Monday, Victoria Day in Winnipeg! We enjoyed a bit of a sleep in and had a later breakfast so that singers could shower and do their final room clean and check out.
We met Ernie on the bus for our last hurrah, and headed off to Assiniboine Park and Zoo. First, we pit-stopped at the Winnie the Pooh museum and saw some of the WW1 artifacts from Lieutenant Colbourne. As we had learned already, this baby bear was found by a trapper and brought to White River, Ontario. Colbourne, a veterenarian looking after the horses that were moving by train through the area, bought the bear for $20, and eventually gave the bear to the London Zoo. You can read the whole story here.
In the same building as the Winnie the Pooh gallery, there was a captivating gallery of Cape Dorset Inuit drawing. Singers were really enthralled by this artwork, and by the story of how Cape Dorset became known for print making and artwork. It was interesting to be able to see the pencil crayon lines and “colouring in” so “up close”! Usually, we are only able to see art like that in books or on art cards!
I was quite impressed and kind of amazed at how interested my choir was in all this artwork! I was thrilled! Or maybe it was simply the subject matter. 😉 Their adolescent eyes were totally glued to Ivan Eyre’s huge bronze sculpture that has been recently installed in front of the park Pavilion.
We got to the zoo before noon, but the sun was hot and searing already. We tromped our way up to the Journey to Churchill exhibit, and found a shady spot in a viewing area with nice acoustics to sing a couple of songs for the passersby. After that, it was all about the Polar Bears!!! This exhibit, where Polar Bears are being rehabilitated and studied, was the best. You walk through this glass tube, and the bears are swimming all around you! And there are many areas to view the bears in a huge area. Further along, the zoo has recreated a main street in Churchill, so you feel like you are there. These bears and the permafrost up north need our attention and solutions to climate change, or the consequences will be dire. (It is already very bad, as the displays taught us.)
Other parts of the zoo were old and that old school concept of having majestic animals in small cages with surroundings nothing like their natural habitats. Gross and upsetting.
It was a perfect day to end the tour: a hot summer-like day to wander together and see the sights, with nothing too stressful to have to do!
We met our bus in the late afternoon and headed to the airport.
As we were chilling out gathered on various seats at the loading gate waiting area, I looked around and felt my heart swell with pride and delight and LOVE for these singers. They looked so calm, so confident and at ease with themselves and with each other. They looked different somehow, in their very “being”. The little voice in my head told me “THIS is why….”