Bartley Kives

  • Don't soak up too much sun this summer

    Manitobans may complain it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, but few of us ever gripe about the near-constant presence of the sun. The southern reaches of the province boast some of the clearest skies in Canada. Winnipeg, for instance, enjoys a significant dose of sunshine 306 days out of every year.
  • Bird count way down at game-bird refuge

    HARDMANS LAKE, Man. -- Half a century ago, Manitoba drew imaginary lines around a pond of water on the west side of Netley-Libau Marsh and called it a game-bird refuge. The plan was to carve out a place for ducks to nest and rest without any pressure from hunters, who would in turn benefit when waterfowl from Hardmans Lake flew into other sections of the sprawling, 260-square-kilometre marsh south of Lake Winnipeg.
  • Time for local food trucks to step up game

    A mere decade ago, the food truck was something of a North American novelty, found primarily on the streets of Los Angeles, Austin, Texas and a few other southern U.S. cities. Then came a wave of hype at the hands of food bloggers, who extolled the virtues of the best roving tacos al pastor in Orange County or the finest oyster po’ boy on the move in New Orleans.
  • Council's anti-bike gang rallying against paper menace

    Children will lie bleeding in the street. The Richardson Building will crumble into cinders. The Red River will burst into flames. Brian Brohm will be named the Bombers’ starting quarterback. These and other nightmares will most certainly befall Winnipeg if the city goes ahead with a plan to build more bike lanes, a form of infrastructure that poses the greatest threat to this city since the Soviets stopped aiming nukes at us.
  • Be on best behaviour in the back country

    At the height of summer, everyone wants to be out in the wilderness. This is fantastic for the health of a growing number of Manitobans, but also creates the potential for conflict.
  • Still waiting for the mayor's promised accountability

    Last fall, Mayor Brian Bowman was elected in a landslide partly because he promised to make city hall more open and more transparent. Eight months later, it's time for the rookie mayor to follow through on that pledge.
  • No right to quash offensive ideas

    Every July 1, Canadians get a chance to hold a barbecue, laze in a lawn chair and maybe take a minute to appreciate the freedoms we're afforded. We're allowed to worship whatever deity we choose, wander almost anywhere we like, hang with any human who'll tolerate our presence and best of all, say pretty much whatever the hell we feel like saying.
  • Stop! In the name of the claw!

    When the world's most famous fast-food chain starts pushing a luxury menu item, you'd have to be dead inside not to be curious about the result. Until the end of June, McDonald's outlets across Canada are selling an item previously available only in Atlantic Canada: The McLobster, the burger giant's version of a lobster roll.
  • A taste of Portugal: Sargent Avenue business clings to its ethnic roots

    Go back a couple of decades, and the West End was predominantly Portuguese-Canadian. Now, Sargent Avenue boasts Winnipeg's most culturally diverse collection of independently owned restaurants, with Filipino breakfast joints, Vietnamese noodle houses and Ethiopian diners scattered along the glorious 1.5-kilometre stretch from Banning to Balmoral streets. A few remnants of Sargent Avenue's Portuguese past remain in the form of indefatigable pastry purveyor Lisbon Bakery and a relative new kid on o bloco, Viena Do Castelo, a Portuguese grocer, caterer, bakery and take-out food counter that opened west of Arlington Street in 2011.
  • Question marks surround key developments downtown

    A 21-storey condo tower is under construction on Hargrave Street, a 14-storey student residence has started on Colony Street and a 25-storey apartment building is nearing completion on Assiniboine Avenue. While these new downtown structures do not constitute a boom, they're welcome in a city where inner-city revitalization has tended to be more horizontal than vertical in recent decades.
  • Lay woes at feet of FIFA

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the most hated people in sports administration were NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and any member of the International Olympic Committee. Now, these monsters seem like adorable kittens compared with the Bond-villain arch-nemeses at the helm of FIFA, an organization fairly regarded as the Felons Incriminating Football Absolutely, thanks to the bribery scandal.
  • FIFA at fault for not helping to promote Women's World Cup

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the most hated people in sports administration were NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and any member of the International Olympic Committee. Now, these monsters seem like adorable kittens compared to the Bond-villain arch-nemeses at the helm of FIFA, an organization fairly regarded the Felons Incriminating Football Absolutely, thanks to the bribery scandal.
  • Game of Thrones fans deserve break from bloodshed

    Spoiler alert: Read no further if you haven’t watched HBO’s Game of Thrones up to the end of Episode 9 of Season 5. Over the past few weeks, Game of Thrones viewers have been subjected to an upsetting child sacrifice, an upsetting sexual assault of a major character and lighter spectacles such as a brutal zombie invasion and an extended gladiator scene involving beheadings, impalements and immolation.
  • 'Big step forward' really just business as usual

