Manitoba Stay-Cation #13: Selkirk, Manitoba

Selkirk, MBWith just under 10,000 people living in Selkirk, it is considered one of Manitoba’s 10 cities. Being a small city, Selkirk obviously has a much larger array of businesses, recreational activities and services than many of the smaller communities I’ve highlighted this summer. From my home in Winnipeg, I can reach Selkirk in about 30 minutes, depending on traffic. It’s close proximity makes it an attractive destination when you are looking for something to do that is close to the city.

This summer, we have made not one, but two trips to Selkirk. On our first excursion, we went with only one thing on our minds….DINNER! I had heard about Barney Gargles from a few different people and the rave reviews made it a must to check-out.

The History of Barney Gargles:

Barney GarglesJudy Venier (Parkin) first took over the restaurant from her former partner around 1988. In 1991, Shirley Cormack joined her sister Judy, and together they became the sole owners of Barney Gargles. Over the years, Judy and Shirley’s children worked in various positions at the restaurant. Sadly, after 25 years in business, the future of this family run restaurant became uncertain, when the sisters both passed away earlier this year. Shirley’s son, Rob Cormack, had returned to the business to help out his mother in the weeks leading up to Judy’s passing and made the decision to stay on when Judy passed away in March of 2014. When Shirley passed away very suddenly just a few months later, in July, Rob, his siblings and cousins were left with many questions regarding the future of Barney Gargles. The restaurant temporarily closed its doors following Judy’s passing, but in the end it was decided, by both families, to reopen the business with Rob’s sister, Julia, as the manager. Rob continues to help-out at Barney Gargles when he is not at his full-time job. I was fortunate enough to sit down and speak with Rob for a few minutes following our meal and have since corresponded with him via email. He provided me with the history of the restaurant. He said that the decor and menu have changed over the years, but the family has always been committed to making as much of the food “in house” as possible. Rob shared that:

All of our cakes and pies are done right in the back kitchen and we still follow the fish batter recipe that came with the restaurant.

I’m sure that the decision to keep the doors of Barney Gargles open was welcome news to the community of Selkirk.

Our Experience at Barney Gargles:

First and foremost, in my experience a “line-up” is generally a good sign. We headed out for dinner on the Sunday of August long weekend and the restaurant was running a rib special. Having never been there before, I’m not sure if there is generally a wait or not, but I can honestly say it had me excited about the prospects of a great meal. We were told we’d have close to a half hour wait, but ended up getting in within 20 minutes or less. We waited out on the lovely bench outside and enjoyed the great weather. Many came and went while we waited. All those that left, seemed very satisfied with their meals and several were regulars (of course, I asked).

We had heard that Barney Gargles was best known for their battered fish and chips and desserts. We wanted to have a bit of variety, but at the same time, Tim and I both wanted the fish. Here’s what we ordered:

Every item we ordered was absolutely delicious. All of our meals came with fries and coleslaw. The fish was also served with a signature sauce that was super good. Tim requested sweet potato fries in lieu of regular and said the were very good as well. (I can’t believe I didn’t sneak one off his plate!) We really enjoyed the deep fried pickles and bruschetta appetizers that we shared, but the battered cod was superb. We were pretty much filled to the brim when we finished eating, but having passed the dessert showcase on the way in, there was no possible way we were leaving with sampling! It actually reminded me of a mini Baked Expectations, but with less selection. My guess is there were about 8 to 12 desserts to choose from and all looked incredible. I suggested sharing, but we all wanted something different, so in the end we ordered three and took the left overs home in a container. Aside from the food we ordered, Tim and Shay both had drinks. We were amazed by the very reasonable prices as our bill came to around $80 with taxes for the three of us (Eden was away at a friend’s and missed out). We really felt that both the food and value were very good. The restaurant was quite busy when we first arrived, but the service was still very good and the atmosphere was warm and comfortable. It is a great family restaurant and we’ll definitely be making the trip again soon.

Tim hadn’t sampled Shay’s chocolate cake until the next day and it was so good that he admitted he might actually be convinced to become a chocolate convert. It’s not that he doesn’t like chocolate, but when given the choice, he will almost always choose something else. This chocolate cake even had him “oohing and awing!”

Although we did not order either, when I quizzed our server up, she said that people actually travel miles for their liver & onions and veal. So, if you’re craving liver, veal, fish & chips or even a yummy piece of dessert, consider driving out to Selkirk to try something different.

Marine Museum of Manitoba:

Our second trip to Selkirk was planned to take advantage of what I hope is not the last hot day of the summer. The kids and I packed up and drove out to Selkirk for the afternoon with plans to visit the Marine Museum of Manitoba and the Selkirk Park, Pool and Splash Pad.

The Marine Museum of Manitoba is situated on the banks of the Red River just outside the Selkirk Park gates. The museum exhibit consists of self-guided tours of 6 of Manitoba’s historic vessels. You are free to wander the ships and explore them in their entirety, from the guest rooms, to the decks, the galley, and even the “bowels of the ships”. If that isn’t interesting enough, many of the rooms in the ships are filled with theme based marine artifacts. The ships range in age, with the oldest being a steamship that was built in 1897. The ships are all unique and different as they were all designed and built for a variety of purposes. Aside from the S.S. Keenora (steamship), there is a historic icebreaker, a passenger and freight boat, a lake and river tug boat, as well as the Joe Simpson freighter which was built in 1963. The other 4 vessels were built in 1915, 1942 and 1955. I found it interesting to note the differences in what appeared to be the quality of the materials and workmanship in the various vessels. Understandably, each served different purposes and therefore the aesthetics would not be as important in an ice breaker as in that of a passenger boat! The kids and I enjoyed exploring the different boats and I thought it was neat to experience the true size of the boats because they were sitting on the ground and the entire “body” of the vessel was visible. The ships are connected by planks, so you are easily able to go from one ship to the next. It was a very hot day and I must admit we didn’t spend much time examining the various artifacts throughout the vessels.

Selkirk Park, Pool and Splash Pad:

My cousin and her family just moved back to Selkirk in June and she told me about the pool/beach. We had planned to get together, but it just hasn’t worked out, so I decided we would head out on our own. I think what really intrigued me about the pool/beach (or as the kids and I now call it “the Peach“) was that it brought me back to the many days we used to spend at the Oasis. We had always loved the Oasis because it was super close to the city, a great beach experience and yet pretty safe because there were no currents or anything like that to be concerned with. We were so sad when it sold several years ago and went private. In the years since, I can honestly say we don’t do more than a couple of beach trips per year. However, the Selkirk “Peach” may be just what we were looking for!

