People dancing, people laughing

Winnipeg is blessed with several wonderful parks and there is no reason to wait for Saturday to enjoy them.

In their classic song, Saturday in the Park, Chicago captures the joy of spending time at the park: “People dancing, people laughing/A man selling ice cream/ .... People talking, really smiling/A man playing guitar.”

Assiniboine Park in particular is a jewel in Winnipeg’s crown. People from across the city flock to the 80-plus-acre zoo, stroll through the beautifully cultivated English Garden, play various sports fields or enjoy the many bronze sculptures throughout the park.

Everywhere you look art meshes seamlessly with nature; be it the bronze sculptures of the Leo Mol Garden or the wondrous Nature’s Playground. The soft sounds of jazz mix with the tinkling of a child’s laughter, while butterflies drift and flit in the breeze. Families celebrate milestones in the groves while Pokémon Trainers compare that day’s big catch around the Duck Pond.

While traversing the running path that rings the Formal Gardens, park-goers can learn of some of Winnipeg’s own icons. The WinnipegREALTORS® Citizens Hall of Fame honours everyday people who have done outstanding things in enhance the quality of life for Winnipeggers. In keeping with the park’s unique flair for meshing art and nature, the permanent installation of this program features a sculpted bronze bust for each inductee interspersed between the majestic elm and pine trees that line this path.

Affixed to their stone bases is a small plaque that highlights each inductee’s accomplishments. A QR code brings interested parties to a website that gives a more in-depth history. Forty-two bronze busts on stone pedestals, representing 42 of Winnipeg’s finest, have already become part of this artful installation. On September 16 of this year, another of this city’s quiet heroes will join the ranks.

This park prides itself with providing free family entertainment throughout the summer. Local Jazz bands play on Sunday afternoons in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and big bands take over the Lyric Theatre though out the week. On any Friday night in August, bring your family and some lawn chairs to enjoy movie nights.

Continuing in its tradition of free-of charge events, this coming Saturday night starting at 6:30, the Lyric Theatre will be airing CBC’s screening of, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration. This all-ages event is a chance for our community to come together and say farewell to this iconic group of individuals, as they perform their final concert in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario.

If you come early to the concert, or if you happen to be enjoying a day in the park, take a walk through the Citizens Hall of Fame. Who knows, you may even come upon a lurking Dragonair.