Dauphin Manitoba

I want to ride my bicycle

Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity. ~ Lord Charles Beresford

As we biked down the main street on the seven seater round conference bicycle I suddenly felt the urge to start singing "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike" by the band Queen. The residents of Dauphin, Manitoba were already staring and waving anyways, so I figured what would a few more stares and waves matter! But between all the pedaling and laughing I couldn't quite muster up the courage to start belting out the tune.

Tourism Dauphin had invited me to attend a day of exploring the city. BCRobyn was in town - a blogger touring around the Province of Manitoba in conjunction with Travel Manitoba - and Tourism Dauphin had arranged a small group of locals and some unique experiences to introduce her to the City of Dauphin. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the locals. The plan was we would show BCRobyn around the community on the new seven seater conference bicycle, nicknamed Cubi, which is owned by Catalyst Credit Union (formerly known as Dauphin Plains Credit Union). Cubi is one of only two seven seater conference bicycles in Canada and simply riding this bike is an adventure all on its own.

As we pulled up to the Credit Union and got our first glimpse of Cubi, the very special bike, we immediately began to laugh. The whole concept of a conference bike is both complete genius and complete hilarity. It makes you want to jump right on and take it out for a spin.

Cubi, The Seven Seater Conference BicycleWe spent all afternoon peddling and laughing, waving to people, and stopping to explore and tour some neat, local Dauphin attractions. We toured the Watson Art Centre and received a glimpse into the local art and music scene. We hand cranked our own homemade ice cream at Fort Dauphin Museum, and enjoyed it while sitting amongst the historic buildings and artifacts. We learned about local Ukrainian culture and sang Silent Night in the balcony of the beautiful Historic Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection (the acoustics are amazing!). We giggled when we got the bike stuck on the railway tracks as we paused to glance towards Baldy Mountain, the highest point in Manitoba. We cheered as I sampled borscht for the first time at a Ukrainian dinner in the basement of a church (best soup I've ever eaten!). Heck, we even ran into the Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, who too was amazed and bewildered by the seven seater conference bike and proceeded to jump right on and join us for a quick spin right there in the parking lot.

Artifacts at Fort Dauphin Museum

Ceiling of The Historic Ukrainian Catholic Church Of The Resurrection

My First Ever Borscht Experience! Delicious!As our bicycle trip drew to an end I felt proud, thankful, and happy. Proud to live in the Parkland area of Manitoba, thankful for the opportunity to explore some great Dauphin attractions with a great group of people, and happy to have the experience of cruising on Cubi, the seven seater conference bike. The little voice in my head just can't stop singing "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike". I think it is time to dust off my own personal bicycle built for one and head out for another Dauphin bicycle adventure very soon.

For more information on Cubi, the seven seater conference bicycle, as well as local Dauphin attractions please visit Tourism Dauphin at http://www.tourismdauphin.ca/.

For more information on BCRobyn, a blogger who is touring Manitoba this summer in conjunction with Travel Manitoba, please visit http://www.bcrobyn.com/.


The earth without art is just eh. ~ Unknown

I never considered myself an artist. I enjoy creating things but usually choose other means of creativity to express myself. Yet art has always intrigued me. I have often thought I would like to take an art class but I was too afraid. I always felt I didn’t have the natural skills to create a pretty piece worthy to hang on a wall. I decided it was time to challenge that view of myself and try something new. I noticed an advertisement for a Zendoodling Art Class that was being held at the Watson Art Centre in Dauphin. The class description claimed I didn’t need any special skills and that if I could write my name then I could create a zendoodle. It sounded like the perfect art class for a beginner and I quickly signed up.

When I arrived at the Watson Art Centre I was greeted by a familiar face, Jan Jenkins, a local artist. I was pleased to discover she would be teaching the zendoodling art class as she has such a welcoming and supportive personality. People began to trickle in to the class, a mixture of old and young, male and female, established artists and beginners. Jan went over the basics, describing how zendoodling is simply an abstract drawing created by using repetitive patterns. She demonstrated some basic zendoodling techniques and supplies and encouraged us to let go of any pre-conceived notions and to tap into our creative part of our brain. After a quick break we were ready to start our own zendoodle. Quiet music played while we let our doodles guide us in our new artwork. The techniques were surprisingly quite easy and it didn’t take long for myself and my classmates to create some interesting pieces of artwork.

The day after my zendoodling class I wanted more, I was officially hooked on zendoodling. I found a quiet spot in my house and I sat down and practiced the techniques and information I had learned in the class. I think my zendoodle “Sunny Daze” turned out pretty decent considering I am a beginner artist. I can’t wait to see what I come up with next!