The Peach (pool/beach) is a man made pool with a “pebbled” finish cement bottom and a side walk that extends around the entire circumference of the pool. The pool is 110 by 95 metres and holds 6 million litres of water! It has a gradual depth increase and in the centre of the pool there is a floating “dock” to jump from. Diving is not allowed as the depth is only 7 feet in the centre. Sitting up against the sidewalk that surrounds the pool is a nice beautiful sandy beach and then beyond that, the outer most layer of these “concentric ovals” is several feet of grass. It is truly a wonderful place. Although the water is not “blue” like a pool, it seems very clean and I love that I can experience the beach without the worry of blood suckers, fish and seaweed. I must say I can be a bit squeamish when swimming in open water. This is really the best of everything. I also love the fact that trees have been planted in the grass that grows outside the sandy ring. This allows you to choose sun or shade or even both, depending on where you set-up for the day. I also loved that I could park right up against the fence that sits outside the perimeter of the pool and not have to lug the chairs, beach bags, air mattress, etc. too far. In fact, at the end of the day, I dropped everything over the fence to Shay who was waiting on the other side to put everything in the car. The water was beautiful and it really was a great day! For all of you former Oasis lovers out there….this is it, even better.

In addition to the pool, there is also an 18 feature splash pad for smaller children and modern change rooms and washrooms. The pool is located right inside the Selkirk Park, just past the Marine Museum. The cost is $4.50 per person, but children under 3 get in free. There are also season passes available.

Snak Shak:

Snak ShakBy the time we were ready to head back, it was late afternoon and everyone was a bit hungry. Although Selkirk has both a McDonald’s and a Dairy Queen, I really wanted to treat the kids to ice cream at a smaller privately owned business. I asked the lifeguards at the pool and they recommended the Snak Shak. It is a little drive-in style restaurant that was established in 1973. It is off the main drag, located at 545 Manitoba Avenue. You order at the window and either eat outside or in the car. At the Snak Shak, they serve both hard ice cream and 24 flavours of soft ice cream, as well as many specialty ice cream treats like sundaes, floats and banana splits. In addition, they also serve a variety of fast foods such as burgers, fries, taco in a bag, perogies, pizza pops, onion rings, etc. Although we didn’t eat, I asked our server what meals were the most popular and she immediately answered that their burgers and fries were very good. We didn’t have either, but I would love to check it out sometime.

Upper Crust Bakery:

Upper Crust BakeryWe didn’t stop at the Upper Crust Bakery, but some of you may remember when they had a location in the city, on Pembina Highway (I think). Their bakery offers delicious baking and I especially loved their cinnamon buns. The original bakery is in Selkirk and still remains there today. I actually didn’t realize it until I did this post, but the Upper Crust Bakery does still have a Winnipeg location in Charleswood at 3416 Roblin Blvd. So, if you’re craving one of the best cinnamon buns around and can’t make it out to Selkirk, you can always pick some up in Charleswood.

If in fact you do take a drive out to Selkirk, Eveline Street runs along the river and has some beautiful old historic homes along it. It is obviously one of the older streets in the city and is lined with big beautiful mature trees as well. Enjoy your trip!

Manitoba Stay-Cation #12: Half Moon Drive-In

It almost seems embarrassing to admit that I’d never been to the iconic “Half Moon Drive In” until Friday evening. Our house was too hot to even think about preparing a meal and we decided to hop in the car for a mini “Manitoba Stay-Cation”. The Half Moon is located on Henderson Highway just this side of Lockport, MB. We have driven by many times and in all honesty, I always thought it was an “order at the window” style drive in. Although you can order from the window, the experience is really all about the fabulous retro “eat-in” style diner. I know this isn’t news to most Winnipegers, as I’m sure I’m among the minority who have never been there before, but believe me it’s no wonder that it’s been so popular for so long. It is like stepping back in time, with the chrome edged tables and checkerboard tiled floor. The decor is really great and our food was delicious.

The Food:

The Half Moon serves what I would consider to be typical drive in food: burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, shakes and ice cream. We ordered 3 burgers (various kinds), large fries, chili fries, 2 shakes and a pop all for under $36. I was pretty impressed with the price as I think we spend almost that much on our rare trips to McDonald’s. I ordered the Saturn Burger which was loaded with toppings including bacon and onion rings! It was really delicious and I was so disappointed when I took the last bite as I wasn’t ready to be done. Everyone enjoyed their meal and I’m certain this will be the first of many trips!

Aside from the great food, there is also an arcade for the kids to enjoy.

Visiting the Half Moon/Lockport:

I know most people have heard of the Half Moon, but if like me, you’ve never taken the time to check it out, do so. You can also enjoy the nice drive down Henderson Highway. There are many spectacular homes along this stretch and to make the most of the excursion, I suggest making it a round trip and taking Henderson one way and River Road the other. It’s also a beautiful drive along the other side of the river (River Road) with many huge homes and a few historical landmarks. Some of the oldest buildings in Manitoba can be found in and around the Lockport area. Of course, Lockport is probably best know for the fishing. The community website is actually quite informative and offers some history of the area as well as information on fishing and their annual Lockport Dam Family Festival which will be held September 12th and 14th.



Manitoba Stay-Cation #11: Cooks Creek Afternoon Adventure

Why Cooks Creek?

Cooks Creek is a very small Manitoba community located just minutes from the city. The only reason I even know of Cooks Creek is because Ace Burpee often mentions his parents and home town during his morning radio show. Being a small town girl myself, I was always intrigued and wondered what Cooks Creek was like. This summer, Cooks Creek once again popped up on my “radar” when I was researching Manitoba Festivals. I thought the Cooks Creek Medieval Festival sounded really cool and was so disappointed when I had a schedule conflict and couldn’t make it. It is definitely on my “Manitoba Must Do’s” list, but it will now have to wait until another year.

Although I’d really never travelled in this direction, I did end up heading out this way as part of my Manitoba Stay-Cation blog theme. I was out for a drive and passed the Cooks Creek turn off while en route to Beausajour and Lac du Bonnet. I made a mental note and decided to do some research and find out more about the town when I got home (despite having missed the festival). I was amazed to learn about the massive “prairie cathedral” located in Cooks Creek and just knew I’d have to set aside some time to check it out. So, Sunday afternoon my neighbor and I hit the trail and set out to do some exploring.

