Our Warm Winter in Manitoba

What a beautiful winter we have in Manitoba this year! Winnipeg is not Winterpeg at all! Lots of snow combined with warm days made even my sick son go outside and make his biggest snowman. It’s only in Canada that kids may miss school because of coughs but not miss the opportunity to enjoy the white snow. And it is really white! 15 minutes and our Jack Frost was ready. We tried different hats and mitts to make him look more stylish. Our artificial snowman looked sad and jealous in the end, he has never experienced such attention.

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I’ve never enjoyed winter so much as here in Manitoba. Though my native city is in western Siberia and the climate is almost the same, but the feeling is different. One Friday my son returned back from school and said: “We had a skating and a swimming class today.” I was shocked! In one day! Where else you can experience such attitude to kids’ sport activities. Lots of fresh air, skating arenas in every small town, curling clubs for kids (I only saw curling on TV before), skidoos flying along highways  on high speeds. By the way skidoo trails have almost the same road signs on their way, just the small ones.


By buying a skidoo license you can be always sure that the trail will be cleaned by municipal tractors from snow for your next ride.  All these things just don’t let you sit inside of your house.  So we continue enjoying winter and see you soon.

5 things I like about Canada

Hello everyone! Today I would like to share with you an awesome video made by one of English Online’s  e-Settlement Volunteers – Cristina and give you some new ideas what it means to live here, in this beautiful country. Cristina asked her friends about 5 things they like about Canada. Enjoy watching!



You can read Tina’s articles about the province of Manitoba on her personal blog and follow her immigration story.

CBC Short Story Prize


Do you dream of becoming a published author? Then put your skills to the test and submit a short piece of fiction (1200 to 1500 words), for a chance to win the CBC Short Story Prize! The contest is open to aspiring and professional Canadian writers, and entries must be submitted between September 1 and November 1, 2015.

Prizes include $1,000 for the runners-up and $6,000 for the grand prize winner, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts. You’ll find all the contest details on the CBC Short Story Prize web page.

To your keyboards!


Icelandic Festival in Gimli

Our first Canadian summer is over, but the impressions and adventures we’ve had will warm us till next spring with memories and pictures. I am happy to share them with you, so enjoy the bright colors of Manitoba.
During the long weekend of August, Gimli – a small rural community situated on the west side of Lake Winnipeg invites guests from across Canada to participate in the Icelandic Festival. Even the name of the town reminds its visitors of the fantastic adventures of a dwarf warrior from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and we were waiting for this event with great excitement. Two hours’ drive from Winnipeg and you arrive in a friendly and picturesque Gimli.


The Viking village opened its doors to everyone. All these workshops introduced us to a daily life of Icelandic ancestors. Authentic clothes and food, weapons and toys looked incredible. When you smell the food cooking on the open fire and see the men making arrows or tools you understand how history is important. You could even buy a warrior shield or a unique jewelry, take it with you and then tell everyone that your great grandfather was a viking too.

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The first Icelanders who settled here would be proud to see how carefully their descendants follow the traditions.  And the children will carry on these traditions as well.  Look with what pleasure these kids participate in the events.

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Picture by Trevor Hagan



To be a real Viking you need a helmet. Viking helmets didn’t have horns, but the fellow who sold us this horny plastic helmet assured us that they did.



This guy wanted to look as much like a real viking as possible. But now we know this is an example of a fake Viking, though he looks so scary. Shhhhh! I hope he won’t hear us… Anyways we all felt ourselves as Vikings. To tell you the truth I know this guy and his father was an Icelander, so you see appearance is also important.

Now this is what you really need! This helmet is historically accurate and extremely protective. This buddy is ready to join the viking club. Ready for the battle?

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Picture by Trevor Hagan

Than the Village Warfare Tactics and Demonstration  is for you. You will see the battle, the true story of honor and justice. The performance looked so real that when a little girl saw a man pretending to be killed on the field she burst into tears. Poor thing!




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But Gimli is not only an Icelandic Festival. Its beautiful harbor invites you to discover  new lands as vikings did hundreds of years ago. The boats look different of course, but the sense of adventures will follow you for sure. And who cares that it’s just a lake and not the sea, our imagination has no limits. Simply pretend yourself  on a viking ship…

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If your imagination doesn’t go as far as that, there is another and maybe even a more entertaining way to enjoy yourself. Close to the harbor, on the warm beach you can relax, build a sand castle or try how a car boat works!

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Everyone, children and adults,  can find interactive, educational or just fun activities in Gimli. Join us next year!  And see you there.

Meetup Groups in Winnipeg.

Hello, Manitoba!

Have you ever heard of Meetup Groups? These groups meet online to invite people participate in their everyday activities. You have to register whether for free or for some symbolic sum of money and participate.


