Along with love, romance conjures up thrilling feelings of mystery, excitement and remoteness from everyday life. Discover Winnipeg’s memorable escapes that engage all five senses in simple, yet extraordinary ways.
A stunning fixture in the city’s riverside skyline and an important piece of local history, St. Boniface Cathedral takes your breath away when lit up at night. Four spotlights brighten the cathedral’s beautiful French Romanesque façade and walls, which remain from the previous basilica ravaged by fire in 1968. Since 1832, four cathedrals have stood on this site in the heart of Winnipeg’s Francophone community. Whether taking a postcard-worthy photo or leaning in for a midnight kiss, this St. Boniface attraction is magical when the sun goes down.
St. Boniface Basilica. Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba.
The city’s historical character shines in the tucked away residential area of Armstrong’s Point, home to some of the city’s most stately real estate. The neighbourhood is located east of the Maryland Bridge off Cornish Avenue. Enter this secluded area by one of three streets: Westgate, Middlegate and Eastgate. It was developed as a retreat for wealthy families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Strap on your best walking shoes and bring a camera to capture the eye candy. Imagine the grandeur lifestyle of yesteryear as striking wrap-around porches, half-circle driveways, stately columns and turrets are featured on these mega palaces. It’s a walk designed to inspire a picture of your own future dream home.
On a hot summer day nothing beats the heat quite as sweetly as a luscious hot fudge sundae rolling over the tongue. The best spot in the city to devour one is the Bridge Drive-In, or as locals call it, BDI. Families with wee ones in tow, couples on dates and groups of hungry teens eagerly line up at this nostalgic ice cream stand that has been serving up creamy delights sprinkled with nuts, sticky sauces, fresh fruit and more since 1957. As you dive into your treat of choice, stroll across the Elm Park walking bridge crossing the banks of the Red River and take in the serenity of this quiet residential neighbourhood with the sounds of the river rushing and the wind rustling leaves on trees.
Bridge Drive-In. Photo by Chronic Creative.
Surrender your senses to luxurious pampering at the city’s top spas. Using the traditional Turkish hot air bathing ritual, Ten Spa’s hamam treatment is the ultimate for washing away daily stresses. Before stepping in, take advantage of the lounge where you can curl up on private leather seating, draw the sheer curtain and relax in your own secluded spot of bliss. After savouring fragrant mint tea and a cube of sweet Turkish delight, guests are whisked into a dim, tiled room with a twinkling ceiling and ambient music. Lay back on a heated slab of marble and prepare for a sensory explosion as attendants alternate between gently splashing warm and cool water in this heated bathing room.
Feet are one of the most sensitive areas of the body. There is no better way to pamper and prep your tootsies for sandal season with the “deserving thyme foot therapy treatment” at the newly renovated Riverstone Spa located at Inn at The Forks. Enjoy a sea salt soak and kick back with your feet up in a zero gravity chair. As you relax with a warm eye pillow and aromatherapy, estheticians polish, file and apply creamy moisturizers to bust the toughest calluses. Soak in the heat from hot towels and a peppermint foot and leg massage at the end—guaranteed to put a spring in your step.
Hamam treatment at Ten Spa.
Whether enjoying the fragrance of lavender, the silkiness of a rose petal, or the vibrancy of a tulip, a leisurely stroll through the indoor and outdoor gardens at Assiniboine Park is a feast for all senses. Visit the Conservatory year-round, where floral displays constantly change, featuring fragrant lilies and hydrangeas in May and June, along with other plant life. In these warmer months, browse the English gardens abloom with the first flowers of the season: tulips, daffodils, peonies, lilacs, snapdragons, poppies, lavender, pansies, viola and even early roses in late June if weather cooperates. Tulips and topiary decorate the enchanting new children’s garden opening mid-May.
Spectacular 360-degree views of the city are found at the top of the six-storey glass observation tower at The Forks Market—it’s hard to know where to look first. Gazing west, downtown’s glass and steel landscape reflects the brilliant sunlight of Manitoba’s clear blue skies. The future home of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights sits north as construction crews work like busy bees on this anticipated landmark. Long strands of train cars go clickety clack on the winding rails surrounding The Forks and adjacent Union Station. Make your way down to the trails hand in hand with a loved one and feel the crunch of red gravel with each step. Take the pedestrian bridge over the rushing Red River and head to the opposite river bank for a unique perspective of the bustling Forks Market.
Winnipeg Dance Cooperative presents Friday Night Dance Hall. Photo courtesy of Enigma Dance Factory.
Move and Groove
As the pulsating rhythms of Latin music blare from the speakers, the mood is set for an upbeat eve of dancing. Winnipeg’s varied dance scene reflects current dance trends. Swing and sway your hips at several drop-in salsa dancing sessions around the city—no partner required. At the grand ballroom of Ted Motyka Dance Studio (460 Main St, 989-0704, $8 per lesson offered Tuesday and Wednesday), beginners learn the passionate steps of salsa and other Latin dances in this majestic space. Dancers in the know flock to Friday Night Dance Hall presented by the Winnipeg Dance Cooperative. Slink into the tango, shimmy to swing and kick your heels up to country among a wide range of different dance styles in a fun, sociable group setting (Nafro Dance Studio, 109 Pulford St, winnipegdancecoop.org for schedule, $7 cover). Two one-hour lessons precede an open practice to show off your new moves and twirl into the night.