Winnipeg On a BudgetWinnipeg is the capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba. Its heart is The Forks, a historic site at the intersection of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, with warehouses converted to shops and restaurants, plus ample green space dedicated to festivals, concerts and exhibits. Nearby, the Exchange District is known for its well-preserved, early 20th-century architecture and numerous art galleries. Rising above the prairie, Winnipeg is a metropolis where you least expect it. Cultured, confident and captivating, it’s more than just a pit stop on the Trans-Canada haul, but a destination in its own right, with a couple of world-class museums and a wonderfully diverse dining scene.
SightsThe Canadian Museum for Human Rights, housed in a stunning contemporary building, explores human rights issues as they relate to Canada, its culture, and the rest of the world through the medium of striking interactive displays, videos, art and more. Exhibits don’t shy away from sensitive subjects, such as the internment of Canadian-Japanese during WWII and Aboriginal children forced into residential schools as recently as the 1990s, and the Holocaust and Holodomor are given sensitive treatment.
The Manitoba Museum explores nature trips through the subarctic, history trips into 1920s Winnipeg, and cultural journeys covering the past 12,000 years â if it happened in Manitoba, it’s here. Amid the superb displays are a planetarium and an engaging science gallery. One exhibit shows what Churchill was like as a tropical jungle, a mere 450 million years ago, while a replica of the Nonsuch, the 17th-century ship that opened up the Canadian west to trade, is another highlight.
The ship-shaped Winnipeg Art Gallery plots a course for contemporary Manitoban and Canadian artists, including the world’s largest collection of Inuit work, alongside a permanent collection of European Renaissance art. Temporary exhibits include artworks by Chagall and Karel Funk, and serpentinite carvings by internationally successful Inuit carver Oviloo Tunnillie.
The Aboriginal Centre, located in the historic CP Rail Station, the Centre is a gathering place and vital central resource for Winnipeg's Aboriginal community. Visitors will enjoy seeing the Rotunda area, complete with the original doorways through which many travelers passed, restored to its former grandeur.
The Forks, a tourist attraction on the Red River, with a Market offering fresh and specialty foods plus more than 50 unique shops – housed in an eclectic and historic building that was originally a horse stable. The market has an excellent food court with various ethnic food options including favorites ‘Taste of Sri Lanka’ and ‘Bindy’s Caribbean Delights’. Head to the hayloft for handicrafts and one-of-a-kind items from clothing and artisan-inspired gifts to jewelry, toys and much more. In the winter you can rent ice skates and go skating down the Red River. In the summer, there are special events and outdoor entertainment almost daily, not to mention some fantastic patios and outdoor bars. If you’re visiting Winnipeg, it’s a must-see.
NeighborhoodsCorydon Avenue (Little Italy)
One of the city's hot spots for shopping, dining or an afternoon of people watching at one of the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants dotting the avenue. Corydon Avenue comes alive during warm summer evenings as crowds of people gather to meet, greet, and to have some of the best food, gelati, and sushi in the city.
Downtown Winnipeg is centered around Portage Avenue and Main Street. Portage Avenue is the city’s busiest thoroughfare. Winnipeg Square, the MTS Centre, Portage Place, and the flagship store of The Bay are all located on the downtown section of this street. On Main Street are Winnipeg’s City Hall, Union Station, The Manitoba Museum, the Planetarium, the Centennial Concert Hall and the Winnipeg Railway Museum.
The Exchange District is a National Historic Site in the downtown area. The Exchange District today thrives as one of Winnipeg’s commercial and cultural centers. Winnipeg’s theatre district is also located in the Exchange District, home to the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Centennial Concert Hall. Old Market Square is also in the Exchange which hosts the Jazz Winnipeg Festival and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.
A historic site and meeting place in Downtown Winnipeg located at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River. Attractions include the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival, one of the largest skateparks in Canada, the Esplanade Riel, the world’s longest skating trail (winter only), and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Filled with character, Osborne is Winnipeg’s most densely populated neighborhood. Popular annual events include the Canada Day Festival. Osborne Village is home to one of Winnipeg’s most vibrant collection of stores and restaurants.
A mostly residential area that includes Grant Park Shopping Centre and Academy Bowling Lanes. Academy Road offers the finest shops and services, with designer-original fashions, toy and gift shops, bakeries, a chocolatier, a gourmet food and wine store and much more.
St. James (Polo Park)
Polo Park is Winnipeg’s largest retail and entertainment district. The mall of Polo Park has over 200 stores and the Cineplex Entertainment movie theatres.
St. Boniface (French Quarter)
Covering the southeast part of the city, it is home to the Franco-Manitoban community. It features such landmarks as the Cathedrale de Saint Boniface, Boulevard Provencher, the Provencher Bridge, Esplanade Riel, St. Boniface Hospital, the College universitaire de Saint-Boniface, and the Royal Canadian Mint. Every February Le Festival du Voyageur takes place outdoors at Parc Whittier Park and Fort Gibraltar.
ActivitiesVisit Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg’s emerald jewel. There are playgrounds, gardens, a conservatory and much more, but the most popular attraction here is the zoo. White snow leopards, white Bengal tigers and polar bears are some of the over 2000 animals seen close-up at Assiniboine Park Zoo, which specializes in animals indigenous to harsher climates.
There are several tours available in Winnipeg.Â Take a tour to discover how bison influenced the history of Manitoba and the lives of Aboriginals, Metis, and Pioneers. Venture through the aspen forest onto the open prairie, where you will experience your first close-up encounter with 30 grunting, munching bison. Test your skills as you power a mighty Voyageur canoe around the lake, or hear the crunching of the snow under the snowshoe. Explore a Plains Cree Tipi and marvel at the design and functionality. Take a Haunted Winnipeg Bus Tour. Learn historical tales of haunted sites and peculiar activities that take place at famous haunted locations throughout Winnipeg. Experience Winnipeg's French Quarter and history at its best on a walking tour. Or choose from several other tour options available.
Have some fun at the Fun Mountain Water Slide Park, where you can enjoy water slides, tropical theme mini golf, and bumper boat rentals.Â Or go for a ride at Grand Prix Amusements, with go-kart racing on three challenging tracks with over 75 go-karts for ages four to adult, 18-hole pirate theme mini golf, bumper boats, bumper cars, batting cages, and arcades are also available here.Â Another fun park, Thunder Rapids Fun Park, offers five different types of go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, video games, jungle gym, picnic/bbq areas, and 18-hole mini golf.Â And the Tinkertown Family Fun Park is an outdoor amusement park with over 20 rides and attractions for kids.
Winnipeg has other entertainment options including theaters, orchestra's, and opera's, so there's sure to be something for every interest.