Cooks Creek Heritage Museum:

Although our sites were set on the Immaculate Conception Church in Cooks Creek, we had decided to take the afternoon to explore the area and thus made a stop at Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum before continuing on to the church. The museum grounds consist of 7 historic buildings that are full of treasures from the past. I have been in many museums, but what made this a bit different was the large collection of religious artifacts. Having grown up Roman Catholic, many of the pieces brought back memories of my childhood (when I was an “Alter Girl”!) There was also war memorabilia and it was interesting to see pieces from Auschwitz, a concentration camp that was located in Poland. [I had just finished reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (an excellent book) and much of the story focussed on life in this particular camp.] We did find that some of the museum items didn’t have proper signage or descriptions and it was somewhat difficult to figure out the historical value/purpose of them. The museum also boasts a beautiful array of traditional Slavic costumes. We enjoyed browsing through the various rooms of the main house, as well as most of the outlying buildings. Here are a couple of pictures from our museum stop:

St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church:

While at the Museum, we also had the opportunity to take a quick peek at the church next door. St. Michael’s is also a beautiful old church and I’m so glad we got to take a look around before heading to the Immaculate Conception Church.

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Immaculate Conception Church:

I have to begin this with a bit of a disclaimer. Although raised Catholic, I have not attended a Catholic church for many years, so I feel like I’m almost talking about a foreign subject. Please forgive me if my descriptions or wording are not completely accurate, most of this post is based on a the limited printed information I was able to find/collect along with what I remember from the tour.

One of the Manitoba treasures that I learned about in my Manitoba Stay-Cation research was that located less than 40 km outside of Winnipeg is this monstrosity of a church that is not only an incredible piece of architecture, but also has a tremendous story that’s really worth exploring. The Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church was designed and constructed under the leadership of Father Philip Ruh. Construction began in 1930 and continued to be worked on in stages until it was consecrated in 1952. As you approach the grounds and building for the first time, you can’t help but be “awed” by the expanse and grandeur of the structure, especially when you consider that it is located almost in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. It is not found in the hustle and bustle of the city where there is a huge population to support it and it is not even found in the midst of a rural town, but rather along country road 212, just outside of Cooks Creek. The entire building and grotto were built by volunteer church members. The main church structure was created with concrete, stucco and paint. From the murals to the faux marble painting….everything was created with the love and passion of a group of committed parishioners. This project not only extended over a 22 year period, but also continued during the war when times were very bleak. It is hard to imagine the thousands of hours of volunteer labour that went into the building of the Immaculate Conception Church.

Our tour guide, Darlene, was extremely knowledgable and it was very interesting to hear the stories of how the church came to be and learn the history of many of the artifacts as well as the symbolism and meaning behind the icons and art work that flank the sanctuary. It seemed as though every image and statue was created, selected or given for a very specific purpose or with symbolic reasoning. It was very interesting, but I highly recommend the short guided tour as I would never have learned what I did without Darlene’s expertise and passion for what she does.

Although I’m sharing a few pictures, mine totally fail in comparison to the amazing photos taken by Winnipeg photographer Ken Yuel. You absolutely need to click the link to check-out his pictures of Manitoba’s “prairie cathedral”.

There is much written about Father Ruh, as he was responsible for designing many churches across Canada in the early 1900’s. It is believed that over 40 of those churches remain as a part of his legacy today.

Shortly after the completion of the church, Father Ruh embarked on a new dream. He envisioned creating a place of worship similar to that of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine that is located in Lourdes, France.  It is considered to be one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world and it was Father Ruh’s dream to create something similar right here in Manitoba. The grotto that was created on the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Church is very large and has a somewhat medieval look. Although the structure is still very impressive, one couldn’t help but notice the deteriorating condition of the faux stone.

The Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church and Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes are really a testament to Father Ruh and the dedicated volunteers in his parish who joined together in this labour of love. Upon close inspection, you can see the little imperfections in some of the work, but when looked upon as a whole I am truly moved by how they pulled together to accomplish this wondrous place of worship. It is truly mind boggling to think of all of the effort that went into to the planning, building and finishing of this project. It is totally worth the drive to see this for yourself.

Pineridge Hollow:

Time was running short, but we couldn’t help but take a quick detour and stop at Pineridge Hollow on our way home. We didn’t have time to eat, but I know their reputation speaks for itself. The restaurant boasts fresh Manitoba grown food and the atmosphere is second to none. The grounds are beautiful and the store has “my taste” stamped all over it. I absolutely love all of the unique gift ideas, furniture and accessories. If you are looking for a great meal and an awesome shopping experience, Pineridge Hollow is a must stop!

We had a wonderful afternoon and all of this was less than 40 minutes from the city. If you decide to do the Cooks Creek Adventure, be sure to check the websites for hours of operation. I do believe the church is only open on weekends. Enjoy!


Manitoba Stay-Cation #10: Clear Lake/Riding Mountain National Park

As a kid, Clear Lake was an annual vacation destination for much of our extended family. Several of my cousins and their families would rent cabins at Clear Lake and spend a week there each summer. Our family never rented a cottage, but we would sometimes drive up for the day and join in the fun. I have only been back a few times as an adult, but a few weeks back, the kids and I were invited to spend the weekend with my cousin at the cottage they’d rented for the summer. This coincided perfectly with my kid’s camp pick-up date and the cottage was less than 15 minutes from their camp. The best part was that we got to visit with Brenda and had a wonderful tour guide to shows all the best things to see and do. Unfortunately, it poured rain much of the weekend. When it wasn’t raining, it was really too cool for swimming in the lake, so we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted. Despite our limited personal experiences on our Manitoba Stay-Cation at Clear Lake, here are a few pointers if you plan to visit Riding Mountain National Park any time soon.

