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Located in the south-central Canadian province of Manitoba, Winnipeg serves as capital and largest city. Part of the city’s appeal is its lovely location where the Red and Assinboine Rivers converge, as well as its high number of sunny days. Winnipeg enjoys a fast-growing economy and is often compared with Chicago, Illinois’ mix of old and new architecture, and the cosmopolitan nature of Winnipeg has attracted a greatly diverse metro population of over 730,000. More than half of Manitoba’s people live in Winnipeg!
Visitors often arrive at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport and find that renting a car is a great way to get around the city. The Trans-Canada Highway passes through Winnipeg, giving the city excellent access to many other large Canadian cities. Winnipeg Transit offers a nice route served by city buses, and taxis are available as well if you prefer not to drive.
Downtown Winnipeg is, in a word, fantastic. As the core of the city, you will find historic sites, a thriving business district, and multiple popular attractions, many connected by the Winnipeg Walkway. Additionally, many outstanding downtown Winnipeg hotels, restaurants and shops are available. Two popular districts, both National Historic Sites, are found in downtown. First is the Exchange District, home to the Old Market Square which is the site for popular cultural events like July’s Fringe Theatre Festival, one of the largest of its type, and the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. You can also tour the Manitoba Museum, which boasts exhibits pertaining to the province’s history and natural surroundings; this museum also offers a planetarium and a science centre. The Theatre District is also found in downtown, with Centennial Concert Hall providing an exceptional venue for ballets, symphonies and operas. A number of Winnipeg venues are utilized for the annual Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, where attendees see fabulous concerts starring some of the best musicians around – this city rocks when it comes to cultural opportunities!
The second downtown district which is a National Historic Site is known as The Forks, and it serves as a popular locale for dining and shopping, plus it offers a theatre and a museum which are both geared towards children. Walking or biking along the riverwalk is the perfect way to get outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. A wonderful family-friendly activity is attending a Goldeyes’ baseball game at Shaw Park. Every June, families enjoy fun-filled live performers and hands-on activities at Kidsfest. It’s no wonder that millions of people visit The Forks every year!
There are other tourist attractions in downtown Winnipeg that you should consider checking out. The Manitoba Legislative Building is available for tour and you can watch the legislature in action when it’s in session. History fans also enjoy visiting Fort Gibraltar, a 19th century trading post which has been rebuilt. The Fort is one of the venues utilized for the annual Festival du Voyageur, a 10-day traditional celebration held in February and centered in Voyageur Park, which is located just southeast of the city in Saint-Boniface. If it’s big-time concerts or major sporting events you’re after, head to the MTS Centre, which is home to the NHL Winnipeg Jets.
Two large college campuses are located in Winnipeg, the largest of which is the University of Manitoba, and visitors enjoy attending campus events and Bisons athletic events. The University of Winnipeg’s Wesmen teams offer competitive sporting events as well. And if you consider shopping to be a competitive sport, no worries, as Winnipeg offers a number of malls and retail outlets, with Polo Park Shopping Centre being a favorite.
Winnipeg offers visitors four seasons of outdoor recreation, and it boasts some really excellent parks in which to play. Assiniboine Park is one of the best, featuring the Pavilion Gallery Museum, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, the Lyric Theatre, a duck pond and a wonderful Zoo. Red River Exhibition Park is the site of the annual fair held in June. The Ex, as it’s called, brings a midway of fun, big-name concerts, agriculture exhibits and awesome food. If you didn’t think you could hang at the beach in Winnipeg, think again, as Grand Beach Provincial Park boasts a fabulous sandy beach!
And last but certainly not least, you have the opportunity to explore the popular Birds Hill Provincial Park, only 20 minutes northeast of Winnipeg. Recreational opportunities abound, including hiking, swimming, fishing, camping and horseback riding. If photography is your passion, you’ll be in seventh heaven with the amazing vistas available here. Additionally, this park hosts the annual Winnipeg Folk Festival every July, when tens of thousands of music lovers gather to enjoy great music complemented by a crafts village and lots of food. It’s a blast!
Winnipeg is one of Canada’s favorite destinations for all these reasons and plenty more. Begin planning your visit today!