Celebrating those who made the most of isolation with CBC Manitoba's Lockdown Showdown

CBC Manitoba wanted to celebrate those who have leaned into isolation, and come up with their own unique way to beat the tedium. Enter the Lockdown Showdown: a competition that sought out the Manitobans who resolved to make the pandemic at least somewhat productive. 

CBC Manitoba sought out Manitobans who used their alone time during the pandemic to accomplish a goal

CBC Manitoba decided to shine a spotlight on Manitobans who used their time in lockdown to hone their skills or accomplish a major goal. (CBC )

Manitobans have been cooped up for months by partial lockdowns, but that hasn't stopped some people from stepping up their game. 

CBC Manitoba wanted to celebrate those who have leaned into isolation and come up with their own unique ways to beat the tedium during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enter CBC's Lockdown Showdown — a competition that sought out the makers, the writers, the innovators and the active Manitobans who resolved to make their lockdown time at least somewhat productive. 

And Manitoba, you delivered. 

Out of dozens of fascinating entries, 10 people stood out. We call them Lockdown Showdown Superstars. 

These Manitobans have nothing going on and everything going on at the same time. 

Converting a $20 filing cabinet to a triple-decker meat smoker? A Niverville man was willing to risk it for the brisket. 

Learning to skate at 61 years old? One Winnipeg woman came into it cold — now it's no sweat.

Turning your front yard into a physically distant winter wonderland for your neighbours? Might as well include a two-metre-high ice wall. 

Finishing a book about your wife's family history? A 75-year-old man hunkered down, and now it's a bestseller. 

Here are their stories.

The Innovators 

David Falk

David Falk built a socially distanced firepit, complete with a wind barrier made of ice. (Jaison Empson/CBC )
Falk built this impressive fort and firepit outside his home in Winnipeg. (Jaison Empson/CBC )

Falk used his time to build a socially distanced firepit out of ice — and a six-metre-tall ice tree using a dead elm in his year. 

Lockdown Showdown: Fire and Ice

CBC News Manitoba

2 months ago
'Go big or go home' says David Falk, a Winnipeg resident who created epic ice structures in his front yard. 2:35
We are celebrating accomplishments from our CBC lockdown showdown superstars. A Winnipegger tamed the power of ice to unite his neighborhood. David Falk the "Lockdown Showdown Superstar ice builder" built a socially-distanced firepit, complete with ice-wall wind break, for his friends and neighbors to use. 4:53

Bretton Selent

It once held file folders but now this old office cabinet contains a meat smoker. (Jaison Empson/CBC )

In addition to passing the time, Selent's pandemic project has some delicious benefits: he built a meat smoker using an old metal office cabinet. 

Hear Selent describe how he did it below: 

Lockdown Showdown: Niverville man creates meat smoker out of office cabinet

CBC News Manitoba

2 months ago
Bretton Selent shows off the $20 filing cabinet that he converted into a triple-decker meat smoker during the pandemic. 3:18

The Writers

Terry Dann

Dann started writing his first novel years ago, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it forced him to hunker down and get it done. 

His historical novel, Land Title: A Novel of the Prairies, is now published through Amazon. 

We are celebrating accomplishments from our CBC lockdown showdown superstars. It's a novel by 75 year old Terry Daan that looks at what life was like in Manitoba 100 years ago and it was a pandemic project. 8:32

The Active

Claire Maxwell

At 61, Maxwell decided to use her time during the pandemic to finally learn how to skate. 

Lockdown Showdown: Retired principal hits the ice

CBC News Manitoba

2 months ago
At 61, Claire Maxwell had never skated at The Forks — until now that is. 1:53

The Makers 

Angela Swanson

For many years, Swanson had been hanging on to pairs of old jeans with an ambitious plan.

When the pandemic began, it gave her time to pull our her fabric shears and to fire up her sewing machine.

The result is a large quilt constructed of those old jeans, in various shades of blue and black.

Angela Swanson turned a bunch of old jeans into this quilt. (Submitted by Angela Swanson)

Ellie Leferink 

Because of pandemic, the four-year-old got to spend more time in the kitchen, as her parents taught her about baking and encouraged her to get involved.

Chef Ellie now has her own YouTube channel, where she demonstrates how to make sweet treats, such as apple crisp.

Kelly Deveau

Deveau, a retired nurse, decided to roll up her sleeves and start a new hobby upcycling old furniture — painting and upholstering to put those items through eye-catching transformations.

Kelly Deveau used her spare time during the pandemic to upcycle old furniture (Submitted by Kelly Deveau)

Listen to these three makers talk about their pandemic projects below:

More finalists in our Lockdown Showdown Superstar contest. Listeners had emailed us to tell us about their pandemic projects. We have been talking to some of the makers who entered the contest...including a four year old chef who demonstrates how to bake sweet treats on her own YouTube channel. 11:27

You can catch more interviews with the finalists of the Lockdown Showdown through the CBC Listen app, or catch some of their stories on CBC TV's 6 p.m. newscast

You can also hear from some of our runners-up below:

All this week, we have been hearing about how you've been keeping busy during the pandemic, such as singing, sewing, or writing. Today on Information Radio, we gave some honourable mention shout-outs in our Lockdown Showdown Superstar contest! 7:31


  • A previous version of this story said a 75-year-old man finished a book about his wife’s Indigenous roots. In fact, while the book has Indigenous characters, his wife is not Indigenous.
    Feb 28, 2021 3:21 PM CT

With files from Cory Funk and Shannah-Lee Vidal


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