Thursday, 4 February 2016

Do You Speak Skate?

I love skating. Growing up, I played ringette (ahem, provincial champ in 1991.) Though, for some reason, as an adult, I never went out and skated much. Outdoor hockey rinks are great, but that loop can get pretty small pretty fast. Thats why I love the Red River Mutual Trail. Currently 3km long, the trail extends all the way to Churchill Drive, winding its way through the city while offering a new perspective. I love experiencing Winnipeg gliding along the ice connecting one riverbank to the other. I dont expect to see the Banana Boat ice cream shop directly across from my old running path in Norwood Flats. Everything just feels so much closer and connected. Every time I skate, I always see something new.

Though its in the middle of the city, the trail feels remote and exotic and the prairie horizon seems endless. Peppered with warming huts, there are many opportunities to sit, visit, adjust your skates or even have a snack! Designed by people around the world, the warming huts are fantastic interactive installations of art and architecture. They are all so very different, you really have to see them to believe them! Aside from a selfie at a Jets game, Im pretty sure this warming hut is probably the most photographed winter thingin Winnipeg. There are 14 warming huts out on the ice for you to experience!

When the trail recently opened, I was eager to gather old friends and new friends together for a skate date! Our new friends are very new, as in new to Canada a few weeks ago new. Naima (8) and Mustafa (10) are part of a family of 10 who recently arrived from Saudi Arabia. I wanted to invite them out and show them how we play and embrace winter in Winnipeg. And, I just love bringing people together through activity. Its one of my favourite things to do. The activity becomes the common ground. You dont have to speak the same language- smiles and gestures go a long way.

Rounding out our skate crew:
University of Calgary speedskater: Ruth
Lockports finest skating instructor 2003-2009: Haley
4-year-old: Lucie
Skateboarder: Bob

So, after getting our skates tied up (rentals available in the Iceland Skate Rentals at The Forks Market, $5 adults, $3 children and seniors) we buddied up and headed down past the ice circle (a great spot to find your ice legs too!) down to the river. Skate rentals are popular on weekends, so get there early! I also highly recommend a good pair of wool socks to keep those tootsies warm! After all, not much is fun when youre cold.

When we arrived at the river, we were all eager to hit the ice! My skating instructions for newbies is basic: bend your knees! (the universal sports adjustment.)

Naima and Lucie were able to secure themselves with these fabulous red chairs (a warming hut called Recycling Words). A must try for all new skaters, little ones, or when you just feel like taking a break! Chairs are free and available on the ice on a first come, first served basis.

Taking Lucie for some serious spins.

Ruth and Haley were excellent elbows to lean on for Naima.

Meanwhile, Bob and Mustafa were mostly holding each other up. But once Mustafa got a hold of a chair, watch him go!

Naima leading the group through the snow maze!

Bob and Ruth surveying the scene.

Bob and Mustafa taking a well-deserved break.

We were so busy on the trail we didnt even make it up to higher ground! Arctic Glacier Winter Park has snowboarding, tobogganing and even more skate trails. I just love how accessible all the activities are for everyone. No cost, just show up. The best way to play.

Being outside, moving with people is relaxing and is one of my favourite ways to connect. As Naima and Mustafa are just learning English, getting outside and playing are one of the ways we can come together in our community. We dont need to speak the same language to skate together!

I love seeing all of Winnipeg come out. All families, ages and abilities coming together in our big old backyard at The Forks. Fresh air, making new friends, holding each other up and trying new things. It just feels good. Its the best place to be.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Hey there Lindsay: The Forks' Fitness Guru

Hello New Year and hello to resolutions! 

It's the first full week of 2016- and already, some resolutions may need some help {especially the healthy living ones}. But have no fear, Lindsay Somers, our new resident fitness expert at The Forks, is here to help you on your way. 

Down-to-earth, hilarious, and full of energy, Lindsay is the perfect person to help motivate us to have a healthy year full of adventure and fun at The Forks.

As part of new healthy living initiatives coming up in 2016 (stay tuned to hear about those), we invited Lindsay on with us to share how to be healthy here at The Forks, and anywhere you go!

Lindsay will be blogging every couple of weeks, offering tips, tricks, and ideas and suggestions about how to be happier, greener and get leaner for good. 

Lindsay doesn't just embody the spirit of The Forks — she lives it. She owns Lindsay Somers Lifestyle Health, where she is a lifestyle health coach, offering personal training, and consultation services to help people make sustainable changes for healthier happier lives. She is also the featured lifestyle/health expert for Global, Shaw TV, and CBC radio.

