Great Finds at The Good Will

The Good Will, 625 Portage Avenue

The Good Will, 625 Portage Avenue

Your answer to a great cup of coffee, delicious slice of pizza, or intimate hangout spot and music venue can all be found at The Good Will which opened its doors on 625 Portage Ave. a couple weeks ago, right beside the University of Winnipeg.

Named after the Winnipeg thrift store chain, one instantly feels at ease walking into The Good Will. The decor is minimal in design with vintage chairs as well as modern wooden benches and tables in another room. Two pinball machines and the now retro, The Simpsons arcade game, line the back of the place, while a performance stage faces the bar and coffee area. There is even a collection of VHS movies you can play on a large, flat screen TV. During less busy hours, it’s a great atmosphere for the college crowd to catch up on studying.

The Good Will's coffee shop

The Good Will’s coffee shop

The Good Will is many things. For one, it’s a great place to get an amazing cup of coffee at an extremely reasonable price. I ordered a latte to-go and was even asked if I wanted chocolate on top. How could I say no? The coffee flavours were rich and creamy and was comparable to a latte from many other of our city’s trendy coffee establishments. For early-risers, The Good Will is open at 7 a.m. on weekdays, just in time to get your before-work caffeine fix or something baked and delicious from Tall Grass Prairie.

A Little Pizza Heaven's second location

A Little Pizza Heaven’s second location

What is good news to many who love the place, The Good Will is home to A Little Pizza Heaven‘s second location. As I took a bite into my tomato feta pizza slice, I thought to myself, “What is it about A Little Pizza Heaven pizza that makes it good?” Most would agree it’s the extra kick of garlic flavour that keeps customers coming back for more. With a full menu and a slew of tempting specialty pizzas, you’ll have your pizza cravings covered here. As an added bonus, chips & dip and nachos are available only at the Portage location, perfect for social gathering snacking.

Music venue stage and bar seating

Music venue stage and bar seating

During evening hours, The Good Will transforms into a lively music venue catering to all kinds of music genres. One night you may find a group of folk musicians on stage while the next will be an eclectic, DJ dance party. The venue is the new host of the popular, Smithfits nights from its previous home at Union Sound Hall. The DJs will have you shaking what you got as they spin an energetic mix of punk, new wave, and Brit pop.

Is The Good Will a dive bar, pizza joint, coffee shop, or music venue? The answer is all-of-the-above. But first and foremost, it’s a social club that provides its patrons a social setting for comfort and fun, in whichever form they may be seeking.

VHS-viewing, seating area

VHS-viewing, seating area

A Little Pizza Heaven on Urbanspoon

Places Popping Up in Peg City

One of the things I love about Winnipeg is there is always so much to discover, even when we think we’ve seen it all. There’s been some recent developments in Winnipeg that are worth exploring and even more in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for these exciting new additions…

Actual art gallery, 300 Ross Avenue

Actual art gallery, 300 Ross Avenue

1) Actual art gallery

It is no secret that Winnipeg is home to a large, thriving art scene. Now there is one more venue for local talent to showcase their work.

Winnipeg’s newest art gallery is the beautifully minimal space located at 300 Ross Avenue. White walls and concrete floors create a perfect blank canvas to showcase the talents of our city’s many talented artists. Over 400 people were in attendence of the exhibition’s opening night on July 24th. The current show titled, Actual Artists, showcases the current work of 18 of Winnipeg’s contemporary artists including Wanda Koop, Michael Dumontier, and Ted Barker.

Be sure to check out the next show, which starts next week and runs from September 4th to October 4th. It will feature Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline’s fruit on black in the main gallery as well as Robert Taite’s Ambient Bangs in the small gallery.

Winnipeg's answer to the drive-in experience

Winnipeg’s answer to the drive-in experience

2) Downtown Drive-In 

It seems ages ago, but Winnipeg used to have a nearby drive-in. Do you miss it as much as I do?
This summer, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), and CentreVenture partnered together to bring the drive-in movie experience back to our city. Movie viewing takes place in parking lot at the corner of Carlton St. and Graham Ave., close to cityplace shopping centre. It’s only $10 to reserve a car parking spot to have the traditional drive-in experience. Click here to reserve your parking spot. As an added bonus, if you arrive by bike or on foot, admission is free. There are even drive-in snacks for sale provided by two cityplace restaurants, Bodegoes and Boston Pizza.
This Saturday is your last chance to have this year’s summer drive-in experience. One of two classics will be shown, The Matrix or Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Either way, you should be guaranteed some good, old-fashioned fun.
emk clothing, 143 Sherbrook Street.  Photo from:

emk clothing, 143 Sherbrook Street. Photo from:

3) emk clothing 

For over a decade, Erin May Kembel has designed and made her lovely creations in Winnipeg under the emk clothing label. Just recently, she has opened up her own studio boutique on 143 Sherbrook St. With a welcoming, minimal look, wooden accents, and retro furtniture, the shop is a lovely place to showcase her designs. Erin says she aims to create fashion that is comfortable, accessible, beautiful, & unique. With a large collection of well-made shoulder bags, wallets, tops, and scarves in a variety of trendy fabrics, emk clothing is one up-and-coming, local brand to be on the look out for.

