Ruth Bonneville

Ruth Bonneville

Photojournalist

As the first female photographer hired by the Winnipeg Free Press, Ruth has been an inspiration and a mentor to other women in the male-dominated field of photojournalism for over two decades.

Ruth brings a fresh, spirited and decidedly female energy to everything from spot news, arts and culture and the photographs that touch our hearts and change the way we think about the issues of social justice in our community.

Ruth has also been the principal photographer for the magazine Winnipeg Women from its première edition in 2000. She has shot 32 covers and hundreds of articles celebrating the success of women doing extraordinary things.

Beyond her professional life, Ruth is a strong community volunteer working and lending her talent to projects such as the famous Art of Aging Gracefully Calendar, which raised over $10,000 for the Mature Women’s Centre.

Recent articles of Ruth Bonneville

Students, instructors in culinary and hospitality programs aren't following the set menu

Eva Wasney / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Preview

Students, instructors in culinary and hospitality programs aren't following the set menu

Eva Wasney / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Friday, Apr. 9, 2021

It’s just before noon and the sunlit kitchen floating high above the Exchange District is a flurry of white coats and lettuce leaves.

Today, first-year students in Red River College’s culinary arts program are working in the garde manger, or cold kitchen, learning how to prep and assemble salads in plastic takeout containers destined for the school’s public food court two floors below.

The lab is running at half-capacity and the student uniforms — white coat, apron and toque, the iconic pleated chef’s hat — have been augmented with blue face masks and safety glasses; just a few of the more noticeable changes to hospitality training amid the pandemic.

There are 206 students enrolled in Red River’s culinary arts, professional baking, and hospitality and tourism-management programs. They are 206 students who will soon be seeking work in an industry that, at the moment, feels pretty inhospitable.

Friday, Apr. 9, 2021

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Culinary arts professional baking instructor Chantalle Noschese (centre) work with students Valerie Boeringa (left) and Corrina Avila.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers are staying on their toes

Jen Zoratti / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Preview

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers are staying on their toes

Jen Zoratti / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

At first, it looks like a typical Monday morning in a fourth-floor studio at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Some company dancers are stretching, clad in post-class sweatpants and socks. Others are up on pointe shoes, practising a difficult run of quick-footed choreography.

Look closer, though, and the new normal, the COVID-19 normal, reveals itself. Their ranks are smaller, for one; the company’s dancers have been split up into cohorts of eight. They are distanced from each other and cannot touch, with zones taped out on the floor. Numbers above the barre indicate where they can drop their duffel bags, water bottles and anything else they may need for the day. There are no dressing rooms.

And then, of course, there are the masks, which must be worn at all times — even during hours of dancing. The fabric billows and contracts with their breath, a visual reminder that these graceful, elegant dancers are also athletes.

Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

Royal Winnipeg Ballet company dancers are navigating a new normal.

Three families make different educational choices during pandemic

Maggie Macintosh / Ruth Bonneville photography 13 minute read Preview

Three families make different educational choices during pandemic

Maggie Macintosh / Ruth Bonneville photography 13 minute read Friday, Sep. 18, 2020

Meet the Milne-Karns, the Parenteaus and the Blum-Paynes.

Anna Milne-Karn and her moms Heather Milne and Luanne Karn live in Wolseley.

The Parenteaus — Anna, Jason and their sons Carter and Josiah — live in Silver Heights. The boys’ cousins can also be found inside, sharing meals, laughs and cultural teachings.

Across the city in Elmwood, Andy Blum, Krystal Payne and eight-year-old Emby Blum-Payne live in a house with a pink door. Emby’s grandfather Edward Payne lives in a suite downstairs.

Friday, Sep. 18, 2020

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Kenny works on an abacus.

Authentic shave ice business was sizzling, and then the pandemic hit

David Sanderson / Ruth Bonneville photography 8 minute read Preview

Authentic shave ice business was sizzling, and then the pandemic hit

David Sanderson / Ruth Bonneville photography 8 minute read Saturday, Jul. 18, 2020

Frozen hands up if you remember the Frosty Sno-Man Sno-cone machine, created by the Hasbro toy company in the 1960s.