Image from Lindsay's Instagram
Now let's let Lindsay do the talking. After all, she's the expert!

Q: What does wellness mean to you?

Lindsay: It’s feeling good in your mind, in your body, and in your soul. It’s the ability to wake up every day and feel good about yourself, spend time doing the things you love, and show gratitude and a kindness to others. And like the reflection in the mirror.

Q: When did wellness become important to you? 

L: It's been a part of whole life. My dad was working out to Burton Cummings since I was a baby. I remember being so small and we would dance in between reps. We were always outside playing; going for walks as a family. If we wanted a snack, options were apple, orange or banana. We ate a full meal together. We ate a full fat meals, no diet food. But it was all in balance. Junk food was just that — junk food.

Image from Lindsay's Instagram

Q: Why do you do wellness as your work?  

L: I used to work in film. I always loved working with people, but it became hard to balance. I used to go boxing at lunches, and I noticed how it gave me great focus and how much better it made my life. I love helping people and making people feel good about who they are. Everyone can feel better about themselves if they take the time to care of themselves.

Q: What is lifestyle health?

L: Lifestyle health is about how you spend every day of your life. It isn’t an hour exclusive private workout. It’s your daily activities and how you build activity into your life. We have choices all the time — sleeping, eating, taking stairs, looking at social media all day — this makes up your lifestyle.

Image from Lindsay's Instagram

Q: What draws you to The Forks?

L: I love it because it’s in the middle of the city. I can ride my bike, walk or skate along the river. Being social is part of being well and coming to The Forks means being around people; it’s a wonderful meeting placeYou come together to move, to play, to eat, to relax and The Forks provides all that. There isn’t any other space in Winnipeg that offers that. 

Q: What’s your hope for wellness at The Forks?

L: To showcase and highlight little moments that you can take to breathe and relax, play with your kids, and places that you can do mini-workouts. Exercise is wayyy down the list. It's about play — and fun — because if it’s fun you'll want to do it again.

Image from Lindsay's Instagram

Look forward to Lindsay blogging in 2016. Until then, you can check her out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Hey there hemp!

Fifteen years ago, Mike Carriere was managing a hotel in rural Manitoba and living in what he calls a ‘toxic environment’. He needed a career change, and with three young children, it was important to him to change his life and philosophy, reduce his carbon footprint, and do something he could feel good about. 

Enter hemp. 

 Together with his brother George, Mike opened Hempyrean at The Forks Market, and started selling hemp food, t-shirts, and miscellaneous items. The name came from the word empyrean, which means ‘deriving from heaven’. For Mike, it seemed fitting to simply add an ‘h’, since he considers hemp to be a miracle plant. 

 His research into hemp revealed that it’s the oldest cultivated plant in the world, and one of the most versatile. You can make just about anything out of it, including paper, plastic, wood, fibre, and concrete. Not only that, but hemp’s seeds and oil are some of the healthiest on the planet. Mike himself has been eating hemp for over 15 years, and declares he has never felt better. (For the record, he looks about a decade younger than his real age, too.) 

Hempyrean turns 15 years old in February 2016, and has since become a pioneer in the natural organic clothing industry. The product line has expanded over time to include a full range of hemp clothing, along with clothing made from other wood pulps like bamboo, wool, eucalyptus, soy, and more. 

Mike is passionate about the fact that everything at Hempyrean is made with natural organic fibres, eco-friendly processes, and fair-trade practices. He is proud to know that every piece of clothing he sells comes from natural plants rather than synthetic fibres, and is making a difference to the environment. 

In addition to clothing and accessories, Hempyrean carries several hemp-enriched cosmetic lines from Canada and the U.S. Right here in Manitoba, Mike and George make their own hemp-enriched hand and body lotion, and also a body wash and shampoo. 

With exclusive rights to several natural organic product lines, Mike likes providing customers with items you won’t find anywhere else – items as unique as the customers themselves. One of his favourite things about being in The Forks is the variety of people he meets from around the world. It makes him smile when people stop in to take selfies with his mannequin, Molly, who is always fashionably dressed from head to toe in natural organic fibres. 

So next time you’re at The Forks Market, stop in and see Mike, take a selfie with Molly, and be sure to pick up that one-of-a-kind piece of eco-friendly clothing. The environment will thank you for it later.

Check out Hempyrean on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram