As a proud Canadian, I’ve been west and I’ve been east, but I haven’t seen much of the middle or north, so this year I’ve decided to change that. My first destination had me step foot into a province I had yet to visit, Manitoba. And where better to start than the capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg.
Maybe not everyone’s first choice of city or time of year, but for whoever questions that, stop and think again. Winnipeg is filled with culture, delicious restaurants, tasty craft beers and so much to see and experience.
With Winnipeg being only a couple of hours flight from Toronto, there are flight deals to be had with Air Canada and WestJet. But luckily it was easy to get a points flight within a couple of weeks of my visit. By leaving mid-morning from Toronto, I arrived before lunch and with an early check-in request, I was able to drop my stuff in my hotel room at the Fort Garry Hotel. This hotel is in a great location and put me within walking distance of all that I was planning to enjoy in my 48 hours in Winnipeg.
Let me back up for a second and explain why I chose Winnipeg as my first destination in my ‘see more of Canada’ plan. It wasn’t just because I hadn’t been to Manitoba, but it started by hearing from friends that the Nelson Mandela exhibit was a must see at the Museum of Human Rights. Mandela being my hero, this was pretty much a no brainer. Lucky for me it was still on exhibit for another couple of weeks, which lead to my trip to Winnipeg being built completely around that main stop.
After that quick stop to check in, it was time to head to my prime destination of the Museum. I explained my plan and need for food to the lovely woman at the front desk of the hotel and she suggested grabbing a bite at the restaurant at the Museum, ERA Bistro. This great suggestion was followed by another from my server at ERA. She steered we towards the carrot fries and the whitefish po’boy. That hit the spot and was served quickly. So I was filled up and ready to start exploring the Museum.
The Mandela exhibit was very compelling and had a spin for how Canada supported the amazing work that this great man did. The Museum offers an extensive look at human rights around the world and through history. I am going to be straight with you thought, as there is a lot to take in, so take your time.
The Museum is not simply what is inside on display, but architecture of this building is unique and gorgeous.
When you visit, ensure that you make it all the way to the top and take in 360 view of Winnipeg. Lucky for me, a very knowledgeable security guard shared many facts about the city and pointed out the growth and changes to his fine city.
The museum stands at the National Historic site of The Forks, which is the place where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet in Winnipeg. This area has become a popular area for tourists, so take the time to grab a picture with the Winnipeg sign and the museum’s beauty as a backdrop.
As a part of The Forks there are many shops and restaurants. Something for all tastes. As luck would have it, I had friends who were on a cross Canada trip who happened to be passing through Winnipeg on their way home while I was in town. Meeting up with them at The Forks was the perfect spot.
Being a craft beer lover, I had to taste some of the local offers and The Common is the place to do that. Guests can enjoy flights of beers or wines or choose just one to savour. Easy to grab and bring back to your table to savour with your meal that you can grab from one of the many food stands. It’s a great relaxed spot fo catch up with new or old friends. For me my flights of beer and wine were enjoyed with my margherita pizza from Red Ember Common. The pizza was so good, that I stopped in again before heading to airport on Sunday for another.
Filled up, it’s was just a quick walk from The Forks back to the Fort Garry Hotel.
Up early and ready to start checking off all the restaurant and food recommendations I’d gathered from my friends. But first I enjoyed the daily tea and biscotti left at my door which was included with my stay at the Fort Garry Hotel. It’s the small things that mean a lot.
Once I dragged myself out of my very comfy bed and started my day, the first stop had to be Clementine Cafe for some breakfast. I had heard it was a popular local spot, so I was glad to get there early to grab one of the last tables before the breakfast and brunch rush.
With a menu that had so many fantastic sounding and seasonally changing options, it was my fantastic server that made some great recommendations, which I had to enjoy all of. This included the most delicious tomato salad, waffles and bacon. And unique mix, but worth every bite.
The one thing with being in a city for a short time, you have to take it all in. And that means, no matter how full you are, you must eat on. And just around the corner from Clementine is Bronuts. Who says you can’t have dessert after breakfast? Not me. And when you stop off at place like this, making just one selection is impossible. One for now and one for the road!
Still with some time to explore, I checked out Portage Avenue in the downtown core of Winnipeg.
Thankfully, that full stomach was a good base for the Brewery Tour a joined for the afternoon with Winnipeg Tasting Tours. For this craft beer lover, checking out the local scene where ever I visit is a top priority. This tour had us meet up at Little Brown Jug and jump in a van to go on to visit and enjoy One Great City, Half Pints and Torque Brewing.
After all that beer, another great meal was in order and that meant an early stop at Deer + Almond for some wine and dinner. What a meal of grilled calamari, tagliatelle and some beet cake for dessert. Had no choice, I had to order that dessert, as beet cake was so intriguing…and then delicious.
With another morning, that meant time to eat again. This meal I had to work a bit for. I enjoyed about a 20 minute walk along the river to Osborne Village to find Kawaii Crepe – a Japanese crepe place. You can sit down and enjoy these or grab them to go and savour as you explore the village. For me, I stayed in to enjoy my Elvis crepe – A spread of peanut butter, bacon, sliced banana, and a drizzle of honey. Delicious!
Filled up again with food, I was able to take in the architecture of the Manitoba Legislative Building and head back over to The Forks area as I finished up my last hours in Winnipeg. I was able to take some time to just stop and enjoy where the two rivers come together and understand the importance of this area. And enjoyed a conversation with some lovely locals about their time in Winnipeg and what brought them there.
One more stop in at The Forks for another delicious pizza before I had to check out of the hotel and make my way back to the airport as my 48 hours in Winnipeg came to a close.
But this won’t be the last time you see me. This town is great. Perfect for a weekend away with friends or family.
© 2018 – 2019, Anne-Marie Marais. All rights reserved.