In this folksy, artsy festival month, imagination, caprice and wonder stock (stalk?) the streets of Wolseley, delighting the mindful observer.
I’m talking about finely crafted creatures and objects that are most comfortably enjoyed in summer, though they may be year-round denizens, like these examples.
There’s the lanky, steely trumpeter at 849 Wolseley Ave., atop his balcony fronting Canora Street. He was fashioned in Mexico from pieces of reclaimed metal wired and welded to a frame.
"He called out to us," says his friend, Donna Decker. "When we saw him, we knew where he had to go."
Donna and her family were in a Phoenix shop last year, returning to Winnipeg as part of a 20-vehicle RV caravan that had trekked to the Baja Peninsula, when she saw "Mr. Mariachi".
All the way home, the five foot-plus musician rested between the RV’s kitchen counter and couch by day. At night, when space was needed, he stood outside the RV, trumpet cocked.
Mr. Mariachi has a Wolseley companion in George, a dashing, life-sized driftwood horse. He lives in the front garden of Ann, who challenges readers to spy him around Wolselely Avenue and the Assiniboine River, between Ruby and Dominion streets.
Named after Ann’s father, George was created by River Heights artist Philip Manaigre. He was a raffle prize at a fundraiser, at Robert A. Steen Community Centre, for Ann’s close neighbour, who had cancer some 10 years ago. Ann won the meat draw. She traded up for George.
She says, "We put him out that night, a mild December night with large snowflakes, and drank a toast to him and our friend."
In winter, George sports a patchwork blanket made for him by another neighbour and her granddaughter, who loves "the magic horse" and feared he was cold.
More conspicuously at 1316 Portage Ave. and Valour Road stands The Tulip Florist’s ever-changing, always topical bicycle. The brainchild of owners Bruce and Tammara Bondesen, it’s an extension of their fanciful window displays. In various months, select butterflies and snowflakes escape their window scene to alight on the spokes. Bouquets in the bike’s basket are "refreshed" regularly.
During last summer’s Portage Avenue reconstruction outside their shop, Bruce lopped down the wheels to conjure a "sunken bike." Passersby were convinced workers had embedded it in cement. City inspectors were dispatched to the scene.
Ah, summer in Wolseley… let the good times roll.
Gail Perry is a community correspondent for Wolseley.