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Manitoba

Hitting The High Notes

70 years after its inception, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra continues to be the heart and soul of the city’s arts community.

Music is embedded in Winnipeg’s DNA. Our prairie town has always marched to a different drum, and we have plenty to show for it: the birthplace of musicians like Neil Young and Burton Cummings, Winnipeg also boasts world famous festivals, a lively music scene, some of the oldest and most esteemed arts institutions in the country.

Among these institutions: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating its 70th season, the symphony is integral to the city’s cultural life, delighting more than 100,000 audience members each year with almost 300 concerts.

The WSO first opened its curtain in December 1948 to an audience of 3,000, and within six seasons had become one of the top four orchestras in Canada. It regularly tours throughout the country and has participated in hundreds of radio broadcasts, released numerous recordings, launched and nurtured an internationally renowned New Music Festival, and played twice at Carnegie Hall. The WSO also provides the music for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Opera Association.

“Not many orchestras are able to switch so seamlessly between the classics, pop, Broadway, and playing with young local indie bands such as Royal Canoe, not to mention the amount of new music they play during the New Music Festival,” says music director Alexander Mickelthwate. “It’s astonishing really.”

With a nucleus of 67 musicians, the organization has attracted professionals from around the world who have established significant careers here and a have made Winnipeg their home (currently, a husband, wife, and daughter all play in the string section).

Cellist Arlene Dahl, who has been with the symphony for almost four decades, continues to feel the anticipation and excitement of a live performance. One of her most memorable nights, they played for one thousand recent immigrants to the province. Music transcended language and spoke to the power of the human family, creating a transformational moment not only for the audience, but for the musicians as well.

Equally moving was the 2014 performance at Carnegie Hall. The WSO was chosen from more than 30 orchestras across the continent, and wowed the audience with their all-Canadian program. “What enhanced our experience was not just playing in that hallowed hall or playing with Dame Evelyn Glennie or playing R. Murray Schafer’s Symphony No. 1,” Dahl says. “When we walked out and saw almost 1000 Manitobans waving their patriotic red scarves and sharing our victory, that brought the tears.”

The transformative power of music reaches beyond the Concert Hall and into the community. As part of its outreach programs, Musicians in Healthcare offers performances at various care facilities in Winnipeg, uplifting patients, visitors and staff. The WSO also presents educational programs for more than 40,000 students annually, including Sistema, a daily, intensive after-school music program in Winnipeg’s inner city that is offered at no cost to the students. The impact is substantial, including improved classroom attendance and grades, greater parent involvement in the schools, and a growing self esteem in the students.

The orchestra is among Canada’s most innovative. Now in its 25th year, the New Music Festival explores new and rarely heard works by composers from around the world. The Festival was founded by music director Bramwell Tovey and the WSO’s first composer in residence, Glenn Buhr. The festival continues to flourish and draw international attention under the leadership of Alexander Mickelthwate.

Mickelthwate has been the force driving the symphony for the past twelve seasons, a fearless promoter of the value of music in people’s lives. Under his direction, the WSO has bridged education and entertainment, gaining a reputation for being both accessible and compelling. The Symphony’s 70th anniversary season coincides with the final year of Alexander Mickelthwate as music director.

“We try to be part of the fabric of the community in every kind of positive way,” says Tracy Schroeder, the WSO’s Executive Director. “I watch our audience members come in frazzled and then leave glowing from the experience. One patron said to me, ‘just being here tonight, I was so glad to be alive!’ The WSO is not just relevant but indispensable,” she says. “It’s why we do it.”

For a whole host of Winnipeggers — kids taking in their first symphony experience during the Kids Concert Series, local music fans watching their favourite bands partner with an orchestra, new music enthusiasts encountering boundary-pushing works, and season ticket holders delighting in new interpretations of the classics — Schroeder’s words ring true. This world class outfit with local pride is music to our ears.

Artist Spotlight: Hubert Theroux

HUBERT THEROUX grew up in the rural community of Cardinal, Manitoba with a love for Canadian prairies. At the age of 10, Hubert began to sketch illustrations of art and prairies. Post-high school graduation, he took photography courses to help feed his creativity and inspiration for future paintings. “Next thing you know I was shooting weddings for friends,” Hubert laughs.