    To hear Drew Caldwell describe a new bill aimed at making Winnipeg more ethical and open, the city just took "a big step forward" toward transparency and accountability. In reality, legislation tabled by Manitoba's municipal government minister on Thursday might amount to a few baby steps toward a better Winnipeg -- but only if you liken the infant in question to one of those harmless baby sloths, whose primary role on the planet is to look cute and make observers go "ooh" and "aah."
  • Bill 39 not such 'a big step forward'

    To hear Drew Caldwell describe a new bill aimed at making Winnipeg more ethical and open, you'd think the city just took “a big step forward” toward transparency and accountability. In reality, legislation tabled by Manitoba’s municipal government minister on Thursday might amount to a few baby steps toward a better Winnipeg — but only if you liken the infant in question to one of those harmless baby sloths, whose primary role on the planet is to look cute and make observers go “ooh” and “aah.”
  • Any journalist is simply lost without ethics

    In some corners of the country, the swift dismissal of yet another big name at the CBC was met with jokes about what skeletons could possibly remain in the closets of high-profile personalities. Does Stuart Mclean secretly sell arms to the Islamic State? Is Wendy Mesley cooking up methamphetamine in her garage? What if Rick Mercer is actually a merciless purveyor of canine misery at clandestine puppy mills he starts up in every small town he visits?
  • Hype for Cup underwhelming

    By almost all accounts -- anecdotal, by their nature -- soccer fans visiting Winnipeg this week have favourable impressions of Investors Group Field, the Women's World Cup games held at the stadium and the people of this city in general. The friendliness of Winnipeggers comes up over and over again as the most positive thing tourists have to say about a Manitoba capital few knew anything about before they booked a hotel room here.
  • Enjoy the chili: A helpful guide for visiting soccer fans looking to fill time between games

    With thousands of U.S. soccer fans and other visitors in town for the FIFA Women's World Cup, some tourists are bound to have some questions about Winnipeg. In stereotypically polite Canadian fashion, I'm only too happy to oblige. Here's everything you wanted to know about this city, and some things you did not:
  • Police need protecting -- how about that?

    With the benefit of hindsight, it's a darn good thing Winnipeg's new police headquarters was flooded by a rainstorm. Without that 2014 deluge, this city's police would be working in an insecure facility. If that sounds preposterous, so is practically everything associated with the $212-million renovation of the former downtown Canada Post building into Winnipeg's new police HQ.
  • Lend your ear to city's public servants

    OK, Winnipeg – hands up, everyone who can name the city’s chief planner. No, it isn’t Phil Sheegl, though that would be a clever response. It also isn’t anyone under the employ of Qualico, Terracon, Ladco, Genstar, Shindico, True North or any other private developer.
  • People, not empty space, key to city

    it's time to take down those "Heart of the Continent" signs on the outskirts of Winnipeg and put up "City of Surface Lots" instead. That won't rake in the tourists, but it would accurately advertise how serious city hall is about enforcing a flimsy moratorium on the creation of new downtown surface parking lots, one of the most visible examples of inner-city blight.
  • Choose wisely when buying canoes, kayaks

    OK, so the gorgeous weather is back, you're dying to get on the water, but you don't have access to a boat. Not so long ago, that dilemma was easily solved by a quick scan of the classified ads and the hasty purchase of a dented, ancient aluminum canoe. Today, you can probably still find a noisy, grippy Grumman on Kijiji, but there's a much wider variety of paddlecraft to choose from.
  • ‘Use it or lose it’ money rule hurts city

    To opponents of new downtown bike lanes, any expansion of Winnipeg’s cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will push cars off the road, force toddlers to work in salt mines and hasten the coming of the Apocalypse to the point where it’d be unwise to purchase T-bills that mature in more than 90 days. OK, so maybe no one’s actually talking about child slavery or the end of the world, but the hyperbolic chatter about the supposed evils of bike lanes is getting tough to tolerate.
  • Meddling by politicians real roadblock

    To opponents of new downtown bike lanes, any expansion of Winnipeg's cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will push cars off the road, force toddlers to work in salt mines and hasten the coming of the apocalypse to the point where it'd be unwise to purchase T-bills that mature in more than 90 days. OK, so maybe no one's actually talking about child slavery or the end of the world, but the hyperbolic chatter about the supposed evils of bike lanes is getting tough to tolerate.
  • Futility loves company

    By pretty much any measure, 1990 was a fantastic year. Nelson Mandela got out of jail. Germany was reunified. Goodfellas and Dances With Wolves appeared in movie theatres. Public Enemy put out Fear Of A Black Planet and Sonic Youth released Goo.

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives
Email: bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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