If you’ve never visited Clear Lake before, it can be a bit confusing. Here are a few tips that may help to prepare you for your trip. There is a fee when you enter Riding Mountain National Park and it is per person, not per vehicle as is the case in Provincial Parks. It cost us $7.80 per day for an adult and $3.90 per day for youth. So it cost us around $16/day just to enter/stay in the park. We were there 3 days, so that cost a whopping $48! There are annual individual and family passes that are much more economical if you are planning several visits. The Single Location Annual Pass for National Parks is just under $100 for a family. A Discovery Pass allows your family entry into any National Park across Canada and is well worth the $136  if you plan on visiting more than one park. Park passes are valid for 12 full months from date of purchase. Clear Lake is as the name would suggest, the name of one of the lakes inside the park. The park is huge and actually consists of several smaller lakes and campgrounds. Clear Lake is the largest and located closest to Wasagaming which is actually the main town-site in the park. Wasagaming is sometimes used synonymously with “Clear Lake“. Onanole, MB is a small village just South of Wasagaming and between the two is Sportman’s Park, which has a seasonal campground and offers various services and activities for those visiting the area. If you click this link, there is a map that will provide you with a better understanding of the park.

Things to Do:

There are so many things to do that I couldn’t possibly identify them all, but I assure you there is something for everyone. Here are just a few:carriage ride

  • Horse drawn carriage ride around the Wasagaming Town-Site
  • Boat and Paddle Board Rentals
  • Bike Rentals
  • Horseshoes
  • Tennis
  • Miniature Golf
  • 18 Hole Clear Lake Golf Course
  • horse back riding
  • hiking
  • swimming
  • and no doubt many more things I’ve failed to mention

The Park Theatre is the largest log cabin theatre in North America. It was built in 1937 and is definitely considered a Clear Lake hallmark. It still operates today and in 2012 converted to digital film in order to stay in business. I was disappointed we weren’t able to see a movie there during our stay. I know I would want to arrive early enough to check out the building as I know I’d appreciate its unique architecture.Park Theatre


Of course, I can’t speak based on first hand experience because we stayed in my cousin’s rented cottage, but I can tell you that there are various types of accommodations to choose from.

  • camping
  • oTENTik and Yurts (for those that are looking for something more rustic than a cottage, but a step up from tenting. I actually saw a sample oTENTik in the park and was very impressed. This would be a great option for anyone willing to rough it…..just a bit.)
  • Hotels/Motels/Resorts
  • Cottage Rentals

My cousin made a few recommendations regarding places to stay. She said that Manigaming Resort always appeared to be very well maintained. She also told me that her family annually spends a few nights at one of the chalets at Elkhorn Resort during the winter and they love it. Aspen Ridge cottages were formerly known as Lee’s and have been well maintained over the years. Idylwiylde cottages are also nice. I’m sure there are other great places to stay, but these are the ones that she had either stayed at, visited or heard about.


The streets are lined with quaint little shops and boutiques offering beach wear, high end clothing, good quality footwear, jewellery and giftware. It has a very “old-fashioned resort town” feel and the streets are always busy with people wondering in and out of stores. I am generally not much of a shopper (other than for great deals), but there were many businesses that are sure to appeal to those that love to spend.

One place that really stood out for me was Poor Michael’s Emporium. This shop is packed with used books and an assortment of unique giftware and art. It is bubbling over with character and has an incredible cozy atmosphere. Inside there is also a cafe that offers a selection of home baking and light snacks. Poor Michael’s should be on the top of your list of “must do’s”. I wish I had more time, but I was on my way to pick the kids up when I stopped in. Next year when I go to camp drop-off/pick-up I’ll be sure to set aside some time to truly explore and enjoy Michael’s. It is located right on the roadside in Onanole MB, just a few miles from the park entrance.Poor Michael's Emporium


If you regularly read my blog, you already know food is much more up my alley. We only tried out a few of the establishments, but of course, Brenda was able to advise us on the best “eats” in the area.

The Chocolate Fox is a quaint cottage style shop that offers an assortment of Manitoba products. Some of the products they sell include Manitobah Mukluks (love these!!) and Fixation Jewelry. They also serve some of the best gelati I’ve tasted. The gelati is made right in the store and is absolutely delicious. They sell other specialty treats like Morden’s fine chocolates and an assortment of fudge, as well as freshly made popcorn in a variety of flavours. The Chocolate Fox is a “must” if you are visiting Clear Lake.

The Martese is a local tour boat that can accommodate 95 passengers on its 3 decks. They offer a dinner cruise that received some good reviews on Trip Advisor. We weren’t able to do this because of the weather, but I think it would be a lovely experience and word is the food is good….especially the cheesecake. This short promotional video gives a bit of Clear Lake history and some video footage of the lake.

If you asked my kids, I’m sure that they would agree that The Sugar Shop is one of their favourites. This is a little shop that is filled with bulk candy bins and an assortment of wrapped candy. The best part is that all of the bulk candy is the same price, so the kids can fill there little bag up with all of their favourites without the fuss of bagging each selection separately. Brenda says the store is always busy!Sugar shop


We didn’t even enter T.R. McKoy’s during our short stay, but I was told that the patio is a lovely spot to enjoy a few appetizers and sangria late in the afternoon on warm day!

Whitehouse Restaurant & Bakery is clearly a popular spot. Every time we walked by there was a line-up that extended outside the doors. Obviously, the crowd is a testament to the great food and service. We didn’t get an opportunity to sample the goods, but I’m told the bakery is excellent. In fact, Manitoba sought out some of the best places for sweet treats across the province and has placed the Whitehouse in what is known as  Cinnamon Bun Trail brochure! Who wouldn’t want to follow that trail?Whitehouse Bakery

Clear Lake Trading Post serves as the local grocery mart and is great for picking up anything you may have forgotten when packing for your trip.

Sportman’s Park is not only an RV park that offers seasonal sites, it also has a restaurant, small arcade, pool table, miniature golf course and a convenience store. The parking lot is host to a busy Farmer’s Market every Saturday. We stopped by and loaded up on fresh fruit and veggies, some baking and I even bought a funky watch to replace my broken one. We also stopped at Sportsman’s Park on the way home for a quick round of mini-golf and a bite to eat. The golf course seemed to be well maintained and the food was good. I had a burger and the kids both had pizza and everything tasted great. I was a bit disappointed that we had to leave, as the Sunday evening live entertainment on the patio was just starting and it looked like a good time.

Across the road from Sportman’s Park is The Foxtail Cafe. Although we didn’t eat there, Brenda says the food is very good and made special mention of their signature wood fired pizzas.

One of the places I went on more than one occasion was the Siesta Cafe. Although we didn’t eat, they served an awesome cup of coffee and had a wonderful little patio out front that you could sit on to enjoy your java. The cafe was very quaint and one of my favourite spots. The food also receives great reviews on Trip Advisor.