    Known internationally for his realistic landscape paintings, Hubert has made a living as an artist for more than 25 years. His art continues to be inspired by the ever-changing colours of the prairies. Hubert also generously devotes time to the local art community and as the acting president of the Assiniboia Group of Artists Co-op. From Oct 27-29, meet Hubert and 40 other local artists at Manitoba’s largest professional art exhibition show Manitoba Art Expo at Assiniboia Downs. Be inspired by paintings, photography, sculptures and other medias throughout the weekend exhibit.

    In addition, Hubert’s art can be viewed at Birchwood Art Gallery year-round.

Assiniboia Downs, 3975 Portage Ave, manitobaartexpo.ca; Birchwood Art Gallery, 1068 Pembina Hwy, 204-888-5840

Top 5 Arts & Food Pairings

Get dinner and a show by pairing a performance with a masterpiece meal at one of these local restaurants.

Housemade pastas at The Mitchell Block are the perfect prelude to curtain raising at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Try tender agnolotti stuffed with sweet potato and sage bathed in brown butter.
• 173 McDermot Ave, 204-949-9032

The oldest continually running theatre company in Canada, Le Cercle Moliere delights with whimsical French language performances. Stop in at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain before a show and dine on filling tourtiere covered in maple cream sauce at Stella’s bright, welcoming space.
• 340 Provencher Blvd, 204-447-8393

Make a pitstop at the Saddlery on Market, steps from the Centennial Concert Hall, before watching one of Winnipeg’s most venerated arts institutions perform. Roasted beet and goat cheese salad (pictured) will have feet tapping even before the Royal Winnipeg Ballet takes stage.
• 114 Market Ave, 204-615-1898

Magical adventures unfold on the Manitoba Theatre for Young People stage. Take advantage of the theatre’s location at The Forks and slurp up a plate of spaghetti bolognese at the Old Spaghetti Factory inside the Johnston Terminal.
• 25 Forks Market Rd, 204-957-1391

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery, glimpses of Wanda Koop’s work grace the walls. After touring the exhibits, head to the museum’s penthouse level, where Table restaurant serves scrumptious exhibit-inspired lunches.
• 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-948-0085

Manitoba Memento: Manitoba Necklace

MBNecklaceFor locals sporting ‘Toban pride and visitors searching for stunning souvenirs, this necklace from local designer Hilary Druxman is the perfect keepsake. This sterling silver pendant, with a small cut out heart is handcrafted at chic jewellery boutique Hilary Druxman in the heart of the Exchange District. $30, 258 McDermot Ave, 204‑947‑1322, hilarydruxman.com

Top 5 ways to dine in nature

Get a dose of the wild or a picturesque view of outdoor scenery at these spots that blend sit down dining with outdoor fun.

Courtesy of Tundra Grill

Courtesy of Tundra Grill

The patio at Prairie’s Edge overlooks a serene pond surrounded by the greenery of Kildonan Park. Start the evening with crispy fried beet fritters before taking in a show at outdoor theatre Rainbow Stage. 2015 Main St, 204‑284‑7275

Hearty breakfast and lunch options make Buffalo Stone Cafe inside FortWhyte Alive nature preserve a go-to pick for a sweet nature setting inside city limits. The signature bison burger and a breeze off the shimmering lake are a perfect pair. 1961 McCreary Rd, 204‑989‑8355

Tundra Grill (pictured), inside the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit, boasts a 9 by 150 foot wall of windows looking out onto a polar bear habitat. Snack on kid-friendly foods like hamburgers and pizza while observing the animals roam and play. 2595 Roblin Blvd, 204‑927‑8060, Map 2: D-2

The elegant country cottage setting at Pineridge Hollow is the perfect backdrop to scratch-made fare that highlights prairie products. After sampling wild mushroom-stuffed perogies, wander the on-site garden and hand feed the goats outside. 67086 Heatherdale Rd 25E, Oakbank, MB

A century old country estate is the setting for fine dining at The Gates on Roblin. Seats in the Atrium deliver breathtaking views with your tender duck confit. Take a stroll around the grounds and visit horses grazing in the paddock. 6945 Roblin Blvd, 204‑224‑2837

Best Improved Attraction for 2017: Meet the Market

By Joelle Kidd

With stunning design and a revamped food hall concept, Winnipeg’s most historic meeting place has become its freshest attraction. WHERE editors have named The Forks Market Winnipeg’s Best Improved Attraction for 2017.