The cavity-inducing contraption worked like this: while depositing cubes of ice in Frosty’s hollowed-out, plastic noggin you would turn a crank that rendered the ice into slivers via a cheese grater-type device attached to the mechanism’s mid-section. Once there was enough shredded ice to fill a small cup, you’d then squirt a provided artificial sweetener — flavours included orange, grape, pineapple, blueberry and pink lemonade — over top of the ice, producing a chilled treat perfect for a hot summer day.

OK, maybe not so perfect.

A few years ago Tina Dixon, founder of Island Girl Shave Ice, a family-run enterprise that bills itself as the city’s first authentic, Hawaiian-style shave ice biz, was a registered vendor at ManyFest, an annual street festival held in downtown Winnipeg’s Memorial Park. (According to the ManyFest website, this year’s festival remains tentatively scheduled for Sept. 11 to 13.) During the course of the weekend Dixon and her husband Darryl heard it time and time again; people strolling past their booth, made to resemble a tropical oasis with its Tiki thatch umbrella, would give the set-up the once-over then mutter under their breath, “Oh never mind, that’s just a junky snow cone.”

Saturday, Jul. 18, 2020

Tina with her kids, Dylan and Hannah, who help serve up a variety of flavours at Island Girl Shave Ice. The stand can use up to 20 five-kilogram blocks of ice in just a few hours.

Drive-in convocation caps school memories

Gabrielle Piché / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 4 minute read Preview

Drive-in convocation caps school memories

Gabrielle Piché / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 4 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2020

LOUD cheers and car honks from balloon-laden vans greeted Nyume Mahmoud as she delivered her valedictorian speech in the St. Maurice School parking lot.

The school’s 44 grads watched her from physically distanced chairs placed on the concrete around the temporary stage. Behind the grads, rows of cars contained parents and siblings craning their necks. Families could leave their vehicle when their grad was on stage; until then, they had to listen through open windows.

“Complaining is easy, but we’re about taking action,” Mahmoud said in her speech.

And action St. Maurice School’s staff and students did take. Faculty of the kindergarten-to-Grade 12 Catholic school had been planning a socially distanced convocation for more than a month. They tweaked their plans as health guidelines changed, Principal Bryan Doiron said.

Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2020

A drive-In graduation is held at St. Maurice High School, at 1639 Pembina Hwy. on Wednesday.

Snowbirds flyover draws eyes to the sky across city

Ben Waldman, Photography by Mike Deal and Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Preview

Snowbirds flyover draws eyes to the sky across city

Ben Waldman, Photography by Mike Deal and Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 12, 2020

Five geese fluttered above the parking lot at Grace Hospital Tuesday morning, honking and honking, with dozens of people — nurses, doctors, patients, maintenance workers, random people off the street — standing in small clusters, craning their necks toward the sky.

The geese made routine landings and joined the crowd looking into the sky to watch birds much bigger than them that had not feathers, but jet engines.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were coming to say hello.

It was 9:30 a.m., and Elsie Cesmistruk, a health-care aide who started work about two hours earlier, exited through the Grace's front doors to get some fresh air. She was wearing a blue mask, dark scrubs and comfy-looking runners. Her morning break just happened to coincide with the impending fly-by of nine jets zipping at nearly 600 kilometres per hour through the Prairie sky.

Tuesday, May. 12, 2020

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Snowbirds fly over the city’s hospitals Tuesday morning while on a cross-country tour to boost morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.

200512 - Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Grand-opening delayed for cafe featuring nutritious doughnuts

David Sanderson / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Preview

Grand-opening delayed for cafe featuring nutritious doughnuts

David Sanderson / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Saturday, Mar. 28, 2020

This weekend, a new, nine-seat coffee shop specializing in plant-based, gluten-free baked goods was due to open in Osborne Village. Suffice it to say, that won’t be happening.

