Chapter 6C: Winnipeg, Manitoba

We finally made it to Winnipeg. This would be my last stop, at least for now. These past 6 months of training and touring have gone faster than I expected and I’m still struggling to find words to describe my experience. So while I think about that, let’s take a look at the shenanigans we got up to.

We celebrated Bex’s birthday on our first night in Winnipeg and gave her a gift card for the new Mario game and a lovely TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) birthday card (which I made). For all those non-Doctor Who fans, it’s the box that the Doctor travels in. It was a lot of fun to make and I couldn’t wait to see her reaction!

A goal Nick and I had from the beginning of the tour was to do a run at some point. While we did some training in January, we started to run less and less due the cold temperatures (although Nick’s much more disciplined and he ran a lot more than I did).  So, when I saw that there was a 10km run in Winnipeg, I decided to just go for it despite there being less than 2 weeks to prepare. Running 5km is no problem for me, but running further than that has always been a struggle. I was a bit nervous, but the beautiful weather and great company I had eventually soothed my nerves. Despite cramping up just over halfway through the run, I was still able to race to the finish in under an hour! Hurray!

Feeling good after a 10km run!

Winnipeg would also be a place where I would see some old friends of mine from St. John’s, Newfoundland. I hadn’t seen them since I left the island in 2014. It was so nice to catch-up and have long conversations over tea and good food, something we usually did back in St. John’s. They were also nice enough to show me around Winnipeg and accompanied me at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The beautiful Canadian Museum for Human Rights

This was a great exhibit with each booth demonstrating how different minorities struggled to obtain their rights in Canada

Interesting faces at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Off-loading our exhibit at the Manitoba Museum was a breeze, because once again, there was no need to take out the ramp thanks to a loading dock. The only bit of difficulty we had was setting up our exhibit in a room with columns in our way. We followed a different configuration than we were used to and had to leave out some panels. We finally had all of the new crew in Winnipeg – welcome to the team Kacie! This would be the last venue where we would train the new crew, so we had to make sure they were confident in putting together/taking apart the exhibit, showing demos and giving the presentation.

One of the many pillars we had to build around

The benefit of working on May the 4th: Stormtroopers come play with the exhibit

We got a sneak peak at the new dinosaur exhibit they were still putting together

We were at the museum for four days (Mon-Thurs) until 4pm, since that’s when the museum closed. While the day (until 1:30pm) was fairly busy with schools coming through, the rest of the afternoon remained quiet, which made sense because the vast population was probably still working. I gave my final presentation here to a class of sixth graders who seemed to have enjoyed the talk. They were asking questions and giving comments throughout the presentation which was something I did not expect. There was some great engagement at the end, with students sharing their ideas and asking questions like what dark matter was. Here are some of their comments:

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You may recall that a few colleagues (Jeff and Nick) and I formed a band called Woodlove during the tour. I am happy to report that we have recorded three songs, two of which still need to be edited, but we’re getting there! As a good-bye present for the original crew, I was secretly making hand-made album covers. I had been working on this since Yorkton and made some steady progress, but only really started to put things together in Winnipeg. Hopefully, Woodlove can be reunited in the Fall. Here’s what the process looked like:

So now we’re near the end of this post and I guess I should start wrapping up and telling you how I felt about the experience. It definitely surpassed my expectations. I am so fortunate to have worked with some of the most passionate science nerds in Canada. The fact that we all got along so well continues to amaze me – I mean we were pretty lucky. I’ve learned so much from my team: physics, marine biology, music making, video-games (Zelda), bouldering, running, dancing and story-telling (there’s probably a lot more that I can’t think of this very second). This team became my family over the last few months. We supported one another, saw each other go through the good and the bad and we learned from one another. I enjoyed the unlikely and unexpected experiences of the tour, from the great hospitality of strangers to actually forming a band. We always go into things with expectations and sometimes we’re scared of things we can’t anticipate, but sometimes those experiences can help you more than you think.  I never thought I would be comfortable singing in front of people, in fact, I had no idea I would even do this on tour. I can’t say that fear is completely gone. But with practice and a supportive team, I built up my confidence which means the world to me. To the Power of Ideas crew and Actua, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Although I’m saying good-bye now, I’ll be back in September. Until then, I’ve got plenty of great memories to reflect upon.

The old team and new team together in Winnipeg (Image by our favourite photographer: Lauren S.)

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