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The Forks Market
105 Waterfront Drive
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
1-888-942-6302
www.theforks.com/attractions/at-the-forks/the-forks-market

Have you ever been to Manitoba? As a Torontonian living in Montréal, I tend to hang around the central-eastern parts of my huge country. But when the opportunity arises, I like to cover untrodden regions of this 9,984,670 square kilometre nation and it’s not too often that I get to out west. When we Canadians talk about Western Canada (or way over there from where I’m from), we mean the province of Manitoba and its neighbours to its left — Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Manitoba was one of the few provinces that I had not discovered until recently when I visited the southern parts of this prairie terrain. And where’s a better place to discover Winnipeg culture than The Forks, a lovely meeting place of community and commerce for the past 6,000 years?

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Fall is upon us, and before the summer’s over several neighbourhoods in Montréal hold bi-annual sidewalk sales. The city has these outdoor street sales to promote retail clearance events and snacks from food vendors, which is the perfect time to get reacquainted with what is happening on the main streets. These sales mean that the roads get shut down, the people come out, and you get a reason to stroll around your block to see what’s going on.

My neighbourhood in the Plateau recently held its end of summer sale, Vente Trottoir l’Avenue Mont-Royal (Sidewalk Sale of Mont Royal Avenue), along the main street of Avenue Mont-Royal and the streets were packed with vendors, shoppers, and curious onlookers. Avenue Mont-Royal is known for being dotted with funky and independent fashion stores, trendy bars and restaurants, and cute bakeries. The Plateau is kind of the francophone equivalent to the adjacent anglophone neighbourhood of the artsy Mile End, home of Arcade Fire, Stars and other musicians. I am on a budget so no purchases were made, but it is always fun to see the people come out of their row houses to grab some snacks and stroll around the streets in the last days of summer.

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Clearly I have a love affair with nail polish. I am all about sporting a natural visage, but on my hands I love bright hues on a daily basis. In the summer I indulge in bolder nail colours because, if you live here in Montréal, weather that permits your hands to go mitts-free obligates celebration. For the past few months I have been loving coral, pink and rose shades that had me venturing into some unexplored hues on the colour wheel (though my hands remain too shy to go too far into the glitter and textured territories). This summer I have been wearing and test driving nail polishes from five different brands: Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, Joe Fresh, Revlon, and Essie. Here is my round up of my favourite shades and formulas.

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Estée Lauder’s 06 Berry Hot

There is nary an Estée Lauder product in the makeup stash, except for this one nail polish from a department store gift with purchase that was passed down to me as a gift. Free nail polish? OKAY. I was intrigued by the bright and pigmented shade, one unlike any other nail polish that I currently own, which is best described as a vibrant, cool-based metallic fuschia. The formula coats evenly and is almost opaque with a single swipe so that you can get away with two coats sandwiched between a base coat and a top coat (I use Revlon base coat and top coats for all my manicures). The wear is pretty good, but slightly below average because I found the metallic formula was prone to minor flaking at the edges. However, the colour remained vibrant and true for a week’s worth of wear.

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As an exclusive user of virtual calendars, contact lists, and notes, I have come back to the fold of paper-based agendas. How did this happen?

Two years ago, I went to Indigo Bookstore here in Montréal in search of a proper, physical agenda — paper ones that you can actually write with a pen. A sales associate showed me their current collection which was a measly three or four hard cover books that did not meet my size and content specifications. Since then, I have relied entirely on my Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Google Contacts, and Apple Notes. I used to have both a paper agenda and my virtual organization platforms that I would access with my laptop. But once I got a smartphone, I transitioned entirely to the virtual agenda. I thought to myself, “How on earth did I live without a smartphone?!”

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Target has not arrived in Montréal — or Québec — just yet but during a quick trip to Toronto last month, I dropped by the Target location at Cloverdale Mall in west Toronto (Etobicoke).

My reasons for dropping in? Curiosity, to grab a stick of deodorant left at home, and to check out their makeup aisle. Target in the U.S. carries makeup lines like E.L.F. Cosmetics (eyes lips face), Sonia Kashuk, and Pixi, brands that you cannot get at any Canadian retailer as far as I know, though E.L.F. was carried by Zellers before all but three stores were purchased by Target to convert into Target Canada. I also wanted to see how the retailer was doing during its first few months operating in Canada as I had heard of inventory issues where aisles were already out of stock, as well as complaints that the pricing was not as cheap as usual U.S. Target retail prices.

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I was stomping around a good portion of the island today, and Montréal had beautiful weather. After a day of snow then freezing rain, today was bright, sunny, crisp and cool but with sun flooding the city. So I took a few photos of the different neighbourhoods I was meandering through before darkness fell, which at this time of year is around 4 pm.

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The photo above is of the Outremont/Mile End area along Laurier street. This area is lined with shops that are a bit more upscale, as well as some great restaurants including a failed venture with British chef Gordon Ramsay. That restaurant is the first building on the left of the photo, and was a long-standing but faltering establishment called Rotisserie BBQ. Gordon Ramsay came in all Hell’s Kitchen-style, revamping the place and renaming it Rotisserie Gordon Ramsay before abruptly pulling out of the business relationship four months later. The restaurant is still up and running but is now named Rotisserie Laurier.

This neighbourhood is still a great place for shopping and eating. Juliette et Chocolat is a great dessert café, and Gourmet Laurier stocks all the hard to find ingredients for cooking and baking. I was so grateful they had meringue powder so that I can whip up so Christmas desserts tonight.

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