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I hate Winnipeg no more

Blogger learns to love Winnipeg

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A hazy view towards downtown Winnipeg.


A hazy view towards downtown Winnipeg. Photo Store

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

- Marcel Proust


I pulled back the curtains in our hotel room and the beautiful Winnipeg cityscape demanded my immediate attention. To my left I saw Esplanade Riel, The Forks, the Goldeyes Baseball field and the stunning Canadian Museum for Human Rights. To my right, I saw the iconic intersection of Portage and Main with interesting old architecture from the Exchange District peeking out from behind. This moment was the start to a beautiful 48-hour Winnipeg love story.

I live in rural Manitoba and only manage to head to Winnipeg a couple of times a year. Those infrequent trips are usually filled with a gigantic list of errands or I simply use Winnipeg as a starting-off point for another destination, only visiting the Winnipeg airport. This type of behaviour does not promote love for the 'Peg. I always knew Winnipeg had lots of wonderful things to offer, but like so many other rural Manitobans, I just never gave it the time and respect it deserved. Instead, I always viewed Winnipeg as a necessity city instead of a tourist city in my own backyard.

Recently, I asked Winnipeggers to offer their suggestions to help me create my own Winnipeg Recipe of Love. I wanted people to tell me specific attractions to see, restaurants to frequent and neighbourhoods to explore to help change my perspective of Winnipeg and to encourage me to throw away my typical interaction with the city. My goal was to change my attitude and experiences and to begin an epic love journey with the great city of Winnipeg. I was overwhelmed with the messages and love shown by Winnipeggers. So many reached out offering great advice and love for their community and that is something that should make all Winnipeggers proud. It became very obvious to me Winnipeggers love their city and are enthusiastic about all it has to offer and wish to share it with the world. When Tourism Winnipeg offered to arrange a short trip for me, I knew immediately I simply must go and see Winnipeg with a new perspective. So with a fresh set of eyes and 48 hours to fall in love with the city, I set out to create my own Winnipeg love story.

It is amazing how much you can see and do in 48 hours if you simply head to Winnipeg to play tourist instead of running errands.

My short time in Winnipeg left me feeling relaxed, happy, well-informed, and proud. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs "I love Winnipeg" and drag every person I know to the city to show them all the wonderful things I discovered and experienced in only a couple of days.

So, rural Manitobans, I beg you to join me in this Winnipeg journey of love. This summer, take a little time to discover the amazing city in your own province instead of setting out on vacations elsewhere. I know I am not the only rural Manitoban who wants to see Winnipeg in a new light. Go to Winnipeg without your errand list, perhaps book a hotel and spend a couple of days checking out some new-to-you attractions. Head to a unique part of the city and eat at a local Manitoba establishment. Push away your typical Winnipeg experiences and set out to make new ones. I guarantee Winnipeg will change you and you, too, will fall madly, deeply in love with the city.

A big thanks to Tourism Winnipeg for arranging this great agenda for me. I am certain this recipe of love will leave you dreaming about your next trip to Winnipeg!

Little Gray Bird's Recipe For Love


Day 1:

- Check into the Fairmont Winnipeg. This luxury hotel offers an excellent location to explore Winnipeg and stunning views of the downtown. With fantastic customer service, delicious food and beautiful rooms, this is the ultimate hotel to begin your Winnipeg experience. For more information visit

- Devour the District Food Tour. This three-hour guided walking tour in the Exchange District takes you to six different restaurants where you will eat and drink your way around the community, all while sharing laughs with other Manitobans. For more information visit

- Explore the Exchange District and admire the beautiful architecture and atmosphere. Pop into one of the many pubs or restaurants and sample a few local beers. For more information visit


Day 2:

- Breakfast at Winnipeg Free Press News Caf©. Eat a delicious full breakfast while you watch local newsroom action. For more information, visit

- The Manitoba Museum. Stroll through this fantastic museum where you will learn all about the history and features of the province of Manitoba. Stargaze in the planetarium and board the Nonsuch (above), a full-size replica 17th-century ship. For more information, visit

- The Forks. Meander through this traditional meeting place and admire the beautiful grounds. Next, do some shopping at the multiple vendors in the The Forks Market. Why not sample some pickerel fish and chips, or grab a slice of Saskatoon berry pie and have yourself a little picnic by the river? For more information visit

- The Rights Around Us Tour. This new (and free!) tour departs from the Via Rail station and sets out to discuss the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights that is scheduled to open in 2014. For more information, visit

- Dinner at Deseo Bistro. A Spanish-inspired menu that will fill your belly and make you yearn to return. I personally recommend the black truffle gnocchi, arctic char, lobster spaghetti and saffron cr®me brªl©e. For more information visit


Day 3:

- Breakfast at Stella's Cafe & Bakery. Have some delicious buttermilk pancakes or french toast. Don't forget to purchase a bottle of their special berry jam to take home. For more information visit

- The Winnipeg Art Gallery. Check out the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the 100 Masters Exhibit, on until Aug. 18. This exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and offers the opportunity to view Monet, Van Gogh, Warhol, Picasso, and many other well-noted artists. Also check out the largest collection of Inuit art in the world. For more information visit

- Lunch at Unburger. Make your way over to Osborne Village and chow down on a delicious juicy burger. Choices include the blueberry yum yum (above), the tropic thunder, and sweet yam fries, all of which are focused on local, natural, fresh and tasty products. For more information visit

- Shopping in Osborne Village. Stroll along this great community of Winnipeg for some window-shopping and unique items. For more information visit


If you would like some assistance in creating your own Winnipeg vacation agenda, please visit Tourism Winnipeg at for more great Winnipeg ideas and adventures.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 14, 2013 A14

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