What’s going on in Manitoba these days?
It seems like wherever you look these days, there are exciting things happening in Manitoba in the world of sports! The most recent event announced is that Winnipeg will be hosting the 2025 Grey Cup. Maybe our Blue Bombers will get a chance to stage a three-peat in front of Manitobans and true-blue football fans. After winning the Grey Cup in 2020 and 2021, we were disappointed (but still very proud) to see our Bombers lose the Grey Cup last November by one point. A 5 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a stirring 24-23 upset at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. We are very proud to have had 3 Oak Park (Charleswood) grads play on the Bomber team. Andrew Harris (now Toronto), Nick Demski, and Brady Oliveira have all played big roles and we are proud to claim them as our own. And our fans just happen to be the very best!
Not only is the chance to witness a Grey Cup in our own Winnipeg a very exciting event, it is also very good for the economy. Hosting the Grey Cup and related festivities is estimated to result in more than a $90-million boost in economic activities. Another positive result of hosting the Grey Cup is how it showcases our many tourist sites. From the Human Rights Museum to the newest attraction, the Leaf, there will be lots for people to turn the weekend into a mini vacation. Having visited the Leaf recently, I can certainly attest to the wonders of this botanical retreat. Visitors will journey through four distinct biomes: the Tropical Biodome, Mediterranean Biome, Babs Asper Display House, and the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden. And if that isn’t enough, The Leaf is also home to the tallest indoor waterfall in Canada. It is six stories in height and as well as being a wonderful sight, it also contributes to the biome’s mechanical system by providing humidification in the winter and evaporative cooling in the summer.
From the world of football to the world of curling, we have just witnessed Manitoba winning gold in the National Ladies Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Kerri Einarson of Gimli and her team just won their 4th national title. Not only was Einarson there as Team Canada, we had 3 more teams that represented Manitoba - Jennifer Jones of Team Manitoba, Kaitlyn Lawes and Meghan Walker both as Wild Cards. At the time of this writing, Einarson was on her way to play in the Worlds Curling in Sweden beginning March 18th.
The Men’s Brier held recently was also very exciting for Manitoba with Matt Dunstone winning Silver. Manitoba was also represented by the Wild Card Team of Reid Carruthers. Skip Mike McEwen (Charleswood resident) was skipping the Ontario team with Manitoba connections who made it to the final four. Team Canada (Brad Gushue from Newfoundland) will be competing in the Worlds in Curling at the beginning of April.
Another worthy mention in the world of curling is Manitoban Dennis Thiessen, a world and Olympic champion in Wheelchair Team Curling. Dennis has taken up the sport of curling Mixed Doubles with Collinda Joseph representing Team Canada. Team Canada just won bronze at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship. I was fortunate to have Dennis come and speak at one of my Community Leaders Lunches a number of years ago. He was an inspiration to everyone and was treated like a “rock star.”
Athletes recently headed to Prince Edward Island for the Canada Winter Games and brought back 19 medals: 6 bronze, 6 silver, and 7 gold. . Some of the athletes came into the office for provincial pins to trade at these events and we were happy to be able to supply them with the pins. Team Manitoba had major successes in long track speed skating, archery, and figure skating. In figure skating, they got a gold medal in pairs, and a Canadian record score. Manitoba archers earned 6 medals in total and were selected as flag bearers for the closing ceremony.
Did anyone mention hockey? Our beloved Winnipeg Jets are having a rather tumultuous year going from being in the running for first place in their conference to struggling to make it into the playoffs. But we love them anyway and our fans are always supportive. Speaking of hockey, did you know that Manitoba is competing against 3 other towns in Canada to win the Kraft Hockeyville crown? The community of St. Anne, MB will go up against Maple Ridge, BC, West Lorne, Ont, and Saint-Anselme, Que. Over the last 17 nears Kraft Hockeyville has awarded 4.5 million to 93 communities. At this point they have qualified for $25,000 to be used for arena repairs. By the time this article is published the contest will have ended so I hope that they receive enough votes to put them over the top and win $250,000.
Spring is on its way so I hope you enjoy getting out in the fresh air either playing a sport or watching your children and grand children on the soccer and ball fields. Manitoba also has an abundance of wonderful golf courses – it’s invigorating to get out for your first game of the season while being surrounded by trees, flowers, grass and the great outdoors. There’s nothing better for your mental and physical health than being outdoors.