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GPS helps visitors, locals uncover community’s rich history
Discovering St. Norbert’s history will be easier than ever for tourists, and those who just want to know more about what’s around them.
Tourisme Riel, responsible for tourism in all the bilingual parts of Winnipeg including St. Boniface and St. Vital, launched a self-guided walking tour of St. Norbert using a GPS device under the GEO ROUTES program June 21.
"One of the most historic parts of the city is St. Norbert," said Michelle Gervais, director of Tourisme Riel.
Gervais said they chose to make the tour self-guided because Tourisme Riel does not have a physical presence in St. Norbert.
"So what we wanted to do was create a program where people can go discover the beauty and the history of St. Norbert in a fun and interactive way," said Gervais.
Tourisme Riel has participated in geo-caching, where participants put co-ordinates into a GPS and discovers hidden treasures, but they wanted to make the St. Norbert tour even more educational.
"The GEO ROUTES (program) is more sophisticated than that, where it’s more for adults who want to discover an area of the city and take a walk somewhere," said Gervais.
To take the tour, participants rent a kit for $6. The kits, which include a booklet, GPS unit, and co-ordinates, are available at the Tourisme Riel office in St. Boniface, 219 Provencher Blvd, or at St. Norbert Heritage Park.
To add a sort of game-like element to the mix, participants are only given the first full set of co-ordinates. Co-ordinates to the rest of the sites on the tour are all missing numbers. To retrieve the letters at each site, participants must answer a question correctly.
"For me St. Norbert has been a beautiful little discovery and it’s growing," said Gervais.
Gervais said people don’t tend to go there unless they are heading south, but the Farmer’s Market and the Trappist Monastery have been drawing more people and development to the area.
"But behind all that there’s that history that we want people to capture and understand that this little community of St. Norbert, this French community, is based on the founding of Manitoba and the rebellion and the whole entry into confederation, that’s where it all happened," said Gervais. "It has a lot of history and lot of unique little hidden treasures."
In total the walk is three to four kilometres and can take between one to two hours to complete, said Gervais.
For more information visit tourismeriel.com/en
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