Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Getaway in Canada


Note:: this post is created in partnership with the Winnipeg Tourism Board. For more winter activities, check out Tourism Winnipeg’s official website and experience the best winter getaway that Winnipeg has to offer. 

When it comes to winter travel in Canada, Winnipeg is one of my favorite destinations. Although many believe that winter in Winnipeg is deadly and the climate is extreme, this capital city of Manitoba is rich in French culture and history, with many popular indoor and outdoor activities to keep your adventurous spirit alive. Winnipeg also has the largest First Nations and Metis out of any other major metropolis. If you are in search of a winter adventure this year, Winnipeg is a perfect getaway, and here are the reasons why.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Party your way through Festival Du Voyageur

French and aboriginal culture has remained an integral part of life in Canada, and Winnipeg represents its tradition and diversity by hosting the largest winter festival in western Canada, Festival Du Voyageur. This year, the festival takes place in February 16th at the French quarter Saint Boniface and lasts for ten days. During the festival, you could dance through the live concerts all day and all night, vote for the winner of the beard growing contest, browse through handcrafts on market days, attend French workshops, and watch giant snow sculptures. If you ever wanted to learn about French and aboriginal culture, Festival Du Voyageur is a fascinating activity that gives you a peek into the life of the French and native people of Canada.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Festival Du Voyageur, Winter 2016

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Museum Hopping

If you do not feel comfortable spending hours walking outside under -20 degrees, you can spend a day visiting three popular museums—Winnipeg Manitoba Planetarium and Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. All these three museums are within walking distance of each other.

My favorite is the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which offers visitors an interactive and educational experience about the human rights movement in Canada and the world. The Museum has eight floors and takes visitors through the journey from the darkness to light, where visitors go through the exhibitions and have a 360-degree view of the Winnipeg skyline on the eighth floor.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Digital multimedia projections on level 1 at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, Winnipeg

Read more: Exploring the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Get Cozy at the Forks Market

Of all the market in Canada, Forks Market to me has risen among the ranks as one of the most vibrant and beautiful ones. This mini-shopping center is made up of a two-story building where you can purchase everything from fresh fruit, meat, licensed wine, cigars, freshly baked bread, beer, and artwork created by local artists. For the foodies, there is a food court on the first floor and Original Pancake House at the entrance for you to enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast in the middle of the winter.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Inside the Forks Market, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The magic part about the Forks Market is that every year you come back, you will find something different. This year, the Red Ember Pizza food truck, the second largest food truck in North America, is coming to the Forks Market and set up the eatery permanently for visitors to taste their freshly cooked pizza with non-traditional toppings, including but not limited to eggplant, red-pepper, and fire-roasted zucchini.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Red Ember Pizza| photo credit: Courtesy of Tourism Winnipeg

The Forks is located at the meeting point of the Red River and the Assiniboine River, and you can take an afternoon walk to the river site. There is a six-story viewing tower inside the same building, which offers you a panoramic view of Winnipeg.

Enjoy a classic play at the Royal Manitoba Theater Center

For literature and theater lovers, you can even watch a classic play at Royal Manitoba Theater Center that promises a wide array of high-quality performances and enhances your experience. Old plays can be easily forgotten, but there were plays that are so significant that they have withstood 50 years of time; these include but are not limited to Anne of Green Gables, Blood Relations, and The Fighting Days.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Royal Manitoba Theater Center|photo credit: Herb Neufeld via Flicker

To watch the play, you can book the tickets online in advance, or visit the box office at the Royal Manitoba Theater Center.

Visiting Polar Bears on the Journey to Churchill

The Journey to Churchill resembles the subarctic town Churchill and is home to a variety of northern creatures such as polar bears, Arctic foxes, and wolves. The road is easy to walk so visitors can have a relaxing afternoon to view the wildlife. The park has an Aurora Borealis theater featuring documentaries for you to learn about the nature, animals, and the native culture of northern Manitoba. Afterwards, you can walk through the underwater tunnel and watch the polar bears playing with the water.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Walk through winter streets and iconic site at the Design Quarter Winnipeg

Cold weather and crispy air always invite a peaceful walk. Get outdoors, break through the fresh air, and walk through downtown Winnipeg. There are business buildings, artistic shops, cozy cafes and restaurants in the vibrant district that produce the livelihood that gets you to experience the life and toughness of northern Canada. Look for culture exhibitions at the Pulse Gallery and Fleet Galleries, and classic café shops that dot the streets and follow the aroma out of their façade.  You can also take a stroll along the Provencher Bridge while looking back at the Frozen Red River and downtown Winnipeg skyline.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: A Perfect Winter Gateway in Canada

Design Quarter Winnipeg, Photo credit: Courtesy of Tourism Winnipeg

Have you visited Winnipeg in the winter? What were your favorite activities there? Comment below!

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If you plan to travel to Canada in the winter, make sure to visit Winnipeg. Here are the reasons why this city is a perfect winter getaway


Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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