Winnipeg, A History
Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba, just on the edge of the Canadian Prairies and owes its existence to the confluence of two rivers, Assiniboine and the Red river, that were the lifeline of the local First Nations before foreign settlement. The Lake of Winnipeg served as a common link between the canoe trade routes of yesteryears that wound through the terrain to reach mountain ranges in the West, the Arctic to the North and the Great Lakes. The Red River allowed access to the tribes located along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, with maps on birch bark guiding the early explorers.
Several historical struggles for power finally triggered the Red River Rebellion between the Métis led by Louis Riel and encroachers from Eastern Canada, resulting in the inclusion of Manitoba as a fifth province of Canada, and Winnipeg being recognized as the capital city.
The city is now replete with museums, forts, and other historic sites that mark the struggle of the people, as well as several contemporary attractions, activities and natural parks that beckon the traveler.
Explore the historic river walk where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. Dine in some of the finest restaurants in the country featuring cuisine from around the world. Appreciate the cultural diversity of a city that has a world-renowned ballet company, a vibrant theatrical community and so much more. Here is a list of upcoming events and a list of our favourite sites to explore when planning your next visit to the 2010 ‘Cultural Capital of Canada;'the city of Winnipeg ("muddy waters" in the Cree language). Downtown Winnipeg Map (pdf)
The historical muddy confluence of the Red River and the Assiniboine is now a wonderful contemporary vacation setting replete with busy markets, entertainment, recreation options, restaurants and lots of green space. A visit to the Forks area is not complete without a river walk or a try at skateboarding, ice-biking, sliding down the Toboggan Run, skating along the river trails at the Arctic Glacier Winter Park depending on the time of the visit. There are several things to do while at the Forks, apart from the usual sight-seeing. The Fork is active throughout the year with a range of seasonal events and activities being staged regularly. Do watch out for the Seniors Day discount shopping at the Fork market, family camps or even Zumba lessons while vacationing in Winnipeg. The Esplanade Riel Pedestrian Bridge allows visitors to get an aerial view of the confluence.
The Exchange District
A National Historic Site, the Exchange District is a blend of contemporary and archaic structures coexisting in style. Visitors can experience the illuminated Cube at the Old Market Place, or explore the district on guided walks, or shop for antiques and vintage or art collectibles while in this area.
The Royal Canadian Mint
A guided tour of Royal Canadian Mint gives an interesting account of the process of coin-making. Visitors can appreciate the nuances of coin-making, given the fact that this mint supplies coins to over 60 countries across the world. A 110-foot high glass tower is the design highlight of this building, which also houses an Interactive Coin Museum where visitors get to test their strength by lifting a solid gold bar weighing approximately 23 pounds.
St. Boniface is the birth place of founder of Manitoba Louis Riel, the Métis leader who played an active role in the Red River Rebellion. The architecture and culture of this place is characteristic of the Franco-Manitobans who reside here. A quiet walk along the Provencher Boulevard, visit to the historic buildings such as the city hall and post office, heritage center and the Franco-Manitoban cultural center and attending the Folklorama cultural festival are ideal ways to explore this place. Quaint cafes, boutiques, cathedrals, parks, libraries, bowling lane, restaurants and gift shops are other places that can be of interest.
Museums and Galleries
Winnipeg has several museums and galleries that draw the attention of the history, culture and art enthusiasts.
A glimpse of modern Inuit art at Canada's oldest gallery is a special experience. The Winnipeg Art Gallery, built using local Tyndall stone, is the place to catch up with local and international art showcased through regular exhibitions. An inviting roof top bistro and a gift shop that houses local craftsmanship are added attractions here.
The Manitoba Museum, a distinguished National heritage centre, which among other historical, cultural and scientific exhibits houses The Hudson Bay Company Museum Collection; Canada's prized possession. Visitors can stroll through a separate science gallery and nine other permanent galleries, and also visit the planetarium in the premises.
The Prairie Dog Central Railway Museum is the place to experience the steam-locomotive travel in real time.
