Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prairie Sky rises from flames

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OF the fire that completely destroyed Prairie Sky Books last spring, only a few burn marks on the hardwood floors remain.

Grant Pastuck calls them "battle scars that left an interesting effect."

Otherwise, the much-loved Wolseley bookstore has moved back into a completely gutted and renovated space at 871 Westminster Ave., its home since Pastuck originally opened the store in 1978.

"The spirit of Prairie Sky is still here. It was badly hurt, but the community now has their bookstore back," says Pastuck.

The 100-year-old building was also home to Organza Foods and eight apartment suites when, on April 22, 2001, arson struck and caused over a million dollars in damage. As the fire still raged, neighbouring shop Sled Dog Music offered Pastuck temporary space upstairs and the store was reopened there within a couple of weeks. In late July, the fire-ravaged space was gutted and renovations began in August. In mid-January, Pastuck had moved back in and has since replenished about two thirds of his stock.

"I was shocked," Pastuck says, of the fire. "But now we have a beautiful new space. It's so familiar yet so different. I remember wandering through the debris with a hard hat, boots and a flashlight. The stench was awful. It was like a bad dream."

Prairie Sky Books appreciates the strong community support during their ordeal, he says. A grand reopening celebration is planned, but dates have yet to be confirmed. For now, the store is open during the following hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For further information, call them at 774-6152.

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The Chemo Savvy Dragonboat Team members are all in the same boat. Each one of them is living with breast cancer.

"Our mandate is to raise breast cancer awareness, encourage those living with breast cancer to lead a healthy and active life, and to honour the memory of those who lost their race with breast cancer," says Sherry Wallis, community liaison for the team.

They welcome those interested in joining them at an orientation evening on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the upper lounge near the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope, 691 Wolseley Ave.

With about 50 members, the team purchased their own dragonboat last year, the Tiamet, named after a goddess. They race two boats in the annual Dragonboat Festival held at The Forks in August. Some also enter a race in Regina on the Labour Day weekend. Weekly training sessions begin in March, and by May themembers are training twice a week right up to the race.

"Our members are ages 35 to 75, and of all levels of fitness ability. They need only be able to paddle train. We will help them work their cardiovascular systems, increase their endurance, and it's a great support group, too," says Wallis, who joined four years ago.

In 2001, an estimated 19,500 Canadian women were expected to develop breast cancer and 5,500 would die from it. Overall, two out of every 19 women can expect to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and it's the leading killer of women ages 35 to 55.

Over 160,000 Canadian women live with a previous diagnosis of breast cancer. In Manitoba, 740 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and 210 died.

For further information on the Chemo Savvy Dragonboat Team, visit their web-site at, send e-mail to them at, or call Sherry Wallis at 222-5436.

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California-raised, New York-based saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, with special guest Winnipeg vocalist Jodie Borie, is set to perform at two Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra shows at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m..

Visit the WJO web-site at for further details. For tickets to the show, call the WAG at 786-6641, Ticket Master at 780-3333, or MusicNet at 989-6030 (ext. 8).

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Liz Katynski is the Community Review writer for West Winnipeg. If you have a story idea, call 255-6613, e-mail or send a fax to 697-7370.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2002 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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