Kirby Gilman

Kirby Gilman

Wildwood community correspondent

Kirby Gilman is a community correspondent for Wildwood. Email her at kirby.gilman@shaw.ca

Recent articles of Kirby Gilman

Northern lights wowed in early September

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Northern lights wowed in early September

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

We often travel to see new and unusual sights, but sometimes the best experiences of nature occur closer to home. As a northerner who grew up in Thunder Bay and has lived for many years in Winnipeg, I felt it my duty to have seen the northern lights. At 55, I had never spotted them.

I travelled to Iceland this past December to work on this gap in my experience but came home disappointed in the northern lights department (though thrilled with other Icelandic sights). Since then, armed with several apps to assist in spotting the lights, I have ventured out of the city on promising nights — and even trudged through the snow to a beach one frigid winter evening.

At long last, I saw the northern lights in early September when I had basically given up seeing them. While camping behind a country home, my niece spotted some movement. I stayed up for a couple of hours in a mesh tent, repeatedly checking out the sky without much hope. The lights finally made their appearance at 1:30 a.m.

The viewing exceeded my expectations, as white lights danced across most of the sky for an hour (photos sometimes enhance the colour of the lights). The movement charmed me, and viewing the phenomenon with my groggy family and a noisy rooster named Emerson added to the experience.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Correspondent Kirby Gilman finally spotted the northern lights on Sept. 3 in Dorion, Ont.

Winnipeggers face increased water woes

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Winnipeggers face increased water woes

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

After a wet, cold spring, many Winnipeggers are dealing with home foundation and water issues. So how does water get into basements, and what can we do to avoid problems with water in the future?

To answer such questions, Wildwood Community Centre hosted an information evening on home foundation issues presented by Cory Mospanchuk, whose experience in construction, insurance, appraisal, and real estate proved insightful.

Mospanchuk says when it comes to insurance, there are three types of coverage: overland water (above grade), groundwater (below grade), and sewer backup. It’s important to know and understand what type you have. This spring, groundwater became a huge issue due to the amount of snow, rain and frozen ground.

Most houses have weeping tile at the foundation’s footing to direct excess water away. Weeping tiles are a system of porous pipes that collect excess groundwater, redirecting it away from the foundation (either to the interior catch basin or sump pump).

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

The age of houses in Wildwood makes them prone to water issues, such as deteriorating weeping tiles, cracked foundation or sewer backup.

Revisiting the butter or margarine debate

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Revisiting the butter or margarine debate

Kirby Gilman 2 minute read Wednesday, May. 11, 2022

I remember the butter versus margarine debate while growing up in the ’70s. Butter won out in my family, and I’ve generally stuck to butter since then. I recently got a high cholesterol reading, so a dietitian I’m seeing, Raschelle Sabourin, has suggested margarine.

To manage high cholesterol and heart health, the types of fats you eat become important. Sabourin explains margarine often contains unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), which are plant-based. In contrast, butter has a higher amount of saturated, or animal, fats. According to “Which spread is better for my heart — butter or margarine?” on the Mayo Clinic website (www.mayoclinic.org), the fats found in margarine reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.

I’ve always thought butter was more natural and thus the better choice but Sabourin says some types of margarine also contain few ingredients, in a comparable way to butter. All brands of margarine are not created equally, she says, so it’s helpful to read the labels. She recommends soft, non-hydrogenated margarine. The hydrogenation process solidifies margarine, so it’s more like butter, but the processing also adds unhealthy trans fat.

Sabourin believes that balance in eating is important. For instance, if someone has a food or recipe where they prefer the taste of butter, they may want to incorporate butter over margarine in moderation. A lot also comes down to preference and how much margarine/butter they are consuming. It’s important to enjoy food, and deciding whether to use butter or margarine is just one part of your diet.

Wednesday, May. 11, 2022

So what will it be for you? Butter or margarine?

Enjoying Inuit art at Quamajuq

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Enjoying Inuit art at Quamajuq

Kirby Gilman 2 minute read Friday, Mar. 25, 2022

Qaumajuq, Winnipeg’s Inuit art centre, opened a year ago this month and I recently visited for the first time.

Anyone driving past the new gallery is struck by its architecture. Located beside the Winnipeg Art Gallery , Qaumajuq’s undulating white-granite and glass facade contrasts with, yet complements, the angular and solid WAG.

Qaumajuq sits separately from WAG yet is joined in places, forming one main centre for Winnipeg art. Inside, you walk past floor-to-ceiling windows and see the outer walls of both Qaumajuq and WAG. Such distinct yet connected architecture seems fitting, as Indigenous peoples and Canada strive for reconciliation.

In the gallery foyer, a two-storey, glass visible vault full of Inuit sculpture greets you and allows the gallery to display much of its permanent collection. You can support the gallery by adopting a shelf in this curved display case.

Friday, Mar. 25, 2022

Qaumajug, the new Inuit art gallery in downtown Winnipeg, is a bright light in the world art scene.

Wildewood Golf Course does double duty

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Wildewood Golf Course does double duty

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Although the Wildewood Golf course lies under a cover of snow, its managers generously extend the use of the course’s natural setting throughout the winter by accommodating cross-country skiers and walkers.

For decades, skiers have taken to the trails on the course but in the past 25 years an organized ski program has emerged with the assistance of neighbourhood volunteers. Bob Stewart, then manager of Wildwood Community Association, instigated groomed trails for skiing, and even incurred the costs initially. Taking the reins from Stewart, avid skier Harvey Peltz has co-ordinated the ski program for a quarter-century.

The Cross Country Ski Association of Manitoba grooms the classic and skate ski trails that run up and down the fairways, along with some walking trails in more wooded areas of the course. Peltz and other volunteers plan out the trails, including the fun, winding ski hills and the tracks that extend past the golf course along the river to St. John’s-Ravenscourt School.

Kathy Bentley, general manager of the golf course, enjoys seeing skiers and hikers take to the trails.

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Cross-country skiing is a popular winter activity at Wildewood Golf.

Wildwood’s Witchy Path an oasis worth saving

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Wildwood’s Witchy Path an oasis worth saving

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

A small protected green space in Wildwood gives visitors a true forest feeling within city limits. Manchester Park, often called the Witchy Path/Woods, allows native species the space to thrive while giving neighbourhood residents a place to rejuvenate.

The green space lies between Manchester Boulevard North and South, with a pathway through the woods from Wildwood Street to the Oakenwald School grounds.

How did this little forest escape the chopping block and survive in a time of urban sprawl?

For some background knowledge, I spoke with Hugh Penwarden, a former professional gardener who lives across from the park.

Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Supplied image
Wildwood’s Manchester Park shown in an early street plan, as depicted in the book, Wildwood Through the Years.

A healthy return to normalcy

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A healthy return to normalcy

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

As neighbourhoods return to some of their normal rhythms, you may have noticed run and bike races making their way around city streets. The ‘parkrun ‘in the Churchill Parkway was back for the first time since the pandemic on Oct. 9, giving those involved a sense of normalcy.

This free, five-kilometre run/walk occurs weekly on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and attracts people of all ages and abilities. Those looking for motivation to get some exercise, along with more dedicated runners, will find parkruns of value.

Participants need only register once online at parkrun.ca and then they can either print out a barcode or save it to their smartphones. The barcode enables one’s time to be recorded and tracked. Organizers have accurately measured the route for those looking to improve upon previous efforts.

The first parkrun was held in the U.K. in 2004, and these runs now occur across the globe. The Churchill Parkway runs began in 2019, and between 20 to 60 participants attended weekly before a 16-month pandemic hiatus. All parkruns emphasize a “positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit, and no one finishes last.”

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Photo by Kirby Gilman
The ‘parkrun’ in Churchill Drive Parkway held its first post-pandemic event on Sat., Oct. 9.

Appreciating the new season

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Appreciating the new season

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Not everyone wants to hear it, but fall is here. For those noticing the cooler temperatures and fewer daylight hours, let’s try to look at some of the so-called bounties of fall.

September always feels like a second new year to me, a time for fresh starts. Of course, the kids are back in school, and adults often start thinking of new hobbies or classes to take.

