Named after Canada's 20th Governor General, Roland Michener Arena has long been the hockey hotbed of Transcona. I have fond memories of cold nights, hot chocolate from the canteen, family skating events, and gathering with friends and family to watch and play hockey.
I slashed a guy during a game once. He waited for me in the parking lot and jumped me as I tried to walk home. His dad sat in his car, just waiting there, running the engine, keeping it warm.2. 7-11. Regent and Day
The 7-11 on Regent and Day was the go-to loitering destination of my tweens. Winnipeg is universally known as the Slurpee Capital of the world, and I would argue that Transcona is largely responsible for that designation.
A Slurpee before school, a Slurpee at lunch, a Slurpee after school, and a Slurpee before bed. It's how we achieved universal Slurpee supremacy and also universal Type Two Diabetes. This particular fight was over a cigarette in the back lane behind the 7-11. I didn't want to give up my last smoke, so I gave up my face.
3. Kildonan Place Mall
Jon Paul Fiorentino will be featured at the Writers Festival Wednesday September 25 (Lilly Fiorentino)
Kildonan Place will always have a place in my heart. It's where I shoplifted my first poetry book - Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol
. It was the Dover Thrift Edition. I suppose I should have just parted with the dollar. I'm older and wiser now. But reading that book made me want to be a writer.
This particular altercation was the result of a food fight. My friend and I were throwing fries at each other in the food court. It escalated, as food fights often do, and he splashed some of his Coke on me. I yelled 'You bastard!' And I proceeded to chase him through the mall.
Right behind us were two security guards and they quickly caught up, grabbed us by the scruff of our necks and took us to the parking lot. After roughing us up, we were told that we couldn't go back to KP for the rest of the year. This was devastating because KP was the only real place to meet girls.4. Oxford Heights Community Club
There used to be a little annual carnival at Oxford Heights. They had one or two low-end rides and cotton candy and a raffle and so forth. A group of boys approached me and my friend and demanded that we surrender our Slurpees.
My friend handed his over very quickly. I hesitated for a moment and then doused the largest of the mean kids with mine. My friend ran away. I stood there defiant. Then the boys punched me into a new time zone.5. Harold Hatcher Elementary School
'3:30. Behind the hill. Be there!' That was the way you called someone out at good old Harold Hatcher Elementary School.
Harold Hatcher was a wonderful school with a truly progressive educational mandate. The classrooms were named after planets. The gym was the sun and the auditorium was the moon.
Principal Art Miki was a genuine Canadian hero for his work as an educator and for his work in seeking reparations for Japanese-Canadians who were interned during the second world war. I remember every kid wanted to hold his hand during recess. He was an exceptionally kind man.
But despite the progressive learning environment, it was still Transcona. I was called out a few times. I only called a guy out once. He beat me up pretty good. I remember telling him I was done and when he started to walk away, I jumped on his back, tackled him and got some good shots in. Then we squared up, and feebly kicked the air around each other for a while until we got too tired. A cherished memory. Hear Jon Paul Fiorentino on Wednesday September 25 at the 'Nooner' in Carol Shields Auditorium at Millennium Library and on the mainstage at MTYP that evening.