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outdoors

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

Discover Secrets at 7 Incredible Winnipeg Attractions

By Joelle Kidd

Though it is the province’s largest city, Winnipeg has plenty of green space. Immerse yourself in nature and discover the secrets of Winnipeg’s outdoor attractions.

Courtesy of Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Courtesy of Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

PLAYING WITH POLAR BEARS

For up close animal sightings, the Journey to Churchill Exhibit at Assiniboine Park zoo is the place to be. The main draw is a chance to come face to face with a swimming polar bear, separated by only 15 cm of polymer. This massive exhibit covers 3,714 square metres, and is home to caribou, muskox, snowy owls, arctic foxes, and, of course, seals and polar bears, whose aqueous environments are constructed side by side to encourage interaction—buffered by another polymer wall of course.

The secret to catching polar bears at play is to visit in the morning when the animals are most active. Arrive before 11 am to get the best view of the bears frolicking and swimming. The bears’ underwater enclosure is placed over a tunnel, called the Sea Ice Passage, so the curious can get an up close look at bear bellies swimming above. Get your phone ready; you’ll want to snap a selfie when a polar bear comes to check out the crowd.

  • Assiniboine Park, 2595 Roblin Blvd, 204‑927-6000

Learn more about Journey to Churchill

Courtesy Travel Manitoba

Courtesy Travel Manitoba

JUST AROUND THE RIVER BEND

Winnipeg grew out of the meeting place at the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, as these waterways made trade and travel much easier. Though planes, trains, and automobiles have superseded birch bark canoes in modern days, it is still possible to take to the river by boat for a new perspective on the city. Splash Dash Boat Tours and Rentals opens mid-May, sending river adventurers off from its perch at The Forks. Take a guided river tour and hear historical insights on points of interest along the way. When the water is calm, canoe rentals are available for those who want to paddle the Assiniboine.

  • Main dock at The Forks Historic Port, 204‑783‑6633

Where to shop while at The Forks

Photo by Ian Carter.

Photo by Ian Carter.

AU NATUREL

FortWhyte Alive is a haven for adventurous outdoor fun and environmental education, all within city limits. Paddle or go fishing on one of five lakes, walk through the wetlands on a floating boardwalk, and hike the trails that wind through surrounding aspen forest. Eco-explorers can learn about Manitoba wildlife at the site’s interpretive centre, but the best way to get up close and personal is on a bison safari—throughout May and June, buggies roll out on Thursdays at 1:30 pm to join the herd of huge hairy bison that live on the prairie.

If visiting in May, you’re just in time to catch the spring migration. Join a weekly Birding and Breakfast event to take a hike led by experienced birding guides and compare finds over pancakes at the on site Buffalo Stone Cafe.

Photo by Dan Harper.

Photo by Dan Harper.

TIME CAPSULE

It almost seems as though time has turned back to 1815 … until someone pulls out a smartphone to snap a pic of the blacksmith at work. Other than its visitors, everything at Fort Gibraltar is meticulously reproduced and restored, from costumed interpreters that explain the ins and outs of the fur trade on the prairies to the cabins filled with bundles of animal pelts.

Take a tour of the Fort to learn more about the daily life of early settlers and voyageurs from the North West Company.

Want more St Boniface history? Follow the Louis Riel walking tour

Photo courtesy of Thermea.

Photo courtesy of Thermea.

SOAK UP SOME SUN

Getting outside doesn’t necessarily mean getting active—sometimes all one needs is some fresh air and sun. The perfect place to spend a day outdoors and horizontal is Nordic-style spa Thermëa, an outdoor oasis cradled unexpectedly in an old Winnipeg residential neighbourhood.

Deep relaxation involves cycling through treatments of heat, cold, and rest. First, a toxin-clearing sit in a sauna, steam room, or hot bath, then a dip in the cold or temperate pool, followed by a period of relaxation. After a soak in the luxurious outdoor baths, journey out to the “Forest Beach”, a secluded rest area filled with loungers, Adirondack chairs, and comfy hammocks, all tucked in a lush grove of trees—the city will seem miles away.

  • 775 Crescent Dr, 1‑855‑284‑3344

See a full list of Winnipeg’s best spas and salons

MLL Heritage Wall at Upper Fort Garry Park. Photo by Pattern Interactive.

MLL Heritage Wall at Upper Fort Garry Park. Photo by Pattern Interactive.