If you are interested in taking an art class in Dauphin please visit the Watson Art Centre at www.watsonartcentre.com for more information. If I can create a piece of art, so can you!

the great canadian slugfest

The Stanfields make you proud to be a Maritimer, and jealous if you aren't. ~ Q104FM Halifax

Adding Nova Scotia charm to New York punk rock, Gloryhound continues to solidify their spot in the Canadian music scene. ~ The Examiner

I spent most of my twenties in Halifax, Nova Scotia where east coast music is celebrated and encouraged. I would routinely hit a local pub or bar with friends and catch the newest east coast band. I have many fond memories of those years, and lots of songs as souvenirs that immediately transport me back to that time in my life. When I moved to rural Manitoba it was a bit of a struggle to give up the idea of not being surrounded by east coast music. Friends back home would email me with tips on all these new great Nova Scotia bands they were seeing live, and a small piece of me would twinge with jealously that I wasn‘t there to see them in concert. Now it is their turn to be jealous of me.

Recently The Watson Art Centre in Dauphin hosted two fantastic Nova Scotia bands - Gloryhound and The Stanfields. I knew I had to go. Nova Scotians always support other Nova Scotians, especially when they are outside of Nova Scotia. I was familiar with The Stanfields, they came on the Nova Scotia music scene after I moved to Manitoba, but friends back home raved about how great they were live and I already knew all the words to a couple of their songs. Gloryhound seemed familiar but I didn’t know any of their music, but I had this gut feeling they were be great too.

Both bands were fantastic live at the Watson Art Centre. With two Nova Scotia flags proudly displayed on stage, both bands rocked out and put on a great show. Gloryhound was a heavier rock band, their talent and skills were very evident and they were great interacting with the crowd. The Stanfields combined traditional east coast music with old fashioned rock and roll, producing a very upbeat and enjoyable sound. After the concert was over both bands hung around and mixed with the audience. It was really nice to meet all the members of both bands and to share some east coast memories and stories. As I left the Watson Art Centre after the concert one of the other east coasters yelled out to me “see you later, Nova Scotian”. It was a proud moment. Proud to have the opportunity to see two great Nova Scotia bands in Dauphin, and proud that I live near Dauphin - a city that values up and coming Canadian music and strongly supports touring musicians.  I am thankful to the City of Dauphin, the Watson Art Centre, Gloryhound, and The Stanfields for offering me a small taste of home.

If you are like me, a “come from away” living in the Dauphin area, keep your eyes and ears open. You just never know when a band from home will cruise on into Dauphin and play a show. It sure was nice to have a little piece of home show up in my new Manitoba community.

For more information on The Stanfields please visit www.thestanfields.ca.

For more information on Gloryhound please visit www.gloryhoundband.com.

For more information on the Watson Art Centre visit www.watsonartcentre.com.

get wac'd

Now if you're going to be here, come along with me, maybe I could show you something you've never seen. ~ 54-40, Come Here

As I pay for my new t-shirt at the refreshment stand I nod my head in agreement with the slogan on the t-shirt - “Live Music Is Better At The WAC”. The WAC stands for Watson Art Centre, a really neat old heritage building in downtown Dauphin, Manitoba that has been turned into this great art and music centre. My first encounter at the WAC was a small free flow writing class a couple months ago which was a huge success. While in the building for the writing class I noticed a sign for an upcoming concert - the band 54-40. I knew I had to attend.  I have lived in the Dauphin area for just over two years but had yet to take in a concert at the WAC. I thought 54-40 would be the perfect band for my first “get WAC’d” experience. I had seen 54-40 in concert a few years ago when I lived in Halifax and fell absolutely in love with their music. I had a hunch the concert room at the WAC with its amazing old features such as a spiral staircase, balcony and patterned ceiling would create some interesting acoustics for a concert. So with my previous 54-40 concert experience and hunch about the neat acoustics I eagerly purchased a few tickets to the concert and arranged a girls night out with some friends.

As my girlfriends and I drove to the WAC we pondered what the concert experience would be like. We were not sure if it would be standing or sitting, or if the crowd would be packed and pumping, or more relaxed and subdued.  We were open to anything and everything. We arrived at the concert and climbed the steps to the hall. Refreshments and t-shirts for sale in the foyer proved very popular with patrons, and the hall was set up quite nicely with round tables and chairs, a dance floor at the front, and dim candle lighting. My first thought was this is such a great, small intimate venue for concerts, I wonder if the bands enjoy this set up too? I made a mental note to try and gauge whether 54-40 enjoyed their own “get wac‘d“ experience throughout the concert. We found a table close to the front and settled in with our drinks. The crowd was an interesting mixture of old and young, alternative and more traditional. I took comfort in the crowd, it really showcased nicely how Dauphin is a community that comes together to support music and the arts and that it doesn’t seem to matter who you are or what your taste is, there is a spot for you.