There is so much to see and do (and eat!) in Clear Lake. The whole experience seems to take you to a far off place. It feels like you are walking the boardwalk in a popular tourist destination, but instead of tacky knickknacks and souvenirs, there are good quality charming little spots to eat, drink, shop and explore. My biggest disappointment was the weather and lack of time we had.

Of course, all of these things cost money! It is difficult to explore the Wasagaming town-site without the kids begging for this and that along the way. I would suggest setting a budget or pre-planning the activities that you’d like to do during your stay. It could get very pricey between park fees, accommodations, activity costs, trips to the candy store, eating out and gelati runs!

Clear Lake is a beautiful place to visit and makes a wonderful vacation destination. I highly recommend it and would place it near the top of my Manitoba Stay-Cation list!

Camping Tricks and Tenting Tips

Tim and I have always loved camping and despite owning a cottage for several years, we decided that our kids should get to experience tenting just as we did growing up. When we sold our cottage, we decided to upgrade our tent to one that would fit the whole family. Over the years, we have collected what I would consider to be a good assortment of gear and gadgets to help make tenting easier.

Camping Tricks and Tenting Tips:

1. Make lists. Several years ago, I took the time to create permanent camping lists that consisted of everything we need for a tenting trip. I then tried to divide it into “themes”. Here is a copy of my list.

Cindy's Camping List

If you click the image, you can print the pdf version of it (it is much clearer than the screen shot). The recreation list fluctuates depending on where we are going.

2. Pack permanent camping tubs. If you plan to do a lot of camping this is worth its weight in gold. I used the “themes” from my list to create permanent camping tubs. We had enough gear that for the most part, the items can stay packed away inside the appropriate tub until our next adventure. I found this to be a huge benefit when it came to packing for our next trip. When you have a camper or a cottage, you basically leave everything you need inside and really only have to worry about packing food and clothes for each trip. Of course, with tenting there is no permanent storage place for all of your gear, so besides having to set up an entire camp each time you venture out, you also have to pack from scratch each time. This is a huge amount of work and can often be both overwhelming and exhausting. Making permanent tubs/lists allows you to spend less time thinking about what you need and worrying about what you may have missed.

3. Do a tub check. Before each trip, I do a quick check of each tub and its contents to be sure that everything I need is there and that consumables have been topped up. This only takes a few minutes and allows you to feel that you have everything you need.

4. Plan your menu. You want to make sure you take the time to plan out your camping menu in advance because there is nothing worse than miscalculating your food needs. If you over pack, it may mean waste, especially for those items that need to be kept cold and of course, you don’t want to run short of food either. Organizing the food for tenting is by far the hardest job. For every item on your menu, you need to ensure you have all of the ingredients for the recipe as well as items such as butter and oil for frying. Over the years, I have found that using the same menu (or close to it) makes for much easier planning.

Camping Menu

Depending on what time your family “rises”, you may not need to make lunch at all ~ especially if you’ve had a good hearty breakfast to start the day.

5. Make a Grocery List.  I generally use the same menu each time we go camping and thus, can also use the same grocery list for packing. I’ve also found that preparing some of the meals or portions of them ahead of time makes a huge difference. Here are a list of some of the items that I make/prepare ahead of time:

  • Pasta Salad – I always make the pasta the day before we leave and add the dressing (oil/vinegar based) to it. I cut up all of the veggies for the salad and then stir them in on the morning of our departure. We always have pasta salad on the first night along with whatever meat I have placed on the menu.
  • Cut up veggies. It is great to have fresh veggies cut up for snacks or to accompany a meal. This is also great if you are planning on having skewers. I always make sure everything is washed and chopped before we go.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs – I will sometimes boil eggs and take them along. I have used boiled eggs as a healthy snack, lunch addition, for egg salad sandwiches, to make devilled eggs or as a salad ingredient.
  • Baked Potatoes – I will often bake several potatoes in the oven or microwave prior to our trip and then put them in the fridge to chill. These cooked potatoes can then be used to whip up a fresh potato salad or chopped up for hashbrowns.
  • Green onions. I often take a small container of chopped green onions that can be sprinkled on eggs or other dishes.
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese. Depending on our menu, I will sometimes grate cheese at home and then pack it up for use on quesadillas or an omelette.
  • Marinate meat and then freeze. Again depending on the menu, I will sometimes cut the meat for skewers and marinate it in a ziploc bag. I then place it in the freezer, so that the frozen meat will stay cold longer (and act as an ice pack in the cooler.)
  • Freeze one or two gallons of water. I use large milk jugs for freezer packs. This needs to be done several days in advance to freeze properly. I fill the jugs about 3/4 full to allow for expansion and leave the cap off until the water freezes. These make excellent ice blocks that will last for up to 3 days at no cost to you.

6. Packing Clothes and Toiletries. Don’t over pack. Check the weather and pack accordingly. Often one or two sets of clothes is plenty, especially if you plan to spend your days at the beach. I find that the clothes I don’t wear often end up smelling a bit musty just from sitting in the tent and it seems silly to wash clothes that haven’t even been worn. Nights can get cold, so make sure to take warm jammies and/or sweats for layering up if need be.

Wouldn’t Leave Home Without It!


Camping Kitchen


Old Fashion Coffee Percolator

Picnic Table Seat Covers


Dining Tent

A dining tent is essential if you are going to survive the bugs and potential rain. We just bought this Roots one to replace our old one and we love it.



This Hang-Anywhere Clothesline can be purchased at Lee Valley.


Fire Fork

This fire fork can be purchased at Lee Valley.


Heavy Duty Foil

I take both the roll and the sheets. Buy heavy duty and don’t leave this at home. It is much easier to use foil than wash dishes!! It’s also great for left overs.

Planning a camping trip can be a lot of work, especially when you have never done it before or at least not for a very long time. Hopefully some of my experience can help make your next camping trip a little easier! Happy camping!

*Update: I had a few after thoughts:

1. Everything that is in the dish tub comes out and is used within the camp. The tub itself is about 2 gallons (I’m totally guessing). I use the actual “dish tub” as my “dish tub” for doing the dishes. So in fact it is not only used to storage and transfer the materials, but also for doing dishes.

2.  Never pour your dish water out in your site as it will attract rodents. (I’ve learned this through experience.)

3. The “ditty bags” (I spelled that word wrong on my list) are mesh draw string bags that can serve several purposes. We use a large one for our dirty laundry, medium sized ones are great for putting wet dishes in and then hanging them on the clothesline to drip dry, and the small ones are great for putting your shower gear in and hanging on the shower head if there is no shelf.


