I met my cousin in 2010. We'd been communicating for some years via e-mail. We came into contact with one another through genealogy. We're both descended from the Bindloss family of Heversham in England.
She lives in Winnipeg and phoned me and said that she wanted to meet me and I could stay with her at her house and she would pay for everything. What a deal. All I needed was to find a good price to travel there.
I went online to Westjet and found a round trip to Winnipeg at $99 each way. All I would spend is about $300 (for the taxes etc) in total. So I went.
I was a bit worried as I had never met her but she turned out to be a wonderful person and I felt right at home. I loved her house, filled with beautiful stuff and Winnipeg was delightful.
The streets are wide and the skyline is low. On my cousin's block, there were trees forming a bower over the road. It was so nice. On our first day together we went and got Chinese food.
I'd brought her a couple of presents and she gave me a few, too. One day she drove me up to Gimli. I loved the big lake and the pier and bought a book about an Icelandic woman written by her granddaughter. I love history and this was something I knew little about.
The whole culture of Winnipeg was quite different from Ontario. So many Icelandic and Ukrainians. And the Hutterite people wandering around in their old-fashioned clothing. Then there was the Social. It's a gathering that is held when two people get married. Money is given to them to be used for whatever they want it for. Some couples get enough to buy their first house.
I also liked the pork parties. Pork producers hold outdoor get togethers and give pork away for free. They have sandwiches of pulled pork and chops etc just so people can get a taste of what they're producing. Apparently, it makes lots of business for them.
We went up to see a Hudson's Bay fort, a recreation with actors taking on the roles of the people who lived back then. There was a blacksmith and the governor, maids, postal office. The actors were wonderful and had a little 'tiff' just for us. We saw lots of pelts, too.
Of course, we did some genealogy research, too, at one of the libraries and found one of my cousin's German ancestors from the other side of her family.
On another day, we went to Fort Whyte Alive which has a sod house and a bison herd. It was great to walk there on the paths which are flat because Manitoba is, of course, on the prairies. I have trouble with my knee and so greatly appreciated flat walking in a nature setting.
We visited a mall, crossed a suspension bridge and had gelato in the french-speaking area. I loved every second of my visit to Winnipeg and would like to go somewhere else someday on the prairie. Edmonton would be my choice as my brother lives there.
Someday I'll go back to the prairies, they're a real lovely place to be.