“The other day I was dropping off boxes of doughnuts to customers’ homes. Somebody commented that while I was preparing to open nothing could have prepared me for this. I was like, ‘Yeah, you can say that again,’” says Maureen Gelvis-Pflueger, owner of Monuts Café at 120 Scott St.

Two weeks prior to her scheduled March 28 grand opening — days before the COVID-19 virus turned the restaurant industry and, seemingly, everything else in Canada and the United States upside down — Gelvis-Pflueger, a married mother of three, invited Rev. Eric Giddens of St. Paul the Apostle Church over to bless her premises. After reading a passage from the Bible, he led her and her store manager through The Lord’s Prayer, then sprinkled holy water about the 690-square-foot space. Although she doesn’t refer to herself as “super-religious or anything like that,” she is counting on her faith to help get through the days and weeks ahead, until she can open the doors for real.

“I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school,” she says, when reached by phone. “I no longer go to church on a regular basis but I do pray on my own almost every day. That’s how I connect with Him. Am I disappointed we’re not opening (today)? Of course. But Winnipeggers are being so kind. They’re not just ordering a dozen doughnuts (for delivery), they’re ordering three, four, five (dozen)...

Saturday, Mar. 28, 2020

photos by RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Maureen Gelvis-Pflueger is the owner of Monuts Café, an Osborne village doughnut shop that specializes in plant-based, gluten-free doughnuts and baked goods.

City crafter binds journals and sketchbooks with her own unique selection of materials

David Sanderson / Ruth Bonneville photography 9 minute read Preview

City crafter binds journals and sketchbooks with her own unique selection of materials

David Sanderson / Ruth Bonneville photography 9 minute read Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

For years, Seattle resident Hannah Cole has travelled to Winnipeg on an annual basis to spend time with her godmother, Debra Frances Plett, founder of Debra Frances Book Arts, a home-based enterprise that produces one-of-a-kind sketchbooks and journals, the jackets of which are fashioned from materials one might not expect, including timber, copper, ceramic tile, even detritus such as rusted chains.

Following one such visit, Cole treated her grandfather Tore Vollan to pictures she’d taken of Plett’s handiwork, which, in the artist’s own words, “challenge people’s ideas of what a book is.” Vollan, an accomplished carpenter who moved to the Pacific Northwest from Norway in the 1950s, was particularly intrigued by a set of books boasting covers made with sections of driftwood Plett collected during a summer camping trip to Ontario.

“In his younger days, he built furniture, clocks, jewelry boxes, you name it, but now that he was in his 80s, he’d largely slowed down,” says Plett, seated in Café Postal, 202 Provencher Blvd., one of a handful of spots in the city that sells her eye-catching tomes on a consignment basis. “But after learning what I was up to, Hannah said it sort of gave him a new lease on life. Practically overnight he started shipping me all these gorgeous pieces of exotic wood he had stored in his workshop, which he would cut down to size for me to use as book covers.”

Vollan was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2018. When it was clear the 87-year-old didn’t have long to live, family members began showing up at his bedside armed with stacks of old photographs; shots of loved ones as well as pics of items he built during his long, distinguished career. Mostly he smiled and flipped from one photo to the next without comment, Plett learned later. A few days before he died, however, he paused to examine an image of a book cover done with wood he’d sent Plett’s way months earlier.

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020

Plett works on sewing double cords to bind a book on a sewing frame.

Faith groups struggle to maintain archival collections

John Longhurst / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Preview

Faith groups struggle to maintain archival collections

John Longhurst / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

When churches close, congregations are faced with many questions: What happens to the staff? What happens to the remaining members? What about the building?

One question near the bottom of the list may be: What happens to the records?

While it might not be top of mind for churches that are closing, it’s at the forefront for archivists in Winnipeg. With many churches considering shutting down in the next few years, they wonder: Where is all that stuff going to go? And who will pay to process it?