The arrival of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters at Polo Park Mall. Photo from:

The arrival of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters at Polo Park Mall. Photo from:

4) Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters at Polo Park

Winnipeg will soon be home to two stylish store chains to cater to the fashion needs of our trendy locals.

Whenever I’ve visited Minneapolis, Chicago, or Montreal (basically any place I found an Urban Outfitters in), I had to step inside and proceed to buy a bunch of stuff. I personally love Urban Outfitters’s quirky, hipster/art-school-centric, style sensibility and the wonderful, oddball things you can find there. I’ve never been to Anthopologie, but after perusing the vintage-inspired fashion on their website, I may have found a new favourite store.

Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and 15 other stores are set to open up at Polo Park October 1st. Go on and enjoy some retail therapy.


5) King + Bannatyne

What happens when two amazing things (food & art) join forces? A pop-up, sandwich shop is born. King + Bannatyne is a new contender in the trendy Winnipeg food scene that is doing something no one else in the city has done yet. The above link contains a beautifully shot and edited video describing what they’re all about (and some mouth-watering imagery of their sandwiches). According to the video, when you find the King + Bannatyne pop-up sandwich shop and buy a piece of art they are selling from a local artist, you get a gourmet, artisan sandwich made with the freshest ingredients for free. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

You will find this sandwich shop on the corner of King St. and Bannatyne Ave. Follow @kingandbann on Twitter to find out where they will pop-up next.

Folklorama – Week 2

It’s been another great year for Folklorama. It’s been my first time visiting almost all of the pavilions I’ve been this year and I would return to any of them. Tonight is the last night to see, taste, and experience so many cultures of the world. I already can’t wait for next year when I can conveniently stay within city limits, and at the same time, travel the world.

For reviews of all the Folklorama pavilions, click here.
Read my reviews of the welcoming Hungary-Pannonia and Serbian “Kolo” pavilions:

Burton Cummings CC, 960 Arlington St.

FOOD: Paprika is a common seasoning in Hungary. See for yourself by trying hearty bowl of goulash soup ($5) or the chicken paprikas and noodles ($8). Help yourself to sausage ($3.50) and cabbage rolls ($4) as well. To end off your meal, choose from many delicious desserts, including crepes ($2.75) and tortes ($4).

DRINK: Choose between the large selection of Hungarian wines to savour in a glass ($4.50) or bottle ($23). Egri Bikavér (red) and Tramini (white) are recommended. If you want to try something a bit stronger, there is pear and apricot brandy ($4.50).

SHOW: A large cultural display teaches you everything you wanted to know about Hungarian history and culture. With the ladies’ endlessly spinning skirts, and the gentlemen’s rhythmic stomping, clapping, and slapping, the dancers’ captivating performance reflects styles from different regions of Hungary. During one of the dances, the female performers somehow manage to effortlessly dance with bottles of wine balanced on their heads.

BEST REASON TO GO: The impressive bottle dance is definitely worth the trip to this pavilion. Another reason is the delicious Hungarian flat-bread, langos ($3.50), which are freshly made and deep-fried outside the pavilion. Order yours sprinkled with icing sugar for a sweet treat.

CULTURE SHOCK: When visiting the country’s largest city, be sure to take a dip in one of its many heated mineral pools. Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital in the world.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: While there were many Hungarian wines to choose from, it would’ve been nice if some ethnic beers were added to the drink menu as well.

Somehow the Hungarian female performers were able to complete spinning dance moves while have a bottle of wine balanced on their heads.

Somehow the Hungarian female performers were able to complete spinning dance moves while have a bottle of wine balanced on their heads.

Serbian “Kolo”
St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Ave.

FOOD: Don’t miss out on the savoury sausage, meat and cheese pies ($5), meaty cabbage rolls ($6), stuffed pepper, and succulent pork roast ($8). You can’t have a meal without dessert at this pavilion. Chocolate plays an important role in the various cakes and crepes ($3). The melt-in-your-mouth, baklava ($4) will have you going back for seconds.