Have you ever thought of building an igloo with your new friends and then spend a weekend in it somewhere in the deep forests of Canada? No? Now you will! You can choose from dozens of activities you’ve never even imagined and explore surroundings with interesting people who like adventures, music or just hot chocolate. Here are  some of these groups: Winnipeg Harley Riders, Singles with Dogs, Prairie Pathfinders Walking Club, Live Theater and Festival Lovers, French Conversation Groups, Swing Dance Group, Beginners Golf Group, Winnipeg Wine Lovers (this one worth joining)… Sounds interesting? Yeah!

I always wanted to try something like that and a couple of weeks ago my colleague invited me to join a Cycling Beginner Group! It’s a free group for women. They meet once a week for an hour ride in different Winnipeg locations. I couldn’t refuse.

The organizers kindly met us near Assiniboine Forest, I was lucky to get the last personal badge and we went cycling through a beautiful landscape with 14 other women.


During our break we were watching the bison from a tree house. Incredible! In the heart of the city! Just five minutes drive from my home!



      The group was well organized and everyone was so positive and inspired. As a result I have a new helmet and moreover my colleague sold me her extra bike almost for free. Thank you! And we can now cycle more together. Enjoy my pictures and visit this page Click here to find out what activities are waiting for you this week. See you soon.

Nesting Season Continues.

Good morning, Manitoba! Rainy weather didn’t spoil another wonderful weekend in the countryside. Just 50 km away from Winnipeg, surrounded by Canadian farms; between  Steinbach and Ste Anne we were watching Northern Canadian birds in their proud beauty!  Just have a look at them… Local people say they see about 50 different types of birds here. Baltimore Orioles (they adore oranges, so it is easy to remember their name), Blue Jays, Goldfinches…  You can buy beautiful bird feeders and different types of seeds at the grocery store and enjoy their singing all the year round.

Baltimore Oriole


Blue Jay


American Goldfinch           Rose-breasted Grosbeak         Red-winged Blackbird


Have you ever seen the humming birds fighting? Holy Moly! I even couldn’t imagine that they migrate to Manitoba, as the climate here is very similar to Siberian, where I come from. I thought that hummingbirds live only in hot countries. Naive… here is a small lesson how to attract a hummingbird. Melt 1/3 cup of sugar in warm water and hang a feeder with this sweet juice outside of your house.  You won’t wait long. They will take it for the flower nectar and you can watch them and make wonderful pictures. I wish I had a more professional camera! The sound they produce with their wings reminds a huge bug flying over you. If you sit still they can even touch your head!  Wow!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


And who is there? Oh, woodpeckers! I counted 4 types of them this Sunday!

Red-headed Woodpecker


Pileated Woodpecker


I thought this huge buddy would break the feeder. It looks like a pterodactyl and it is really big.

 If you open any Guide of North American Birds (Click here), you will find them all there. But we’d  better find the time for reading in winter, and now let’s explore the bright colours of Manitoba! The nesting season continuous!


Experience Manitoba. First Steps in Canada.

Hi everyone, my name is Tatiana, I am a new e-Volunteer Coordinator with English Online Inc and I am starting a series of short stories about our friendly Manitoba. I will share my first steps and experience as a newcomer here in Winnipeg, Canada. As a part of our online community, you, our learners and volunteers are more than welcome to participate and share your stories and pictures with us, so we can know each other better!
Ok. Here we go… It’s my ninth week here in Winnipeg but it seems as if we arrived ages ago. And I still have a feeling as if I am on another planet. Each day I see something new which is completely different from my home country. So many cultures around, so many languages you hear on a bus or in a shop each day. That is fantastic! The first things that really impressed me here: the fresh air and water, people dressed in very light clothes in April, toddlers running without hats when it is still snowing outside, just a few walkers on the streets – they are all driving and… the geese… everywhere in the city!

2015-05-08_11052015-05-08_11072015-05-08_11012015-05-08_1103_001They are so gorgeous! When I sent some photos of these beautiful creatures to my friends in Russia and how we feed them with the bread in Assiniboine Park, one of the friends was almost crying, as he is a hunter but has never seen the geese so close. The bus drivers are wishing you a good day, people in the street say: “Hello!” when they meet you. My son still asks me how I know all these people… I am still fascinated by how everything works here, how everything is organized whether you come to a bank or a clinic. It just takes you a few minutes and everything is done. I’ve never heard a rude voice on a street, the people are smiling, they start talking to you and you feel really safe and comfortable. And one more thing which is really great – everyone is ready to help you! Your neighbors, your colleagues, school teachers and the bus drivers of course. They always welcome their passengers and seem to know everything in the city! I will tell you some more facts about the Winnipeg transit in one of my next posts for sure. See you very soon. Tanya.