Manitoba Stay-Cation #9: Neepawa, Manitoba

Manitoba Stay-cation NeepawaWe spent lots of time on the road when I was a kid. Although many of our Manitoba travels were sports related, my parents also sold Amway products, so they would regularly be scooting around making deliveries and doing product demonstrations in rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Despite this, I can’t really remember ever exploring the towns or making a field trip out of our excursions, so my memories are mostly restricted to baseball diamonds, arenas, curling rinks and the occassional town pool. It has been lots of fun going back to many of the towns I visited as a child and digging a little deeper to find the treasures that lay behind my limited knowledge and experience in these rural locations.Manitoba Stay-cation

When I travel to my hometown of Binscarth, Manitoba, we drive the Yellowhead Hwy. #16 which passes right down the Main Street of Neepawa. As I have gotten older, I have become more observant and have noticed and appreciated the beautiful old trees that canopy many of the streets, the gorgeous location with part of the town nestled onto hillsides and the old heritage properties that seem to be in abundance. I have always wanted to spend some time exploring Neepawa and last Friday presented the perfect opportunity, as all it meant was an early departure for Bible Camp pick-up. I was on my own, so I could spend as little or as much time as I wanted doing the things that interested me the most. In the end, I spent about 3 1/2 hours in Neepawa and easily could have extended my time.

Neepawa Visit July 2014:

I had timed my visit with the Neepawa Lily Festival, but in all honesty most of what I wanted to do involved exploring things that are there whether it is festival time or not. Of course, the town was a buzz with visitors, vendors and of course the many locals who were out to support the festivities. Like most festivals, there are many events planned for both young and old, but my feeling in general is that it is somewhat more appealing to those that have a great appreciation for horticulture and a love for beautiful flowers and gardens. I like that too, but in most cases a slow drive by or quick stop at a garden is enough for me. I was really more interested in what the town itself has to offer.

Not unlike my other Manitoba visits, I have found that planning ahead is a bit difficult. Most town websites offer a list of services and businesses, but don’t really allow you to find the quaint little shops, coffee shops and restaurants that I find so appealing. I would always rather hear from a local or a previous visitor to find out their experiences and recommendations. There is nothing like the positive experience of someone else (or negative for that matter), to help guide you in where to go and what to see. The internet has not really proven to be that useful when trying to figure these things out ahead of time, so I do what I do best ~ talk to people. Much of my day evolved through the conversations I had with people along the way.

1. My first stop was the Court House which in itself is a remarkable building that was built in 1884 and considered one of the 24 historical landmarks identified in Neepawa. Of course, architecture is one of the things that fascinates me most and this building did not disappoint. I went inside and stopped to chat with a lady at the Lily Festival Information center. She was able to provide me with a map and answer some of my questions about where to go and what to see during my short stay.

Manitoba Stay-cation

Neepawa Court House ~ built in 1884

2. Farmer’s Market ~ There were many vendors set-up because of the festival and they offered everything from food to clothing. Some vendors were selling handmade goods while others were marketing jewellery and funky clothing. I wandered through, but shopping was not really in my plans, so I headed straight for the tours.

Manitoba Stay-cation Neepawa

Neepawa Lily Festival Market

3. In conjunction with the festival, there were 3 tours being offered. There was a 2 hour bus tour highlighting the history of the town and buildings and a second 2 hour bus tour of the gardens/lilies. I didn’t really have time for a 2 hour tour, although I would have enjoyed the historical tour. (This tour may also be available at other times of the year, but I’m not 100% sure and couldn’t find where I had previously read that.) I opted for the third tour which was only 20 minutes and gave me a nice quick tour of the town via horse and wagon. This tour took us down past Margaret Laurence’s childhood home and the old Knox Presbyterian Church which just celebrated its 137th Anniversary. I didn’t have a chance to see the inside of the church, but would have loved to. There were many other beautiful old homes along the way.

4. After the tour, I decided to get a bite to eat at the Brews Brothers Bistro which is right on the main drag ~ Mountain Avenue. It is located in a heritage building and has very high ceilings and exposed piping. The restaurant is family owned and you can tell that the owners have poured their hearts into building a successful business. Although I had to eat and run, I did enjoy speaking to one of the owners. She was very friendly and open to me sharing my experience with my readers. I ordered the “full” size Greek salad and it was not only delicious, but huge and inexpensive as well. The service was quick and good. The bistro serves pizza, quesadillas, soup and salads. Although I didn’t have coffee, I also hear they serve a great cup of coffee with an array of options. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch and the price was right at around $8 for a very large portion.

5. After lunch, I did a quick walk of the main street and checked out a few of the shops. It’s Time Fashion and Gifts offers a wide array of items and is a true gem for such a small town. It’s Time occupies…

4500 square feet filled to the brim with unique fashions,accessories, gifts and wellness products. 

Manitoba Stay-Cation Neepawa

6. My final stop was the Margaret Laurence House. With time running out, I optedfor a quick self-guided tour. I was disappointed that I didn’t have time for the guided tour, as a few ladies had just completed it and were raving about how informative it had been. I enjoyed touring the home and my favourite part was finding the hole where the old stove pipe had been. Evidently Margaret used to listen to adult conversations through this when she was young. I must admit, visiting the home made me want to go back and read The Stone Angel again as I can’t even remember the story line….unfortunately high school was a long time ago for me.

7. With only a few minutes to spare before I had to hit the road and pick the kids up at camp. I decided to take a quick drive around town. I was told that two “must sees” were the Riverside Cemetery and the garden at the bottom of the hill on Mill Street. I did a quick tour and found both without too much difficulty. Although I am not 100% sure, I think I found the Stone Angel, as well??

Although I’m not certain, I think this beautiful garden is privately owned and maintained. It sits at the bottom of Mill Street and is truly remarkable although my pictures don’t really do it any justice.

I really enjoyed my time in Neepawa and wasn’t ready to leave when the time came. It is a gorgeous town with lots to see and do. If I had more time, I would have loved to visit the Beautiful Plains Museum, Lion’s Riverbend Park, The Lily Nook and completed the self-guided walking tour that takes you by all 24 of the historically significant buildings. There is a brochure highlighting the properties with a short historical summary of each. I’m not sure if this is available in a pdf or not, but I was given a copy when I booked my “horse and wagon tour”. I didn’t visit the park/campground, so I really can’t comment, but it looked beautiful from a distance when I took my drive around town. Lots to do and see in Neepawa!