DRINK: Enjoy the large selection of Serbian beers, brandies, and wines. The Jelen Pivo ($6) is a refreshing, pale lager and one of the country’s most popular beers.

SHOW: Kolo is an old Serbian word meaning “circle.” During the performances, the dancers often held onto each other’s belts to reinforce this idea of a strengthened community. It definitely added to the entertainment as performers formed large, unified masses of people, stomping and spinning to the lovely Serbian soundtrack.

BEST REASON TO GO: There are many options for scrumptiously spiced food and refreshing drinks at this pavilion, so take advantage of it during your stay. On your way out, pick up some to try at home from the large, Serbian ethnic food market.

CULTURE SHOCK: There may be a pattern to Serbian female names. The pavilion’s adult ambassador mentioned he cannot think of one female Serbian who’s name does not end in the letter, “a”.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The cultural display was a bit easy to miss outside of the main pavilion area and could have used a more interactive element.

Some of Serbia's very filling and delicious food offeringsSome of Serbia's very filling and delicious food offerings

Some of Serbia’s very filling and delicious food offerings.

    Lushious, chocolate-flavoured desserts at the Serbian pavilion

Lushious, chocolate-flavoured desserts at the Serbian pavilion

Folklorama – Week 1

Is Folklorama Winnipeg’s favourite festival? According to a new Prairie Research poll it is. The findings revealed Folklorama has the most attendees of any our city’s festivals.

This year, Folklorama celebrates its 45th year and is the longest running and largest festival of its kind in the world. Where else in the world can you experience 44 different ethnic cultures?

I was actually lucky enough to work at Folklorama for three weeks this year as part of a work placement program for school. It was an amazing atmosphere to be a part of and contribute to. The festival is a true celebration of Winnipeg’s incredibly diverse, multicultural community.

This summer I’ve been given the opportunity to do a few assigned pavilion reviews for the Winnipeg Free Press. This is definitely one of the most fun writing assignments I’ve had to do. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! Read all of Week 1’s pavilion reviews here.


Here’s my take on the two pavilions from Week 1:

A Portuguese icon, the Rooster of Barcelos. Carry one for good luck. Photo from

A Portuguese icon, the Rooster of Barcelos. Carry one for good luck. Photo from

Casa do Minho Portuguese
Casa do Minho Portuguese Centre, 1080 Wall St.

FOOD: Because the sea is such a way of life for many Portuguese, the country is known for its seafood. The seafood platter ($20) is a great way to try many different offerings such as mussels, clams and large shrimp in a deliciously spiced sauce with freshly baked bread for dipping. But there is a large variety of non-seafood Portuguese meals as well.

DRINK: Sample Portguese beers such as Sagres and the strong, pale lager, Super Bock ($6 each). Portugal is home to the sweet, fruity and heavy-bodied port wine, which would make a great pairing with any rich docaria (dessert). Cool down from the summer heat and the pavilion’s spiced cuisine was a bottle of refreshing Portuguese Sumol ($3), a fruity, carbonated pop.

SHOW: Live bands entertain audiences outside while talented dancers captivate audiences with their exuberant, energetic performances indoors. With the stomping of performers’ feet and the clicking of castanets, you will find yourself wanting to jump up right beside them to join in on the fun.

BEST REASON TO GO: With the friendly, warm hospitality of its people and vivacious dancing of its performers, you will feel right at home in this pavilion.

CULTURE SHOCK: The rooster is a common emblem of Portugal. Look up the legend of the Rooster of Barcelos for a fascinating tale associated with 17th-century Portuguese cavalry.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Although there was plenty of space for outdoor entertainment, this popular pavilion could have used even more seating space for people watching the indoor performances.

The talented performers from the Warsaw-Poland Pavilion. Photo from

The talented performers from the Warsaw-Poland Pavilion. Photo from

Glenwood Community Centre, 27 Overton St.

FOOD: Be sure not to miss out on the amazing food at this pavilion. The Warsaw sampler ($11) is a great value and includes large portions of Polish pierogi, sausage, and hunter’s stew, a traditional dish made with meat and cabbage. The Zagloba special ($9) will get you a generous helping of tender, marinated pork hock. There are also a wide assortment of tortes and cheesecake ($4.50) to satisfy your sweet tooth.

DRINK: Quench your thirst with several Polish beers ($6.25) and liquors ($4.50) available. Try the light pilsner beer, Tyskie, one of the country’s favourites. The Zubròwka (Bison vodka) with apple juice is a refreshingly delicious cocktail that tastes just like a freshly baked apple pie.

