Leo Mol – world famous Winnipeg bronze sculptor passes

Leo Mol in his gallery with group

Leo Mol in his gallery with group

From the Winnipeg Free Press today:

“World famous Winnipeg sculptor Leo Mol has died at age 94. Mol died peacefully on Saturday at the Tache Centre medical facility surrounded by family and friends. Originally born Leonid Molodozhanyn in Ukraine, many of his bronze statues are known and loved by Winnipeggers and people around the world. The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden is one of the most popular features at the Assiniboine Park. He was always known as a particularly prolific artist. Some of his most famous works include likenesses of three different Popes which stand in museums in the Vatican. He also has sculptures on display on Washington’s Embassy Row.”

Leo Mol sculpture

Leo Mol sculpture

We have created several experiences for groups who travel to Winnipeg, looking for unique and customized programs.  We had the good fortune to meet Leo personally, and had him accompany us on one of our large group programs.  It was a treat.  We will miss Leo.  His works will continue to inspire all..

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New deli eatery in Onanole

We’ve got a new eatery in Onanole this summer.  Sisters Quinn and Jasmin Greavett have launched an alternative to the often poor quality, fast food chains that typically accompany tourism travel routes and destinations.  As many writers and investigative journalists are uncovering, our “Fast Food Nation” does not often provide the most nutritious foods, and many of them have high food miles associated with them (imported from other countries with a high carbon emission associated with the distance they travel to get to our province).  If you are interested, you can learn more about FOOD MILES and calculate food miles for individual food items.

Quinn describes their approach, “.. .When creating our menu, we really wanted to have something that was a bit different that people would be interested in trying, and that would taste great.  We wanted to branch away from the typical burger and create a menu where each burger had a distinctive flavour.  All our burgers, sandwiches, and deli salads are home-made and we use only fresh ingredients, which we try to purchase locally.”

This is great.  The tourism industry needs more of this type of food service and entrepreneurial approaches.  It supports local producers, is better quality and nutrition, and offers alternatives to the fast food formulas and supply chains that often accompany many restaurants and chains.  We wish them well.   “…Our deli salads are family favorites and some we have created.  We basically got the menu ideas from things that Jasmin and I like, and we also did a few trial and error taste tests on people and adjusted our menu based on their feedback.  But, so far, so good!”

The following is their current menu (obviously, subject to change, as they learn and get feedback from customers).  We hope that you will try out the new Deli in Onanole this summer.

Menu

Mexi burger – a spicy beef burger served with guacamole, refried beans, salsa and cheese

Greek burger – beef patty served with feta cheese, tatziki sauce, fresh cucumber, red onion,lettuce and tomato

Canadian burger – a beef patty mixed with a sweet maple bbq sauce topped with cheddar cheese, smokey maple bacon, and fried onions

Classic burger – our most traditional beef patty lightly seasoned

Chicken burger – an all white meat chicken breast served with mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion

Veggie burger – a vegetable patty made with fresh cick peas, cous cous, spinach, cilantro and spices.

Thai Tuna burger – tuna mixed with ginger, soya, flax seeds, and carrots served with a home made teriyaki sauce

Matt Epp mellow and full of feeling at Poor Michaels

While Independence Day was being celebrated in the US, Onanole residents were treated to a double concert evening hosted by Poor Michael’s BookshopThe Concert on the Patio Series.  The 1st half featured Michelle Bouchard (Cellist) and Crystal Tait (bassist) performing Mozart and Bach pieces as a cool breeze from a rain cloud just missed us.  As the sun returned, Manitoba singer/songwriter Matt Epp picked up his well-traveled guitar and took us on a journey through his poetic songs.  From This Old House to Orphan Horse, we were treated to moments of quiet reflection to two songs in which Matt encouraged everyone to sing along.  Matt personally introduces us to this video montage from his concert, from July 4th in Onanole, Manitoba.

Matt’s music and performances can be seen in a number of places.  I like this one on YouTube, of Matt performing a Dan Frechette number, Sweet Little Things with Matt’s band.

Pileated woodpecker pokes head out of nest

Pileated woodpecker in aspen tree nest

Pileated woodpecker in aspen tree nest

One of the most amazing sights you can see is a pileated woodpecker from up-close.  This crow-sized woodpecker with flaming red crest is a year-round resident within Riding Mountain National Park.  Winter is one of the best times to hear and observe the flight of these beautiful birds of the mixed-wood aspen-spruces of the national park.  In particular,  the opportunity to to see the fresh bark chippings on the surface of the snow is a treat.

They use their large, chisel bills to pry out over-wintering insect larvae from their winter hiding places.  How they are able to find these over-wintering food sources is magical.

This past week, we guided a family from Winnipeg through the park (they have been coming here for 22 years) photographing a young cinnammon black bear, listening to various birds, and learning about the ecology of this area.  One of the delights was taking them to this pileated woodpecker nest, where wood chips were strewn around the ground.

Each of us has a neighborhood.  In some cases, it is urban and high density; in some cases, it is suburban and more laid back; in my case, my neigbhourhood backyard is a national park.  In my daily travels, I come across great gray owls, woodpeckers, black bears, moose, sora rails, red-necked grebes, and in the winter months the occasional northern shrike.  We create customized photo safaris and wildlife watches – no guarantees on what you might see.  But, in the words of noted American nature photographer John Shaw, “There ain’t no excuse for not being there.”  Well, we try to get out there, and be present for whatever happens, while learning together.  It’s fun and educational.

Clear Lake Golf Course offers new cuisine in 2009

I have had the opportunity to experience the cuisine of Executive Chef Ilse Mohn and Sous-Chef Chad Robinson on more than one occasion this year. As well, a number of other local people have been experiencing their flavors this summer. The verdict: very good quality, great service, new!

Bison carpaccio appetizer with Manitoba Bothwell cheese

Bison carpaccio appetizer with Manitoba Bothwell cheese

One group that we had here last week had requested a unique lunch menu as part of a customized GPS adventure quest that we created for their sales team.

I worked with the team at the Clear Lake Golf Course (Riding Mountain National Park) to create an imaginative and never-before delivered combination of flavours, textures and presentation that left our group not just satisfied, but clearly surprised and delighted.

I love this aspect of experiential tourism – crafting one of a kind experiences that under-promise mystery and intrigue, while over-delivering surprises, moments of delight, and in the words of one member of our group, “I’ve been here before several times, but never had this…It was great.”

Great cuisine is something that people will travel for long distances, to experience.  In particular, we featured local bison, Manitoba cheese, local herbs, local baking, local recipes, and local berries in the saskatoon tarts (that we made under the watchful guidance of Ilse herself).  Congratulations to Ilse and Chad and the entire team at the Clear Lake Golf Course restaurant.  Keep it up!