Religious archives can be a diverse respository of faith history. They can include everything from baptismal records to church council minutes; sermons; service bulletins; photos; recordings; letters, diaries and memoirs; church property records; sheet music and hymnbooks; artwork; and, in some cases, sacred items and religious regalia.

Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

Archdiocese of Winnipeg archivist Tyyne Petrowski says adequate storage space is an ongoing concern.

Wolseley eatery Ruby West has small flavourful menu

Alison Gillmor / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Preview

Wolseley eatery Ruby West has small flavourful menu

Alison Gillmor / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

I once went to a potluck where everyone was asked to bring comfort foods from their childhoods. Among the evening’s nostalgic offerings were a couple of iterations of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, mostly involving canned Campbell’s soup and sandwiches made with Kraft singles.

Two of the dishes at a new bijou Wolseley eatery retain that reassuring sense of comfort while upgrading the ingredients considerably. The tasty Adult Grilled Cheese, as the menu bills it, combines Swiss and Muenster cheeses in crisped pressed bread and finishes things off with tomato chutney and verdant chimichurri. The house-made Ruby Red tomato soup is very good — beautifully balanced between robust tomato and a subtle coconut-milk creaminess, with a hit of spicy heat and some perfect croutons.

It’s not just familiar foods that will make you feel at home at The Ruby West, though. This small venue feels like a real neighbourhood joint.

Service is slow at times but very friendly — Wolseley friendly.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

The modest but comfortable Ruby West features an eclectic menu of familiar foods, including tomato soup with an ‘Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwich,’ which combines Swiss and Muenster cheeses.

Busy RWB training school keeps students on their toes

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 10 minute read Preview

Busy RWB training school keeps students on their toes

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 10 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

It’s mid morning on a weekday, and the Level 5 students in the Ballet Academic Program in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division are in a pointe class. The seven young women here are working very hard to achieve a big dream: to become professional ballet dancers.

Training the next generation of dancers (and dance teachers) has been the goal of the RWB School since it was founded in 1970. The Ballet Academic Program is a full-time, seven-level training program designed for school-age students of all genders who want to seriously pursue a career in ballet. Upon successful completion of the ballet academic program, students can continue their training in the post-secondary Aspirant Program.

The RWB School serves as a feeder for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, so the company can employ dancers of its own training. Many Professional Division graduates spend their entire careers with the RWB; currently, grads make up 70 per cent of the company.

It’s a world-renowned program, attracting students from Winnipeg as well as all over North America and abroad. Admission is by audition only. The 18-city North American audition tour for the 2020-21 school year began in Kelowna, B.C., in October and will wrap up in Thunder Bay on Sunday. The Winnipeg auditions will be held on Friday, Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. (Prospective students can still audition; visit rwb.org for more info.)

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

Elisa Woo, left, and Taisi Tollasepp at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, where Grade 9 to 12 students complete the academic portion of their day.

De Luca's marks 50 years as Italian food destination

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Preview

De Luca's marks 50 years as Italian food destination

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

A few weeks ago, Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne touched down in Winnipeg, where he spent the afternoon signing copies of his just released memoir, My Life.

The 320-page tome, a runaway bestseller in his native Finland, is packed with anecdotes about Selanne’s storied National Hockey League career, including his time as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Still, if you reach the end and are hungry for even more tidbits about the Finnish Flash, you should pop by De Luca’s Specialty Foods store at 950 Portage Ave., a combination grocery mart/restaurant currently celebrating its 50th year in business, and ask for Tony. Or Vince. Or Frank.

“When Teemu played for the Jets, he was here three or four days a week for lunch, whenever the team was on a homestand,” says Vince De Luca, whose late grandfather Vincenzo De Luca, together with his four sons Frank (Vince’s dad), Tony, Peter and Pasquale opened their flagship location, which specializes in a multitude of Italian foodstuffs including more than 2,000 varieties of cheese, in September 1969.

“I remember one time Teemu had injured his knee and even though he was on crutches, he still managed to make his way up the stairs for a bite.”

Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

Tony DeLuca (left) and Pasquale DeLuca (right) with long-time employee John Colatruglio.

