Who goes to Winnipeg? We had wondered just that, out loud to our hotel shuttle driver. He was enthusiastic about his hometown, as well he should be, and after a couple days, we were impressed too, with this bustling city and commerce hub they call “Chicago of the North”. More Chicago-y than Chicago, perhaps.
Of course we were there in October: the sun was shining, the air crisp. Mitten weather, but pleasant. I don’t think I could handle their winter, even if you do get to ice-skate on the frozen Red River.
I don’t know for sure what I expected, maybe a trading post out in the middle of a prairie––but one thing I know: Winnipeg exceeded our expectations.
We stayed at the historic Fort Garry hotel, close to Union Station and also an easy walk to shops and restaurants and community events at The Forks.
Our only complaint is that we were there when the heat was on and the air conditioning off––too hot for the heavy down comforter covering the bed. (Why does every hotel provide heavy down comforters, even in tropical areas like Fiji?)
Union Station itself is a wonderful center of activity. Photos in the hall explain some of the history and act as a mini museum.
Walking back through Union Station on our last afternoon in the city, Irv and I happened upon people streaming out of double doors on one side of the main rotunda.
Everyone was smiling and waving little Canadian flags, making more personal histories right there in Union Station. So neat to see.
The city has a nice outdoor community park in the area of The Forks, with great walking paths and, we were told, concerts and celebrations in the summer. We also visited another great hiking area within the city, a wilderness preservation area called Fort Whyte.
But the best part, for us, were the museums––we visited two. Both well worth seeing.
The Manitoba Museum, a huge natural history museum, contains nice specimens and a wealth of information about the prairie and the Hudson Bay Company.
The new Canadian Museum of Human Rights is beautiful and thought-provoking.
A theater in the round honors the peoples of the First Nations.
Wow! Winnipeg surprised us. We’d like to go back.
Date of travel: October, 2018
Hotel: Fort Garry, Winnipeg