Top Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss in Winnipeg

Photo Credit: The Forks

Winnipeg, perhaps is one of Canada’s most underrated cities. For many people Winnipeg is just a stopover point on their onward journey, with hot summers and long cold winters. Home of the Jets and Blue Bombers, Winnipeg also has a rich arts and cultural scene. It is no surprise that Winnipeg was named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2010. This article, by no means comprehensive, lists some of the best things to enjoy in Winnipeg.

Why Winnipeg should be in your next trip itinerary

1. Encounter Bisons

A symbol of Manitoba’s pioneering spirit, Bisons are the largest land mammals in North America. In Winnipeg, you can encounter these majestic beasts at FortWhyte Alive. They provide 3 curated experiences – Bison Safari, Prairie Legacy: The Bison and Its People & Feathers to Fur: A Wildlife Experience for the Senses that will give you a comprehensive understanding of how Bisons have shaped the history of the Province. Feathers to Fur also includes a trip to Oak Hammock Marsh, a restored prairie marsh, home to many bird species.

2. Journey to Churchill

A trip to Churchill might not be affordable for many people. But did you know that you can have a similar experience at the Assiniboine Park & Zoo? Journey to Churchill is a 90-minute tour that features an arctic zoo exhibit that will introduce you to Manitoba’s northern region. Not only will you see the regions wildlife – Polar Bears, snowy owls, arctic fox and other wild animals, the exhibit also features Manitoba’s largest 360 degree domed theatre which will transport you to the vast expanse of the Arctic. End your visit by visiting Churchill coast and town site. There is also an option to add a 30-minute Zoo extension to see the rest of the Zoo’s wildlife.

3. Attend a Festival or Theatre

Various art, cultural and community activities takes place in Winnipeg in addition to musical and theatre events. Winnipeg is the proud home of Western Canada’s largest Winter Festival, Festival du Voyageur, as well as Manitoba’s largest summer fair, Red River Exhibition and Manitoba’s largest drive-thru light show, Canad Inns Winter Wonderland. Ignite your spirit and celebrate Indigenous arts, culture and music during Manito Abhee Festival, the largest pow wow in Canada. For the list of festivals in Winnipeg, see here.

Taking place annually during the spring is Shakespeare in the Ruins. This unique theatre event presents Shakespeare’s drama in the Ruins of the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park. If time permits, take in a performance by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Not to be missed is RAW:Almond that takes places annually in winter. This is a unique pop up restaurant, located on frozen Assiniboine and Red Rivers, with 30 chefs that create unforgettable menus for 24 nights. This is an annual sell out event since its inception, so get your tickets early!

4. Know about Human Rights

Abbreviated as CMHR, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a thought-provoking journey that never fails to move its visitors. This is the only museum in the world dedicated to Human Rights as well as first national museum built outside the National Capital Region. Well-known both for its evocative content and visionary architectural style, the museum features stories, interactive experiences, programs – all exploring various aspects of Human Rights. The exhibits are always changing, so each visit introduces you to new and diverse aspects of human rights. Don’t hesitate to take your kids along- the Museum exhibits are designed to be engage visitors of all ages!

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The Rohingya people of Myanmar are struggling to survive a humanitarian crisis that is now being called a genocide. For decades, Myanmar’s government has denied Rohingya their rights and citizenship. Military forces have perpetrated massacres against them and have destroyed their communities. Close to one million Rohingya have fled to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to escape. The Museum's newest exhibition, Time to Act: Rohingya Voices, features powerful photographs by award-winning photographer Kevin Frayer alongside images captured by members of the Rohingya community living in Canada. The exhibition documents the flight of Rohingya refugees from the deadly violence, the physical hardships of life in the refugee camps and the resilience of a people seeking hope while confronting daily challenges to their own survival. Time to Act: Rohingya Voices opens on June 15, 2019. Image courtesy of Kevin Frayer and Getty Images — Le peuple rohingya du Myanmar lutte pour survivre à la crise humanitaire qu’on qualifie maintenant de génocide. Depuis des décennies, le gouvernement du Myanmar refuse aux Rohingyas leurs droits et leur citoyenneté. Les forces militaires se livrent à des massacres contre eux et détruisent leurs communautés. Près d’un million de Rohingyas fuient vers des camps de réfugiés à Cox’s Bazar, au Bangladesh. La nouvelle exposition du Musée, intitulée « Il est temps d’agir : Témoignages de Rohingyas », présente des photos saisissantes par le photographe primé Kevin Frayer, ainsi que des images captées par des Rohingyas qui vivent maintenant au Canada. L’exposition décrit la fuite des Rohingyas devant la violence au Myanmar, les épreuves physiques de la vie dans les camps de réfugiés et la résilience d’un peuple qui cherche l’espoir tout en luttant chaque jour pour survivre. Il est temps d’agir : Témoignages de Rohingyas ouvre le 15 juin 2019. Image gracieuseté de Kevin Frayer et Getty Images

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5. Visit a Gathering Place

A meeting place for generations, The Forks‘ vibrant atmosphere attracts thousands of visitors even today. This all season attraction, located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, is the very essence of Winnipeg. Whichever the season you are visiting, a trip to Winnipeg will not be complete if you give it a miss. To know more about The Forks’ history, tour 6,000 Years in 60 Minutes!

