Chelsea Maier

In Plan View reminds us to enjoy a mindful meal

By Brenlee Coates (photos by Chelsea Maier)

Chelsea Maier is calling for a revolution.
And she wants it to be personal: right from your home – or from your table, to be exact.
“We’re kind of at that point (with technology) – do we always want things to be like this or are we kind of nostalgic?” she observes.
Considering she’s been scurrying to fill orders since she launched her line of handmade table linens In Plan View in October, it’s safe to say there’s a demand for the ways of the past.
While studying environmental design at the University of Manitoba, Chelsea says she fell into a routine of quick consumption.
“When I was super, super busy, I thought I was only eating for energy.
“We should be eating for nourishment… but also for self-love.
“We have to know how to eat mindfully and how to just have conversation.”
Though she admits she doesn’t stop everything she’s doing to sit down for a meal three times a day, she finds even selecting one of her hand-painted napkins and placing it next to her coffee in the morning brings with it “a pause – even if it’s just for the tiniest sliver of a day.

A handpainted napkin from Chelsea's line of linens, In Plan View.
A handpainted napkin from Chelsea’s line of linens, In Plan View.

“It does help you take a breath before you scarf it back,” she muses.
While on a trip to Italy last summer, she was reminded of what indulging in a proper, sit-down meal is all about.
In a centuries-old farmhouse, a multi-course meal harkened back to the days of a well-dressed table, a beautiful meal, and good people indulging in conversation.
“It’s kind of like that ‘you never know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,’” she explains.
“For every meal we had there were linens of some sort. I also just heard a lot of people comment how nice that was and how that added that extra little bit.”

A perfectly set table with In Plan View's "confetti" runner and napkins.
A perfectly set table with In Plan View’s “confetti” runner and napkins.

The idea was sparked, but Chelsea had already committed to a big launch for her current project, a line of flowy summer fashions for men and women.
While her clientele is grasping at the colourful printed tanks and accessories, Summerskin Clothing is briefly on the backburner while In Plan View takes precedence.
Many mediums
Not unlikely to be found with unknown paint on her elbow, hands or face, Chelsea dabbles in several artistic mediums, including photography, poetry, and most recently, abstract painting.
She works at the Artful Owl instructing art classes and “getting messy on the ground” all day. A former teacher of hers, Stephanie Middagh, owns the art studio, and lets her house her expansive art supply collection and keep a studio space there, where she builds her In Plan View masterpieces at full-scale first, and then cuts them down to size.

The before and after of Chelsea's process.
The before and after of Chelsea’s process.

Sadly, after a five-year love affair, Winnipeg will be losing Chelsea to the West Coast in February, when she returns to her home province.
It’s not because she’s missing anything from her experience in Winnipeg, however – other than family, and maybe being next to the ocean and mountains.
“Sometimes I’ll fight with locals about how awesome it is here,” laughs Chelsea.
After planning to stay in Winnipeg for just a year, Chelsea was overcome by the lustre of the Peg.
“I always say there’s a little bit more of a spark of magic in Winnipeg.
“I like how things here persist and there’s always something happening, and it’s accessible to a lot of people,” she says, citing Rainbow Trout Music Festival’s recent bike jam during Nuit Blanche, Raw:Almond and Table for 1200 as examples.
“I love how people work with the constraints of the city to make things beautiful, whether it’s music, the warming huts, or Parlour Coffee.”
With one of her whimsical copper, block-printed textiles promptly displayed in Little Sister Coffee Maker in Osborne Village, it’s safe to say Chelsea is part of that movement.
Though she’s excited for the promise of opportunities that Vancouver may bring, she hopes she and partner Brett Anderson will return to the prairies some day.
“I have a feeling I’ll be back one day. We’re totally destined for a house in Wolseley or a condo on Waterfront or something,” she says.
Her many friends in Winnipeg will be here, with spectacularly well-dressed tables, ready to welcome her back.
Visit for more information or to view Chelsea’s online shop.

Back entrance

The Urban Bakery doubles as a promotion and meeting space

By Brenlee Coates

(Photo by Khammy Photography of the back-alley entrance to TUB – a first in downtown Winnipeg.)

TUB, or more formally The Urban Bakery, is a great place to shop – but it’s so much more than a retail destination.
The owner Kevin Trosky and his band of brothers throw parties, sell tickets for events and co-own some of the city’s best nightclubs.
“Before all of this, we’re all just homies,” says TUB manager, Lonnie Ce, who co-owns and DJs at Union Sound Hall. “We’re all involved in different street culture and music and different scenes.”
Because of this, The Urban Bakery is always playing the tightest jams, screening movies on its walls, and carrying handbills and selling tickets for all kinds of events at any given time – and not just their own. “We’re always down to support,” says Ce.

