Every Winnipegger has a rock'n'roll story.
Somebody knows somebody who played Spin the Bottle with Randy Bachman in a recroom (yes, green shag carpeting on the floor) in St. James or got into a fist fight with Neil Young over whose banana bike was faster.
One sunny day in the fabled North End of Winnipeg, a young husband was helping a neighbour clear away the pieces from a recently felled elm tree. A rather scruffy looking passerby, clad in a black Elvis t-shirt, offered to lend a hand.
The trio worked away, chatting about the weather and the heft of the logs. The young husband thought this recent addition to the team looked familiar. He kept glancing over his shoulder, wondering how he knew this gent. Then it dawned on him. This was no ordinary man on the street. It was Burton Cummings!
The husband wasted no time outing The Guess Who front man, then raced into his 100-year old Victorian to grab Up Close and Alone. That signed CD still has a place of honour in our home.
So why was Burton on Bannerman Avenue that day? Well, if you get on board Heartland International Travel & Tours' new Magical Musical History Tour, you'll soon discover that the roadway boasts his childhood home (he can be seen strolling the hood whenever he's in town). It's all part of a trip back to the 60s when Winnipeg planted its seeds to become Canada's rock'n'roll capital.
The three-hour tour includes plenty more Burton bits, including where he penned These Eyes and No Time along with Randy Bachman. If Neil Young is more your speed, you'll be thrilled to see the school where he sat on the steps and dreamed of being a star as well as the very spot where he met the iconic Joni Mitchell.
And while you're having so much joy and so much fun, you'll also get to see the house Terry Seasons in the Sun Jack grew up in.
Winnipeg rock'n'roll history comes to life in the more-than-capable hands of music historian and author John Einarson. He's got 15 books on rock'n'roll history to his credit. Man, this guy can tell stories!
The Magical Musical History Tour runs Tuesdays and Thursdays until September. Book it!