It’s over for another year. And we’re left with temperatures in the -20’s and memories of what is now Christmas past.
I’m in the Kensington building downtown today: 275 Portage Avenue, the one that says Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on the side.
Eighteen nondescript stories, a security guard in the marble trimmed lobby and slow elevators. Lots of language schools so the elevators are kind of tied up around 9 most mornings.
Other than that, it’s pretty quiet around here; a sharp contrast to all the festivities that were happening at the end of last month.
The Open Houses put on before Christmas by some of the First Nations tenants in the building were truly a revelation.
According to the free dictionary online, an open house is a social event in which hospitality is extended to all. Well, these groups all nailed it.
The Eagle Urban Transition Centre, popularly known as Urban Eagle, served a sit-down turkey lunch with all the trimmings at their open house on Dec. 15. The usual drab tables were transformed into a festive setting for the occasion. No one was spared the good natured teasing at this low key event which was much appreciated by all.
Posters plastered the lobby advertising two open houses the next day. A third was added at the last minute.
The other floors of the building had always been a mystery. Who knew there were so many First Nations groups in the building?
By noon the building was humming. Christmas was just around the corner and everyone was giddy with anticipation. With tenants on three floors serving a free Christmas lunch, you had an event.
The elevators were kept busy as festive lunch-goers went from floor to floor receiving a warm welcome at each. Many of us were determined to sample each lunch. It felt like you were breaking some unspoken rules of social decorum but it was so much fun.
The hallways were ringing with laughter and impromptu conversations.
The biggest do was on the 17th floor. The curved bank of windows with a bird’s eye view of the city framed an informal sit-down buffet affair.
There was much table hopping and ensuing hilarity to accommodate the increasing number of new arrivals.
The other two floors hosted smaller, less formal luncheons with a wide variety of finger foods and treats.
And not to forget Urban Eagle who had heated up their leftovers from the day before and were feeding anybody who entered their office.
There was an abundance of food in the building and what an abundance of generosity.
A big megwetch to Eagle Urban Transition Centre (EUTC), to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), to Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) and to the First Nations Health and Secretariat of Manitoba Inc.