Something a little different today: Here’s a note I got last night from a Winnipeg ex-pat who stumbled on Winnipeg Love Hate and was inspired to share some thoughts. I’ve gotten lots of emails over the years, but this one is particularly eloquent and contains sentiments to which many of us can likely relate; I know I can.
This evening, while searching for pictures of an old neighbourhood I grew up in as a teenager (Fort Richmond, to be exact), I came across your website. I was (and am) simply astounded by the deftness with which you depict aspects of a city that I both admire and revile (I should note that I spent the first 25 years of my life there before relocating in 1993.) Indeed, I found myself guessing at the locations of the slivers of architecture and time you captured, shivering in the ice fog, and trying to peer into the lit windows of the dreary and dilapidated homes in neighbourhoods I’d dare not tread, day or night. You’ve woven a tapestry that is not only rich in colour and contrast, but in emotion.
Some places I recall from childhood. Some, from my exuberance as a youth, and others from my darkest days as a lost young adult battling cynicism and hopelessness (it was at this point that I left town, lest it devoured me.) Truly, in the 25 years since I departed Winnipeg, I have experienced fond dreams of reminiscence—and nightmares of bitterness and fear—about the place that remind me why relocating was my only option at that point in my life. Put another way, you captured the spectrum of my subconscious, enabling me to get in touch with my past and emotions in a way that the simple recollection of a dream or forgotten memory will not permit—and for that, I do thank you so very much for your gift.
That said, I wish to commend you on creating a portfolio of memories, times, and places that speak so acutely as to why Winnipeg is a city that I, for one, never want to remember, nor one that I can ever completely forget.
Chris Pavlik (Winnipeg 1967-1993)