There are some new faces in the Bois-des-Esprits, and we’re not talking about new people coming to visit.
In addition to the stunning new spirit carving facing Shorehill Drive that has caused pedestrians and drivers to stop and stare, at least two more carvings have been completed by Murray Watson in the Bois-des-Esprits.
The new carvings feature "accessorized" faces — one with spectacles made with twisted metal looking out onto Shorehill Drive, and another with a metal moustache along the main paths.
Royalwood residents and visitors to the Bois-des-Esprits may have spied more spirit carvings, but these two stand out. The carvings are part of what makes the Bois-des-Esprits so special, and represent a true community treasure.
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Marie Ohta, a long-time Royalwood resident, is also a proud Winnipeg Fringe Festival volunteer.
In her fourth year of service, she is part of the teams selling tickets at Fringe venues, and acting as ushers for the shows.
Having enjoyed the festival for several years, she and a friend decided, "it was time to give back" to the annual event that brings life to the Exchange District.
The rewards of volunteering have been many for Ohta.
"The Fringe volunteer program is so well-organized, and gives volunteers the chance to experience world-class theatre at no cost", Ohta says.
"It really puts everyone on a equal footing, breaks down barriers, and opens your eyes to new perspectives, whether you are chatting with other volunteers or experiencing theatre".
What Ohta enjoys the most about the Fringe is the feeling of openness and community.
"It’s the same feeling you get when you visit the Maritimes", she says. "Everyone is so warm and welcoming, and they understand this kind of outlook is what makes a community stronger."
Ohta recommends the Fringe volunteer experience to everyone. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the festival relies on hundreds of volunteers, and more are needed to make this year’s milestone event a success.
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Back in May of this year, Royalwood residents may have noticed large areas of burnt grass along both sides of Shorehill Drive near the bridge. Now, in the heat of summer, these areas have grown back, green and lush.
This has been the result of a controlled burning, designed to eliminate weeds and maintain the health of the tall grass prairie.
Rodney Penner, a naturalist for the City of Winnipeg, explains: "Tall grass prairie is an endangered eco-system. Each year, we evaluate all the stands of tall grass prairie in Winnipeg. The controlled burning removes dead plants and weeds like Canadian thistle, leaving the stands stronger and refreshed".
Tall grass prairie has also been installed in communities like Sage Creek and Bridgewater Forest. In time, those areas will require the same kind of maintenance, according to Penner.
Royalwood, being first new development in Winnipeg to feature tall grass prairie, is acting as a blueprint for other areas. Thank to careful management, Royalwood residents will be able to enjoy this native ecosystem for many years to come.
Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood. You can contact her at email@example.com.