Considering Winnipeg’s location slap bang in the heart of the Canadian prairies you may expect this to be a quieter city with not much to do. Well then, Winnipeg is about to surprise you, as the capital and largest city of Manitoba is actually a sophisticated gem, and a beacon of culture and heritage right in the centre of the country!
Known as the ‘Gateway to the West’ Winnipeg certainly was historically seen as the gateway to developing the west of the country, following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881. The city grew quickly but even so, Vancouver soon overtook Winnipeg in terms of size, and today Winnipeg is the seventh largest city in Canada.
Exploring the culture and heritage is a popular attraction for many visitors to Winnipeg and there are a number of museums and historical sites to see. Canada’s oldest public art gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is a great example, now the sixth largest in the country and it’s right here in the city. Part of the aforementioned railway heritage can be seen at the Winnipeg Railway Museum which includes the locomotive the ‘Countess of Dufferin’, the first locomotive on the Canadian prairies.
Transport of a different kind is on display at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, which includes military and commercial aircraft as well as the first Canadian helicopter, and the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be opening around the end of 2012. But right now the top museum for the city is the Manitoba Museum where you can find out all about the history of the province.
Away from the museums, The Forks is the top tourist attraction of the city and it’s actually several attractions in one. Right in downtown Winnipeg, and located on the riverside, The Forks is a marketplace, entertainment venue, shopping and dining destination that attracts around 4 million visitors every year, and it has a historical background too! So this really is the place to visit in downtown Winnipeg!
This is just an introduction to the cultural and historical attractions of Winnipeg, touching on the surface of what there is to see and do in The Peg. Old and new architecture, sports, festivals, parks and more are all waiting to be discovered here too!
Article copyright Claire Bolgil. Claire is a freelance travel writer based in Beautiful BC. Find out more about her at www.clairebolgil.com.