Growing up in Winnipeg, The Forks was always a weekend part of family time.
On Friday nights, we would pile into my Dad's van "Big Blue," and head down VJ's drive in on Main for supper, or at least until my Dad's cholesterol got too high.
After VJ's we would head to The Forks. We would all hold hands and do "1..2..3..weee" with my youngest sister, Logan.
My step-mom would look at the jewelry, we would look at the arts and crafts, Dad would mosey around and make small talk with strangers, and depending on the time of year; we would either watch the ice skaters on the circular rink or the buskers in the courtyard.
I am not talking about The Forks the way that it is now. When I was a kid; the children's museum had just moved from downtown, there was no "Inn at The Forks," no skate park, no MTYP (Manitoba Theater for Young People), no Goldeyes Stadium until my late adolescence, and obviously no Human Rights Museum.
The Forks, from what I remembered, used to be more of a market square, with a lot more green space, surrounded by the small high rise buildings of downtown Winnipeg; their lights glistening off Red and Assinaboine River...
I don't dislike the "new look" of The Forks, and I think it's great that there are plenty more reasons to go there and enjoy what I personally think is the best part of our city. However, I miss the space where many of the buildings now are. The parking garage and the Inn at The Forks seems a little crowded in a area that perhaps should have been kept as green.
I remember sitting under a tree in that very where the Inn is now on Canada Day with my Auntie and Mom having our packed lunch with Canadian flags in our pony tails.
Last fall, a friend visited me from Alberta, he had never been further East than Saskatchewan before. Naturally, I had brought him to The Forks. I had to explain to him the draw of The Forks: the river walk in the summer (most of the time), the longest ice skating rink in the winter, dancing and ice skating in the courtyard, ice cream, face paint, old locomotives full of candy, Aboriginal art, Chinese art, history, booze at Fin McQ's, Spaghetti, wings, museums, skate parks, snowboard rails, outdoor music theaters, baseball, theater, and children's fun.
I didn`t know that becoming a tourist again in my own city iinorder to show him around would re-kindle my love and appreciation for The Forks, presently and in past memories, and as much as I do love The Forks, I suppose green space downtown is the price we pay for in order to gain for more tourism.