While some folks decry the ride in from Winnipeg’s airport as an ugly trek past urban blight, the flight into Winnipeg is the most unique, perhaps beautiful entrance to any urban area in North America, if not the world.
The final descent that carries air travellers over other cities usually allows you to peer into backyards and see human forms of various shapes flippin’ burgers and jumping off diving boards into backyard swimming pools, kids playing street hockey, and thousands of commuters clogging lanes on their way to and from downtown. Fly into Winnipeg in the summer and all you see is downtown.
That’s because of our beloved elm trees, which not only provide welcome shade to the folks strolling beneath them, but a truly unique view of our city to visitors.
You can get the same effect from looking over the city from the top floor of any of Winnipeg’s tallest buildings — all you see is a group of ‘skyscrapers’ surrounded by what appears to be this huge forest because those elm trees completely hide our homes.
This is just another example of unique tourism appeal I started writing about in a previous column and that the City of Winnipeg doesn’t make more prominent mention of in our tourism brochures.
That previous column featured Confusion Corner and its five-by-seven-metre sign, which has become a Kodak moment for tourists; congregation corner at Wellington Crescent and Academy Road; streets that change names without changing direction; the world’s only U-turn signal and so on.
I haven’t even mentioned some of the more interesting houses hidden by those elm trees but could also be tourist attractions for those who get up and close to our city.
Uniquely Winnipeg-style for some of the more unique people who live here, there’s the home that looks like a silo that a farmer built on ‘mansion row’ (Wellington Crescent) so he wouldn’t feel homesick; the luxury penthouse a guy placed on top of his factory because he hates commuting; ‘carriage house’ (the main house burned down so all that was left was the stable, which now hosts a family instead of a couple of horses, a buggy and a groomsman); that 14-by-99-foot three-storey home one family built on a lot that happened to be 15-by-100, and so on.
Yes, our city fathers showed incredible foresight when they planted all those elm trees all those years ago.
And then the inmates took over the asylum.
Don Marks is a community correspondent for Osborne Village. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org