26915911563_7c1cfe1a4a_oThe place where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers converge has been a gathering place for 6,000 years, as a a sacred site, a bustling trade centre, and a hub for transportation.

What better place to meet a friend for a locally brewed beer?

In the past year, The Forks—the city’s renowned tourist attraction—underwent an impressive renovation project. What resulted is more than a little facelift on Winnipeg’s favourite food court. The Forks Market is emblematic of Winnipeg and a point of local pride; a place where Winnipeggers bring their guests to say, this is my city.

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DRAMATIC DESIGN
The Forks site and its signature ‘Forks Market’ opened in 1989 as a tourist destination, combining fresh market sensibilities with vendors selling handicrafts and imported wares. Its creation was a massive undertaking, transforming a disused rail yard in the centre of the city into one of its top attractions.

In 2014, as The Forks celebrated its 25th anniversary, it became clear it was time to refresh the look. Brainstorming meetings led to an idea that would keep true to The Market’s spirit while giving it a mod makeover.

“Winnipeggers have a sense of ownership for this space,” says Chelsea Thomson, director of communications for The Forks. In order to preserve the aspects beloved by locals, they recruited designers at Winnipeg-based Number TEN Architecture Group, who began to think of the space as the city’s living room.

“The central atrium […] has a very high ceiling with a glass roof,” says architect Greg Hasiuk, who lead the project. “Our intent was to bring down the scale and change the entire look and feel to be more intimate.”

References to The Forks’ past are blended with warm, welcoming elements and twists of local flavour. Raw steel, blacksmith work, and natural wood meld with the historic building, while sleek charcoal accents and pendant lights pull the space into the future.

The centerpiece of this inviting environment is a line of reclaimed oak tables with collapsible leaves that transform into a 88-seat harvest table, fostering the feel of community dining. Like all materials used for the reno, tables were produced locally by custom fabrication shop Wood Anchor.

Other Manitoba-made items include drum-style light fixtures crafted by Metal-Tech industries, decorative blacksmith work by Cloverdale Forge, and drink flights served on Manitoba-shaped boards carved by Huron Woodwork.

In the glass walled atrium, filled with skate-lacers in the winter, three starburst shaped ornaments hang from the ceiling. Come closer and you’ll realize these impressive decorations (made by Wood Anchor) were created from donated hockey sticks. As Thomson notes, “there’s a little piece of many Winnipeggers in this space.”

It only seems right. Stop in for a bite or a pint at any time of day, and you’ll see families chattering over plates of food, couples holding hands over coffee, and girls nights celebrating over glasses of wine—a kitchen party for all to enjoy.

EATING PLACE
If ‘food court’ conjures up images of greasy fast food and chain restaurants, The Forks is the antidote. The former horse stables house a diverse range of local vendors slinging everything from gourmet burgers to Caribbean cuisine.

On any given day, a bustling crowd of diners peruses the stalls and halls. Laughter and chatter create the atmosphere of a party where the guests are constantly changing. Footlong hotdogs piled with sauerkraut share the table with Argentinean-style empanadas and sushi tacos stuffed with crab and avocado.

Plans are in the works for two new ‘microrestaurant’ concepts that will each have a separate seating area but allow for free movement between the restaurant space and main hall.

theforks

SIPS AND SUDS
While spaces that mix drink kiosks and food vendors are common in Europe and have begun to emerge in cities like New York and Portland, Oregon, the concept is new in Manitoba and rare in Canada. Visitors to The Forks can grab a drink at The Common and wander freely throughout the rest of the main floor, melding a family friendly atmosphere with the convivial vibe of a neighbourhood watering hole.

Local brews and outstanding imports are the focus, seleted to pair well with a meal. On tap, find Winnipeg breweries like Half Pints Brewing, Little Brown Jug, Peg Beer Co, and Barnhammer Brewing. A special wine pouring system ensures all bottles are available by the glass, and a curated selection complements the usual suspects with finds like biodynamic natural orange wine from Ontario and a lively pinot blanc from the Okanagan Valley.

Top 5 shops for the whole family

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These local shops are family favourites offering products for parents and kids alike!

