Off the Beaten Path - Winnipeg
As a child my family did summer road trips within Canada. Manitoba was a province we went to frequently, as we had, and still have family there. The name Winnipeg has its origin in the Cree name given to the lake 40 miles north: “win” - muddy, and “nisssspee” - water. Winnipeg is located at the junction of the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers and is almost at the geographic centre of North America. French fur traders set-up a fort in the area in 1738 and the railway came to Winnipeg in 1881 bringing in setters. The Winnipeg General Strike from 15 May to 25 June 1919 led to positive changes in labour practices across Canada. Today, Winnipeg is the 8th largest city in Canada. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is the first new national museum built since 1967 and the first built outside of Ottawa. The museum was designed by American architect Antoine Predock. The architect took inspiration from the Canadian landscape. The museum has 10 core galleries with a range of topics related to human rights with themes including, “Indigenous Perspectives”, “Canadian Journeys” and “Examining the Holocaust”
The Forks is a riverside attraction in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. Framed by the Red and Assiniboine Rivers it is the top tourist destination in the city. Experience a range of dining options as well as shopping and entertainment.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo was opened in 1904 and is now known for the polar bears. The Journey to Churchill exhibit is an amazing area in the zoo to see and includes an underwater viewing tunnel. You can also experience touching the stingrays at Stingray Beach and visit the butterfly gardens.
After seeing the polar bears at the zoo and before leaving Manitoba why not go on a tour to Churchill Manitoba, with the tour company, Churchill Wild? Their Arctic Discovery tour is a historical journey into the heart of polar bear country. Immerse yourself in one of the planet’s last untamable wilderness areas. Your stay at the Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge – a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World – boasts unrivaled access to polar bears, their denning areas and coastal habitat. Two days of exploring the port of Churchill and kayaking with Beluga whales make the Arctic Discovery tour one of the company’s most loved trips.
The Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada is a restored 19th century fort. Go back in time to the 1850's and meet the people living and working for the Hudson Bay Company.
You can also visit Fort Gibraltar and see history through the eyes of the voyageurs during the time of the fur traders. The home, and the tomb, of Louis Riel, the Metis leader and founder of Manitoba, can both be found in Winnipeg.
The Prairie Dog Central Railway rail is a fully restored 1900-era vintage train with 5 wooden coaches pulled by either an 1882 steam or 1950s classic GP9 diesel locomotive.
Did you know that Winnie The Pooh was a female black bear that lived at the London (England) Zoo from 1915 to 1934? Rescued by cavalry veterinarian Harry Colebourn she was named after his hometown of Winnipeg. Winnie was originally destined to come to the Assiniboine Zoo after the war but Harry Colebourn decided to let her stay at the London Zoo. You can see the statue of the Winnie and Harry at the Nature Playground at the Assiniboine Park.
Winnipeg’s Ex buildings from the 1880 and 1920. The neighbourhood has the nickname of Chicago of the North and has more than 150 buildings within a 20-square blocks area. The area once had warehouses and “terracotta skyscrapers” that housed financial institutions that are now home to restaurants, galleries, gourmet donut and coffee shops, as well as clothing and design stores. Two restaurants to try in the area are Deer + Almond www.deerandalmond.com and Peasant Cookery www.peasantcookery.ca.
There is something for everyone to do or see in Winnipeg from museums such as the Manitoba Museum to art galleries such as the Canadian Plains Gallery. Take in a concert at the Burton Cummings Theatre or the Centennial Concert Hall or go see Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet or listen to a symphony with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Sports fans will enjoy taking in a hockey game to see the Winnipeg Jets play or a football game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. There are many hotel options - here are a few examples:
The Fort Garry Hotel and Spa www.fortgarryhotel.com This is a former Grand Trunk Railway hotel and a National Historical Site in the heart of Winnipeg.
Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel - www.fairmont.com/winnipeg/ A modern hotel located at the famous corner of Portage and Main.
Inn at the Forks - www.innforks.com A boutique hotel located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine River Winnipeg’s oldest meeting place. My mum who grew up in Manitoba learned to make this cake as a young girl and taught me as well.
Lazy Daisy Cake
Ingredients: Cake ½ cup of milk 1 tbsp butter 1 cup of flour 1 tsp of baking powder ½ tsp of salt 2 eggs 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Coconut topping ½ cup of packed brown sugar ½ sweetened flaked coconut 2 tbsp milk
Cake Preheat oven to 350 F, butter 9-inch square metal baking pan In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium-low heat until steaming hot and butter is melted. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar, beat until thick. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in hot mixture until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Coconut Topping While cake is baking, combine brown sugar, coconut, butter and milk into a small saucepan. Heat over a medium-low heat, stirring for 3 minutes or until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved (do not let boil). Remove cake from over and preheat broiler. Spread topping over warm cake. Broil for 3 minutes or until topping is bubbling. Let cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes and serve warm or let cool completely. Another sweet treat is “ Moderns’ of Winnipeg” chocolates and one of my favorite things to receive at Christmas was Moderns’ Russian Mints. A great gift from Winnipeg!