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@TheForksWinnipeg is located at the confluence of @TravelManitoba’s Red and Assiniboine River. For at least 6000 years it has been the meeting place for early Aboriginal peoples, and since colonization has also been a meeting place for European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants. Today it is one of @TourismWinnipeg’s top attractions where visitors can wander through original horse stables which have been converted into the city’s bustling market, stroll along the Assiniboine Riverwalk and enjoy a quiet moment of reflection at Oodena Celebration Circle, a shallow amphitheatre featuring indigenous sculptures, sundial and ceremonial fire pit.

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Have you been putting off your trip to Winnipeg because of the city’s long winter? Arctic Glacier Winter Park is one of the best places to celebrate winter. Did you know that Winnipeg has the World’s longest naturally frozen skating trail? Red River Mutual Trail offers the unique experience of seeing the sights of Winnipeg from the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Furthermore, Manitoba Association of Architects annually conducts Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice, in which architects from across the globe design innovative warming shelters that meld design and art with Winnipeg winters. The winning designs are then brought to life along the River Trail for visitors to enjoy.

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Planning to visit The Forks this fine weekend? Make sure to check out the Warming Huts, as seen in this awesome video by @handcraft, and enter our #contest to win a tour of the WAG Inuit art vaults! It's the largest collection of its kind in the world.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ How to enter⁣⠀ 1) Find the #arctictopiaries #warminghut located under the Norwood Bridge connecting downtown and St. Boniface⁣ ⛸🧣🌞 … 2) Snap a photo and tag designer @michaelmaltzanarchitecture + @wag_ca with #inuitartcentre⁣ 🌬♟🤳👍 ⁣⠀ The Arctic Topiaries are presented in celebration of the future WAG Inuit Art Centre, opening in 2020. The huts were built by @jakobi_heinrichs and team in consultation with Manitoba Inuit Association and @sputnikarchitecture 👏👏👏⁣⠀ ⁣… Made possible by Sparrow Hotels 👌 #repost #michaelmaltzanarchitecture #manitobainuitassociation #meetmeattheforks #rrmtrail #exploremb #onlyinthepeg #winnipeg

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6. Unearth secrets

Manitoba’s Legislative Building is a mysterious building full of hidden hieroglyphics, numerical codes, and freemason symbols. Unearth the mysteries behind the symbols and statues the during the The Hermetic Code tour. The Hermetic Code Tour is part of the Signature Experience Collection with Destination Canada.

7. Learn the story of Manitoba

The Manitoba Museum as the name implies tells the human and natural history of Manitoba through different galleries. Its most famous exhibits are the fossil of a Pliosaur that lived in Lake Agassiz, replica of the 17th century Nonsuch ship, and the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum hosts various traveling exhibits from time to time.

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See the world’s most spectacular creatures like never before! Explore the intricate biology, zoology and physiology of the world’s most spectacular creatures, large and small in our upcoming fascinating exhibition. Opening April 17th, ANIMAL INSIDE OUT takes visitors on an anatomical safari of more than 100 specimens. 🦒 Each animal is preserved by the remarkable process of Plastination, invented by Dr. von Hagens. 🐙 From goats to giraffes and octopuses to ostriches, visitors will discover the form and function of animals both exotic and familiar. 🐐 Highlights of plastinates featured in ANIMAL INSIDE OUT include the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe, and the rarely seen giant squid; a magnificent bull, with its heart five times the size of a human’s; and a reindeer, with hooves that adapt to the changing seasons. Animal biology textbooks spring to life in this unforgettable museum learning experience. This highly educational exhibition is designed for all ages. For more information please visit ManitobaMuseum.ca

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8. Visit iconic Neighbourhoods

Designated as a National Historic Site, the Exchange District is a collection of heritage buildings built between 1880 and 1920 and now is the home of unique restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and up-market shops. Visit on the First Friday of every month and you will be treated to a unique cultural experience where galleries, artists, restaurants and other businesses open their doors after hours to the public. Exchange district conducts guided historic and culinary tours from May to August that is a hit with both visitors and locals alike.

Visit the largest Francophone community in Western Canada at St. Boniface. Most of the buildings here have the architectural style of the early 20th century. Situated here, is the St Boniface Cathedral, the ‘Mother Church of Western Canada’ and a municipally-designated historic site. The present reconstructed church is a hybrid structure that combine newer elements within the ruined facade of the older fire-damaged Cathedral of 1905-08.

The tomb of Louis Riel, the leader of the Métis during the Red River Rebellion of 1860 and the founder of Manitoba, can be seen at the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery. In Riel’s Footsteps, an outdoor guided tour hosted by Saint Boniface Museum introduces visitors to French-Canadian and Métis heritage.

9. Mint your own Coin

See the high-tech, high-volume manufacturing facility that produces every single Canadian coin in circulation. Did you know that Winnipeg’s Royal Canadian Mint has made over 55 billion coins for more than 75 countries? Visitors here has the chance to make their own souvenir coin.

10. See Inuit Art

Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and sixth largest gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery is a testament to Manitoba’s visual arts heritage. They have an extensive collection of exhibits –from 15th-century European paintings to 21st century American multi-media art, impressive collection of Inuit Art, particularly sculptures, classical antiquities, the Group of Seven paintings and more. The WAG also plays a vital role in the community— enriching, inspiring, and engaging people through unique and innovative programming.

Conclude your visit with a relaxing Nordik Spa experience at Thermëa Spa.

 

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