This list is in no particular order, nor is it definitive, but these are things you should definitely check out. We’ll include another 25 things in each consecutive issue until we reach 100, so if you know of a Winnipeg gem you think we should include we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, then get out and enjoy what Winnipeg has to offer!
Established in 1912, the Winnipeg Art Gallery became the first civic art gallery in Canada. Over its century in existence, it has brought countless exhibitions and programs to its patrons, promoting Manitoba artists as well as bringing tastes of the world to the province through a vast array of exhibits.
BDI Bridge (BDI)
Actually named the Elm Park Bridge, the BDI Bridge was built in 1912 and originally used for vehicular traffic. It was closed to vehicles and designated as a foot bridge in 1965, and affectionately nicknamed the BDI Bridge because of the nearby Bridge Drive-In ice cream shop.
A gathering place for over 6,000 years, The Forks has welcomed early Aboriginal people, European fur traders, railway pioneers, and immigrants, among many other historical groups. Today people gather there to shop, be entertained, dine, celebrate and take in the history.
Assiniboine Park Zoo
Located in stunning Assiniboine Park, the Zoo has been a staple destination for families, tourists and animal lovers for over a century. Over 80 acres offer close to 200 different species to study and marvel over. Currently in Phase II of its three phase redevelopment plan, visitors are already delighting in the changes and improvements.
The “jewel in the crown” of the City’s park system, Assiniboine Park has been thriving on 283 acres along the Assiniboine River since 1904. A busy meeting place for leisure activities and major events, spending a day or evening at the park is a must for every season.
Built in 1889 and housed in the oldest surviving train repair facility in Western Canada, the museum is filled with hands-on exhibits to pique any child’s interest. The Children’s Museum is where education and innovation come together to spark the minds of kids and adults alike.
Winnipeg Folk Festival
In 1974 the inaugural Winnipeg Folk Festival was held as a one-time event to celebrate Winnipeg’s centennial. That first three-day festival attracted approximately 22,000 people, and has now grown to over 80,000 visitors each year. A celebration of folk music, Folk Fest brings together visitors and performers from across North America and the world.
In 1970, approximately 250 people marched together in Winnipeg’s first Pride Day. A brave step back then, now over 30,000 people attend the Pride Winnipeg Festival, which has transformed into a 10-day festival filled with activism, optimism, music and pride.
Formed in 1909 and located downtown, Chinatown is a combination of history, mouth-watering cuisine and stunning architecture. Tempt your taste buds with Cantonese, Szechwan, Huaiyang and Shandong foods, enjoy a peaceful moment at the gardens at the Dynasty and Mandarin buildings, or take in the replica of the Imperial Nine Dragons mural on the Mandarin building.
Taking place at The Forks every year, the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival is an event for children of all ages. Packed with educational, positive entertainment, the energetic atmosphere and community environment of Kidsfest is an enriching experience sure to enthrall the whole family.
This year the Winnipeg Fringe will hold its 27th annual festival in the Exchange District from July 16-27. North America’s second largest Fringe, this year more than 170 companies from across the country and around the world will bring plays and entertainment to audiences. Almost anything goes at the Fringe – be there!
Esplanade Riel Pedestrian Bridge
Located just north of the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the bridge connects The Forks and the city’s French Quarter. Five metres wide and 250 metres long, the structure balances on a single pylon rising from the depths of the Red River (though obviously it’s a bit more technical than just balancing). The bridge was named in honour of Louis Riel and has bustled with pedestrians, runners, cyclists and skaters since its opening.
The Toad in the Hole Pub
An Osborne Village hub since opening its doors in 1990, The Toad stays true to pub form offering a varying selection of premium domestic and import beer, and pub grub. Downstairs, The Cavern Club showcases local, national and international musicians, and The Whiskey Bar expansion offers a selection of whiskeys from Ireland, Canada, America and Scotland.
St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica
Mother Church of Western Canada and historical site of Manitoba, it was established in 1818 in the Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface. Located at 190 avenue de la Cathédrale in the French Quarter, the site has seen more fires and rebuilding than any location ever should. Today, you can still see the beautiful façade of the cathedral built in 1906, with the new cathedral located just behind.
Opened in June 1958, the Downs is a horse track located on the western edge of the city, operated by the Manitoba Jockey Club. The site of the annual Manitoba Derby, you can also stop by to watch live races, play the VLTs, have dinner or even hold special events.
Home to some of the oldest and largest trees in Manitoba, Kildonan Park is also home to Canada’s longest-running outdoor theatre, Rainbow Stage. Stroll through a formal garden, feed the ducks at the pond, explore Hansel & Gretel’s “witch hut,” play at the splash park, swim in the Olympic-size pool, or just gather the family and have a barbeque. In the winter there are toboggan slides and a skate pond.
Prairie Dog Central Railway
The Prairie Dog Central Railway is a short line railway owned and operated by The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. (VLS) and it is one of the oldest regularly scheduled vintage operating trains in North America. It began operations in regular public service on July 11, 1970 and after a few interruptions of service, is still running to this day.
Red River Mutual Trail
A Winnipeg tradition, head out and skate, walk, run, or sled your way along The Red River Mutual Trail. Beginning in the heart of the city, the Guinness World Record-holding longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world offers an exclusive view of the sights of Winnipeg from the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Ports are located at The Forks, Osborne Street, Hugo Street and Churchill Drive.
Fort Garry Brewing Company
Established in 1930, the company is Manitoba’s oldest microbrewery. Their line of ales and lagers includes Fort Garry Dark, Fort Garry Light, Fort Garry Pale Ale, Fort Garry Rouge and Frontier Pilsner. In 2013 the company released Fort Garry Portage and Main IPA, a tribute to Canada’s most famous intersection and Winnipeg’s streetcar commuter rail era.
In 1970, Folklorama began as a one-time, week-long multicultural occasion, dedicated to celebrating Manitoba’s Centennial. Such a success, the event has taken place every year since then, growing into a two-week celebration with some 20-plus multicultural pavilions around the city, and drawing about 400,000 pavilion visits.
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
In 1944 the Winnipeg Civic Music League was organized, made up of at least 20 pre-existing musical societies, orchestras and choirs. Together they established a joint stock company – the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – officially incorporated in 1947. Its first concert was to an audience of 3,000, and they have been delighting crowds ever since.
Central Canadian Comic Con
The original show began in 1994 as a weekend tradeshow called the Manitoba Collector’s Expo. In 2000 the event went through some changes, becoming the Manitoba Toy & Comic Expo, then in 2006 it morphed into Manitoba Comic Con, focusing on toys, comic books, gaming, anime, and local artists. By 2012 the show brought in over 34,000 people, and two years later is showing no signs of slowing down.
St. Norbert Farmer’s Market
For the past 26 years, Manitoba farm families have packed up their fresh fruit, flowers, meats, vegetables and crafts to sell at Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. Everything sold at the market is Manitoba made, grown or raised, and maybe more important, fresh. A gathering place built on community, you’ll love browsing for fresh ingredients for that evening’s dinner, a gift for a loved one, or even new furniture for your bedroom.
The Winnipeg Jets
Starting out as one of the founding franchises in the World Hockey Association, the Jets made the leap to the National Hockey League in 1979. In 1996, causing heartbreak the province over, the Jets moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes. Then in May of 2011, after 15 years without a team of its own, it was officially announced Winnipeg would be awarded with an NHL team once again. By way of the Atlanta Thrashers, the Jets came home.