A movie projected on the wall at the new Graham Avenue location. Photo by Khammy Photography
A movie projected on the wall at the new Graham Avenue location. Photo by Khammy Photography

Maybe that’s what’s set TUB apart since its inception 15 years ago; its community involvement, which has only expanded since Trosky and his “homies” branched out into other ventures.
Trosky co-owns Union along with Ce and a smattering of other local musicians, DJs and promoters, as well as Greenroom.
And TUB hasn’t suffered any neglect – in fact, the store just reopened in a brand-new, fully renovated space at 407 Graham Ave.

The gleaming new interior of TUB on Graham. Photo by Khammy Photography
The shiny new interior of TUB on Graham. Photo by Khammy Photography

TUB’s very first location was on Graham, and after calling Portage Avenue home for many years, the shop is back to its roots but with a new concept for retail in Winnipeg.
The shop has a backlane entrance – a first for downtown – inspired by a trend in Vancouver’s Gastown.
The store’s original setup is in line with what TUB tries to do with its inventory – keep things fresh and exclusive.
“We try to feature lines that you can’t see anywhere else,” says Ce, who is also a buyer for the store. “It’s difficult to get people downtown sometimes, but we try to make it… more of a destination.”
In recent years, Ce has noticed some of the brands TUB carried at their onset grow, and it is always looking to feature new brands to help them get their start.
One such line, The Peg Authentic, a kind of patriotic Winnipeg brand, is newly exclusively available at TUB. “Mainstream culture and malls and everything kind of caught up, so we had to step ahead again,” says Ce.
TUB is still the best place to find brands like Stussy, Raised By Wolves and Publish Brand – lines that are recognizable though not widely available in the city.

Stussy and Obey Clothing on display at the shop.
Stussy and Obey Clothing on display at the shop.

And it is still without a doubt one of the best places to get sneakers in the city; and now the shoes are prominently displayed on a hand-laid wooden wall custom-built by the shop owner and his father.
“All the renovations were pretty much done by Kevin and his 75-year-old father, and they pretty much did everything by hand,” says Ce.
Impressively, the shoe display is not the only picturesque element of the store.

The infamous shoe display.
The infamous shoe display.

In fact, everything is terribly photogenic down to the front counter, which is a slab of wood Trosky found at a lumber store and overnight, he turned into a beautifully gleaming, suspended counter that hangs from the ceiling by cables.

The front counter, a suspended DIY project by shop owner Kevin Trosky.
The front counter, a suspended DIY project by shop owner Kevin Trosky. Photo by Khammy Photography.

Though the back entrance distinguishes the store, the front entrance is also unique: a narrow hallway entrance peppered with shop posters that leads into the section of the store that’s devoted to a head shop.

TUB's front entrance hallway.
TUB’s front entrance hallway.

Wall-to-wall glass cases and shelving display smoking paraphernalia, and cans of spray paint are propped on the opposing walls.

The well-stocked head shop at TUB.
The well-stocked head shop at TUB.

The head shop leads into the retail side which has all the exclusive brands of T-shirts, hoodies, hats, toques and sneakers to help set you apart.
The stock hasn’t undergone a major transformation, but everything about the store feels revived, ultramodern and new.
“It was super refreshing,” says Ce, of the move. “People are enjoying the new space – everyone’s happy.” Not least of which are Trosky and Ce’s business partners, who headquarter their nightclub’s offices underneath the Graham store. “It’s the best,” says Ce, of the setup.

Liang Xing and Sophia Lee - photo by Samanta Katz

Groundbreaking, unorthodox ballet attracts a wide audience

(Photo: Liang Xing and Sophia Lee share a kiss in the final scene of the show. Photo by Samanta Katz)

Fresh Cut - Brenlee Coates
Fresh Cut – Brenlee Coates

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) debuted its 75th year with a sharp detour from programming as usual.
By daring to tackle the inter-generational effects of residential schools in Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, the ballet company broke the mould and in turn welcomed a new audience eager to see how the theme was presented.
First-time ballet attendee Danielle Robidoux said it was the first time she had been excited to see a ballet, and it had provoked water-cooler discussion at her workplace with other young staff leading up to the show.
The modernity and complexity of the show’s theme seemed to serve as an invitation to a wider audience; it allowed the age-old art form to seem forward-thinking and become palatable to more viewers.
Getting new people in the seats was also helped along by price incentives.

