The “Official” Fringe Rating System

Given the complexity of last year’s Fringe Festival rating system, I’ve opted to use the KISS principle and stick with just one graphic.  Keeping with the theme of the festival – Fringe Factory – I will use the following simple factory rating system:

0 Factories – The factory has been burned to the ground and the whereabouts of workers and managers alike are unknown.  You are risking your life by getting close to this situation.

502px-Factory_svg – The workers have sabotaged the factory.  Stay away!

502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg – The workers are on strike.  Cross the picket line at your own risk.

502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg – The workers are threatening to unionize.  This could be good… or bad… depending on your viewpoint.

502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg – Labour-management relations are running smoothly and production is chugging along.  It’s worth checking out this operation.

502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg502px-Factory_svg – Labour and management are working like a well-oiled machine, turning out high quality product at an astonishing rate.   This operation definitely needs to be paid a visit!


This Blog Has Been Hijacked


It’s that time of year again; time to make my annual contribution to this blog.  And I can see it’s in need of some attention.

Last year marked my first entry into the blogosphere with several reviews of Winnipeg Fringe Festival plays.  You can check them out here, here, and here.  One of my reviews even made it on one of the performer’s websites… it’ll be a tough act to follow.  Since that time, I have started up my own blog (actually managed by an executive committee) called the Wednesday Night Supper Club.  If you’re interested in reviews of Food from the Fringe, head on over there.  If you just want the plays, then stay seated.

In the next day I’ll develop what is sure to be an infamous rating system, as well as post reviews of the two plays I just saw tonight.  In the meantime, I welcome your suggestions for plays to see.

Happy Fringing!


What I Saw

Credit: Wayne Glowacki, Winnipeg Free Press

Credit: Wayne Glowacki, Winnipeg Free Press

I was a witness to the hatchet attack on Donald Street yesterday, just outside my apartment.

Here’s what I recall:

Continue reading

Hatchet Attack in Downtown

A middle-aged credit union employee was allegedly attacked by a young woman wielding a hatchet outside her office, according to witness accounts.

The woman was walking metres away from her office around 8:30 a.m. when she was allegedly approached by a group of young women, including one youth with a hatchet.

Bystanders quickly intervened and the woman fought off her attackers but sustained injuries to her head.

I was one of those bystanders, though only the third on the scene. The first person to respond did an incredible job of taking control and she should be commended. I have to embarrassingly say that I didn’t even realize what was happening just down the street from me until I saw the other two get involved. The second person to jump in should be commended as well. He jumped in even though he was only driving by – many many cars passed by without stopping.
I’m sitting in my apartment office and looking out the window at the scene of the attempted armed robbery after spending the day at Educational PD sessions during which I heard from the incredible Strini Reddy who spoke about these kind of youths, the responsibility of the community, and the responsibility of the Education system – and how we can work to break the cycle of violence, poverty, and crime.

I’ll have to process things a bit more and then comment later. Maybe I’ll go make dinner for now.

PS: This puts Jamie’s comments on Walk-Score into perspective.

UPDATE: I will try in the next few days to give you all a full account of what I saw and did. But, for now, there is little time tonight as I’m creating a Logarithm and Exponent Test. So, I haven’t been able to write a complete piece about the incident. For the moment, I’m thinking about Sir/Saint Thomas More’s book Utopia in which he describes the effects of the death penalty for theft – noting that England killed tons of thieves and yet they continued to exist in bigger numbers. How can this be? As it turns out, More postulates, if society is structured in such a way as to produce thieves then it produces them regardless of deterrents. So, the answer is to analyse and address root causes instead of proximal causes. Since More, we have made some progress. The correlaries of violent robberies committed by young offenders are now known – violence at home, broken homes, alcoholism, FAS, FAE, drug abuse, abusive parents, poverty, and any many more. While we know this, we have not done enough to fix the problems and have (acidentally or not) done some things to extend them (such as residential schools).

At the same time, none of the above justifies the actions of the girls involved. They deserve consequences which fit their crimes. But, we also need to invest in preventing the creation of future hatchet-wielding teens. And, we need to invest – for now – in police presence in the communities and on the streets. There is no panacea. But, long-term investment in OUR children, Winnipeg’s children, will reduce violence and crime.

Finally, we need to honor the victim who courageously resisted the assault and the two bystanders who jumped in to help save her.

Uniter We Stand

I was at the Fyxx today and picked up The Uniter, the U of W students’ newspaper. (paper copy here) Wow. The difference in quality between this paper and The Manitoban was striking. Cudos to the U of W for an excellent paper.

The Manitoban leaves so much to be desired. Here’s hoping that a change of Editor and the shock of losing two funding referenda will help push the Manitoban to self-reflection and a new vision. They could learn a lot from the Uniter, with strong writing, good research and positive vision. Instead of running a series on “What Wrong With Downtown Winnipeg?” while showing photos of the worst it has to offer – the Uniter looks towards the positive and to planning for a better downtown. Sure, it shares history of failed projects, but generally tends to be future looking and positive about the possibilities. Contrast this with the Manitoban’s series “What’s Wrong With Our University?” which focussed on the negative, showed photos of the worst of campus, and degraded every positive effort and the difference is incredible. It’s embarassing to read The Manitoban every week.

Obviously, I was biased by the fact that this is the Annual Urban Issue and had article after article after op-ed after op-ed on downtown Winnipeg, density, urban planning, and all the rest. Still, great work being done there. Conrats Uniter editors, writers, and volunteers!


This is a great little website to rank walkability of neighborhoods. I tried my own apartment building and got:


That means that I am living in a “Walker’s Paradise”. I checked out Transcona – where my parents and in-laws live – and discouvered that they were both living in “Car Dependent” neighborhoods. No shock there, but a great re-affirmation for me.

Try this out, its fun.

Silos in Blogs

The Caisse Pop is not a social development agency. They can’t just “take one for the team” because urbanist bloggers would like them to.

The Caisse is “owned” by its customers who are residents in the area. Do the residents in the area want to promote Provencher as a new walking area that will bring people in from the rest of the city? Do the residents want their credit union to do harm to the recent gains on that strip? Do they want to differentiate their neighborhood and attract tourists crossing the foot bridge from the Forks? Or, do they not care at all about what their own credit union does to their neighborhood?

Obviously, if the public demanded that the Caisse ensure that their new building conform to the new style on Provencher so as to promote local business and development and build a strong central area, the Caisse would do so.

The above thinking is pure silo mentality. When we reward managers, leaders, and politicians for decisions that fail to consider the wider community, then decisions will fail to consider the wider community – often, with bad consequences.

H/T: Policy Frog and Rise and Sprawl.