I’ve noticed events folks have used to get out and enjoy the crisp fall air. The Manitoba Marathon ran Sept. 5, pushed back from its usual June date, owing to the pandemic. Seeing runners passing through neighbourhood streets always gives a lift.

Bikers in Cycle on Life also zoomed past my house this September. Participants pedalled in support of the Riverview Health Centre Foundation and recreational programs that occur on each unit. Fall is one of the best times to hike. No bugs, fall colours, often dry.

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Photo by Kirby Gilman
Picking apples is one of the many pleasures of fall.

Tennis is on the upswing at local club

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Tennis is on the upswing at local club

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Wildwood is lucky to have one of the best tennis facilities in Winnipeg in its backyard.

The Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club offers 11 courts nestled between the Red River and the Wildwood Golf club, night lighting, and various tennis programs and social fun.

Roland Burrell, who started as the new tennis pro this summer, shares how the pandemic affected WLTC, highlights of his job, and the growing tennis scene.

During the pandemic, WLTC made public safety measures paramount. Court-spacing regulations allowed the club to remain open most of the time, providing a safe outlet for isolation-weary members.

Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Supplied photo
Membership at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club has grown 48 per cent.

Picking and planting trees to beat the heat

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Picking and planting trees to beat the heat

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 26, 2021

Do you have an open spot for a new tree in your yard? Maybe you could use some added shade.

Now’s the time for planting if you want to participate in the City of Winnipeg’s Million Tree Challenge.

Some types of trees grow naturally in the Winnipeg area, and planting tips may give your new tree a better chance to thrive.

Since moving into my house in Wildwood, I’ve had some big tree stumps removed. I’ve planted a few replacement trees, but I’ll have to make do with shade umbrellas until they grow. Oh well, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now,” says the Chinese proverb.

Monday, Jul. 26, 2021

Supplied photo by Dana Mohr
A newly planted tree in Wildwood adds to tally for Winnipeg’s Million Tree Challenge

Naturalized city spaces and yards

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Naturalized city spaces and yards

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 6, 2021

Within Winnipeg, you have probably noticed “wilder” yards without grass and perhaps the presence of natural-looking vegetation around city retention ponds. Citizens and city planners have taken up the call to naturalize private and city property.

The Wildwood community is at the forefront of the movement with various strategies to maintain and bring back habitat indigenous to the area.

Many positives arise from a more naturalized urban landscape, says the resource “Naturalization andNo-Mow Zones” (Winnipeg Trails Association/ Government of Manitoba). For example, unmowed grass along riverbanks filters run-off pollutants, while deeper roots prevent erosion.

Animal and plant life benefit from habitats such as healthy wetlands and nesting areas. These habitats filter air pollution and provide weed and pest control.

Tuesday, Jul. 6, 2021

Supplied photo by Dana Mohr
The Wildwood community employs various strategies to maintain and bring back habitat indigenous to the area.

Winnipeg wildlife on the increase

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Winnipeg wildlife on the increase

Kirby Gilman 3 minute read Monday, May. 31, 2021

Like many others during the pandemic, I’ve explored Winnipeg’s parks by foot, kayak and bike and have travelled outside the city to seek out nature and peace.

Ironically, I spot more wildlife in the city than outside of Winnipeg. This year, in some city parks, I’ve seen deer more often than not, sometimes in fairly large groups. Other wildlife occasionally spotted in city neighbourhoods and parks include raccoons, foxes, beaver, owls and eagles. On excursions to provincial parks and other wild areas outside the city, I enjoy rarer, if a bit more varied, animal sightings.

Why the abundance of animals enjoying city life?

The well-researched “Urban Wildlife of Winnipeg: Causes, Effects, and Management” (from urbanwinnipegwildlife.weebly.com) states that urban areas provide animals with the four necessities to survive — year-round food, water, shelter, and space. The article explains that Winnipeg’s four main rivers, along with ponds and creeks, offer corridors where animals can move around safely and avoid busy roads.

Monday, May. 31, 2021

Photo by Kirby Gilman
Out wild neighbours have been much more noticeable this spring.