Tag Archives: history

SmartBIZ Pub(lication) Our monthly column discussing the world of Beer!


Now that we’ve got your attention, SmartBIZ is very excited to announce we will be writing a monthly beer column talking about local trends, pairings, flavours, tips, and suggestions as well as many other topics.

Being that this is a very special issue of SmartBIZ, as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we thought this would be a good time to celebrate some fascinating Canadian beer facts along with some strange-but-true facts to discuss with your friends while enjoying a tasty beverage bringing in Canada’s 150.

Stubbies! The “stubby” bottle was iconic in Canada until it was taken out of circulation in the 1980s when Canadian brewers switched over to American-style longnecks. As it turns out, market research showed that women didn’t like the stubby, preferring the lengthy elegance of the longneck.

Beer Pre-Dates Confederation – Canadian beer is actually older than Canada. In fact, beer production in the Great White North pre-dates Confederation by a good 200 years.

Tavern Talk – In the early days of Canadian settlement, beer was an integral part of the community. That’s because the local tavern not only served beer, it was also a meeting place where the community would gather; a place for judges to hear complaints, politicians to seek votes and preachers to preach.

Beer economy – According to the Conference Board of Canada, one out of every 100 jobs in Canada is supported by the sale of beer, with every dollar we spend on beer generating $1.12 for the nation’s economy. This “beer economy,” in fact, supports 163,200 jobs throughout Canada.


  • At the Wife Carrying World Championships, first prize is the wife’s weight in beer. YES, there is such a thing as a Wife Carrying World Championship, and YES, first prize is the wife’s weight in beer. Still don’t believe us? You can see these “athletes” competing in events all over YouTube.
  • The moon has a crater named Beer.
  • In the 1980s, a beer-drinking goat was elected mayor of Lajitas, TX. True story!
  • Coined in the early 1900s, the word “alcoholiday” means leisure time spent drinking.
  • Although you won’t find it in regular dictionaries, apparently there’s an actual phobia in which sufferers experience fear of seeing an empty beer class. This disorder is called Cenosillicaphobia.
  • Researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that micronutrients called polyphenols in one 12-ounce (0.35-liter) bottle of beer create protective levels of plasma antioxidants that can prevent heart disease.
  • Beer strengthens bones. It is rich in silicon that increases calcium deposits and minerals for bone tissue.

This Month in Canadian History

A look at 10 historical events that took place during the month of April 

 April 23, 1851

Canada’s first official postage stamp, the three-penny beaver, is issued.

 April 2, 1871 

The first census of the Dominion of Canada lists the population as 3,689,257. Continue reading This Month in Canadian History

Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum

Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum is nestled behind beautiful large oak trees at 494 Taché Avenue and, being housed within the walls of the original Grey Nuns’ convent, it stands with great pride as Winnipeg’s oldest building. Were it for that fact only, the building itself would undoubtedly draw and garner interest. However within its walls, there continues to be a very vibrant level of activity. The doors are open year-round and the museum strives to provide a place for learning, a place where people can connect with Manitoba history and with one another and, most recently, a place where artisan work is increasingly valued and created.

One of the museum’s best kept secrets is its beautiful boutique which offers unique products from local artists, artisans, crafters, publishing companies, authors and local specialty foods producers. The entire museum will also be transformed into an artisan market for the very popular annual community Christmas event “C’est Noël à Saint-Boniface” on December 5th and 6th. Why not consider stopping in with your extended family for kids’ activities and crafts, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and – of course – some shopping!

The presence of art, crafts and abundance of culture is a staple of the museum’s special programming. In the past, the museum has been a gathering place for those interested in reviving some aspects of arts and artisan work such as traditional finger weaving and capote making. New since the fall of 2015, Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum began offering 10-session workshops that teach the technique of traditional métis beadwork as well as provide glimpses into other indigenous styles or beading practices. Participants are mentored by community artist Ms. Julie Desrochers and receive added insight, knowledge and instruction from guest artists such as Jennine Krauchi, Jocelyne Pambrun and Evonne Bernier.

If you have ever wanted to learn Métis beadwork, to be accompanied and guided in the creation of your own beautiful beaded leather bag or pair of moccasins, this is the perfect opportunity for you! Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum is now taking registrations for the upcoming winter session of “Beadwork at Le Musée” – a relaxed, friendly and rewarding learning opportunity. The program will run from January 14th to March 24th, 2016 (no session on February 18th due to Festival du Voyageur). Set-up starts at 6pm for those who are available or would like some extra help, with instruction and work sessions beginning at 7 p.m. and running until 9 p.m. This program is designed to allow enough time for participants who may need to miss a few sessions – because life happens despite our best efforts to keep a schedule!

Register yourself or offer the experience as a special gift to a loved one this holiday season.

Cost: $120/participant ($100 for MSBM members)

Register a friend and each receive $10 off your respective registration fees.

*This program is intended for ages 16 and up.

Space is limited so call or email to register! 204-986-8496 or reservations@msbm.mb.ca This project is made possible with support from the Province of Manitoba.

MSBM also recognizes the ongoing support of the City of Winnipeg.

Cuthbert Grant’s Mill was One of a Kind

The grist mill on Sturgeon Creek was one of a kind when it was built during the heyday of the fur trade, as Metis settlers took up residence in the Red River Valley. Mills for grinding grain into flower were becoming common, but until 1829, there were only wind mills and no water mills on the prairies.
That changed when Metis leader Cuthbert Grant began construction of the grist mill in 1829. It was operational over the course of three summers as a way for the local populace to grind their grain into flour, allowing them to make baked goods. Unfortunately for Grant, the winters in the area are not exactly nice, and the mill repeatedly failed due to spring flooding each year. Grant abandoned the mill after three years, taking the grinding stones to nearby Grantown, now known as St. Francois Xavier, which Grant founded in 1824. There he set up a windmill, which successfully worked for many years.