WILD WALL

Upper Fort Garry was an important centre of the fur trade for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the late 1800s, and though only the Fort’s gate remains standing today, the recently completed Upper Fort Garry Park commemorates the site with historical markers and an interactive installation set along the site of the fort’s original wall. The Heritage Wall spans more than 400 feet and depicts the history of this land from First Nations communities to the fur trade and European settlement. Watch the wall light up with an artistic LED interpretation of the Metis buffalo hunt—come at dusk for the best view.

For total tech integration, download the park’s smartphone app which highlights points of interest and provides information on the symbols on the Heritage Wall. Historical facts hidden around the park turn each visit into a scavenger hunt.

Learn how tech integration sets the Canadian Museum for Human Rights apart

Courtesy of Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Courtesy of Assiniboine Park Conservancy

A WALK IN THE PARK

Assiniboine Park, the city’s largest urban park, becomes a hotbed of activity in the spring and summer months. Beautiful blooms grow in the English gardens and Leo Mol sculpture garden, which also displays bronze figures created by the renowned artist. With winding paths and benches set in shady nooks, these gardens are a perfect place to while away the afternoon. Those itching to get active can start up an impromptu game of frisbee or fly a kite on the park’s manicured lawns.

The best way to take a tour of the park is to hop on board the miniature train that has been operating, run by the same family, for more than 50 years. This little locomotive runs daily from noon to 6 pm, and for $3 will take you on a spin around the park’s perimeter.

MORE WINNIPEG ATTRACTIONS

Winnipeg’s Best Shopping Districts
Why the RBC Convention Centre is a Destination in Itself
Best New Restaurants 2016
Where to Shop Downtown

Hot Shopping: Shop Talk: Into the Wild

RicK-Shone

For Rick Shone, owner of Winnipeg’s Wilderness Supply Company, getting out into the great outdoors isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. An avid outdoorsman who spends his spare time kayaking, climbing, trail running, mountaineering and cycling, Shone, 36, has been at the helm of the independent business since 2001, when he took it over for his in-laws, Frank and Jan Sjoberg. Although Wilderness Supply Company boasts the largest selection of canoes and kayaks in the province, he’s maintained that intimate, mom-and-pop feel. He loves swapping stories with fellow adventurers. “I feel like I’m part of their expeditions.” His job isn’t just to outfit people with top-of-the-line gear; it’s also to provide encouragement and support. “We think of ourselves as educators, not just salespeople.” Wilderness Supply Company, 623 Ferry Rd, 204-783-9555.

1-Week Summer Wilderness Escape to Ontario’s Algonquin Park

By RED HUNT

One of Ontario’s most impressive wilderness areas, Algonquin Provincial Park is larger than some national parks at more than 7,000-square-kilometres and with more than 1,600 km of navigable waterways. Given the park’s size and its distance from both Ottawa and Toronto (about three-and-a-half hours from each to the outermost park entrances), it’s best to set aside some time here: five to seven days is a perfect amount of time to appreciate the diversity of one of Ontario’s best adventure destinations.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Algonquin getaway. (more…)

Hot Attractions: 3 Tobogganing Hills Around Town

Tobogganing is the perfect family outing.

Now that there’s finally snow on the ground, grab a sled and hit one of these three popular tobogganing hills.

1. Mooney’s Bay Park
2960 Riverside Dr.
Gradual slopes and a high peak make this a favourite for families. Be mindful of trees and lampposts.

2. Arboretum/Central Experimental Farm
Prince of Wales Drive
Great views and a long, fast hill make this a go-to, but be careful of the trees and other potential obstacles.

3. Conroy Pit
Conroy Road, south of Hunt Club Road
This large, steep hill is lit from 4pm to 11pm, making it fun for late night outings. It’s an official toboggan hill, but be forewarned, it’s also popular as a dog park.

10 Tips for Winter Camping

By Red Hunt

Cold-weather camping presents a whole new world of outdoor experiences that can’t be enjoyed during other seasons of the year. Whether you’re roughing it in a tent or sipping hot cocoa in the comfy confines of a yurt, winter camping can be as peaceful or as adventurous as you want it to be. (more…)

Hot Shopping: Think Outside the (Toy) Box

Pirate ship from Nest.

This beautiful pirate ship will remind you of a time before video games. Designed by a German toy boat and model company that has been in business since the late 19th century, this vessel is constructed from wood grown in sustainably managed forests and decorated with non-toxic paints. Even better, it actually floats and is suited for outdoor play, so with summer (hopefully!) just around the corner, the kids will have a blast trying it out on water. Available at the charming children’s store Nest. $95. 204 Dalhousie St., 613-241-7333.