I was born and raised in a small prairie town in Manitoba. Portage la Prairie to be exact. It is located about 80 kms west of Winnipeg. Of course “small” is relative. In Manitoba terms, the city is big. Its the third largest metropolitan area in Manitoba!! (I know right?!) but still small comparatively. There are approximately 12,000 people in Portage. I have often described the town as being large enough that you don’t know everyone but small enough to notice a stranger when they come to town.
If you’ve ever lived on the Canadian prairies, you’ll know the winters are harsh and the summers sweltering. One learns quickly to park their car facing south in the winter.
Portage’s largest employers are agriculture and government and everything that spins from that. The city is full of hard working, blue collar folks who live perfectly normal and unexciting lives. It has all the necessary amenities…Walmart, grocery stores, liqour mart, Canadian Tire and a host of small businesses. We have parks and golf courses and swimming pools and everything else a small town has to offer. The city looks worn down and old and has barely changed in 50 years. There is something refreshing about that.
Of course the place has changed since I lived there. I moved away to the West coast of Canada in 2000. My high school has been converted to a French immersion school now so there is only one high school in town. But everything else is the same.
I was an unplanned pregnancy, hence the title of the blog “A beautiful mistake.” My mother and father dated for a couple of months when they got pregnant. According to my mother, my father offered to move her and my older brother to Brandon where he was working for the Canadian Armed Forces and she told him to “take a hike.” They never saw each other again.
Consequently, I was raised then by my single mother and one older brother, Dan, in this rural prairie town. That is the setting of my beginning. I will write more in separate posts about different issues accordingly but this is the canvas my life and story began on.