Affordable-food sales and food clubs fill a need for working poor

Katie May / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 15 minute read Preview

Affordable-food sales and food clubs fill a need for working poor

Katie May / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 15 minute read Friday, Sep. 20, 2019

With $350 to spend and no time to waste, Melissa McDonald wheels a heavy platform cart into cold storage, greeting staff at the grocery store on the way in.

Surrounded by towers of cardboard boxes full of apples, peaches and bell peppers, the North End Food Security Network co-ordinator is at the centre of a speed-round shopping spree to buy bulk produce on a budget.

“We’re going to do this fast,” Mike Hemminger tells her. He’s a produce manager at the Dufferin Avenue Sobeys Cash & Carry, where McDonald has been shopping about once a month for the past four years. It’s 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, and Hemminger is ready.

“I know what it costs. I know what I can sell, and it’s going to a good cause,” he says.

Friday, Sep. 20, 2019

City couple's print-making took root after neighbour's tree mistakenly removed

David Sanderson / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Preview

City couple's print-making took root after neighbour's tree mistakenly removed

David Sanderson / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 8 minute read Friday, Aug. 9, 2019

Remember the 2004 bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a non-fiction tome that, among other things, touched on syntactic ambiguity, a term used to describe how the meaning of a sentence or phrase can be completely misconstrued by a missing or improperly placed punctuation mark?

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, it borrows its title from an old joke about a panda that strolls into a café, orders lunch then draws a gun, opening fire on the other diners. When a shocked server asks the panda for an explanation, the plant-eating creature flips open a wildlife manual and points to a poorly structured entry that reads, “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

That makes us wonder: does Nice Art People, the tag chosen by married couple Pam and Darren Gerbrandt for their year-old, home-based business, mean their artwork is pleasing to the eye or that the two of them are agreeable sorts?

“Our name was actually suggested to us by a friend and I fell in love with it immediately,” says Pam who, along with Darren, specializes in tree ring art, a type of craft that involves slathering ink onto a readied slab of wood then laying a blank piece of paper over top, creating an image of a tree’s rings when the paper is lifted away.

Friday, Aug. 9, 2019

Pam and Darren with their first print made from an oak tree trunk.

Orchard at The Forks open to the public for pickin'

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 4 minute read Preview

Orchard at The Forks open to the public for pickin'

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 4 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019

In 2013, a clump of ornamental cherry trees near Inn at the Forks became infected with black knot and had to be removed.

The loss led to an opportunity. Rather than put down a patch of grass, The Forks, in partnership with Winnipeg CORE, planted 61 fruit trees — apple, apricot, cherry, pear and plum — and about 75 fruit-bearing shrubs, creating an urban, public orchard.

Now, six years on, that labour is really starting to bear fruit.

“It’s amazing how fast it’s grown,” says Dave Pancoe, manager of special projects at The Forks. “People will finally get to try some ripe apples.”

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019

The Forks has both an orchard and a garden, the fruits and veggies from which are free for members of the public to consume.

Winnipeg actor uses juicy role at home to recover from Stratford experience

Randall King | Photos by Ruth Bonneville 5 minute read Preview

Winnipeg actor uses juicy role at home to recover from Stratford experience

Randall King | Photos by Ruth Bonneville 5 minute read Friday, May. 17, 2019

At the age of 26, Winnipeg-born actor Reid McTavish is a little young for a comeback story.

But that’s the feeling he gets as he prepares to take on the role of Molina, a gay prisoner who finds himself sharing a cell with a Marxist revolutionary in a military-controlled Argentina in Dry Cold Productions’ Kiss of the Spider Woman. The show is a musical adaption of a 1976 novel by Manuel Puig, which was turned into a 1986 movie by Hector Babenco. The stage musical was written by Terence McNally with music by Kander & Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago).

The role of Molina, you may recall, won actor William Hurt a best actor Oscar and also won Brent Carver a Tony for the 1993 Broadway production.

