Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Journey to Churchill"

Watching the news today... wow. They said the exhibit will "spur discussion" or something like that. I'm in... let's discuss.

Let's review this article from he biggest cheerleaders of the CHRM.  "Proponents said Journey to Churchill, along with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, will make Winnipeg a tourist magnet."
Ummm... ya, I can see the kids now, after viewing the CMHR displays and having all the uplifting, joyous material there explained to them in depth by their parents. They'll do the CMHR in the morning, and the zoo, (teary eyed and distraught) in the afternoon. As if. NOBODY is coming to Winnipeg to go see the CMHR, and since I'm a bit of a "building freak", I'm hoping to go see it BEFORE they fill it up with their "displays".

10 acres... 45 million dollars, and since someone else made the connection to the CMHR... that'll be $102 million before it's finished in 2013... I mean 2014... I mean 2015. Sure, Gail isn't involved, but c'mon, you KNOW that an "artist impression" will double (or more) in cost before it's finally done. Consider the stadium Greg is buying us.

Thanks Greg. A new stadium AND a new polar bear exhibit. You're the best buddy ever! All that with MY money.

"motorized polar bear tundra tours" Seriously? I can ride a Tundra buggy to see the bears? That'll replace the train we've been enjoying for a few generations. How much do the Tundra Buggies cost Greg?

Japanese and European tourists will no longer have to fly to Churchill! Now they can just land at the new airport terminal (if and when it opens), and go to the zoo. Then the next day, they can take a boat load of pictures at some other destination. (CMHR?)

Now let's be clear, we need to spend money on our zoo. Regular readers will know that I'm seldom against development BUT... The City is looking at possibly decommissioning the Arlington Street Bridge (over 100 years old). How long before we finally figure out that the Louise and Redwood bridges are ALSO that old? How much to JUST build a decent Polar Bear exhibit?

Zoos and aquariums ARE a big feature of a city, but they don't MAKE a city. We visited Berlin, and we didn't have time to go to the world famous zoo in that metropolis... there was just too much else to see in the two days we were there. We also didn't go see the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp. We were on vacation, wanting to have a great time... not be visiting a place that was SURE to be a "dower". On the other hand, I was in Monteray Cal., and thoroughly enjoyed the aquarium. (BTW, Berlin also has a world renowned aquarium we didn't go see). I STILL talk about the touch pool where you can touch manta rays as they "fly" by (they feel like a portobello mushrooms underside) and pick up starfish. The glass wall that allows you to view the biggest tank is 18" thick...

Winnipeg is not Berlin... nor Monterey. We are a city in a crisis. Our bridges are falling apart, our roads are nothing short of embarrassing, our traffic infrastructure is pathetic, our sewer and water lines need serious upgrading, and we're building a display that is "over the top".

People will NOT come to Winnipeg to see the zoo, or the CMHR. They might go see those things while already here, but I think you're a nut if you want to tell me people will plan a vacation to Winnipeg to see those things. They are NOT to be put into the same league as the Mall of America, Albertville, or West Edmonton Mall and the Water Park. People don't come to Winnipeg to "get away for a weekend" unless they live in Kenora, Swan River, or are able to make in in via winter road from Pukatawagen... which reminds me... check this out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej847oDOVvo


  1. I think the polar bear exhibit looks promising, and will certainly give us more bang for our buck than the CMHR. I'm not sold on the buggy, but it could be popular. Overall, I think it's a great thing for Winnipeg, and something that we should have. If we have a niche of any kind that will bring people here, it's polar bears.

  2. Even if people won't come to Winnipeg to see the zoo, what's wrong with building a zoo display for the benefit of the 750,000 people who live here? Not everything necessarily has to be for tourists.

  3. You know what, I love the zoo, and I love the polar bears. Even though I also ragged on the exhibit in my own blog, it was more on the overly NDP influenced propaganda-like promotional video than on the exhibit itself. Sure it will take people away from going to Churchill, but many people say Churchill is over-touristed as it is. Some people might just be happy with this. If it can alleviate that stress, then it's not really competition but more like a (God I hate to use this word) synergy. Is it worth more than 100 million dollars? I don't know. It'll never recoup the money. I Hope a decent amount of that is made up of private donations.

  4. Oh and as for shutting down the Arlington Street Bridge.. that would be a shame. I love those old bridges. They give this city a certain panache.

  5. The Redwood Bridge has about 3 years on it since a complete overhaul. It is good for another 70 years.

  6. Someone in this town needs to start an indie pop group and call it "The Tundra Buggies". This really needs to happen.

  7. @ Riverman. The Redwood Bridge is the oldest bridge in the city (1908). The recent revamp is supposed to add 40 years to it's life... but I don't believe it. Look at the "regalvanization" that was done to Arlington about 8 years ago. It's a patch job at best. Why would Redwood and Louise be different than Arlington? Consider the words of a City Engineer regarding Arlington, ""The bridge is 100 years old and like anything built 100 years ago they never envisioned the kind of loading and traffic volumes (we have) 100 years later," Deane said" (WFP)

  8. @RM. The process were completely different on the Louise and Arlington. They were a cold application while the Redwood was coated with a molten zinc alloy using a plasma arc melting process. Apples and oranges. Plus, the entire substructure was replaced with factory make, hot galvanized components. The bridge is far stronger now than it was as new.

    I live beside it and I watched the entire rebuild process.