Loathsome Lily Leaf Beetles

Although I am not yet feeling 100% and still find the computer and reading strenuous, I am attempting to get back at it with a few short posts here and there. I am off to pick the kids up from camp today and have decided to leave early so that I can visit the beautiful town of Neepawa. I have known about the Neepawa Lily Festival for several years now, as we drive through Neepawa the week before the festival when taking the kids to camp and again on the way back on the weekend of the festival. This year, I decided to leave early enough that I can spend a few hours there enroute to camp. I hope to have a great day and plan to post about my experience next week.

Loathsome Lily Leaf Beetles:

Luckily, I had done a bit of research on Neepawa and the festival events earlier in the summer, so I was already prepared for today’s stop. One of the things I learned in my research was a bit more about the dreaded Lily Leaf Beetle. Our own lilies became infested with these suckers last summer and at the time I had done some research and learned that there wasn’t much you could do about them other than pick them off and squish them. Yuck! Tim has been doing this, but we have not had much luck staying on top of them and they leave a path of destruction in their wake. Of course, as the beetles move west the future of the lilies in Neepawa is at risk with beetles now showing up as close as Gladstone. Although we have not tried any of the recommended courses of action (other than pick and kill), there are some suggestions in this article I found on the Lily Festival Site. It would be such a shame for Manitoba to be infested to such a degree that lilies are wiped out, but from the looks of our garden the outcome seems grim if something is not done to stop them.

Possible Solutions:

The previously mentioned article does offer some hope.

While the lily leaf beetle has no natural predators, there are a number of ways to control the insect.  Hand picking and squishing the bugs works well with adults.  Insecticides such as Sevin, Malathion, Safer’s End-All or Rotenone also work well.  At the larvae stage, Neem oil can be sprayed on the insects and plant every 5 to 7 days.  

Have You Tried Remedies that Work?

If you too have been infested and have found some solutions to these dreaded beasts, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. (I think we might try Rotenone which is an organic powder.)

If you are driving the Yellowhead this weekend and have a chance to check-out the festival it runs today, July 25th through to Sunday. Neepawa is approximately 2 hours west of Winnipeg.



Manitoba Stay-Cation #8: BDI

What’s Summer without a trip to the BDI?

The Bridge Drive-In is an absolute Winnipeg icon. The drive-in was established in 1957 and is definitely one of the hottest spots in town, especially on a warm evening. It is not uncommon for one to have trouble finding parking and then find themselves standing in a long line. I’m not sure if it’s actually slow or just seems slow because you are excited about the ice cream that awaits you and are breaking a sweat from standing in the hot sun. Regardless, the crowd and the line-up are actually part of the draw. Everyone wants to be where the action is and the BDI is always hopping, especially in the evenings. We stopped by after our zoo trip and it was mid afternoon. We did wait in line, but no more than a few minutes.

What’s the Big Deal?

We have been coming to the BDI for years and in my opinion the ice cream is absolutely delicious. It’s super creamy and there are many options to choose from. I will often opt for a simple chocolate twist dipped in chocolate ~ still a favourite from when I was a kid. The ice cream menu is extensive with many original items that can’t be found elsewhere. Everyone has their favourite. I’ve tried my share of the specialty dishes like the “Cantaberry”, “Peach Velvet” and the “Goog”, but over the years, I have found that I often stick with a cone and am never disappointed. Their sundaes are also really delicious.

If you read reviews about the BDI, you will generally get great reviews, but you will notice that some will complain about the price, parking, line-ups or even the product not being superior. Let me tell you up front ~ you need to go with the idea of embracing the whole experience of BDI. You might have trouble finding a parking spot and will definitely wait in line. I have never been there and walked right up to place my order. Be prepared for that. As far as the ice cream goes, I can’t tell you what it is made from or if in fact it is better than other ice cream shops around the city, but I will say this it is super creamy and delicious and there is no other location in the city that can boast the perfect riverside location that the BDI has. The success of this business rests just as much on location as it does on service and product, if not more. The drive-in is sitting along the river just steps from a beautiful walking bridge. There are plenty of benches for you to sit and enjoy your ice cream with a beautiful scenic view of the bridge and river, or you can enjoy a walk, over the water via the bridge.

The BDI is literally for everyone. It is a great place to take the family for ice cream and my 10 year old son even recognized the “romantic feel” of the location and announced that he would definitely being bringing a future girlfriend here on a date. Many couples stop by for a treat and walk, as it really is a perfect spot for “date night”.

As far as price goes, I don’t feel that it is outrageous at all. The kids both had large chocolate twist cones with chocolate dip and I had a small chocolate twist in a sugar cone with chocolate dip. The cost was $10.45. When we go to other establishments we will often pay $15 to $20 for all 4 of us. Obviously, if you order specialty items, you will be paying much more, but they are loaded with items like fresh fruit, nuts, sauces, etc. I personally find the prices comparable to other places and have never been disappointed with the product.

Again, BDI is not the place to stop to pick-up ice cream on the way home. If you aren’t prepared to be patient and really enjoy the entire outing, go to McDonalds drive through. You’ll be pleased with the low costs and quick service, but if you want to experience something really special ~ the BDI is an absolute Winnipeg “must do”.

The Bridge Drive-In is located at 766 Jubilee in the southern part of Winnipeg. No matter what part of the city you live in or are visiting, it is definitely worth the trip!

Manitoba Stay-Cation #7: Journey to Churchill Here We Come

What takes 4 hours and is a whole lot of fun? You guessed it, a Stay-Cation to the new and improved Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I know this is going to sound a little strange and my kids thought I was a complete moron, but I actually got a little choked-up at the zoo today. If you know me at all, you’ll know that it was not because the animals are being kept in captivity, as I can’t really say I have a huge tender spot in my heart for animals, especially wild ones. It’s not that I don’t respect the animals, it’s just that I don’t put much time or energy into thinking about what’s in their best interest. I just don’t get caught up in animal rights. I believe animals should be treated well, but its not my cause in life. I do love the fact that new exhibit has a strong focus on conservation and educating people about the impact that our actions have on the natural habitat of animals and their entire ecosystem. However, as I said it was not the animals that had me choked-up. It was that I was so impressed and proud that the zoo, our zoo, had finally been taken to a whole new level. It is truly a very well-planned, visually appealing and user-friendly zoo. It gets 4 stars from me and not because I don’t think the new exhibit is worth 5, but more so because I know that this is only the first step in the journey to take our zoo to being a top ranking facility in North America, if not world-wide.