But the role was its own award for McTavish, who returned to his Winnipeg hometown after spending three years at the Stratford Festival, which is typically more of an endgame proposition for Canadian theatre actors.

Friday, May. 17, 2019

Reid McTavish McTavish got a different perspective of the Stratford Festival after working as a "swing" for three consecutive years.

Survivors’ sanctuary

Brenda Suderman / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Preview

Survivors’ sanctuary

Brenda Suderman / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019

Midday in the middle of the city, Winnipegger Yssa Licsi stops by a downtown chapel to find a little solace.

“I can quiet myself down, and I can find that quietness where I can listen to God in the midst of a busy day,” she says of her regular visits to St. Francis Chapel at the Holy Names House of Peace

Sandwiched between the parking garage of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet to the north and a housing complex for refugee woman and children to the south, not much about the exterior of the House of Peace suggests the extent of activity inside, with thousands of people stopping by each week.

“The entrance is so subtle, so people walk by,” explains executive co-ordinator Sr. Lesley Sacouman of the plain façade of the red brick building at 211 Edmonton St., constructed in 1963 as a friary for Franciscan brothers.

Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019

‘I was absolutely convinced I needed to be here,’ says Sr. Lesley Sacouman, executive co-ordinator of Holy Names House of Peace.

Main Street Project expansion will improve, increase vital social-fabric restoration work

Ruth Bonneville 5 minute read Preview

Main Street Project expansion will improve, increase vital social-fabric restoration work

Ruth Bonneville 5 minute read Friday, Apr. 12, 2019

The outstretched mannequin’s hand lies on an upstairs table in the dimly lit hollow of the once-bustling Mitchell Fabrics store. Its lifelike presence startles me.

The delicate hand with the painted nails speaks of better days, when the mannequin stood proudly on display in a prominent corner of the Main Street institution modelling the latest fashions. But over time it became displaced; only the arm and hand remain now.

Resting on the table, the mannequin’s fingers reach towards the warmth of the light streaming in through the storefront windows. In the stillness, it seems to gesture, “I’m ready for change.”

Fabrics hold a special weight in our lives.

Friday, Apr. 12, 2019

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
The view from the mezzanine level through the railing.

For Public General Store, sometimes the best plan is no plan

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 9 minute read Preview

For Public General Store, sometimes the best plan is no plan

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 9 minute read Sunday, Mar. 24, 2019

Three years ago this month, longtime pals Olena Kozel and Erin Ahl were sharing a bottle of red when their conversation turned to a subject that had been on both their minds for some time: after years of working for other people, how satisfying would it feel to operate a business of their own?

For fun, they got out their phones and began looking up commercial real estate listings, checking to see if there were any vacancies in the fast-developing West Broadway-Sherbrook Street area, their mutual neck of the woods.

As it turned out, an antique store located at 156 Sherbrook St., about a 10-minute walk from their respective homes, had just hit the market. Interested parties were invited to check out the roughly 800-square-foot space, which was due to come available in a matter of weeks.

“We went down on our own without an agent, just our laptops to take a few notes on. Even though we couldn’t really see what the walls and floors looked like because the store was so crammed with stuff, we were both immediately like, ‘We love it, we’ll take it,’” Ahl says, her eyes lighting up.

Sunday, Mar. 24, 2019

Olena Kozel (left) and Erin Ahl offer a little bit of everything at Public General Store, including their own product lines. ‘I often refer to Erin as a mad scientist, because she’s always coming up with these fantastic things,’ Kozel says.

Dreams come true as Special O athletes meet Disney stars

Ashley Prest / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Preview

Dreams come true as Special O athletes meet Disney stars

Ashley Prest / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 3 minute read Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019

Special Olympics Manitoba athlete Ben Purvis had a feeling he was going to meet someone special at a skate date with members of the Disney On Ice cast today at the Bell MTS Iceplex.

"Maybe Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse, but my dad hopes we get to see Olaf the snowman," said Purvis, 13, as he waited, clad in helmet and skates, to take the ice on the Assiniboia rink.

