the city and using any items lying around as weapons, giving River City Ransom a broad and deep foundation to play on. You can even pick up a dazed enemy and use him as a weapon. The humour of the story and the complete wackiness of the entire game give it personality and flavour that separate it from anything else out there.
The look and feel of River City Ransom may ring some bells. Developed by Technos, this is the same team behind Super Dodge Ball, the original Double Dragon and the old school arcade fighting game Karate Champ. Their uncanny ability to meld violence and humour are real standouts in the industry and give anything they develop a distinct Technos identity. River City Ransom was released in North America in 1990, and while not taking the gaming world by storm, it has achieved a strong cult status and is respected internationally. The blend of outrageous fighting and ability building make this game multifaceted and garner it quite a broad fan base. A GameBoy version was released, minus the Technos crew. Developed by Million and released by Atlus, this updated version got favourable reviews and may be of interest to former River City dwellers. The original has been re-released on the Wii through the Virtual Console and is highly recommended to anyone able to access it. The story is silly, the moves ridiculous and the characters are mental. That said, it is a perfect distraction and an oddly complex beat-em 'up that works. Tight control, simple yet effective NES sounds and clean, crisp graphics combine to create a pleasurable gaming experience.
My urban explorer friend and I played River City Ransom non-stop in the Summer of 1990(the late charges must have been in the triple digits...) and it has left such an impression that every so often the adventures of Alex jump into my mind like an Acro Circus spin. Anyone mentions a gang, I think of the Generic Dudes instantly. I see an older metal garbage can, I envision Ryan smashing a Frat Boy in the melon. A great game stays with you for a long time. An amazing game stays with you forever. I am sure I can use the brain cells designated with River City Ransom info for something else, but why would I. In my youth I spent a summer in River City and love to go back every so often in my mind to that wacky place, with a giggle and a smile and a fond memory of gaming on in the past.
Joystick 'n' Hand
A few weeks ago on a winter afternoon I was walking down Donald St, from City Place towards Broadway. Just ahead of me I saw a “street person” standing on the sidewalk. Outwardly he was a typical stereotype pan handler: a tall thin man, wearing a wrinkled old winter coat, dirty jeans, long greasy hair, and grey scraggly beard. He had some sheets of paper in his hands. As I approached I prepared myself to be solicited for change or a smoke, which is a frequent occurrence in this area of downtown. Surprisingly, he reached out and handed me a sheet of paper and said “Jesus loves you.” I accepted the paper and said “That’s nice of him” and kept walking (usually a good policy Downtown.) I folded the paper & put it in my pocket to examine later out of curiosity.
At home I discovered the sheet of paper to be a piece of artwork, with pencil drawings and text. It was an original piece, not a photocopy, making me realize that each sheet of paper was an individual work of art. The animals were drawn in a simple, childlike style; the text a naïve yet seemingly sincere blessing (complete with misspellings). This is Art, no less profound than some you will see featured in the galleries of the Exchange District, an expression of human creativity and intellect. It’s the Art of ordinary people who overcome the boredom of their jobs or the ennui of everyday life by creating doodles, graffiti or poems that sometimes form an object of aesthetic value. Sometimes they deserve to be shared.
I’ve encountered many religious proselytizers and would-be prophets haunting the streets of Downtown, some merely mumbling to themselves, others aggressively warning me to repent. I usually respond to them with indifference or contempt. However, regardless of its religious subtext, I appreciated the gesture of this one man, sharing his art to strangers of the street and asking for nothing in return. I wonder how many people ignored him, how many accepted his gift, and how many treated his art with disrespect. I never saw “Street Jesus” again.
Thank Respondent and Terminate
Follow the DSC