In this story, Greg’s first experience of Winnipeg is characterized by the feeling of being in a completely unfamiliar environment. The wind, smells, sights, and sounds made him feel uncomfortably out of place. Geographer Paul Rodaway (1994) notes how inter-related senses provide information about the world around us and mediate our experience of a place. Our bodies orient us, mediating between us and the environment we inhabit.
At other points in the interview, Greg spoke in detail about his childhood memories of Belfast, navigating the streets, attempting to avoid getting into trouble (not always successfully), and bonding with friends. Urban theorists Alvin K. Lukashock and Kevin Lynch (1956) were some of the first scholars to draw attention to children’s experiences of cities and the kinds of emotional connections that are forged between an individual and a place through their childhood interactions with their environment.
In both his book, Through the Eyes of a Belfast Child: Life. Personal Reflections. Poems (2014), and our conversation, Greg expressed a deep love for his childhood home and the landscape and environment of Ireland. The stark contrast of Winnipeg’s environment strongly contributed to his emotional disconnection from the prairie city.
Photo: Just outside Belfast.