    At McNally Robinson Booksellers, guests get lost in so much more than books. Kids climb a spiral staircase to explore fun toys and picture books while parents tap into nostalgia and rifle through the large selection of music on vinyl (pictured). Everyone can agree on superb treats in the pâtisserie case  at attached restaurant Prairie Ink. 1120 Grant Ave, 204-475-0483

   #1 Forks Trading Co A mash-up of Canadiana fills the shelves at The Forks Trading Company. Check out the upcycled blown glass sets (pictured) and adorable childrens’ accessories by Hello Darling, from bow ties to flower crowns. 1 Forks Market Rd, 2nd floor, 204‑949‑1785

    Test out the games on display in Kite and Kaboodle‘s inviting and playful space. Walls are lined with crafts such as build your own LEGO fidget spinners and board games perfect for the next family night. Johnston Terminal at The Forks, 2nd floor, 204‑942‑2800; St. Vital Centre, 1225 St. Mary’s Rd, 204‑257‑4595

 RS41190_6109079-hpr   Shop
Ten Thousand Villages for one of a kind products that support artisans in developing countries. Moms will love cozy Alpaca throws made by artisans in Peru (pictured) while young ones discover new instruments such as bamboo flutes. 134 Plaza Dr, 204‑261‑6381; 963 Henderson Hwy, 204‑661‑5545

    Young and old will be inspired by educational games, home décor, Fair Trade fashion items, and more at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights Boutique. Unique games teach sign language or the braille alphabet during play. Fair Trade tea and chocolate makes for a feel good treat. 85 Israel Asper Way, 204‑289‑2005

Manitoba Memento: Camelina Oil

Courtesy of Freefield Organics

Courtesy of Freefield Organics

For a souvenir that pulls double duty as a tasty and ultra-nutritious pantry addition, take home a bottle of locally produced camelina oil. The non-GMO oil is packed with good-for-you benefits due to naturally high levels of Omega-3 and Vitamin E. Don’t worry about burning off nutritional value—unlike other culinary oils, can withstand high heat cooking up to 475°F.

This wonder ingredient, produced by Erna and Frantz Kracher of Freefield Organics, was the first certified organic camelina oil in Canada. On their 400 acre farm in rural Inglis, Manitoba the couple grows and cold presses the seed into oil. To try before you buy, visit restaurant and gift shop Pineridge Hollow and taste chef Matty Neufeld’s camelina-dressed wildberry salad before picking up a bottle. Also available in the city centre at DeLuca’s Market.

Pineridge Hollow, 67086 Heatherdale Rd, 25 km out of the city, 204‑777‑3881; and DeLuca’s, 950 Portage Ave, 204‑774‑7617

Top 5 Buys to Get Active

Woodcock Cycle. Photo by Derek Kitching

Woodcock Cycle. Photo by Derek Kitching

With so many outdoor activities to do during your stay, rely on these stores to get you prepared.

Cyclists will love the variety of bikes, accessories, and apparel found at Bikes and Beyond. The store carries a wide selection of fun bike accessories by Electra like colourful mesh baskets and matching patterned basket liners.

  • 227 Henderson Hwy, 204-669-5590

Set a new personal best with a new pair of runners from Canadian Footwear. This store has one of the largest athletic shoe collections in Winnipeg, and experts to help find the perfect fit. 

Find seasonal sporting equipment available for purchase or rent at Woodcock Cycle. Check out the Lucky collection, flashy and lightweight scooters that are taking over skate parks across Canada.

  • 433 St Mary’s Rd, 204‑253‑5896

Before heading to the lake, shop Manitoba line Deadfish paddleboards that are specially designed for lakes and rivers at Peepers. Sun protection t-shirts and hats are also on hand for lake goers.

  • 866 Corydon Ave, 204-474-2861

Find stylish swimwear at Hula Hut. Shop SKYE collection for classy one-piece suits with playful open backs.

  • 1504 St Mary’s Rd, 204-237-0457

More Winnipeg Shopping:

Where to Shop in the Exchange District
Where to Shop on Corydon
Where to Shop at The Forks

Top 5 Rooftop Patios

Stella's Cafe & Bakery. Photo by Dustin Leader.

Stella’s Cafe & Bakery. Photo by Dustin Leader.

Besides food, the best way to a Winnipegger’s heart is the word “patio”. These spots take it to the next level—literally—with rooftop spaces to dine al fresco.

Local favourite Stella’s Cafe & Bakery has 8 locations across the city, and the newest, on Pembina Highway, boasts a sweet rooftop patio. Go at dusk when the cafe lights come on and cast a romantic glow over quinoa dragon bowls and plates of Scandinavian gravlax.

