We’re gaining quite the reputation
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/08/2021 (658 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For the second time in five years, Winnipeg has made a widely circulated and highly regarded publication’s short list for top international destinations. In 2016, it was National Geographic’s 50 “Best Trips on Earth.” This year it is Time Magazine’s overview of “The World’s 100 Greatest Places.”
We even made it onto the cover.
Putting aside the fact that “100 greatest places” is rather vague (greatest places for what, exactly?), the reaction to the designation was predictable: there were those who defended Winnipeg’s inclusion on the prestigious listing, and those who exhibited our collective insecurity about Winnipeg by measuring it against other destinations.
But what no one seems to have mentioned is that the Time cover is somewhat misleading.
For those who haven’t seen it, it features a stylized map of the world with a cartoonish depiction of something to represent roughly 30 of the “places” on the list. Winnipeg is placed far north of where it is actually situated, which is somewhat curious when you consider our frigid winters are a reason we assume people stay away.
Winnipeg is placed so far north, in fact, that anyone basing their visit on this depiction might get the impression they will see wild polar bears roaming around.
But what the artist chose to represent Winnipeg is somewhat telling: Qaumajuq, the recently opened Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, about which the article inside is largely based.
The short piece weighs heavily towards cultural institutions, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the subheading reads “Reveling in art.” The body of the article also states that the opening of the new art centre “highlights the creative side of Winnipeg.”
Of course, those who do decide to visit will have the opportunity to see that the city does have a lot to offer. For those coming to “revel in art,” they would be remiss not to visit South Osborne, a neighbourhood with a high concentration of working artists.
But what the Time article seems to be suggesting is that Winnipeg is a place where people can uniquely experience the cultures of “settlers” in peaceful coexistence with Indigenous cultures, particularly those of northern peoples.
Canada has always, to some degree, relied on this good reputation, but only now, exactly 150 years after Treaty 1 was signed, does it feels like we might finally be at the precipice of profound change.
What remains to be seen is whether we can live up to that reputation — not only as a city, but as a country.
South Osborne community correspondent
Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.