Manitoba is home to marshes, prairies and forests replete with local flora and fauna. Natural parks offer a range of outdoor activities as well as organized tours to explore the region.
Fort Whyte offers a host of options for the visitor, including recreational programs and special events. Cross-country hikes, regular skiing classes, outdoor camps with a variety of activities, walks to Pioneer Sod House and Tipi Encampment, close encounters with Bison at the Bison Prairie or bird watching at the aspen forests are all major attractions at Fort Whyte.
The Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre offers equally interesting activities, such as snow workshops, candle light dinners, camps, regular as well as seasonal events, and organized tours of the marshland for a sneak peek at the wildlife and birds that habit these regions.
The Assiniboine Park is the best attraction in Winnipeg, a perfect blend of relaxation and activity that is open 24 hours throughout the year. Replete with gardens, conservatory, play area for kids and a zoo, this park is an ideal place to unwind during vacations. Restaurants, gift shops and a tram make the trip complete, allowing visitors to stock up on souvenirs, while dining, relaxing and travelling in comfort around this park.
The Birds Hill Provincial Park is yet another natural attraction that offers a unique blend of natural terrain spanning hills, lakes, forests and flowery meadows inhabited by deer and birds. Swimming facilities, walking, bicycling, rollerblading and skiing trails, restaurant and even a convenience store are available at this venue, making the trip exciting and full of fun.
Winnipeg's natural parks are better experienced in person, for each single location is replete with scenic settings, relaxation facilities and interesting activities that make the visit quite enjoyable.
The Assiniboine Park is home to Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, special in this part of the world, the handiwork of Leo Mol, a local artist. The indoor gallery offers valuable information on crafting bronze statues. Visitors can also browse through the souvenirs of prints and cards based on the artist's work at the gift shop at the gallery.
The Stoneware Gallery urges travelers to shop for unique memorabilia in the form of handcrafted pieces showcased at this venue. This gallery displays the works of a team of 12 local craftsmen trained in different parts of the world. Porcelain pieces, stoneware and pottery work are exhibited at Stoneware Gallery.
Winnipeg has earned the distinction of being the cultural capital of the country, opera performances and ballet being quite popular here. There is no dearth of contemporary dance shows either. Literary influence from French colonization still lingers in the exclusive French theatre staged at Le Cercle Molière's and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Assiniboine Park also offers light regular performances at its Lyric Theatre.
Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Manitoba Opera are the performers to watch out for, especially for those looking to experience the culture of the land.
Things to Do
Winnipeg has several outdoor activities to keep the travelers engaged during their visit to this city. Most of the natural parks offer facilities for skating, skiing, ice biking or hiking during the winter season, while summer trips can be enjoyed by opting for long walks along the rivers or exploring the marshlands on canoes.
There are several well-maintained golf courses in and around the city that allows both locals and vacationers to catch up on some quality time with their favorite sporting activity. Race enthusiasts can check out Assiniboia Downs, a horse racing track that organizes local events, while casino lovers can try their luck at the McPhillips Station and Club Regent in the city.
Timing vacations or visits to Winnipeg to coincide with one or more of its festivals is the best way to appreciate the culture, cuisine, and enthusiasm of the city. February is marked by Festival Du Voyageur, snow and fresh maple extracts. June is the time to experience the Jazz Fest, with Winnipeg Folk Festival and Winnipeg Fringe Festival turning July into a literal celebration. August is time for ethnic groups to revel in their cultural fest, and sharing their joy with the entire world by means of the Folklarama. Festivities are the best time to experience a variety of regional and ethnic cuisine in local style.
Apart from the several historical, cultural and natural locales and outdoor activities in the city, strolling along the Winnipeg Walkway System is a secure way to explore the shops, restaurants, and attractions, etc. that are interconnected either by skywalks or underground tunnels.
Historical Nightlife Tour | Travel Manitoba Explore Centre - Dates TBD
Attractions and Points of Interest:
|Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre
|> 1 km|
|> 1 km|
|> 1 km|
|> 1 km|
> 1 km
|> 1 km|