Friday, 26 August 2016

Prairie Garden: 8000 Years of Growth

Way back when – we're talking 8000 years! – the Tall Grass Prairie started growing. It grew and grew, and eventually, it covered an area that was one and a half times the size of Manitoba, stretching all the way from Winnipeg to Texas. It was big, and it was beautiful!

But, when settlers arrived less than 200 years ago, they flattened the Tall Grass Prairie to make room for crops. Now, less than 1% of that natural grassland is still around. 

We think that the Tall Grass Prairie is too beautiful to let disappear, so we created a Tall Grass Prairie right in the heart of Winnipeg's downtown – we call it the Prairie Garden.

It's filled with 150 native species of plants that grew wild here long before we ever came to The Forks for an evening walk or brought the family down for a weekend visit.

The Canada Goldenrod is one of our favourites. It is a stunning yellow form of aster, and right now, they're at their peak blooms. They really remind us of sunny days on the prairies.

The Cree name for this beauty is chachamos kakew which means "to make one sneeze." We haven't tested this theory, but we dare you, stop and smell the Canada Goldenrod!

The honey bees that live in the hives that the amazing BeeProject Apiaries put on our caboose love the Narrow Leaved Sunflower. The bees need flowers like this one, so they can buzz from bloom to bloom, pollinating each one. And then, they make honey with it, and oh my, is it delicious!

If you've been to Winnipeg Folk Festival, you've probably seen a show or two at the lively Big Bluestem stage. You guessed it – everyone's favourite party stage is named after this grass that dominates the Tall Grass Prairie. It was also the hundreds of buffalo's favourite snack!

The Tall Grass Prairie was a complete ecosystem that included animals like buffalo, elk, deer, and little bunnies like this one!

This weekend, come take a stroll through the Prairie Garden and experience the tranquility of thousands of years ago, when the greenery and critters ruled the land we love so much today.

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Getting Cool for School: Back-to-School Shopping at The Forks

It's almost that time again – back to school! The end of August means you're probably double and triple checking your schedule, making sure your son or daughter's backpack is in good shape, or packing a cart full of notebooks, pencils, and crayons for the year ahead.

When you're checking off items on your school supply list, stop by The Forks Market to buy extra special school supplies and #shoplocal!

We put together your full back-to-school shopping list, so all you have to do is check them off as you wander around The Forks:


Whether you're packing a meal for the kids or making one for yourself, it's important to eat well during school year.

PackIt Freezable lunch bags from Generation Green
By packing a lunch every day, you are saving money by limiting your amount of fast food and restaurants trips. You are also helping save the environment by reducing the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills.

In-house roasted coffee from Espresso Junction
Come get your study-fuel! Did you know that you can buy high-quality coffee that's roasted right on The Forks site? Espresso Junction carries a large selection of coffee that rotates flavours about every two weeks.


Sometimes the most exciting part of school supply shopping is buying your outfit for school pictures or finding the perfect vest for a little confidence boost. 

Pebble & Dime Camel Vest from Forks Trading Company
A cozy vest is the perfect addition to a comfy dress or pair of jeans – perfect for the mornings when you just want to toss something on and head to school. 

Bamboo dress from Hempyrean
Once you put this dress on, you won't want to take it off. The bamboo is SO soft! It will be perfect for looking good and feeling good in a hurry, and it will look really cute under your new vest!

You'll need something cool to carry around all your books and notes in. This tote bag is the perfect size for a notebook, a few books, and a 13-inch laptop.

New kicks from Sk8 Skates
If you have teens, you know they can be notoriously hard to shop for. Sk8 Skate's store is so well curated that you will have a hard time finding something that your son or daughter doesn't like!


Big box-stores often carry the same products, making it hard to stand out in the crowd. Find school supplies that match your new get-up and reduce waste!

Onyx + Green school supplies from Generation Green
The Onyx + Green notebook is made without any paper. Yeah, a notebook without paper, cool right? The pages are made out of stone and the cover is cork. They also make a huge range of eco-friendly school supplies made from bamboo and other earth-friendly materials.

These notebooks will either have you nostalgic for your favorite childhood book. Or, if you're buying for the kids, they'll love taking notes and drawing in a notebook up-cycled from their favorite childrens' books.

Glasses from Eye GO Mobile Optical
Make sure you or your kids can see the white board with glasses to match the rest of your back-to-school style.


Stress can make it even harder to study, so make sure you or your kids have everything they need for a little relaxation time. Everyone deserves a moment to kick up their feet!