Assiniboine Park Zoo

New Front Entrance

The Journey To Churchill:

Absolutely fabulous! Even before we knew we had reached the entrance, you could sense the change in the surroundings. The trees and greenery took on a different look that totally set it apart from the rest of the zoo. There were so many great things, it’s hard to recall them all. I loved the inukshuks that were scattered throughout the exhibit as well as the large one at the entrance that provided a great backdrop for a photo. The “rocky landscape” was beautiful and everything seemed so realistic. As you moved from one exhibit to another, everything just seemed to flow. It was so cool to see the ducks openly wandering about the open tundra. The movie in the round room was spectacular. It was very informative, but yet totally engaging and completely captured our attention. Of course, you can’t help but love the awesome view of the swimming seals/polar bears from beneath the surface through the “aquarium” tunnels. The entire exhibit was really impressive. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great pics of the animals, as most were either sleeping or behind glass.

The Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden:

Evidently the butterfly garden opened in 2011, but I had never seen it before. The flowers in the garden are beautiful and it was amazing to see so many different types of gorgeous butterflies fluttering about.

The Older Exhibits:

Having just been there in June, I noticed that many of the old exhibits had also been upgraded as well. The entire presentation just seemed so much more professional and classy. I’m not sure if I hadn’t noticed before or not, but I also loved how there were several picnic tables scattered in different green spaces throughout the zoo, so that you could stop for lunch, a snack or just take shelter from the sun and relax your legs.


The kids and I spent about 3 hours in the zoo. We saw all of the exhibits, but definitely passed by some more quickly than others. We took water with us, but didn’t take any snacks and were ready to go by the end of the 3 hours. We all really enjoyed the afternoon and would highly recommend you check-out it out. It really is a must see. We didn’t even have much to look at in terms of the animals activity levels as most were trying to avoid the hot sun and snoozing in the shade, but it was still a great day. The admission for one adult and two children was about $46 with tax and worth every penny!

Tips for Visiting the Zoo:

We basically did it all wrong today, but we had an open afternoon and I really wanted to see the “new” zoo, as I had highlighted it in a previous post and was quite excited. When we go again, I will make sure I follow my own tips. I know from our visits to other zoos, that the best time to visit a zoo is either first thing in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. The perfect conditions are generally in the morning with overcast skies or light rain.

In 2011, we visited Jack Hanna’s Zoo in Columbus Ohio. It was actually a really hot day, but we were only in Ohio for one day, as we were on a road trip, so we didn’t get to pick the day. As it turned out, the skies became overcast and we were caught in a huge down pour that lasted about 30 minutes or so. In the end, it was by far the best zoo experience we had ever had. The polar bears were partaking in some kind of a private party that involved a diving contest, the mandrills were mating (now that’s not an image you’ll soon forget) and a gorilla with attitude gave Tim “the finger” when they embarked on a stare down. It was a crazy day and so much fun! Believe me, if it works for you try to plan to arrive early (our zoo opens at 9:00 a.m.) and pick a day that is overcast or lightly raining. Morning is often feeding time as well and that too can cause the animals to be more active. You won’t be sorry!

Just for fun, I’ve included a few pics from our trip to the Columbus Zoo. Seriously, we had such an awesome view of every animal….the overcast and rain make for more active animals.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of our new exhibit and zoo upgrades or your favourite zoos to visit.

Manitoba Stay-Cation #6 ~ Simply “Hair-endous”

I’ve now been a teacher for more years than those I have not. I’ve been on countless field trips and visited many museums. The strange thing is that I somehow totally missed this common hobby from the 1800’s. It wasn’t until our Manitoba Stay-Cation that I first heard of hairwork. We visited the Hillcrest Museum in Souris last week and our tour guide pointed out a “hair wreath” hanging on one of the walls. At a glance or from a distance, you honestly would never know it was made of human hair, but when you get up close…well, yuck! I was totally grossed out and in fact, my gag reflex started to kick in. Are you kidding me…a wreath, a decoration for your home, made entirely out of human hair. Who would do that and why?


I mentioned this to my neighbour as she is extremely well read. She totally knew what I was talking about and went on to explain that sometimes hairwork was done using hair from loved ones to make a form of a family tree. I have to admit, like my own mother, I did keep a lock of hair from both of my kids’ first haircuts, but I certainly didn’t wear it as a broach! Besides wreaths, other crafts were made and given as gifts to loved ones. Although “hairwork” was not always created when mourning the passing of a family member, it often was.

Having had long hair most of my life and forever finding strands here and there about the house, I can’t even imagine the thought of twisting and weaving them into a special piece of art or jewellery. To think these “art” pieces would actually be a like a family heirloom. To me hair is disgusting, but I must say the thought of  hairwork was so far out there for me, I had to google and see what else I could learn about this “art” form from so long ago.

What is even more interesting is that “hair jewellery” was actually a viable industry in the mid 1800’s. Evidently, you could choose the design you liked and submit the hair you wished to be used in the finished piece. Hairworkers would do “contract work” to create the desired pieces. So in fact, they got to touch and work with the hair of a stranger. I don’t mean to knock history as I know times were completely different. For example, you couldn’t order a floral spray for a funeral, but for me it’s just a little more than I can fathom. I guess it made for cheap and accessible craft supplies and came in a variety of hues, but really? Don’t get me wrong, I think that the concept is genius and the intricate work is phenomenal, but I personally just can’t get passed the medium used. Perhaps if this was something that my own family had passed along for generations, I might feel differently. In fact, this post had me thinking about a locket that has been in my mom’s family for a long time. I emailed my cousin to see if she could email me a photo of it because if my memory serves me correct, I think one side of the locket contained a photo of an ancestor and the other side contained locks of hair. Perhaps this was some how part of this popular trend.

For your enjoyment, I have included some lovely photos (Ha! Ha!), but if you want to see some actual pieces, I know that the Hillcrest Museum in Souris, Manitoba has one and the Seven Oaks House Museum right here in Winnipeg has three as well. Seven Oaks House was built in 1851 and is one of the oldest surviving residents in Manitoba. We live quite close to it, so I have been there several times, but never even noticed the hair wreaths. You can bet I’ll be going back to check them out this summer.