Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/7/2009 (4743 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
No doubt the newly re-landscaped Old Market Square was hoppin' and boppin' last night.
It likely will be again tonight and tomorrow as the Jazz Winnipeg Festival fills the Exchange District with revellers wanting -- no, needing -- to enjoy these perfect summer nights.
Don't you love our city and our province at this time of year? Honestly, how could it be better anywhere else?
A week ago, my colleague Gerald Flood, while rhapsodizing about an evening golf match he had just enjoyed, called June "the sweetest part of the summer."
He put it well. The long days, the absence of mosquitoes, the warm sun not having become oppressively hot, everything about June feels like a miracle to Prairie dwellers who endure so much cold and darkness.
And yet, as my wife and I drove home past Assiniboine Park from a lovely Canada Day barbecue party given by friends, it occurred to me that the sweetness was just getting underway.
Portage Avenue near Overdale Street was streaming with families and young couples, many hand in hand, all gathering for the fireworks display.
The Sargent Sundae ice cream parlour was still bustling. Across the street, the setting sun reflected off Gordon Reeves' brilliant new public art sculpture, Agassiz Ice.
Similar scenes no doubt played out at The Forks, on Corydon Avenue, in Osborne Village and several spots where Winnipeggers come out to enjoy the brief perfection of a Manitoba summer. (That's why only a grinch could be against those new restaurant patios on Academy Road.)
Accepted wisdom is that the city empties out about now as everyone heads to the cottage, on family road trips, or at least to Dauphin's Countryfest, now the oldest and most successful country-music blowout in the country.
But in truth, the majority of people hang around town for much of the summer. And it's amazing how busy July has become with entertainment activities to keep everyone amused.
In fact, the next three or four weeks may be the busiest on record, and this in the midst of an alleged recession.
Having presented superstars Branford Marsalis, Buddy Guy and Al Green in the last week, the jazz festival is wrapping up in time to give way to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's "summer season."
They're normally off already, but the WSO musicians backed Dee Dee Bridgewater in her Thursday night jazz fest concert, and tomorrow evening they're doing a free show in Assiniboine Park.
The next three nights will find them back at the Centennial Concert Hall for the organization's Video Games Live presentation.
The boy band the Jonas Brothers is also in town Sunday night, at the MTS Centre, batting lead off to a string of power hitters in pop music.
On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Folk Festival kicks off with the much-anticipated Elvis Costello concert. While the Birds Hill throng is in folkie heaven, the MTS Centre will play host to pop-punk band Green Day Thursday night and country princess Taylor Swift Saturday night.
Rockers No Doubt play the MTS Centre July 13. On July 15, Walking With Dinosaurs lumbers in for five days and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival moves into the Exchange District for 12 days. That's the same day Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens in theatres.
The casinos, by the way, are also playing host this month to dinosaurs of a different sort, including the Bellamy Brothers, the Proclaimers, the Zombies, Glen Campbell and Starship.
Things barely slow down for August, what with Rainbow Stage's Beauty and the Beast, two weeks of Folklorama and even a remount of the homegrown musical Strike!
Since musicians can no longer live off CD sales, they have to tour. So even more acts, from Blink-182 and the Moody Blues to Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Rod Stewart, will troop through town in August.
Oh, before I forget. The Winnipeg Art Gallery has a winner on its hands with its spectacular Joe Fafard exhibition, which continues through the summer.
I've only scraped the surface here. But the bigger problem is making time slow down. Summer in the city is sweet but brief.