We were quite a bit ahead of schedule, so we fought our way through traffic across town. There was a lot of construction, but interestingly enough, little of it seemed to be on the roads themselves. Instead, almost all of it was on the sidewalks, which led Chris and Katherine to try and remember whether they had ever seen traffic curtailed in their hometown for sidewalk repair (answer: no).
We arrived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, home of the Winnie the Bear statue, late in the afternoon. It was a hot day, so many of the animals were sleeping or inside, but there was still plenty to see. The zoo had inexpensive admission, but it wasn’t terribly well-kempt; there were lots of missing labels and a general air of dirt. Of course, they didn’t seem to be in full swing yet, either: none of the vending carts were open, and there didn’t seem to be any programs going on; our thought is that they may start their summer season later than we do in the States. The prairie dogs, however, were active, plentiful, and fun to watch.
After wandering around the zoo for quite some time, we hopped back into the car and drove a short distance to the Leo Mol sculpture garden. The first two sculptures, “Trumpeter” and “Schoolgirl,” did nothing to prepare us for the predominant theme of the sculptures in the park, which appeared to be “woman who aren’t wearing clothing.”
There were, however, a few less-naked sculptures of interest, including studies for a statue of Taras Shevchenko in Buenos Aires and a family group, as well as some sculptures of bears. We would have liked to look at the English Garden attached to the Sculpture Garden, but something had betrayed our presence to hordes of mosquitoes, and we were rapidly betraying our American background by being the only people in the park who were wildly gesticulating and slapping ourselves. Either the mosquitoes were ignoring the Canadians in favor of fresh blood, the mosquitoes are jaded and have given up on the Canadians altogether, or the Canadians have grown so inured to the mosquitoes as to no longer even notice them. We, not being made of such stern stuff, retreated to the car and watched our mosquito bites swell.