Jim & Frances
Jim and I are married with four adult kids and two grandchildren, and are both retired – but definitely not bored! Jim enjoyed a 28 year career with Ducks Unlimited, involved in waterfowl conservation and habitat preservation. Retiring early from DU, he partnered in a small millwork business and spent the next twelve years actively engaged in securing custom cabinet work for a crew of five employees. Upon stepping down from business, he sought opportunities to play his trumpet again, a serious hobby which began in his teens but had been sadly neglected. He has made up for lost time, and is now involved in several community bands, playing music which ranges from big band sound to the oom pahs of German music to Dixieland favorites.
He and I are enthusiastic about the launch of Winnipeg's first cohousing community. Initially tweaked by a CBC radio documentary, our interest was enhanced by visits to ten cohousing communities in Western Canada.
A math teacher by profession, I chose to stay home to raise our family. Along the way I gained a variety of experience in sales, bookkeeping and of course, volunteering. These days, I keep active with aquasizes and swimming (a newly acquired skill – who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?), singing in two community choirs, and enjoying a book club in the city in the winter, and another at Victoria Beach in the summer.
As a family we have been fortunate to enjoy many summers at VB. There, we are part of a culture not unlike cohousing, where friendly neighbours share tools and talents, as well as many spontaneous meals and casual fun times. We look forward to replicating our cottage lifestyle in the city – in Winnipeg's first cohousing community.
I grew up on a small chicken and wheat farm in the Red River Valley. After high school, I moved to St. Boniface, where I've lived ever since. I was a French elementary school teacher for over 20 years. During that time, I spent many a summer backpacking in foreign countries, always trying to get further away from the tourist trail. When I left teaching in 2014, I rewarded myself with a seven-month trip during which I walked the 800 km Camino de Santiago, and volunteered on farms in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Thailand. I lived and worked with my hosts, doing things like collecting seaweed for the garden, foraging for edible plants and insects (yup, I ate them!), clearing brush with a machete, and learning about permaculture. I saw very few tourist sites, but instead, I got to know the people and to experience life in different communities.
I am passionate about healthy, natural eating, and have been learning about the traditional practices of food fermentation and gathering and eating local plants. I believe in living sustainably, and so I parked my car in February, wanting to know if I'm able to adapt to an almost carless lifestyle. I've been doing a lot of walking and cycling, have been using Transit, and am now a member of Peg City Car Co-op.
When I'm not working at my secretarial job or on PRC business, I enjoy playing in the kitchen, tending my vegetable garden, singing in Margaret's Choir, playing board games, and dreaming of walking another Camino. Once I sell my too-large house and move into my smaller, more sustainable PRC unit, I hope to get back into weaving, a hobby I dropped when I bought my house, for lack of time.
I grew up in a rural farming community, in which everyone knew their neighbours, helped each other, and socialized together. I want to contribute to and enjoy such a community that cohousing offers. I have an active lifestyle: I do a lot of walking, take Pilates twice a week, and often travel to my bucket list destinations. In May 2019, a friend and I walked the last 100 km of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I have a large extended family and enjoy spending time with them. Four family members and I have Bomber season tickets. I spent my career at the University of Manitoba supporting evidence-based decision making at all levels of the University. This included providing data and analyses to the University itself, Statistics Canada, and the Manitoba government, as well as conducting survey research, and strategic planning and policy work.