Access Pointe: Ballet Under 30

The program Access Pointe: Ballet Under 30 reduces the price of admission to a cool $30 plus taxes and fees for people between the ages of 15-29.
Attendees can purchase up to two tickets at this rate, provided the guest is also under the age of 30.
The only catch is that you have to sign up to become an Access Pointe member ahead of time, as you are sent a passcode by email approximately one week from a show’s debut, which you can use to redeem the offer. The program is meant to help young adults, students and new professionals make the arts part of their lives while the full-priced admission is still a little out of reach.

Pay What You Can

In conjunction with Going Home Star, the RWB also debuted its first Pay What You Can initiative, when for one date of the run, patrons could buy tickets at a reduced rate in the two hours leading up to the show (a donation of $20 was suggested).
This opened the ballet up to any low-income individuals and coincided well with the socially-conscious message being shared in Going Home Star.
The Going Home Star show was 10 years in the making, and it kicked off the renowned company’s season with so much vim that it will be a tough act for itself to follow.
The show was inspired by the tales of residential school survivors collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It was the vision of the late elder and activist, Mary Richard, to see the dance company stage something with First Nations origins and a profound social statement.
Adapting a story of this magnitude and putting such a unique spin on the classical 400-year-old European art form was a lot of responsibility to bear to say the least – but it helped that the RWB found enthusiastic participants along the way.
The plot is based on a story penned by prominent Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden, who comes from European and Anishinaabe heritage. He frequently explores themes from First Nations history and culture.
His expertise helped authenticate the show, as did the musical elements from Steve Wood and the Northern Cree Singers and the recent Polaris Prize-winner Tanya Tagaq, whose emotive, primal, and alternately soft and coarse voice supported the symphony like the heartbeat of the show. Worthy of mention is also the composer Christos Hatzis’ of-the-moment score which was experimental enough to allow Tagaq’s thumping, breathy sounds to seep in seamlessly.
Her voice transcends genres and demands to be heard – and it was a rare and perfect fit for the beautiful and simultaneously uncomfortable ballet.
The story was also transposed with audio recordings from residential school survivors’ experiences, which supported a more direct and cognizant delivery of the show’s message.
While the tale follows two First Nations protagonists; one that at first is disconnected from her heritage and feeling the weight of its absence, and one that can’t shake the past – Going Home Star reminds us that the history of the residential school system is everyone’s story to share, and everyone’s to try to reconcile.
Perhaps artistic director André Lewis said it best when he introduced the show: “Truth is important, but also, reconciliation is just as important if not more.”


Tallest Poppy is cozy in its new West Broadway digs

By Brenlee Coates

The North End will always be home for Talia Syrie.
“I love the North End. It’s my heart,” she says, plunked on a curb behind the Sherbrook Inn, the new home of the Tallest Poppy.
“But it’s a hard sell. I think they’re wrong… but it’s nice to not constantly be fielding questions about safety.”
While the Sherbrook Inn isn’t exactly the farthest cry from the Poppy’s former digs in the Occidental Hotel on Main Street, the biggest difference is the West Broadway neighbourhood, which is bustling with foot traffic destined for its many restaurants.
“The neighbourhood is blowing up,” remarks Syrie, who had visited the opening of The Handsome Daughter the night prior. “I can’t really imagine us anywhere else.
“It’s a nice middle ground. A lot of people feel comfortable so then we can just focus on the food.”
Anyone who was enthusiastic about the staples at the old Tallest Poppy can rest easy, because a lot of them are back on the menu at 685 Westminster Ave.
Fried chicken and waffles for breakfast and a pickerel po’ boy recall the Southern spin on local eats; and its renowned pulled pork is like the return of a tender lover.

Sebastian busily prepares waffles for the breakfast favourite, chicken and waffles.
Sebastian prepares waffles for the breakfast favourite at Tallest Poppy, chicken and waffles. Photo by Steven Ackerman

The usual response to the Tallest Poppy’s fare regularly rides the line between enthusiasm to full-out fanaticism.
“They’re really knocking me out, honestly, the amount of love,” says Syrie, of her loyal customers. When the former Poppy closed, “I knew people were sad, but the response has just been… quite humbling.
“I’m very reverent about it. I don’t take it lightly.”