  • 1463 Pembina Hwy, 204‑275‑2001

Tucked among the treetops, The Roost‘s intimate rooftop setting gives a bird’s eye view on bustling Corydon Avenue. Clever and complex craft cocktails and elegant small plates have us crowing.

  • 651 Corydon, 204‑414‑9313

Cravings for pub grub and powerful frozen margaritas are sated on Tavern United‘s sleek patio. Get an unbeatable view of downtown’s SHED (sports, hospitality, and entertainment district) and watch ground being broken on the new True North Square.

  • 260 Hargrave, 204‑944‑0022

Learn what Dean Martin was crooning about while dining outdoors at Pasquale’s. The St. Boniface area restaurant has a secluded rooftop patio perfect for winding down with a glass of wine and a hearty plate of lasagne.

  • 109 Marion St, 204‑231-1403

Take in an iconic Winnipeg intersection from above at Confusion Corner Bar and Grill. The smoky barbeque chicken pizza, drizzled in tangy bourbon barbeque sauce, is a prime patio pick.

  • 500 Corydon Ave, 204‑284‑6666

Artist Spotlight: Peter Sawatzky

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatzky is an award-wining Manitoba artist who has earned international recognition for his lifelike bronze sculptures. A country boy raised in Southern Manitoba, Peter’s passion evolved from watching wildlife and birds into a career of carving these animals.

Inspiration for Peter comes from field drawings made during his many years of observing and studying animal movements. These sketches are eventually transformed into life size sculptures that can reach up to 29 feet long. The foundry process—from creating a metal frame to the empty shell being filled with bronze—can take up to a year depending on the size of the piece.

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Peter’s sculptures have become iconic Winnipeg landmarks, like the sculpture of James A. Richardson at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, the monument of a mother polar bear and her cubs outside the Assiniboine Park Zoo, or “Seal River Crossing,” which stands at the city’s famed Portage and Main intersection. The impressive statue, which captures a herd of caribou crossing the Seal River, was inspired by a scene Peter saw from above while travelling to Churchill. While on the flight, he started to sketch the caribou and knew he had his next piece. The project, which took four years to complete, was commissioned by James Richardson & Sons Ltd. in commemoration of its 150th anniversary.

In addition to his public art, more than 25 pieces of Peter’s work are on display at the Loch Gallery in May and June.

More Hot Art:

Where to See Public Art in Winnipeg
Artist Spotlight: Wanda Koop
5 Winnipeg Architecture Marvels
Artist Spotlight: Michel Saint Hilaire

Walk, Bike, Run: 5 Ways to Get Moving in Winnipeg This Summer

So you’ve discovered Winnipeg’s incredible outdoor attractions and you’re looking for more ways to get outside and get moving. Have no fear! These fun tours and activities make getting active and exploring the city easy.

walking paths

ROUTES ON THE RED

A collection of self-directed walking, biking, and paddling tours along the Red River. Put yourself in the shoes of a voyageur and try out a half-day walking tour that follows the paths of the historic fur trade. Routes and maps found on routesonthered.ca

THE LOOP

Get a crash course on the city by walking this 3.5 hour self directed route that covers Winnipeg’s significant historic, cultural, and architectural sites. Download the route map at tourismwinnipeg.com

BEE2GETHER BIKE RENTALS

Find a willing partner and take to the streets on a bicycle built for two. Bee2Gether’s cute yellow campers can be found at The Forks and Assiniboine Park, with tandem, single rider, buggy, and surry bikes for rent. Visit bee2getherbikes.com or call 204‑298‑2925 for more information.

EXCHANGE DISTRICT BIZ WALKING TOURS

The entire Exchange District neighbour-hood is designated a National Historic Site, and there’s plenty of history to explore. Tours with themes like “Death and Debauchery” bring to light the dark secrets of Winnipeg’s early years—when it earned the nickname “the wickedest city in the Dominion”. Call 204-942-6716 to book.

DOWNTOWN BIKE TOURS

Pig out and get active at the same time on the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Moveable Feast tour. Diners bike between 5 restaurant stops to sample eats at the neighbourhood’s prime restaurants. Visit downtownwinnipegtours.com to book.

More Ways to Explore Winnipeg:

Journey to Churchill at the Assiniboine Park Zoo
What to Expect at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Walk in Louis Riel’s Footsteps
Free Things To Do in Winnipeg