Day 6 – Winnipeg to Kenora (244km)

Goodbye Manitoba and hello Ontario. We drove a total of 244km from Winnipeg to Kenora. We had a very busy day beginning with our visit to the Ronald McDonald House Charities Manitoba chapter (RMHC MB) followed by some sightseeing.

Our day started off at the Ronald McDonald House in Winnipeg where we received such an amazing welcome, as if the red carpet was being rolled out for us, from the staff, volunteers, and families. It is truly remarkable how much love and dedication is put into this home for the families. The House was built in 1984 with 14 rooms and still exists in its original form today, serving about 700 families a year, but has to turn away about 400. We hope that RMHC MB will be approved for an expansion soon as the need is high relative to available capacity.

(Top row left to right: Eden, Wendy W., Jan, Jena)

(Bottom row left to right: Pat, Mark, Alex, Wendy G., Britta)

The first portion of our tour was led by Wendy G., a really thoughtful and kind person, who took us down to the kitchen and introduced us to some of the families staying at the House. We met a couple, expecting a premature baby, who were so grateful to have been taken in because it meant that they could be together. Then there was a mother who has had a long-time relationship with the House because several of her kids required medical treatment at the nearby children’s hospital. We even met a family whose relatives flew in from overseas to be close with them. As you can see below, we had a blast playing some fun games with the kids and Global News and CTV News were around to film it. Thank you Eden for your part in having them cover our story along with QX104FM.

CTV News Winnipeg clip is at 14:42.

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1192903&binId=1.1206963&playlistPageNum=1

QX104FM live radio interview.

The second portion of our tour continued with the warm and friendly Pat. In the reception area, families are offered a selection of games that they may wish to take when staying at the House as well as a quilt that had been donated. The living room doubles as a studio for massages and other activities that help rejuvenate the parents. We were lucky enough to see one of the 14 bedrooms followed by the fitness room, patio, playground, and community garden. Thank you Pat for making sure that we were fed before leaving the House!

The final part of our tour was at the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Winnipeg just two blocks away. Many thanks to the ever so caring Jena for ushering us as we undoubtedly would have gotten lost. There we were introduced to Kashia whose organizational skills are through the roof on top of being very personable. She explained to us that the 3,500 square foot Family Room is the largest in Canada and second largest in the world, featuring a full kitchen, a laundry room, a full bathroom, a living room, a children’s play area, a napping lounge, a computer station, and three sleeping rooms. Because the Family Room is primarily operated by volunteers, it was impressive to see the collection of name tags of active volunteers. Outstanding work RMHC MB!

 

Being that it was our first time in Winnipeg, we decided to do some exploring during the afternoon. We went to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, the fourth on our list across the ten provinces. Then we went to the Forks for a brief walk before making a quick pit stop for an oil change. Afterwards, we dropped by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where we had only 90 minutes, but enjoyed every minute of it and wished we had more time before it closed for the day. Finally we went to see Fort Gibraltar which was beautifully recreated and transports you back in time. The staff did an amazing job of role playing and explaining its historical significance during the fur trade. We then capped off the day by driving to Kenora.

Next stops are Ignace, Thunder Bay, and Jack Fish.

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