Boreal Wildcraft "The Wall" tea mugs from Forks Trading Company
With this mug, all you need is water and tea. After a night cramming for exams or finishing a project, sit back and enjoy a cup of tea – you deserve it!

Yoga mat from Generation Green
Yoga is a great escape from the classroom whether you're a kid or an adult. Studies show that physical activity reduced stress and improves concentration – sounds like exactly what you need during school, right?

Dream catcher from Teekca's Aboriginal Boutique
We know that sometimes school can feel like the stuff of nightmares. Hang a dream catcher over your bed to protect yourself from the real nightmares and to make sure you get your well-needed rest.


It's easy to let studying get in the way of our skin-care routine, so make sure you have everything you or your kids need to stay in tip-top shape all year. 

Mama Pacha skin care from Generation Green
These skin care products are all natural and eco-friendly. You can even refill some of the containers right at Generation Green. There is a HUGE range of products for you to choose from, so you're keeping fresh for the school year.

Good luck this year!

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Friday, 12 August 2016

Oodena Celebration Circle: Observing the Stars

While walking around The Forks, you may have walked into the centre of the Oodena Celebration Circle, found a nice piece of grass to relax on and then asked yourself "What are those cool looking arms pointing up to the sky?"  

Oodena Celebration Circle is actually a naked eye observatory, inspired by the myths and sacred places of the many peoples drawn to The Forks. The name is two names put together- Oodena is Ojibwe for “heart of the community,” and Celebration Circle reflects that space is a gathering place for everyone.

During certain times of the year, when you stand at the base of the circle and look up the arms the holes align with gorgeous constellations.

1. Fisher - North Armature

Significance: In Anishinabe legend, The Big Dipper represents "Fisher," who was killed while stealing warm weather from the sky people. Though he was only able to warm half the year, Fisher's heroism was rewarded with an honoured place in the sky, marking the seasons as he circles the North Star.

2. Chi'nu - Northeast Armature 

Visible: Summer Solstice Sunrise - Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 5:20 a.m.

Significance: In Chinese legend, the weaving princess and the King's herdsman's love for each other caused them to forget their work, forcing the King to banish them to opposite sides of the Milky Way. One day each year, they are reunited when all magpies of the world form a bridge across this celestial river.

This arm also supports an aeolian harp, an ancient instrument played by the wind.

3. Vishnu - East Armature

Visible: Equinox Sunrise - Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 7:16 a.m.

Significance: In Hindu legend, Vishnu was allowed by the demon-king Bali to take as much land as he could claim in three steps. Transforming into a giant, Vishnu's first two steps claimed heaven and earth. His third step landed on the back of Bali, banishing him from the underworld.

4. Orion - Southeast Armature

Visible: Winter Solstice Sunrise - Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at 8:24 a.m.

Significance: Greek mythology tells a story of how Orion was killed by a giant scorpion. The gods then raised Orion and the Scorpion to the skies. As the scorpion constellation rises, Orion sets.

5. Aztec Sunstone (Antares in Scorpius) - South Armature

Significance: In Aztec culture in Mexico, it was believed that without certain rituals, the sun wouldn't rise. This famous symbol depicts the sun god Tonatiuh at its centre and is a picture of the order of the cosmos, Aztec concepts of time, space, and politics.

6. Isis - Southwest Armature

Visible: Winter Solstice Sunset - Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.

Significance: In Egyptian legend, the constellation Virgo represents Isis, the greatest of their gods and goddesses. While fleeing the dreadful Typhon, Isis dropped a sheaf of wheat, scattering the grains across the heavens, creating the Milky Way.

7. Lion and Sickle - West Armature

Visible: Equinox Sunset - Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 7:25 p.m.

Significance: The brightest stars in the constellation "Leo" form a sickle. The Mesopotamians called this "Gis-mes" or "Curved Weapon" and when the sun passed through the sickle, it meant it was time for the summer solstice harvest.

8. Oya - Northwest Armature

The view of the stars is blocked by Johnston Terminal, so this armature features wind sculptures that respond to the weather and show the dance of Oya.

Significance: Oya is a powerful West African spirit of the wind. Her spiral dance represents the energy of the four elements. Oya brings rapid change and helps in inner and outer transformation.

The design of Oodena Celebration Circle was visioned and created by Garry Hilderman, Founding Partner of HTFC Planning and Design, who recently passed in January 2016. 

Oodena Celebration Circle received a CSLA National Honour Award in 1995, an international Excellence on the Waterfront Honour Award in 1999, and a CSLA National Merit Award for the armature design in 2007. It has been featured in numerous publications locally and internationally, including a feature article in Landscape Architecture Magazine in 2011.