The opening act, The Bad Marleys, took the stage. They were a wonderful, tight country meets rock musical group, and interacted in a joking manner with the crowd. Perfect choice as an opener for 54-40. After a brief intermission and my unsuccessful try at winning a raffle draw, it was time for the main attraction. A small group of people began to make their way to the dance floor directly under the stage in anticipation for 54-40. I admired how the stage was high enough that even if you were sitting at the back of the room at a table, or up high in the old fashioned balcony you had a perfect view from every angle. We chose to stay seated at our table, as free food such as popcorn and veggies and dip had been brought to the tables and it had caught our attention. But as the band came on stage and struck up their first song the food no longer seemed important and we became fixated on enjoying the musical show. 54-40 played for quite a while, and once they started playing their hit songs we were drawn to the dance floor to rock out with the band too. As my friend and I danced and sang the lyrics a man, a complete stranger, leaned in and sang the lyrics right along with us. It was obvious he was having a great time, and I was having a great time too knowing this type of entertainment was available in Dauphin. It was also very obvious 54-40 was enjoying their own get WAC’d experience, smiling and laughing and interacting with the crowd.

When the concert finally drew to an end we left happy. Getting WAC’d was reasonably cheap, close to home, and a great way to have a girls night out on the town. We are already making plans for our next get WAC’d experience! For more information on the Watson Art Centre and how to create your own get WAC’d experience please visit www.watsonartcentre.com.

dauphin area bucket list

When I found out I was going to be participating in the Tourism Dauphin One Year Here campaign I started thinking about all the different things I could experience in the area and write about. I have already experienced many things in the area. I have gone horse back riding in Riding Mountain National Park. I have used the walking trail in Vermillion Park. I have gone fishing in countless locations around Dauphin. I have climbed to the top of Baldy Mountain in the Duck Mountains Provincial Park. I have witnessed a herd of buffalo crossing a road. I have played in the waves at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre. I have seen a wolf and moose in the wild for the first time. I have enjoyed the new Countryfest Cinema. I have experienced a spa day at Elkhorn Resort. I have participated in riding a bicycle built for five. Basically I have gone out of my way to try and experience many of the local opportunities and have succeeded, yet there are many more local opportunities on my must try wish list. So many opportunities that I decided to create a “Dauphin Area Bucket List”.

Creating this list was actually quite difficult - difficult because there are so many attractions and experiences to choose from, but I think I finally narrowed it down to a manageable list. In the next year I will be working hard to cross things off this list, and I plan to share some of my experiences with you through the One Year Here Campaign to inspire you to get out there and explore all that the Dauphin area has to offer.

Earth Rhythms Guided Tour. I have been to Riding Mountain National Park many times. In fact in all of Manitoba it is my favourite place in the entire province! I want to experience Riding Mountain National Park in a new way, through a customized day tour with Earth Rhythms. The tour that appeals to me the most is their First Light Wildlife Watch which is lead by Celes Davar, a local guide who has extensive experience with nature photography and hidden gem locations in Riding Mountain National Park. This tour focuses on teaching you techniques and locations for shooting fantastic nature and wildlife photographs in Riding Mountain National Park. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a morning in the Parkland! For more information click here.

Art Class at Watson Art Centre. I recently became familiar with the Watson Art Centre when I decided to join a local free flow writing group held at the centre. This writing group has been a wonderful experience and I am eager to find other interesting and new adventures at the Watson Art Centre. One thing that sticks out in my mind as a neat Dauphin experience is the various art classes or workshops. For instance, zendoodling, which according to the class description requires no talent at all, just an open mind to art. Sounds like a neat art class for someone like me who has zero art skills but is eager to learn! For more information click here.

Guided Tour Of A Historic Ukrainian Catholic Church. I have admired the beautiful Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection in Dauphin many times from afar but I have never stepped inside for a closer look. I recently learned the church offers a guided tour which outlines the local history and features of the church. I can’t wait to get a closer look at this beautiful church. For more information click here.

Manipogo Provincial Park. I have heard rumours that a legendary sea monster lurks in Lake Manitoba. I want to visit Manipogo Provincial Park near Dauphin and try and see this monster that many Manitobans refer to as Manipogo. Keep your fingers crossed I catch it on video. If I do, I promise to share the evidence! For more information click here.

Guided Ice Fishing Day Trip. I have fished in many locations around Dauphin, but I have never in my life gone ice fishing. To be honest, it intimidates me a bit, but I am anxious to try it. I think a day of guided ice fishing with Sticky’s Bait & Tackle would be a great way to be introduced to ice fishing and the winter fishing opportunities in this part of the Parkland. For more information click here.

Flight From Dauphin to Winnipeg. I love flying! I had my first taste of flying as a young child when our neighbour took my siblings and I for a ride in his small plane in rural Nova Scotia. I loved soaring above the landscape, picking out all the local spots I already knew, and getting a bird’s eye view of my community. I want to have a similar experience here in the Dauphin area and take a flight from Dauphin to Winnipeg with Perimeter Airlines. I can‘t wait to see how Riding Mountain National Park looks like from the sky. For more information click here.

