It’s the geographic centre of North America. It’s affectionately known as ‘The Peg’, and ‘Winterpeg’ when the mercury drops and the winds swirl. Located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, Winnipeg is a rapidly growing metropolis with a rich history and culture.
Incorporated back in 1873, it’s the eighth largest city in Canada, home of the largest aerospace centre in Western Canada, one of the biggest bus manufacturers in North America, plus a world leader in life sciences and R&D.
Winnipeg has so many varied attractions that visitors should allow several days to experience the city to its fullest. Here are just a few must-see venues.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (https://humanrights.ca) is Canada’s newest, and easily one of country’s most striking museums. Designed to reflect the often-difficult journey to attain human rights and promote dialogue and understanding, the Museum’s 11 interactive exhibits on six levels guide visitors from darkness to light and finally, to the CMHR’s Tower of Hope (and breath-taking city views).
The Exchange Historic Site (http://www.exchangedistrict.org) was designated a National Historic Site in 1997 in recognition of its importance as a centre for trade and manufacturing. Once the original heart of the City of Winnipeg, the 30-block Exchange District is made up of 150 early 20th Century heritage buildings that house some of Winnipeg’s best restaurants, shops and cafés.
The Forks National Historic Site (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/mb/forks/index.aspx) celebrates 6,000 years of history of the Forks, the name for the point where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. Encompassing 54 acres, the site offers visitors something for everyone – from riverside walking paths, and markets, shopping and restaurants to a world-class skate park, a children’s play area and water park.
The Louis Riel National Historic Site (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/mb/riel/index.aspx) tells the story of the life and times of Métis leader Louis Riel and his struggle to protect the rights and status of his people – a turbulent and significant chapter in Winnipeg’s and Manitoba’s history.
The Manitoba Museum (https://manitobamuseum.ca/main/) is Manitoba’s largest, non-profit natural history and science centre. Visitors to this award-winning museum are treated to nine interactive galleries full of nature and science exhibits and multimedia Planetarium shows. One of the most popular attractions is the Nonsuch, a full-size 17th century sailing vessel.
Established in 1976, The Royal Canadian Mint’s all-glass architecture (http://www.mint.ca/store/template/home.jsp) makes it one of Winnipeg’s most beautiful buildings, especially at sunset. It’s also where billions of Canadian coins in circulation are produced every year. During guided tours, visitors have the opportunity to hold a $600,000 gold bar, see the 2010 Olympic medals on display, and learn little-known facts about the Mint. Who knew that the Mint has produced more than 55 billion coins for more than 75 countries around the world?
The Winnipeg Art Gallery (http://wag.ca) is home to an impressive collection of Canadian and Manitoban art, and the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art. The WAG, as it’s known, was established in 1912 and was Canada’s first civic art gallery. It’s now Canada’s sixth largest gallery with an international reputation.
Today the WAG has almost 24,000 works of art from countries and cultures around the world. One of the WAG’s star attractions (and highest gallery) is its unique rooftop sculpture garden.
This list just scratches the surface. For more information of what Winnipeg has to offer, contact Tourism Winnipeg at 1-204-943-1970, toll-free at 1-855-PEG-CITY (734-2489), or visit their website at http://www.tourismwinnipeg.com.