SHOW: Dancers effortlessly weave around each other to traditional Polish music in front of a large, impressive castle backdrop. The cultural display will fill you in on Poland’s rich history and traditions as well as the colourful, cultural attire from different regions of Poland.

BEST REASON TO GO: The hearty food will have your mouth watering and your stomach full. Do not leave without at least trying a sausage and several cheese and potato-filled pierogi.

CULTURE SHOCK: The male performers bring excitement to their dances by swinging long, thin axes called cuipaga (choo-pah-gah), commonly used in past centuries by shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: I can see no room for improvement. This was a well-organized pavilion!


Week 1’s pavilions run till Sunday when Week 2’s batch of pavilions start up. Stay-tuned next week for reviews of the Hungary-Pannonia and Serbian “Kolo” pavilions!

A Fringe for All

Festival-goers gather around Old Market Square for for free entertainment from Fringe performers.

Festival-goers gather around Old Market Square for for free entertainment from Fringe performers.

It’s been 27 years of unabashed artistic freedom and theatrical spectacle taking over Winnipeg in the form of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.

During the festival, Market Square is overrun by performers and musicians put on free shows for audiences throughout the festival. There are also plenty of vendors, food trucks, and surprises abound to discover in the area.

It can be a daunting feat deciding which of the 178 performances to watch in 30 venues through the Exchange District and Downtown area. It’s helpful to pick up a Fringe Festival program available at the MTC Box Office, Liquor Marts, and McNally Robinson. There are also plenty of reviews in local newspapers and online. As an alternative, don’t be shy to ask fellow festival-goers or people working at the Festival what their top-picks are.

So far, I’ve seen three very funny and touching performances. They are all different in many ways, but I recommend them all to anyone who loves quirky humour and a good story.

The Middle of Everywhere was a sentimental, funny, and whimsical show this year. Put on by WONDERHEADS, a physical theatre comedy specializing in mask performance and enthralling visual storytelling. Narration, audio and lighting effects are effectively used to create atmosphere. No words are used in these performances, only the fine art of body language. The expressions on the masks never change, but you almost feel like they do.

In this play, an uptight, highly-organized man waits at a bus stop only to eventually find an adventurous young girl who’s run away from home. Strange noises eventually lead them to find a time machine underneath their bus stop bench. They figure out how to use it and are taken away to various times throughout history. In addition to finding a new, hairy friend on their journey through time and space, they discover more about each other and themselves.

“Two strangers. One bus stop. Infinite destination.” – Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival 2014 Progeam

James & Jamesy in High Tea. Photo from:

James & Jamesy in High Tea. Photo from:

High Tea is a tale of James & Jamesy a highly-expressive comedy duo from Sussex, UK. In this performance, two unlikely friends meet weekly to have tea together. However, theirs is no ordinary tea party. The two tea-toddlers actually imagine themselves engaging in great adventures which may or may not involve their world being flooded with tea, a ship captain, first mate, sharks, and the Queen of England.

This play was great because James & Jamesy got everyone in the audience involved in the story. We all had a part to play at some point – some even played larger roles than they had bargained for. The unexpected definitely plays to this duo’s advantage as does their gut-busting storytelling.

Be sure to help yourself to tea before each performance. (Fancy tea cups provided.)

CRUMBS: Made up Truths. Photo from:

CRUMBS: Made up Truths. Photo from:

I usually try to check out a couple Fringe shows every year. One of my go-to favourites are long-time Fringe performers and festival-favourites, CRUMBS – Made up Truths. This two-person comedy duo bring improv to a whole new level that is always an entertaining and hilarious show. CRUMBS performs along with Winnipeg’s much-loved, DJ Hunnicut, who spins music and sound effects to add to the setting of the act.

They are not only one of my favourite acts, but many others’ favourites as well. So be sure to buy advance tickets to their shows or come early to buy tickets at the door, because they always sell out of tickets fast.

When CRUMBS go on stage they usually ask the audience to give them a person, place, or thing to shape their improv around. This is a nice way to engage the audience and to see how exactly they will work the suggestions into their performances. When I saw them, the two suggested words were “afghan” and “demolition”. They somehow worked this unlikely pair of words in an emotional, sentimental story that had the audience laughing non-stop. Romantic comedy might be their specialty.

CRUMBS is also HUGE in Germany. Seriously, they are border-line celebrities out there.

CRUMBS tears it up at the King's Head Pub & Eatery

CRUMBS tears it up at the King’s Head Pub & Eatery

Tickets for each show are very affordable and go for $5-$10 each. This year the festival runs till Sunday, July 27 so there’s still plenty of time to take in plenty of performances.

Happy Fringing!