Thursday, May 19th, 2016


Royal Alexandra and Scroll

As a retailer, I’m always looking for interesting new finds to curate my store and to delight my customers with.  But when I took a call from a Mr. Tom Dixon, who was thrilled about the prospect of having Shelmerdine sell pieces of old Winnipeg buildings, I had my reservations about what he was trying to sell.  Truth be told, I envisioned a pile of rubble.  The pieces, Tom explained, were masses of carved granite and tyndall stone that have been salvaged from the demolition of architecturally significant heritage buildings, and are now lovingly called ‘shards’.  After much persistence, Tom convinced me to take a drive along with Cindy Tugwell, Heritage Winnipeg’s Executive Director, to what they called the ‘Shard Yard’.

We head out into the countryside, Cindy and Tom fascinating me along the drive with stories about Winnipeg’s heritage buildings, their past, present, and their future. By the time we arrived at a remote farmer’s field, I realized that I was being entrusted with a carefully guarded secret.  Heritage Winnipeg has protected the location of these shards for decades,  keeping them safe until they could find a way to offer them back to the Winnipeg public.  The shards have been lying in that field, hidden by the weeds, listening to the wind, ever since their buildings were demolished.

Seeing the shards for the first time was surprisingly moving.

I had the same feeling of solemnity as walking through a graveyard, though this one was full of life.  Grand, stoic pieces of our past, each beautifully carved shard speaks a silent story of life in Winnipeg at the turn of the century.  Maybe it’s my appreciation of Winnipeg’s architecture as a U of M Faculty of Architecture alumni and as a former Exchange District resident, or maybe it’s sheer romantic nostalgia, but walking amongst those shards was a full circle moment for me.  What an unexpected privilege to be a part of the resurrection of our built heritage! There was no question that these artifacts needed to be returned to Winnipegers.  So without hesitation, Shelmerdine entered a partnership with Heritage Winnipeg to offer them to the public on their behalf.

A few nights’ sleep were lost in trying to figure out how to move the massive shards to our site.  Thanks to dry ground conditions, we were able to carefully pick each shard out of the field, keeping them pristinely intact.  Fifty-six stunning relics are now on display at Shelmerdine for you to explore, or to purchase as a way of supporting Heritage Winnipeg and their ongoing efforts to restore, rehabilite and preserve Winnipeg’s built environment. The origin of most shards is identified with a Certificate of Authenticity; most are from the Alloway and Champion Building, the Royal Alexander Hotel, the Main Street Post Office, and the McIntyre Block.  The origin of some shards remains unknown, in their cases we would love your help in solving their mystery!

Come and explore the Shard Yard, an exciting opportunity to experience Winnipeg’s heritage up close!

Words + photos by Nicole Bent


Gargoyle and Field

Sexy Celebrity Dresses



Friday, May 6th, 2016


green evening dresses

In spring, the very mention of frost sends gardeners scurrying for sheets, boxes, or whatever they can scrounge up to keep their plants safe from a possible cold snap.  Read on to take the guesswork out of what you can, and what you cannot plant until the threat of frost is over.

The threat of frost exists until the first full moon in June, which this year falls on Sunday, June 5.

There’s truth to this old wives tale! Therefore up until June 6 . . .

It is not safe to plant: annuals, herbs, vegetable plants, or greenhouse-grown perennial plants.

It is safe to plant: shrubs, trees, bulbs, and vegetable seeds sown directly into the ground such as peas, beans, corn, onion sets and potatoes.

And if you just can’t wait until June 6 to start planting your annuals, vegetables, herbs and perennials, get ready to watch the forecast closely.  Cool, clear nights with low humidity are signs of an impending frost.  In case of a frost warning, you will need to protect these plants, or they could perish.  You can protect your plants with these measures:

  • IRRIGATE The air temperature above wet soil is 5 degrees F higher than that above dry soil. Thus, plants should be well watered the evening before a frost.
  • COVER Covering plants can give you 2 to 5 degrees F protection. The covers can be laid right over the crop, but more warmth is provided by covers that are supported on stakes above the foliage. Any material can be used to cover the plants, however woven fabrics such as bed sheets and burlap are better insulators than plastics or paper. The best time to apply frost covers is in the late afternoon after the wind has died down. Remove covers the next morning before the sun hits them.

For those of you who like to buy your plants early in May, store them in a sunny, warm room and keep them well watered right up until it’s time to plant. Plants kept in garages often suffer from a lack of sunlight.

Happy (early) spring!


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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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