Information about Oodena Celebration circle was found online at HTFC Planning and Design

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Friday, 5 August 2016

Interstellar Rodeo 2016: The Playlist

Interstellar Rodeo is now only ONE week away, and we want nothing more than for you to be sipping a glass of wine while swaying to the tunes of the amazing artists playing the festival this year.

We put together a list of a few of our favorites. So grab a glass of wine, get comfy, and browse the music ranging from sultry soul to alternative rock. (Tip: read the lyrics when listening to the songs, so you can sing along when you see them live!)

The Strumbellas
Genre: Indie folk rock
Origin: Toronto, Ontario
Playing: Friday, August 12, 6:00 p.m.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Genre: Alternative rock
Origin: Falls Church, Virginia
Playing: Saturday, August 13, 2:15 p.m.

Serena Ryder
Genre: Indie rock
Origin: Millbrook, Ontario
Playing: Friday, August 12, 9:10 p.m.

The Wet Secrets
Genre: Indie rock
Origin: Edmonton, Alberta
Playing: Saturday, August 13, 1:00 p.m.

Genre: Folk rock
Origin: Hamilton, Ontario
Playing: Sunday, August 14, 7:00 p.m.

Fantastic Negrito
Genre: Blues rock
Origin: Oakland, California
Playing: Saturday, August 13, 5:15 p.m.

Genre: Pop Rock
Origin: Formed in Portland, Oregon 
Playing: Sunday, August 14, 9:00 p.m.

Sam Outlaw
Genre: SoCal Country
Origin: Aberdeen, South Dakota
Playing: Sunday, August 14, 2:15 p.m.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Genre: Blues rock
Origin: Herman, Missouri and Denver, Colorado
Playing: Friday, August 12, 7:15 p.m.

Lee Fields and the Expressions
Genre: Soul
Origin: North Carolina
Playing: Sunday, August 14, 5:15 p.m.

Full schedule

If you're hooked like us, you can listen to this Spotify playlist while you're on your morning commute, tending to your plants in the garden, walking the dog, or when you just feel like dancing around.

Grab your tickets to Interstellar Rodeo, if you haven't already, and join us for some singing and wine sipping!

Be sure to check out After Interstellar – Interstellar Rodeo's new afterparty with performances by Duotang and DJ Co-Op and wine tasting in The Forks Market Food Hall.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Three Ways to Active Play at The Forks

When my rural nephews recently came to Winnipeg for a sleepover, I wanted to show them how we play in the city. I called up a some friends and arranged a play date at The Forks! It was a pretty great time, here are some of my favourite moments:

1. Play the classics

Tag, hide and seek and log rolling down a hill! Playing games is one of the best ways to be active. Not only is it fun but youre also jumping, running, rolling, ducking and squatting at the same time. Its not exercising - its playing!

Tag, youre it! This game is a sneak attack and really gets the heart rate going! Its hard not to scream with laughter while youre getting chased, its surprisingly exhilarating! Kids and toddlers love it!

Hills are a rare occurrence in Manitoba, and lucky for us Festival Park is banked by them. Perfect for log rolling! These hills pack some serious speed!

Though, I think the children enjoyed jumping over me more. We ended up calling the game log roll jumps. Beware though: this is a high repeat game… You will get dizzy!

Hide and seek. So many great places to hide at The Forks! I think I did about 25 squats during this game. Hiding and ducking behind trees and signs is always fun for the little ones! Bonus: counting practice for the kidlets!

2. Race to the top

Go! We had a six story race to the top! I think this is probably the most picturesque stairwell in the entire city. With glass walls, its pretty cool to see the people and places of The Forks all around you as you climb to the top! Elevators are SO boring in comparison.

Up at the lookout, the 360 degree view is worth the work! Every direction you see something new. We were even able to spot our home from here! Little ones love the lookout, it makes for an excellent game of eye spy as you catch your breath.

3. Play Pokemon Go!

And finally, we joined the craze! I downloaded the Pokemon Go app on my phone and off we went! Having never played before, it was really easy to figure out. Basically, you follow a map around The Forks collecting Pokemon characters. We walked everywhere!

The Pokemon characters are hanging around every corner at The Forks, coming to life on your screen. Play with a buddy and keep your head up! There are so many people out playing! I can totally see what all the fuss is about.

The Forks is Winnipegs biggest backyard. We had a great time. The perfect place to take kids and justplay. And? It tuckered everyone out for a great nights sleep! ;)

Lindsay Somers is an urban lifestyle health expert. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Photos: James Swirsky.

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