Lifestyles 55 Articles

Myrna Driedger
Broadway Journal

Winnipeg is a world class city with many world class features. Winnipeggers know this to be true and it’s great to see events promote our city so others can see this, too. We are a city recognized on the world stage. We are a hub for arts and culture, where movies are made, we have amazing museums and restaurants and beautiful architecture. We have much to be proud of.

Hal and Myrna on the red carpet on opening night.

Winnipeg has made great connections with other cities. One such connection is that we are Sister Cities with Chengdu, China. This Sister-City agreement was signed thirty years ago between our two cities in 1988. At the time, in commemoration of the agreement, Winnipeg was loaned a pair of panda bears and Chengdu received a pair of polar bear cubs. This exchange was very fitting as Manitoba is the polar bear capital of the world and Chengdu is the panda bear capital of the world. This sister city agreement is a relationship we are so fortunate to have.

The arrival of pandas at the Winnipeg Zoo 30 years ago has a special meaning to me. This sister city partnership that brought the pandas to our great city gave me so many great memories with my own family. I remember taking my sons to the Assiniboine Park Zoo to see this new exhibit. My sons were thrilled to see these interesting, adorable, unique bears. It was an attraction that brought many people to the Assiniboine Park Zoo. As a mother, being able to show my young sons this panda bear exhibit in our city made for a wonderful family memory. Winnipeg is the first city in Canada and only the second city in North America to have the honour of being home to Pandas in our Zoo. I’ll always remember my children’s excitement as we walked through Assiniboine Park towards the main gates of the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

Recently, I was reminded once again about Winnipeg’s sister city agreement with the city of Chengdu when I attended an amazing new exhibit. I had the opportunity to see the Lights of the North display at the Red River Exhibition grounds on its opening night. This enormous display spread out over ten acres on the grounds. What a sight to behold!

As I walked through the Lights of the North exhibit I was awe-inspired. There are so many different aspects to this exhibit. As the name of the exhibit suggests, there are thousands and thousands of lights on display. All of these LED lights have been artfully placed together to form terrific displays, many of which are familiar sights to Winnipeggers. I saw the Legislature building in LED light form and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in LED form, to name a few of the many light displays. The outfits I saw were brilliant colours and stunningly beautiful. Decorations throughout the event space were breathtaking. The Lights of the North exhibit is nothing short of incredible.

There are acrobats who perform unbelievable shows. These talented athletes have come all the way from our sister city in Chengdu, China to display their well-practiced talents. As I watched the show I couldn’t help but think how fortunate Winnipeg is to attract such performers. The crowd was mesmerized by their incredible show. There are plenty of displays for children to see, making this truly a family-riendly event. Walking through the grounds I saw crafters and artisans ready to create new works of art for guests. These hand crafted pieces of art are a beautiful way to commemorate the evening. These artisans provide a made-in-Manitoba flair to this Chengdu event. Another made in Manitoba flair to the event was the amazing, mouthwatering food. There is local food as well as Chinese food. For the adults there are beer gardens.

The night ended with a beautiful display of fireworks. It felt like a fitting way to end the opening evening of this event. The Lights of the North exhibit is a celebration of the partnership between our great city and Chengdu. What better way to celebrate than with a fireworks display!

As a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for the past two decades, I have seen time and again the importance of partnerships. Working together is the cornerstone of our success as a city, as a province, and as a country. Our strong partnerships with people around the world are an important aspect of what makes us who we are. We celebrate diversity and promote culture.

I encourage everyone to check out the Lights of the North exhibit at the Red River Exhibition grounds. For more information and tickets, check out

Hon. Myrna Driedger is MLA for Charleswood and Speaker of the legislative assembly.


Author: Lifestyles55
Lifestyles 55 is a Winnipeg paper that provides readers in their 50s and older with information on matters affecting their daily lives.
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