Vimy Ridge – Family Roots

Recently the City of Winnipeg undertook the task of restoring the war memorial at Vimy Ridge Park. I applaud the Mayor, all of the city councillors, and the city for doing this. It is important to remember the sacrifices that our armed forces have made in the past and what they symbolize to us in present day. It is crucial that future generations understand the sacrifices that these brave individuals made and why.

The war memorial represents a snapshot of my family history. It reminds me of my grandfather, Michael, who served in the First Canadian Army Division during WWII in the unit known as the Little Black Devils. He served as part of the mechanic corps, who were in charge of collecting the dead. Although I was fairly young when Grandfather passed away, I have wonderful memories of his love of instruments, and of music filling the house with laughter and joy. He was a dedicated family man and mechanic in White Rose. Only 59 when he left us, my grandfather, like all of our beloved fallen veterans, remains alive in our hearts and hopes for the future.

My grandmother, Germaine, was also quite active in the wartime effort. She was part of many organizations including the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAFS). She organized many of the international reunions as well as being involved in the association dedicated to remembering the role that women played in the first and second world wars. Gerry had training in photography and eventually took her skills to the field after the war. She was a brave and progressive woman being active in the Red River Co-op board of directors during a time when it was not common to find women on such boards.

When I am elected city councillor I promise to support efforts to honour and recognize the sacrifices that our citizens have made to protect our country. Lest we forget.

Folklorama Youth Week

I visited the India and First Nations Pavilions, both held at the RBC Convention Centre, as well as the Korean Pavilion at the Masonic Temple, during the second week of Folklorama. Both of these great community buildings, one downtown and one at confusion corner, are inside the ward of Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry. I was delighted to see the number of youth present at all three pavilions.


Michael with Buffy, organizer for the First Nations Pavilion

At each and every Folklorama pavilion I attended, I must say that the energy from the performers, audience and volunteers was simply inspiring. It was interesting to see the ways that different cultures live, express themselves, and adapt to the changes in their communities and countries. I was extremely impressed with all of the shows. You could see the enthusiasm and pride in all of the performers’ eyes. Folklorama, with its many tireless volunteers, organizers and performers, is one of the great festivals that makes me proud to call Winnipeg home. To everyone involved with the pavilions, as they say in Korea, Gamsahamnida (Thank you).