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Assiniboine Park: A Park for all Seasons
Assiniboine Park:
A Park for all Seasons

Produced for Prairie Public Television ©2003
Written and Produced By George Siamandas

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Page 3

DISCOVERING THE JOYS OF ASSINIBOINE PARK
TERRY MACLEOD, WINNIPEG RADIO PERSONALITY
I moved here about 10 years ago from Toronto and had never been to the park ever before, and no one mentioned the park to me before. They mentioned the rivers, they mentioned the Forks and I think the first time we came when the kids were really small we came to the kite festival.

And then we came to discover the park in a number of different ways depending on what season it was. When the kids were really little and they were learning to skate, we would come in the winter to the duck pond. We would come when they used to have the Lights of the Wild, in the Zoo in the deepest, darkest part of the winter around Xmas time when it was really cold and the colder the better. We would come up to the Zoo and they would have these light displays in the park. We come to the teddy bears picnic every spring and sit around on this broad expanse of grass and marvel at the fabulous talent.

The thing that I find remarkable about the park it has this combination of different kinds of places. You can find these gigantic vistas like the road coming up to the Pavilion where you get this long stretch of beautifully symmetrical trees, and you can look way down this great corridor of trees. And then are these huge open patches of grass where nothing is growing but in the distance there are the trees.

My favourite new place is the English garden and I was there last night wandering through in this intoxicating smell and this unbelievable collection of flowers. If you ever want to know what grows in Winnipeg in the summer all you have to do is go to that garden. Everything is in bloom right now and there are these wonderful reflecting pools and lily pads; these towering garden obelisks, gorgeous things.

THE DUCK POND
NAR: Located opposite the entry to the English Gardens, the Duck Pond offers the chance to watch the graceful swans and other ducks that inhabit the pond in summer. In the early years it was known as Swan Lake. In winter the pond is transformed into a skating rink and toboggan slide area. Skaters do their figures under a canopy of lights and soft music

ASSINIBOINE PARK FOOTBRIDGE
NAR: The first footbridge was built by real estate men trying to market housing opposite the park in St James. For the next 20 years the city paid $1000 per year to construct and then take down a wooden footbridge. This extravagance lasted until 1932 when a new concrete bridge was built with winter works money.

ASSINIBOINE PARK ZOO
NAR: Well over a million visitors annually enjoy the collection of over 1250 mammal, bird and reptile specimens. It’s the second largest zoo in Canada after Toronto. The climate controlled Tropical House provides the largest, indoor-outdoor collection of birds in any zoo.

DOUG ROSS, DIRECTOR ASSINIBOINE PARK ZOO
The Assiniboine Park Zoo started as one of the key components for Assiniboine Park. It's quite interesting as the first plan for Assiniboine Park did not include a zoo. And what happened as first happens with a lot of zoos in municipal areas, someone thought it's a good idea. So they actually donated some animals to the zoo and these animals were your standard North American animals: a few bison and some wolves, just those kind of animals and that was the start. And it's interesting too that the zoo stayed as a drive through where people could actually drive their cars through past the pens, look at the elk or the bison.

We were one of the first zoos to come up with the bar-less cages. So for our bears we never did have the standard barred cages. We went from the bear pit right to the modern enclosures.

The grizzlies that we have here Hilda and Waldo are a couple of grizzlies that came from Alberta. They were orphaned. They are actually brother and sister. In our bear collection we have polar bears which are a key part of our zoo now because of our links with northern Manitoba - the polar bear capital of Canada which is Churchill. We also will always have black bears because black bears are the most common indigenous bear in Manitoba and they are all around Winnipeg and into the countryside.

KERRY RENAUD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF MANITOBA
Education and conservation are probably two of the biggest and most important things zoos are doing in society today. In addition zoo classroom programs run through-out the school years where you have classrooms from various schools coming into the zoo and experiencing an educational classroom experience.


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