Dauphin Farmers Market. I am a strong supporter of shopping local however I feel almost embarrassed that I have yet to visit the Dauphin Farmers Market. It is held every Friday from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at the Rotary Arena starting in early July to the end of September. I wonder what yummy local goods are waiting for me? For more information click here.

The Parkland Snowshoeing Club. Last winter I heard about a new Facebook group called The Parkland Snowshoeing Club. Basically it is a group of people who are interested in getting together and snowshoeing in various areas of the Parkland region. When I lived in Nova Scotia I routinely went snowshoeing but I have not had the opportunity to go snowshoeing since living in the Dauphin area. I want to join this group on a winter snowshoe hike. For more information search "Parkland Snowshoeing Club" on Facebook.

Flavour Trail - The Martese. I have tried quite a few of the “stops” on the Parkland Flavour Trail but have yet to experience eating a nice meal aboard The Martese. This ship offers a fine dining experience while taking a scenic evening cruise on Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. It sounds like a splendid way to spend an evening. For more information click here.

Music Concert at Watson Art Centre. Recently I had the opportunity to peak into the upstairs concert room at the Watson Art Centre. I was amazed at the interesting and old features, and I knew immediately it could be a great place for acoustics at a music concert. I want to experience a concert firsthand at the Watson Art Centre. In fact, I have a few concert options already picked out. I think it is so nice that Dauphin and the Watson Art Centre are able to provide a wonderful, inviting space for musical concerts. For more information click here.

Journey Home Yurt. I am a yurt lover! I have already experienced camping in one yurt in the Parkland region, and I am eager to check out another yurt located close by. Journey Home offers an interesting yurt experience with optional added touches such as art classes, ethnic dinner parties and mythic mapping. For more information click here.

Childs Lake Lodge & Outfitters In Duck Mountains Provincial Park. I have been to the Duck Mountains Provincial Park a few times to fish but have yet to experience fishing or camping at Childs Lake. I think Childs Lake Lodge & Outfitters looks like a great spot to relax and catch the big one! Cabins, boat rentals, restaurant onsite, beach, what more could I ask for in an overnight fishing excursion?!? For more information click here.

Visit A Honey Farm And Make Beeswax Candles. I have been to a honey farm only once. I was four years old and in nursery school. I don’t remember a single thing. I would love the opportunity to learn all about local honey farms in the Dauphin area, and possibly have the opportunity to make my own special beeswax candles. What a neat hands on experience and souvenir! For more information click here.

Dauphin Kings Hockey Game. It is nice to have the Winnipeg Jets back in Manitoba, but there is no need to drive to Winnipeg to watch some exciting hockey. Dauphin is home to the Junior A Dauphin Kings, but I have yet to attend a game. I think it is time to check it out for myself. For more information click here.

Golf Lesson at Dauphin Lake Golf Course. I have never golfed. Well, that is not entirely true. I have mini-golfed, and once, 20 years ago, I went to a driving range and it was a disaster. Yet I am continually intrigued by the idea of learning to golf. I think a good place to start would be to sign up for a lesson with a pro at the Dauphin Lake Golf Course. Worst case scenario I make a fool out of myself yet still enjoy the beautiful course and scenery. For more information click here.

Baba’s Bread and Borscht. Recently I learned how to make perogies with a local group of Parkland women. It was an amazing experience and it encouraged me to search out other unique cooking experiences available in the Dauphin area. I think I found the perfect experience! Learning how to make bread and borscht at Trembowla, a national and provincial heritage site located just 20 minutes from Dauphin. I can already feel my mouth watering in anticipation. For more information click here.

Christmas At Fort Dauphin. Every December Fort Dauphin comes alive with Christmas spirit. Christmas decorations, hot chocolate and horse rides all while exploring the interesting history at Fort Dauphin. I have never been to Fort Dauphin, and I think visiting it at Christmas time would make it even more special. For more information click here.

Crooked Mountain Cabins. These cute, rustic cabins are located near Riding Mountain National Park. I think it looks like a perfect, peaceful place to stay and to use as a home base to experience all there is to offer in the Riding Mountain National Park and Parkland region. For more information click here.

Dauphin Architectural Walking Tour. I have walked around the city of Dauphin many times and have admired some of the interesting old buildings but I have never taken the time to educate myself with their history and significance to the community. The City of Dauphin has taken the time to create three distinct self guided walking tours which outline some of the more interesting buildings in Dauphin. I think I will print off the guides and take it with me next time I go for a walk in Dauphin. Then I can amaze all my local friends with quirky facts and information next time we see one of the buildings! For more information click here.

Do you have any favourite activities in the Dauphin area that I might not be aware of? What would you place on your own special Dauphin Area Bucket List?