Marcy Markusa: How to love, sell Winnipeg during the Junos

OK Winnipeg, it's time to show off.

OK Winnipeg, it's time to show off.

By saying "show off" I don't mean in a gloating hollow way, but in a way that really calls attention to one of the things this city really can boast about and that is being a cultural hub in the heart of our country.

This is a place that can host a good party, and this weekend we will come together again and do just that as the Junos come to town.

You can say a lot of negative things about Winnipeg, but we will never be accused of having no soul. This is a place of huge talents and humble natures, garage bands and records that were born in basements and barns alike.

While we may take all of that for granted, the rest of Canada should find out this weekend that we are a place with a lot of heart and a mighty fine ear for good music.

Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One, said on Information Radio last week he thinks the 2005 Junos in Winnipeg was one of the best he has attended across the country.

To that end, for us to shine properly, I personally think there are a few subjects that should remain unspoken over the next few days.

Those include topics like cold weather and the terrible pothole craters. Now, if you just can't stay silent about these subjects then I invite you to use my handy guide.

How to be positive about some of our negative realities

If someone says, "Man, is it always this brutally cold here?" You can reply, "Yes, and it is also always this sunny year round."

If they say, "Looks like it's your same old Jets. They still can't make the playoffs." You can reply, "Did you say OUR Jets? The team we brought back through sheer spirit and willpower when the rest of the country claimed it couldn't be done?"

Perhaps they remark, "What's going on with the craters all over the road?" You can reply, "Potholes build stamina. Our drivers have the quickest reflexes in the country."

Or maybe they will take a cheap shot and say, "What an ugly city with all of the graying snow piles everywhere." To that you might reply, "We didn't notice since we were looking up at the architectural profiles of the new stadium and Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which by the way, you can see just past the crane where our new Convention Centre is being expanded."

In all honesty, everyone knows we Winnipeggers can fall into a nasty habit of putting ourselves down.

The thing is, all of the subjects like improving our roads and beautifying the city, hoping our sports teams pull out some wins and crossing our fingers for warmer weather are not going anywhere.

They will be here after the visitors are long gone, and they will be here for us to improve upon and debate as a community.

This weekend though, I think it's a great time to celebrate and point out the wonderful things about Winnipeg.

On Thursday, Matt Dusk was in studio. The Toronto artist is nominated for vocal jazz album of the year.

If you've ever seen him, then you know that despite his 36 years, Matt Dusk is an old soul. He is a classic crooner who loves fine cologne, tailored suits and all things vintage.

His house is full of items from the 1940s, and on the show, he admitted he is in the market for vintage kitchen furniture. It was a great opportunity to point him to the Exchange District, which is packed with vinyl chairs and arborite tables from eras gone by. How would that be for a Winnipeg souvenir?

Johnny Reid will be in town too.

In fact, the country star is one of the co-hosts for Sunday's Junos.

Now, Johnny doesn't need to be told positive things about Winnipeg since he has experienced the best part of the city already -- the people.

At a concert in December he remarked how he played the Palamino Club in the early days of his career and as he graduated to doing big stadium shows at MTS Centre, some of the same local fans were still in the audience supporting him.

I wonder how many of the Juno nominees or visitors have ever had an authentic French meal in a restaurant on a bridge or toured historic buildings that have been restored to perfection?

I wonder if they have had the opportunity to take a short drive and hear the sound of ice cracking on a lake beside a viking village or had the experience of an honestly excited hockey crowd despite the fact that we won't make the playoffs?

I figured I would blog about this today, not out of genuine concern that we won't put on an excellent party for Juno weekend, but more as an excuse to ask you what you think we should share with the rest of Canada?

If you bump into a visitor or artist who is in Winnipeg for the Junos, what will you send them to experience?

Tweet me @cbcMarcy or email See you on the red carpet! 

About the Author

Marcy Markusa

Host, Information Radio

Marcy Markusa hosts Information Radio on CBC Radio One 89.3 FM / 990 AM in Winnipeg. Born and raised in the Manitoba capital, Marcy is passionate about the future of our community and loves how it's growing in both confidence and prosperity. She thrives on getting honest and straight-forward answers for listeners and infuses the show with her energetic warmth and sense of humour.