Just Published: On Omand’s Creek by David Firman

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Ordinarily, I would recommend a walk down the frozen surface of Omand’s Creek, the perfect antidote for these COVID-19 days of uncertainty and social-distancing. At its mid-winter best, this is a walk with some risk—crawling on ice through a steel conduit, for example—but spring is closing in, temperatures are rising and water can already be seen flowing over deteriorating ice.  A walk is all but impossible till next winter.

In its place, I offer a self-isolating, fireside-and-scotch alternative: my just-published On Omand’s Creek, the eighth in the Ways To Walk series of small softcover books.

Winnipeg is blessed with frigid winters. Its rivers and creeks freeze over every year, without fail, becoming seasonal sidewalks, opportunities to revisit the city from unique perspectives. Of all those frozen waterways, Omand’s Creek is arguably the most tortured, most compromised. Yet there is an aching beauty to be seen from its white banks. On Omand’s Creek is the story in words and pictures of my trek up this iced-over creek, from its mouth at the Assiniboine River and stretching north to Brookside Cemetery.   

On Omand’s Creek and the other Ways To Walk books can be previewed (in full) and/or purchased at my Blurb Bookstore. Continue reading

Little White Walks: On Omand’s Creek, Part Two

The ninth of a series of jaunts in the key of white. This week: the second half of a walk on Omand’s Creek from the Assiniboine River to Brookside Cemetery.

Passing through the concrete conduit beneath the Sargent Street bridge marks something of a transition point for the frozen Omand’s Creek. Behind me, the landscape has been commercial with big box stores, parking lots, hotels and busy roads lining the straight-jacket course of the creek as it makes its way south to the Assiniboine River. Ahead is all industrial. And my passage upstream this warmish winter afternoon all the more challenging. Continue reading

Little White Walks: On Omand’s Creek, Part One

The eighth of a series of jaunts in the key of white. This week: the first half of a walk on Omand’s Creek from the Assiniboine River to Brookside Cemetery.

I stand at the mouth of Omand’s Creek. Behind me, the broad Assiniboine River surges by on its way to meet the Red River, just a few kilometres to the east. Ahead is the diminutive Omand’s Creek, my frozen path for the next six-plus kilometres.

It is late February and winter still holds a tight grip on the land. The waters of both the Assiniboine and Omand’s Creek are solid ice and walkable. A thin layer of snow blankets their flat surfaces and the surrounding landscape of bare tree limbs and dead bullrushes. It is a comfortably warm day under the clear prairie sky. The temperature hovers just below freezing. The sun warms the back of my dark parka. Perfect conditions for a walk along one of Winnipeg’s most under-appreciated waterways. Continue reading