Fighting for Better Rez Food Makes Tache Hall Memory Book

Fighting for Better Rez Food Makes Tache Hall Memory Book

I'm a bit of a "trouble-maker", yes, I know that's a bit of an understatement.

One of my fights was for better residence food at University of Manitoba made the list of 2000-2010 highlights in a commemorative book of the history of Tache Hall. How I missed this a few years ago, I don’t know. One of the leaders of the 2005 campaign for better food sent it to me this weekend. (See Page 4 of this PDF)

I moved to the University of Manitoba in May 2004, and moved into West Tache Hall. Tache Hall is a beautiful 1911 Georgian architecture building that was built as the original south Winnipeg campus residence. (UManitoba had been in downtown Winnipeg when founded in 1877). I never expect to live in such a beautiful building again.

I was fresh out of the army, and had the insane morning discipline to match. The summer of 2004 was what one would expect of a summer session on campus, I enjoyed my best term. Each morning started with a hot breakfast in the meal hall at 7am.

Then fall arrived, meal prices increased, and I was now paying $9.50 for a muffin, bowl of dry cereal, a glass of knockoff Kool-Aid, and a cold day out dry bagel, with the lowest quality sugar-filled "peanut butter" on the market. Also, the meal hall didn't open until 8am - meaning I had just enough time to grab this "continental breakfast" before running to my 8:30am class. The meal plan was mandatory, so I paid $9.50 regardless.

Lunch and dinner were just as poor. Have you ever had pizza made with processed cheese product? Consider yourself lucky.

I decided this was unacceptable and launched a campaign for better food services. One of the highlight was a stunt I pulled called "Administration Appreciation Day".

A group of students marched to the Administration Building bearing free lunches brought from the residence meal hall. We wanted them to know how much we appreciated their work on our behalf by giving them a free lunch from, as they described it, our excellent meal hall.

As far as I know, none of the administrators ate the free lunch, none of them spoke to us students.

The point was made, if our food wasn't good enough for the likes of the university administration, then it wasn't good enough for students to have to survive on.

Over the next year-and-a-half, protests continued. Eventually, the student union won concessions.

Major changes followed to residence food services in 2006. Tache Hall was converted into the Faculty of Music space in 2011/12, the wing I lived in was demolished as part of the renovation.