Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall isn't a building. It's awesome people doing awesome things. And we can do that anywhere.
—Kelly Hughes, Aqua Books
In 1999, I opened my first little shop on Notre Dame. Every four years or so, we grew, and by 2008, we had landed at an old tumbledown Chinese restaurant at 274 Garry Street.
Aqua Books (Bryan Scott)
Turning an 8400 square foot building (that was not in good shape) into Winnipeg's cultural mecca would be the hardest thing I ever did. It would also be the most rewarding. At the peak of our operation, we were downtown's largest bookstore (40,000 books), a busy restaurant, and two theatres that saw 400 events a year.
Well, life happened, and last summer we announced we were rolling up the carpet. The people said no. So after ten months of manoeuvring, Aqua Books
will in fact live again at 123 Princess beginning on June 16.
It will be a lot different, and there will be some things I'll miss about the 'old' space. (The leaky roof not being one of those things.) We flew by the seat of our pants, and made history daily.
So many wonderful talented people have passed through these doors, from noted types like Noah Richler, Kevin McDonald, Guy Maddin, Robert J. Sawyer and the late Paul Quarrington, to the next generation of creative minds like Nic Dyson, Holly Stratton and Carlen Jupiter. Young folks you haven't heard of...yet.
And our customers and friends? 93% awesome, 14% crazy. (There's some overlap.)
So I guess when I feel disappointed about losing the building that I worked so hard on, I need to remember one thing. Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall isn't a building. It's awesome people doing awesome things. And we can do that anywhere. (Although it's nice to do it in a building. Unless it's warm out.)
So grab your pants, and let's make history all over again.This content is provided
by Kelly Hughes. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC.
CBC is not responsible for this content.