Walking The Via Francigena: Winnipeg to Paris

This “Walking The Via Francigena” series of posts follow us, David and Gail, as we continue our walk along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome. In the fall of 2019, we completed the first leg from London to Canterbury, known as the Chaucer Way, and onward to the small town of Tergnier, France on the Via Francigena. A pandemic got in the way but now, in 2022, our trek is underway once again, this time taking us from Tergnier to Besançon over 23 walking days and 580 or so kilometres.

So begins the adventure.

Gail and I left our Winnipeg home…late at night or early in the morning, depending on your perspective. We leave in darkness at 3:45 AM, making our way on foot, as we usually do on such trips, to Winnipeg’s airport. We cross Portage Avenue on the BNSF rail bridge, hopping from rail tie to rail tie. Traffic signals change and pedestrian warnings bleep for no one aside from a rare truck or two walkers making their way down quiet industrial streets. The sidewalks end as we approach the airport fifty minutes later, leaving us to scamper over grass and across taxi stands. The cool night air takes on a hint of jet fuel. Engines thunder in the distance. Our next taste of the world will be Paris.

Read on to view photos and a soundscape.

Continue reading

Plane Jane: A Walk to the Airport (2022 Edition)

Looking for a good long walk on one of Winnipeg’s first spring-like days? This Saturday, join tour leaders Gail Perry and David Firman for a unique walk from our house to YWG, Winnipeg’s international airport. It’s our contribution to Jane’s Walk 2022.

This is a fun but long walk so be sure to read the following not-so-fine print:

Date and time

Sat, 7 May 2022

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT

You can register for this free walking tour on Eventbrite but, if it’s a last minute decision to join in, just show up at noon on Saturday.

The walk starts at 521 Raglan Road, in the Wolseley neighbourhood. This is our home. We will gather in the front yard. There are major bus stops at Raglan Road and Valour Road serving all Portage Avenue bus routes within 290 metres or a 4 minute walk.

This is a fun but long walk so be sure to read the following not-so-fine print:

Continue reading

Plane Jane: A Walk to the Airport (the virtual, pandemic version)

It’s a crazy idea, something you’re not supposed to do. But walking to YWG, whether for pleasure or to catch a plane, is entirely possible. Your hosts, Gail Perry and David Firman, have done it for the adventure of exploring places off most pedestrian road maps and, on many occasions, to catch flights to far off places.

Want to try it? Then join us on our virtual tour, a 3 hour, 11.5 km round trip, starting in the Wolseley neighbourhood and winding through residential, commercial and industrial areas on our way to Winnipeg’s new airport. And then return by way of Omand’s Creek as it takes us by strip malls, big box stores—all those place you usually drive to—as well as surprising stretches of restored prairie. 

Along the way, we’ll explore architectural gems, such as St. James Church, find hidden vest-pocket parks, investigate austere industrial parks, reflect on airports lost and new. But, most importantly, we will take ownership of places in our city where no pedestrian was meant to tread. And, who knows, maybe your next trip to Hawaii will start with a walk to the airport.

Continue reading

Walking to Rome: Winnipeg

_8280060

It starts in Canterbury. Gail and I will leave its cathedral, head south, cross the English Channel, traverse France, climb Switzerland’s Great Saint Bernard Pass, continue south through Italy and finally arrive on the doorstep of the Vatican. Continue reading

Plane Jane: Coming This Sunday!

IMG_4474

It’s a crazy idea, something you’re not supposed to do. But walking to YWG, whether for pleasure or to catch a flight, is entirely possible. We’ve done it. For the adventure of exploring places normally off the pedestrian road map. And for kick-starting a travel-light, carry-on-only vacation to Europe.

Want to try it, too? Then join us on our 3-4 hour round trip, starting in the Wolseley neighbourhood and winding through residential, commercial and industrial areas to James Richardson International Airport. Continue reading

Plane Jane: A Jane’s Walk to Winnipeg Airport

Walking to YWG on September 1, 2014 to catch our flight to Prague.
Walking to YWG on September 1, 2014 to catch our flight to Prague.

On May 3, 2015, my wife Gail Perry, and I will be leading a Jane’s Walk from our sylvan Wolseley neighbourhood to the James Richardson International Airport (YWG).

Jane’s Walk is an international phenomena, a day or two each year where citizens across the globe lead tours of their neighbourhoods, talk about what works, what has failed and challenges faced. Continue reading