Cuthbert puts the Grant in Grant Avenue

Cuthbert Grant was a pioneer of the area around Winnipeg, and was a prominent Metis leader, causing problems well before Louis Riel came on the scene and made it popular. Grant sided with the Northwest Company against the Hudson’s Bay Company in their volatile trade disputes. When Governor Miles Macdonell of the Red River Colony issued a ban on the exporting of pemmican from the area in 1814, Grant and his fellow Metis traders ignored it and continued moving the goods. One day in 1816, Grant and a group of traders were confronted by a group of Hudson’s Bay Company men from the colony, including Macdonell’s replacement Robert Semple. Angry words were exchanged, and despite the fact that Grant’s men outnumbered Semple’s by more than 2 to 1, Semple’s men shot first. This went very poorly for Semple, as he and 20 of his men were killed by the group of skilled hunters. Grant was charged with murder for these events, but was acquitted. When the two companies merged in 1821, Grant was named ‘Warden of the Plains of the Red River’ in 1828 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Kind of like Ned Stark, but without the eventual beheading.

A River Creek Runs Through It

Interest to rebuild the mill started in 1973, with a series of grants and donations coming in, with the Rotary Club and City of Winnipeg chipping in. The mill received its grand opening on July 3rd, 1975. Premier Ed Schreyer was on hand for the festivities. The St. James Assiniboia Pioneer Association was formed to oversee the mill. Ownership of the mill was turn over to the City of Winnipeg in 1978, under the stipulation that the Association maintain administration over the site.
It is believed that the mill is very close to the site of the original mill, as the map of the Red River Colony by J.H. Hind in 1858 notes a “mill” about a mile north of the Assiniboine River, just north of the Portage Trail, now known as Portage Avenue.

Landscape Architect

landscape-architecSome people just aren’t cut out to work inside or in an office – they need to be outdoors, to have the freedom to breathe and stay in touch with nature.

There are many careers that will provide that outdoor access, but one with a lot of creative potential is landscape architecture.

You can get involved on many levels, earning anything from a certificate in landscape design to a Master of Landscape Architecture.

The university path basically takes you through a four-year course to get a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture followed by an additional three-year course of study to get you a Masters degree.

You study everything from plant materials, plant identification, horticulture, ecology, and history to construction methods, math and the fundamentals of good design.

Some graduates will focus on urban landscapes, some on commercial applications and still others on digital contexts: it all depends on where your heart and aptitudes lead you.

Another path is through apprenticeship to a firm, but you are still advised to take a college certificate to develop the theoretical knowledge that will help you with your applied experience.

Keith Lemkey, of Lemkey Landscape Design in Winnipeg, says that his training at the University of Guelph, is what made it possible to fully express his creativity.

“You need that technical background,” he says.

For Keith, going back to school to take landscape design was a natural fit. He had spent10 years in the tax department, where he ruefully admits that he “was like a square peg in a round hole”.

“I found it so easy. It all just seemed to make sense,” he said of his courses.

That was a bit funny since, as a kid, he hated cutting the grass or doing anything outside on his family’s two-acre lot. And even after being to England a couple of times and seeing the beautiful landscaped gardens there, he still had no inkling of where his future lay.

It was a trip to Hawaii that inspired him. He was so struck with the beauty and serenity of the place that suddenly, he wanted a yard with a water feature to recapture that feeling. When he learned what he could charge to do this kind of work, his interest shot up and the rest is history. Today, many of his designs include water.

Keith also has an innate creative gift that sets him apart from other designers. His mentor, David Wagner, from the University of Winnipeg, remarked on his ability by saying that it’s like studying music; some people will always sound as if they are taking lessons, but others will have a mind’s eye for creation. Keith, he said, has that eye.

Keith himself says that after just 20 to 30 minutes of talking to a client, he has a vision of what their yard will look like. His second gift for relating to people, is just as important.

Keith’s one-time apprentice, Jason Janoske of Natural Impressions specializes in natural landscapes. He agrees that liking people and being able to interpret their dreams is a critical quality.

“I like to go through a family inventory list with my clients,” Jason says. “Do they have kids, what age; do they have pets; do they like to entertain?” And he adds, what they don’t like is just as important.

Keith says that understanding the big picture and the people behind it is definitely part of the art.

It isn’t all about being creative, though. You also have to have an aptitude for math to be able to calculate mass and volume and area. You should have a good mechanical ability and spatial sense is also required.

“I don’t like to say that landscape design is more complicated than interior design,” Keith says, “but you do have to take into account many aspects of outdoor design that don’t exist inside.”

This would include the ability to project the size of the plants as they grow, their seasonality and what they will look like when they mature. How much maintenance is required to maintain the landscape and how that work suits the lifestyle of his clients. In many ways, the plants are just the icing on the cake – functionality of the space is the first component. Knowing about construction materials and methods is important. You have to understand lardscaping materials and how to use them.

You need to have the ability to draw or sketch to scale or the aptitude to run a CAD program, but ultimately it comes down to being able to envision what the finished project will rook like.

Keith’s day starts when his eyes open in the morning and ends when they close at night. He will often awaken in the middle of the night with an idea for a design element which he will get up and sketch while it is still fresh in his mind.
“It’s hard work,” says Keith. “The guys that do well are the ones with a strong work ethic.”

It’s also very gratifying. “This is one of the few careers where you are there from concept to completion,” he says, “and that is very satisfying.”