I'm in the Winnipeg airport, having left myself lots of time between flights in case of delays or whatnot. (No delays, no whatnot) I spent a night here once, many years ago, and things are still a bit on the small side, but a new terminal is being completed as I type. The flight here on a small SAAB passenger aircraft was smooth and pleasant and it actually felt like flying - unlike the bigger jets.
Thoughts on Thompson: Thompson is changing from when I was first there. The roads and foundations of buildings have improved. Discontinuous permafrost used to lie in patches here and there and when buildings or roads were put there, they would heave or drop noticeably as the ground beneath melted. Sunlight beaming down on the exposed boreal forest soil, which is very thin, melted the ground beneath, causing many of the problems. Gradually over time the soil has become stable. In other areas of town exposed bedrock of Canadian Shield is a great place to build on and the three tall apartment buildings are put there. As I mentioned, artwork now graces what used to be painfully bare walls of siding on most of the buildings. Schools almost entirely without windows are still a common sight. Their resemblence to jails is easy to see, for me. I am sure the teachers do much work outside the building when the weather permits. But that north wind is awful cold in winter! Government, both Provincial and Federal, is putting a lot of $ into the town with infrastructure projects such as buildings and head-offices located all over. Thompson's multicultural flavour is as evident as before. Sikhs, Muslims with women wearing the hijab, and Indians (from India) are very common here and are taking good advantage of the opportunity for jobs and good pay. VALE/INCO needs workers badly and is hiring. Everywhere in restaurants and stores the tunrover is very high and help wanted signs flourish. A twelve-year-old boy who recognized me from a school visit (You're that author, right?) served me my Bagel BELT in Tim Hortons. He's been working there 3 weeks already.
This photo, taken from the headframe at T-1, shows the open pit excavation beside the mine. When I worked here that was a lake; it has since been diverted and drained and the top layer mined out. From the aircraft this morning it is certainly noticeable, but then, seeing the million of acres of vacant and unused land, I must disagree with my brothers & sisters in the extreme end of the environmental movement. Development helps people most of all, and when done sensibly, should be a net benefit. Now having said that, there is still a lot of abuse. Why anyone would drive a Hummer is beyond me. To my mind, unless a person needs to travel constantly over rough terrain, driving a Hummer is like flipping the bird at everybody.