*Although the website is Bike to Oscar’s, any form of active transportation could be used. Rollerblading, skateboarding, take the bus to the closest stop, etc. Personally, I’m walking.
If you’ve read Dining with Donald for any length of time, you know that I don’t drive. That’s one of the reasons that most of my reviews are concentrated in-between where I live and where I work. Those place that are farther away I generally reach by bus. Although, many of them are also places I’ve walked to. My motto is, if I want to get there, I’ll find a way.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about the City of Winnipeg’s active transportation plan, particularly in relationship to the plan to spend money upgrading Winnipeg’s streets. I’m not going to go into all the details here. Here’s an article from the Free Press. Here’s one from the CBC. Here’s another article from the CBC in which the owner of Oscar’s Deli expresses concern over how bike lanes might hurt his traffic.
People who support active transportation are not out to hurt current businesses. However they realize that perhaps they haven’t made the benefits of more bike traffic visible to the existing stakeholders in the downtown.
Such plans also bring out tension that exist between the old and the new. Different generations have different views on what makes Winnipeg a great city. However, the most prosperous Winnipeg is one where everyone prospers. Yes, I’m aware of many, more serious issues that face our city, but today I’m focusing on active transportation and how it affects Winnipeg.
In response to the concerns of Larry Brown, owner of Oscar’s, the website Bike and Eat was created. People using active transportation are encouraged to visit Oscar’s over the next two weeks, starting Sunday May 31, and post their pictures to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. with the hashtag #BikeToOscarsWPG. The hope is that the owner of Oscar’s and other downtown merchants will see how much active transportation, and in particular protected bike lanes, can benefit downtown. The link will give you full details and rationale for the hashtag.
The coming week also marks Winnipeg’s participation in the Commuter Challenge. This event is spearheaded by the Green Action Centre. I’ve signed up to do the challenge. Winnipeg has won the challenge 11 of the last 12 years. Imagine what we could do if we put more resources into encouraging people to be active.
Bike, Walk, Blade to Oscar’s: It’s Worth the Trip
It’s been a while since I was last at Oscar’s. When I worked at L.C. Taylor I would walk over there every so often on my lunch. It was more brunch time today, but I decided I would go for the lunch rather than the breakfast offerings.
I ordered a Reuben Platter, substituting a Matzoh Ball soup for the potato salad. The sandwich also comes with a dill pickle. After I placed my order my server informed me that the soup wasn’t ready yet. However, after consulting with the kitchen again, I found it would be a really short wait, so I decided not to change my order.
I’m really glad I didn’t change. The soup was terrific. The Matzoh ball was gigantic, but also fluffy and tender. The soup itself had a good mixture of chicken, carrots and onion, with a flavourful broth with seasoning that was spot on.
Likewise, the Reuben (which they spell Rubin) sandwich itself was also very good. The bread was toasted crispy but not dried out, and their was a good layer of thinly shaved corned beef. There was also plenty of sauerkraut, but not so much that it overwhelmed the flavour of the meat. The pickle made a nice, acidic complement to the sandwich.
I was in the mood for something a little sweet after sandwich, so I opted for a slice of Strawberry-Rhubarb pie. I went for it cold without any ice cream. It had a good combination of sweetness from the Strawberry, and tartness from the Rhubarb.
While it’s true that we need to encourage active transportation, it’s also true that we have to make sure that we don’t simply disregard the old for the sake of the new. Oscar’s has been part of the Winnipeg landscape for many decades. We don’t want to lose these businesses that have helped shape our city’s character. So, hop on your bike during the next two weeks and pay a visit to Oscar’s.