He was right the first time as Mickey and Minnie, the stars of the Disney On Ice show who were to perform tonight in Winnipeg, skated out to join Purvis and four other Special Olympics Manitoba athletes for some hugs, photos and skating.

The Special Olympics Manitoba athletes were Disney's special guests at the encounter which featured six Disney On Ice cast members joining the Special O athletes to showcase skating moves, practice some skating drills and just have some fun.

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019

Special Olympics athletes laced up their skates and had the unique opportunity to show off their skating moves, practice some drills and learn from professional performers with Disney On Ice, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Forty years later, Homer's restaurant, the birthplace of chicken souvlaki, is a Winnipeg institution

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 9 minute read Preview

Forty years later, Homer's restaurant, the birthplace of chicken souvlaki, is a Winnipeg institution

David Sanderson / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 9 minute read Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Although a restaurant in Chatham, Ont. begs to differ, Charlie Clements, the long-time face of Tubby’s Pizza, formerly located on the corner of Stafford Street and Grosvenor Avenue (now the Grove Pub & Restaurant), swore up and down during an interview years ago that his establishment was the first on the planet to serve Hawaiian pizza.

Not to be outdone, Shirley Eng, owner of Mitzi’s Chicken Finger Restaurant at 250 St. Mary Ave. once told us how, in the 1980s, her husband Peter created honey dill sauce by mistake — a honey boo-boo, we called it — while attempting to make another dip entirely.

Surprised? Well, here’s the story behind another famous foodstuff that, depending who you choose to believe, was purportedly invented right here in Winnipeg.

Forty years ago this fall, George Katsabanis, together with his brother Sam, sister Anna and her husband George Panopoulos, opened Homer’s Restaurant, a 100-seat dining spot at 520 Ellice Ave. that, to this day, offers traditional Greek favourites such as taramasalata, spanokopita and avgolemono soup.

Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Homer’s owners George Katsabanis and wife Jutta recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary and 40 years in business.

A bridge to community

Brenda Suderman / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Preview

A bridge to community

Brenda Suderman / Photos by Ruth Bonneville 6 minute read Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019

Recently widowed and new to Winnipeg, Carolyn Douglas had never played a hand of bridge until a friend suggested she take up the card game to meet people.

A decade later, she has four regular playing partners, a part-time job, and dozens of new friends, all because of bridge.

“For me it is probably the socializing,” the former Thunder Bay resident says about the main benefit of playing bridge four times a week.

“If I didn’t play bridge, I think I would be more isolated and home alone more.”

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019

Bridge players from Winnipeg and beyond bid, trick and face the dummy six days a week at Soul Sanctuary Community Centre.

Up to the job

Kelsey James / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Preview

Up to the job

Kelsey James / Photography by Ruth Bonneville 7 minute read Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018

One of Stacey Friesen’s favourite parts of her job is greeting customers, menus in hand and a smile on her face.

“It makes me happy all the time,” Friesen says. “They totally like me.”

The 26-year-old volunteers at L’Arche Tova Café in Transcona. The restaurant has been employing people with developmental disabilities, such as Friesen, since opening its doors in 2012.

The idea came to one of the owners after visiting a similar café in Ireland. L’Arche International — a movement dedicated to providing support for people with disabilities — operates in 38 countries and 152 communities, according to its website.

Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018

Stacey Friesen picks up a food order from the kitchen.

A look inside FortWhyte Alive's bison safari

Ruth Bonneville 1 minute read Preview

A look inside FortWhyte Alive's bison safari

Ruth Bonneville 1 minute read Friday, Aug. 24, 2018

From the safety of a tour bus, visitors to FortWhyte Alive can spend a summer afternoon getting up close to the centre’s bison and learning about how North America’s largest land mammal shaped Canada’s history.

FortWhyte offers the bison safari four times a week until the end of August, then once a week in September. |

Friday, Aug. 24, 2018

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Kids peer out the windows at a large herd of bison while on a bison safari at Fort Whyte Centre.