Winnipeg is one of those cities that’s very easy to complain about. It’s absolutely freezing cold for half of the year, and you get maybe 2-3 months of nice, hot, sunny weather, it’s not exactly a famous touristy city, and the transit system is beyond awful.
But you see, Winnipeg is my home. I was born and raised here and I think it’s a beautiful city. Maybe it’s because I’ve travelled that I can come home and really see its beauty. The prairies may be flat and seemingly boring, but all you have to do is try a tiny bit and you’ll always find something to do in Winnipeg. There are over 200 days of festivals every year! That’s a lot of parties. The people are almost always really friendly, you can go skating on the river in winter, and drink on the many patios during the summer.
Winnipeg is my home, and I want to share with you a few things to do if you ever find yourself there.
Skating on the river is one of my favourite things about winter. It may be way too cold, but when the river is frozen, you forget about it all. It’s the longest ice rink in the world and you can go whenever you want. Can’t skate? That’s fine too! There’s a snow path next to it for runners and walkers. Or you can try “skating” in your boots! And afterwards? Get yourself a cup of rum & hot chocolate to warm up.
Winnipeg Folk Music Festival is my favourite festival by far. It’s typically during the second weekend of July (July 7-10 2016). Some years, it rains so much the week before that we walk around barefeet in the mud (you can imagine how much fun that is as a child), or you get the most perfect July weather. It’s truly a place of happiness and music. You can listen to all sorts of music from around the world, from celtic to reggae and everything in between. If you decide to camp, which I highly recommend, it’s a whole other party. People stay out all night, play music in drum circles, there are fire dancers, glow stick gladiators and even some of the artists will come and join in and jam with the rest of us ordinary folk.
Festival du Voyageur is the outdoors winter festival in February, usually around Valentine’s Day (February 12-21, 2016). This festival was started as a way of having something to do or celebrate in between Christmas and the summer months, and turned into a sort of historical event. We celebrate the fur trade era, which practically built western Canada. Make sure to stop by the Cabane à Sucre (Sugar Shack) and get some taffee on snow!
Go to a Jets game. Winnipeggers are been crazy about their NHL team coming back in 2011 after being gone since 1996. The MTS Centre, though one of the smallest arenas in the league, may also be the loudest. It’s always full and you’ll get a good view almost anywhere, and you’ll get to enjoy the craziness that is the Winnipeg Jets fans.
Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This is a brand new museum in the heart of the city that is well worth a visit. It has about 12 galleries, each with so much content that it will definitely take you make than one visit to go through, or even process. It’s very interactive, with themes for everyone, so you’ll be sure to find something that peaks your interest. If not, you can also admire the incredible architecture of the building.
If you ever find yourself in Winnipeg between those festivals, there’s a good chance there’s another one going on, and you can check out the Tourism Winnipeg website to find out!