What’s new

The most popular new additions to the menu are liquid – the Tallest Poppy is now licensed, and chef Syrie brought business partner Steven Ackerman into the mix, who has a way with creating considerate cocktails and spurring thoughtful conversation at his bar seats.
His inventive ways with some of the usual suspects – and more unlikely ingredients, like black pepper syrup – are going to keep a lot of people in their chairs until the 11 p.m. closing time Tuesdays to Saturdays.
“A bartender, in a way, you’re making soup in sixty seconds,” muses Ackerman. “You need everything to be balanced… to work together.”
Approaching his craft as if every drink were a dish, he even sanitarily samples the flavour of each drink from the drippings on a straw before sending it out.
The caesar he serves up at the Tallest Poppy is a prime example of his sensibilities, which combines jalapeno hot sauce, cilantro, a fresh salsa verde, and pickled heirloom tomatoes from his mother’s backyard as a garnish – and lets the complementary flavours compete for the last impression.
“I think (a cocktail) should take you several places,” he observes. It does – and they’re all really good places.

Many people have declared Ackerman's mighty caesar the best they've ever had. Photo by Steven Ackerman
Many people have declared Ackerman’s caesar the best they’ve ever had. Photo by Steven Ackerman

If you get the chance, ask Ackerman about his time bartending at a popular watering hole in New York while he was there working as a photographer. “Photography – especially in a place like New York – it needs to be supplemented heavily,” he relays. He spent most Sunday evenings serving James Gandolfini while others were home watching him on HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
Truly, if you can sneak a few minutes of Syrie’s time on a rare break, or hover over Ackerman’s well-stocked bar for any length of time, you are treated to easy conversation in about as comfortable a public setting as you can ask for.
The décor of the Poppy’s reinvention is still super cozy, but more polished than its predecessor. The wood grain is hand-painted onto the walls, the colourful drop-ceiling treatment is warm and understated, and gentle, homey lighting brims from lamps on two tucked-away tables.
Comfort and familiarity radiates from the owners and staff who help run the Poppy, many of whom have hopped over from the previous incarnation.

The interior is warm and staff is warmer at Tallest Poppy.
The interior is warm and staff is warmer at Tallest Poppy.

Customers regularly remark that it feels like they’ve never left.
“It was good to take a break – but I was really, really ready,” says Syrie. “It’s very comfortable for me to be back at it.”
The feeling is so mutual.

Evan Duncan

Young, active Charleswood resident eyes position at City Hall

By Brenlee Coates

Evan Duncan’s specialty is youths – he’s been coaching various neighbourhood sports teams for 13 years, he works with youth in custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre, and he’s barely cracked 30 himself – but he’s running for city council in the aging ward of Charleswood-Tuxedo because he wants to extend his impact to the community at large.
Instead of holding his 31 years against him, people have been receptive to his youthful energy as he’s made his rounds in the area.
“People are really happy to have someone young and energetic” in the running, he says. “That’s what they’ve been saying, ‘We want someone like you in there.’”
It’s not just Evan’s age that people are interested in; his commitment to his community is also gaining him support.
Despite having only a newborn baby with his wife, Duncan has volunteered as a drop-in coordinator for local community centres, coached teams, and helped fundraise for athletic programs for many years. “I’ve always thought that to make your community better, you have to be involved,” explains Duncan.
He’s also worked as an educational assistant in the neighbourhood – at Charleswood School and Oak Park High School – and as a juvenile counselor at the Manitoba Youth Centre. His experience with youth in custody gave him a better sense of the big picture for the city, and informed his decision to run for council. “It’s really eye-opening, and it also gave me an opportunity… to have a vision for the city,” he says.
As a councillor, Duncan feels his duty would be to be accountable to his own constituents first and foremost, and to represent them properly, but he’s also eager to use a collaborative approach to work with city council to impact the city as a whole.
“You have to be open-minded to the city, not just your community,” he says. “Our community can do so much to help these other communities.”
Duncan says his community involvement isn’t just a campaign promise – it’s a deep-rooted lifestyle he’s committed to long ago. “I’ve always been involved in the community… it may as well be as the councillor,” he says. “I would definitely like to make the biggest impact on my community that I can.”
Charleswood has been home for Duncan for his entire 31 years – he even bought his childhood home where he plans to raise his new daughter. Duncan says his mother made sacrifices so that he and his sibling could stay in the “safe and welcoming” community, and he hopes to help the area maintain that reputation.
“I love the small-town mentality of Charleswood. Not only are your neighbours your neighbours, but they’re also family at some point in time. It really makes it home.
“There are lots of great things that make it such a desirable place to live. If I’m elected, I’m going to make sure those values stay intact.”


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