Winnipeg is the capital of Canadian province of Manitoba. Winnipeg got its name from the nearby Lake Winnipeg. Known as the “Gateway to the West”, Winnipeg is a railway and transportation hub with a diversified economy.
How to get there?
Winnipeg is the largest and best connected city within Manitoba, and has highways leading in all directions from the city. We traveled to Winnipeg by road from Saskatoon, using Yellow-Head route (highway #16). Winnipeg is easily accessible by rail, road and air.
Winnipeg is a railway hub and is served by Via Rail, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway and the Central Manitoba Railway. It is the only major city between Vancouver and Thunder Bay (in Ontario) with direct US connections by rail.
Winnipeg also has an international airport and is connected to all major cities in Canada, with return trips ranging from $300-$600 (2016)
Where we stayed?
We stayed for 3 nights at the Radisson Hotel. Its located in Downtown Winnipeg and is adjacent to the MTS Centre.
First day was travel day by road (Saskatoon to Winnipeg). We reached the hotel and rested to start exploring the city the next day.
We began our day with a good breakfast and then headed to the National Historic Site of Canada – The Forks.
The Forks is a historic site, meeting place in Downtown Winnipeg located at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1974.
For at least 6000 years, the Forks has been the meeting place for early Aboriginal peoples, and since colonization has also been a meeting place for European fur traders, Métis hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants.
The grounds at the Forks are open all year round and during summers you will find school kids and activities taking place.
Its a great outdoor space to re-live history and also enjoy the sun.
Thereafter we went to the Esplanade Riel. Its is a pedestrian bridge which spans the Red River connecting downtown Winnipeg with St. Boniface; it is paired with a vehicular bridge, the Provencher Bridge. It was named in honor of Louis Riel (Canadian politician and founder of the province of Manitoba).
The Esplanade Riel is the only bridge with a restaurant in North America. Its first restaurant was a Salisbury House.Salisbury House is a chain restaurant local to Winnipeg.The Esplanade Riel has become a landmark and is used in many promotional materials.
We strolled around this place and wandered off to Saint Boniface area. You can see a lot of French influence in this side of town.
Saint Boniface is a city ward of Winnipeg that is the centre of much of the Franco-Manitoban community. It features such landmarks as the St. Boniface Cathedral,Boulevard Provencher, the Provencher Bridge, Esplanade Riel, St. Boniface Hospital, the Université de Saint-Boniface and the Royal Canadian Mint.
After a walk around the French area, it was almost night time and we were able to get a glimpse of the Esplande Riel at night. Its beautiful. There are many outdoor cafes and restaurants nearby where you can stop by for supper or beer.
On our way back to the hotel room, the Downtown was lit and it looked wonderful.
Day 3 started with visiting the MTS Centre in Downtown Winnipeg. The MTS Centre is an indoor sports arena and entertainment venue located at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Our next stop, after a little brunch was the Royal Canadian Mint.
We spent almost 3 hours in the Mint. There are free guided tours that you can take. You can tour the facility inside, learn how coins are minted. It was an enjoyable experience. The Mint has a gift shop too, from where you can purchase collectibles. Its a fun family place, with activities available for kids as well.
After spending the afternoon at the Royal Canadian Mint, we drove to the Assiniboine Park. The Assiniboine Park includes the Assiniboine Forest, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Assiniboine Park Conservatory, the historic Assiniboine Park Pavilion, formal and informal gardens, a sculpture garden, a miniature railway, an outdoor theatre for performing arts, and numerous other attractions.in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Its a great outdoor area for picnics, hiking or just enjoying the nature.
After the Park, we went to the Manitoba Legislative Building to get a glimpse of the parliamentary structure. It was evening so we could not go inside the building. However, the Manitoba Legislative Building is open every day of the year (including Saturdays and Sundays) for self-guided tours, and guided tours are available.
After an eventful day, we headed back to our Downtown Hotel.
Drive back to Saskatoon.
Winnipeg is a nice place to experience both the Western and Eastern Canadian lifestyle. Esplende Riel is splendid to visit. If you are a nature lover and love strolls, picnics and gardens you will enjoy this place. Dont forget the Royal Canadian Mint – it was the highlight of my journey. The guided tour was amazing!
Winnipeg can be easily visited and covered in a span of 2-3 days. Most of the sights and parks are situated close to each other and around Downtown.