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More exploring of Winnipeg's winter wonderland

Good morning, folks.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. I'm sure you Jets fans enjoyed it!

Oh, and all you curling lovers, as well.

So, this might not be news to you, but it was new to me.

Did you know there's this long and winding trail on the Red and Assiniboine rivers?

Like, in the middle — that you can go on? In the winter, of course.

I think I may have just heard a collective, "Um, yeah, we knew that Steve."

OK, OK — for those of you who have been following this tale, you know I'm just starting to explore Winnipeg in the winter.

According to this story by Darren Bernhardt, we have a long history of recreation on Winnipeg rivers — dating back to 1872. 

And I'm just hearing about this now? 

All right, I admit I might have heard about this once or twice before — but generally, it seems all I ever hear about Winnipeg river paths is that they are closed.

That is not the case this year — the Centennial River Trail is definitely open. I can attest to it personally after exploring a fair bit of it on Sunday. Some of you might have done the same — there sure were a lot of us out enjoying a spring-like day in February.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

My follow-up research on Monday revealed that the river trails draw tens of thousands of you folks annually — thanks for the invite — and that the Zamboni-cleared path has welcomed skaters since 1990. Conditions didn't allow the trail to open at all last winter, but perhaps the recent polar vortex served some purpose, and this year the trails have now reached their maximum lengths for the year — going as far as the Hugo Docks on the Assiniboine and to Churchill Drive on the Red.

An unofficial trail on the Assiniboia actually goes a fair bit further west. Our Sunday biking on the river took us from Assiniboine Park, to the Forks, and then down the Red to the Redboine Boat Club on Churchill Drive. Included in the 17-km ride was a bank-climbing portage just past the Route 90 overpass that had us cut through Omand's Creek Park and then back down to the Assiniboine.

While biking along, you get a unique perspective of the sights of the city. You see the buildings, the bridges, the tree lines.

Here's a confession: I've lived here the better part of my 60 years and Sunday was the first time I'd been on the Red or Assiniboine in the winter. 

Who knew?

There were folks skating, playing hockey, cross-country skiing, walking their dogs — saw the most gorgeous Irish Terrier and had a great chat with her owners. 

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The title sponsor of the trail this year is the Winnipeg Foundation, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its work in our community — you can learn all about that history from the signage along the route.

Back in 2018, 398 of you braved the icy temperatures to set the Guinness World Record for the world's longest chain of ice skaters.

It's unofficial, but I think we also set a record on Sunday — most people determined to get outside and escape a COVID lockdown.

Nice to see you out there. Better late than never, right?

As always folks, you can reach me by replying to this mailing or by sending me an email here.


Our Coverage

Nervous Nellies: The Jets are off to their third-best start to a season since re-locating from Atlanta a decade ago and the local NHL club flew home Monday after a successful 3-1-0 road swing. Their 11-6-1 record is second-best in the Canadian division and eighth-overall in the league in terms of win percentage. In light of all that, Mike McIntyre asks in today's column why does it still feel like the angst and handwringing surrounding the Jets remains sky-high?;

• Back behind the wheel: After a serious accident in July, Amber Balcaen told her family that her car racing days were over. But as the Winnipegger began to heal, she began to change her tune and the 28-year-old tells Taylor Allen she isn't letting the scary experience slow her down. It was announced last week that she will be competing in 40 races this season in a new NASCAR development program in California called the BMR Drivers Academy;

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Amber Balcaen

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Amber Balcaen

Day 4: Action continued on Monday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary and Mike Sawatzky has a full report on how Manitoba's teams made out;

• Double-duty: Mike also has a story on how Kate Cameron found a way to handle her day-to-day work duties as a paralegal and the high-stakes intensity of competing at the Scotties — the Manitoba-based third for Alberta's team in Calgary decided to do both.

 

What we're reading

One of you sent me a note recently, thanking me for sometimes including links to stories I have read on other sites and asking me to provide more. Frankly our stories are much better. Just kidding (kinda) — other outlets do great work too and here's a few examples today:

In their own words: Sumiko Wilson has a story for Sportsnet on how sports weaponize racist beauty standards against Black women;

• Paul Maurice 20 Questions: The Athletic's Sean Fitzgerald has a probing Q & A with Jets coach, on Whalers, Stanley Cup hopes and the movie Cool Hand Luke;

So, yesterday: There was a moment when the NHL’s outdoor game was a good idea. That moment has passed, Globe and Mail's Cathal Kelly says in his latest column;

• The Year of Fernando Tatis Jr.: ESPN's Jeff Passan writes why San Diego Padres' $340-million face is exactly what MLB needs right now.

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