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Revisit and ride through Winnipeg General Strike
Pedal to the past on an upcoming bike tour.
The StrikeBike! guided bicycle tour is taking place on Sat., Aug. 30 at 10 a.m., in which participants visit sites linked to the Winnipeg General Strike (May 15 to June 25, 1919). The tour starts at 529 Wellington Cres., an important landmark in the strike’s history on which restaurant 529 Wellington now sits.
Danny Schur, the tour’s guide and leader, explained it was the location of one-time Winnipeg mayor James Ashdown’s home.
"The important symbolism starting there (at 529 Wellington Cres.) is that building and James Ashdown represent all those that oppose the strike," Schur said. "So we start at the symbolic place where most of the opposition was and come right across the bridge into middle-class Wolseley. (The tour) ends at City Hall."
Bikers will also get to visit the Woodsworth House (60 Maryland St.) in Wolseley, because its namesake, James Woodsworth, had been one of the strike leaders. More stops on the tour include the Legislative Building, Memorial Park, and the Manitoba Club.
"What we’re doing is retracing the footsteps of the horse brigade on Bloody Saturday (June 21, 1919)," Schur said.
According to Mark Cohoe, Bike Winnipeg’s executive director, the ride is about two hours long, and covers seven to eight kilometres.
"There’s about nine to 10 stops on the ride," Cohoe said.
Schur said one of the interesting things about the tour is that bicycles are a link between the past and present. Back then, James Ashdown owned Ashdown Hardware, supplying shovels, ploughs, and bicycles.
"Ashdown Hardware was the place to get your bikes," Schur said. "Some of the issues we deal with today, like making space for bicycles versus automobiles, was being talked about then. It’s really interesting to be on a bike just like people were back then."
According to Schur, the tour will consist of pedalling to a location, stopping to listen to him talk about it for 10 minutes, and then pedalling to another location.
"The hardest thing for me is to keep it short," Schur said.
Schur said he is fascinated with the drama of the Winnipeg General Strike.
"You can only be utterly against it or totally for it — there didn’t seem to be any middle ground," Schur said. "The drama was what first hooked me."
There will be bike marshals at various parts of the tour to ensure all cyclists are safe. Those interested in signing up must pay a $20 fee. All funds go towards advocacy and education for Bike Winnipeg.
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