The faded grandeur of 646 Logan Avenue blends into the area and belies the imaginative and ingenious programming that goes on in the building.
Sunshine House is a community drop-in and resource centre focused on harm reduction, population health promotion, respect and social inclusion. They work with folks in under-served populations providing programming that addresses people’s social, community and recreational needs. People are welcome and accepted as they are.
It may not look like much from the outside but if it’s Sunday you’re in for a treat. Pancakes with maple syrup, scrambled eggs, ham and all the coffee you can drink. Them’s typical Sunday brunch fixings at Sunshine House.
We all love having someone else cook for us and this is a neighbourhood staple. Once you’re seated at one of maybe four communal tables in the space, someone will let you know what brunch consists of that day.
Maybe there’ll be live music adding to the cozy vibe as music is a big part of Sunshine House. JD Ormond fronts the wildly and improbably successful JD and the Sunshine House Band.
From its start in the music module to the video of their hit song Saturday Night to their first self titled CD release, it’s been a meteoric rollercoaster ride for the band.
“I’ve got a girl who is crazy about me. I cannot blame her for that but when she says she’d go crazy without me…”
You may recognize the lyrics to Saturday Night as they’ve played a lot of concerts in the last two years. Everything from Interstellar Rodeo to Canada Day at the Forks to Folk Fest. They’re the little band that could (and did) and all Winnipeg is pulling for them.
In this video, JD Ormond explains how to make the shiners’ maracas:
A $20 donation to their fundrazr page will get you brunch for two at Sunshine House and a signed postcard of the band.
It gets even better. If you donate $100 you’ll get the brunch for two and a copy of their new CD when it comes out. The money goes toward covering the production costs of their new CD. Any leftover monies will go back into music programming at Sunshine House.
While you’re waiting for your food, take a closer look at the two colourful paintings in the room. They were painted in the art module.
James Culleton, well known Winnipeg artist and friend of Sunshine House, drew a scene from Sunday brunch. He draws without looking down which lends a zany immediacy to his unique cartoony style. The images were then traced onto a canvas by program participants from a projection.
They used a riot of colours from purple to olive green and every colour in between to further develop the characters.
Guest artist, Ray Flett, further brought them to life by giving more realistic skin tones to some of the purple and green figures. The end result is a crazy tapestry of colours and styles but it works.
The cute and serviceable lavender and white benches that used to be against the wall are gone. They were made in the carpentry module and are showing up in businesses that are huge supporters of Sunshine House.
They may be made out of 2 x 4’s but the paint job – the rough Arts and Crafts styling and the “Lazy Snoozin” inscriptions – give them an easy elegance that wouldn’t be out of place anywhere. As a matter of fact, one’s heading to Forth Cafe and Restaurant in the Exchange District soon.
Forth is a big supporter of Sunshine House and their programming, and they’re not alone. As Margaret Ormond, Special Projects Manager, puts it, “It’s [Sunshine House] so weird, so peculiar, so odd. It’s very different from anything else and people really like it.”
When there’s not a local musician playing, you just may catch the band playing at Sunday brunch. Ongoing music programming at Sunshine House is open to anyone who shows up and if the band has a gig and needs a larger percussion section, participants join the loosely creative collaboration of local musicians, Sunshine House Staff and “shiners “( kind of a short version of little rays of sunshine) onstage.
The traditional ribbon shirts they wear in the colours of the medicine wheel denote the shiners and their pride in their band. The infectious beats and great rhythms only get stronger with more performers.
If you want to be a part of the band’s meteoric journey into peoples hearts, and many people do, come out to their CD Release party at the West End Cultural Centre on Wed. Sept. 21. The new CD is titled Soaking up the rays and tickets are $15 in advance at WECC, Ticketfly, Into The music and Music Trader.