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The importance of Dalnavert

Re: Dalnavert-Candace House partnership sound (April 30). While the primary function of museums is to preserve the past, they must also continue to find ways of attracting interest and support. This is a shared responsibility of the museum board and staff, with input from patrons and visitors.

If Dalnavert's present board had been more ready to publicize the issues that portended the museum's closing, the problem might have been addressed and resolved in a more equitable manner.

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As for Dan Lett's comments about Dalnavert being a restoration project of the 1970s, many historic houses in North America and in other parts of the world have restoration work done on them, and although original furnishings and artifacts may have been dispersed, authentic replacements and even copies are valid as a visual record of the history of the period.

Many people learn visually, and Dalnavert was an example of visual history. Lower Fort Garry has undergone restoration, and while not everything on display is an original item, it in no way diminishes its historical value or importance.


Former student tour guide, Dalnavert House

Winnipeg, Manitoba


Dalnavert, as a fully restored Victorian-era home, is utterly unique in Winnipeg. The home of a former premier who was also the son of Canada's first prime minister, it speaks eloquently of Winnipeg's turn-of-the-century history and of Canada's heritage of Scottish settlement and influence.

The house merits its Grade I historical listing, and has been a labour of love for countless volunteers for many, many years.

With the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in September, Winnipeg will become an international destination for museum visitors. The relationship between that institution and the history of the Scottish settlement and founding of Winnipeg is profound. Many early Scottish settlers were victims of the highland clearances, forcibly removed from their ancestral homes.

With the right marketing efforts, surely Dalnavert should be able to prosper. Candace House is a marvellous project, but surely another suitable location can be found.




On May 15, 2005, one day after the grand opening of the Dalnavert Visitors Centre, Dalnavert participated in Doors Open Winnipeg.

On that Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., I greeted 516 visitors. By the end of the day, more than 1,000 people had visited.

They didn't come to see the visitors centre -- they came to see the house.

Does that sound as if Dalnavert was "a failure as an attraction?"


Former volunteer tour guide, Dalnavert House


King more than his mistakes

Re: Lawyer at centre of wife's troubles (April 30). The latest instalment in the disgraceful destruction of Justice Lori Douglas and her family, the "obituary" of her husband, Jack King, can only be described as utterly despicable.

In Canada, we pride ourselves in the core principles of justice -- that it must be fair and rendered speedily. Justice Douglas has now been on trial in public for more than three years, led in great part by the media.

King openly acknowledged his great error, yet the onslaught continues, even after his untimely death.

King's obituary was disrespectful of the man -- he was much more in his life than an error that has been atoned for. Moreover, the obituary brought unnecessary pain and attention to a grieving family.

In simple human charity, let the man rest and his family find some peace.




Stadium's sordid story

Re: Stadium to get transit discount (April 30). So Manitoba taxpayers pay to build the stadium for the Winnipeg Football Club, a $200-million edifice in which fans can drink beer in comfort while watching the glistening helmets of opposing gladiators ricocheting their respective heads into concussion.

The club asks for loan forgiveness because they can't service the taxpayer-funded loan at below-market interest rates -- also subsidized by the taxpayer.

Payments are deferred for a year because the roof leaks on their new facility, the press box isn't covered, and the public can't access the playing field for special events.

They stadium is completed late, has inadequate access and parking, and is without a transit system that can handle the traffic.

Now the taxpayer is being gouged by the city and province to pay for charter buses to take Bombers fans to their coliseum. We're told if we don't acquiesce, season-ticket sales will plummet, and the club will presumably be unable to service the debt.

This is financially incestuous -- we can't foreclose on our ourselves. The only recourse left to the taxpayers is to foreclose on the political participants.




Pesticide problems abound

Re: The positives of pesticides (Letters, April 30). Ted Menzies, fresh from nine years in Stephen Harper's government, now works for the pesticide industry's lobby group, CropLife Canada, funded generously by companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow.

He claims pesticides undergo a "comprehensive scientific review" by the federal government. That review is based almost exclusively on industry-sponsored evidence, and examines so-called active ingredients in isolation. It never includes studies on complete pesticide preparations, on combinations of pesticides, or on pesticides in real-life situations, where chemicals of all sorts abound.

Independent science paints a radically different picture from these biased industry studies. Reports in the journals Nature and Science detail herbicides that kill frogs and insecticides that devastate bees.

Worse, it reveals links between pesticides and a number of diseases in people, as well as increased neurodevelopmental problems in children exposed early in life to pesticides.

Limiting pesticide exposure is a goal the Manitoba government should aim to achieve.


Board member, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Salmon Arm, B.C.


As an organic farmer, I take exception to Ted Menzies' letter, which states pesticides "are falsely linked to a list of health problems."

A quick Internet search brings up numerous studies detailing environmental and health concerns linked to pesticide usage.

Independent empirical studies are becoming a rarity, as it is the pesticide industry itself that increasingly provides Health Canada with the studies upon which it basis its decisions.

Without independent research we lose perspective.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 2, 2014 A10


Updated on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 6:33 AM CDT: Adds links

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