Tours de force From food and drink to art and history, there is no shortage of options when it comes to guided excursions

Winnipeggers are experts at making the most of the longest days of the year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/06/2019 (1318 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeggers are experts at making the most of the longest days of the year.

Summer is officially here and with the arrival of the solstice comes the mad scramble of planning weekend camping trips, music festival pilgrimages and road trips to the cabin.

There are also plenty of opportunities to explore your own backyard.

The city has a wide variety of guided tours that can make even born-and-raised Winnipeggers see the city from a new perspective. Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover or a cyclist interested in local history, there is plenty to choose from.



 For the worldly food lover

West End BIZ Restaurant Tours

Where in Winnipeg can you order authentic Ethiopian, Thai, Italian and Mexican food within the same square block? The West End of course. The West End BIZ has capitalized on the culinary diversity of the neighbourhood to create its weekly summer restaurant tours.

Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press Joe Kornelsen leads participants of the West End BIZ restaurant tour to the final stop of the evening, Feast Café Bistro at the corner of Maryland Street and Ellice Avenue.

The walking tours are led by a BIZ guide and include stops at four different restaurants. During each stop, tour members get to sample a signature dish and learn about the business. The restaurant features change week-to-week and some upcoming stops include Merkato, Taj East Indian Cuisine, Pho Kim Tuong and Sargent Taco Shop.

Also on the menu are tidbits of neighbourhood history along the way.

  • When: Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. until Aug. 28.
  • Where: Meeting location determined upon booking.
  • Length: About two hours
  • Cost: $47 per person, drink tickets extra.
  • How to book: Visit, call 204-954-7900 or email



 A tour of two rivers

Splash Dash River Tours

The story of Winnipeg starts at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Splash Dash, the same company that runs the city’s water bus service, offers guided tours of these historic waterways throughout the summer.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Splash Dash guided river tours leave The Forks every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to sunset seven days a week.

After purchasing a ticket at the Splash Dash kiosk at The Forks, tour groups are loaded into covered pontoon boats and ferried west on the Assiniboine towards the Manitoba Legislative Building. Boat captains work double duty; steering the ship and providing historical commentary along the way.

Once at the legislature, the boat does a 180 and heads for Waterfront Drive via the Red River, with a cruise past St. Boniface for some facts about Winnipeg’s French quarter.

  • When: Every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week until Aug. 31.
  • Where: The Forks harbour, 1 Forks Market Rd.
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Cost: $ 11.50 for adults, $9.50 for youth and seniors.
  • How to book: Stop by the Splash Dash kiosk, visit or call 204-783-6633 for more information.



 A trip back in time

Exchange District BIZ Historic Walking Tours

The year was 1919 and tensions among Winnipeg labourers had reached a boiling point. For the first time this summer, the Exchange District BIZ is offering a historic walking tour focused on the Winnipeg General Strike.

Hop aboard: Drink and let someone else do the driving on brewery crawls

Flights of beer await thirsty patrons on a brewery tour.


Winnipeg’s craft-beer boom — which has seen the number of city’s craft breweries, brew pubs and contract brewers jump from two to 15 in just four years — has provided the city’s thirsty masses with an incredible cross-section of local beer.

But with breweries spread throughout the city — from Pembina Highway near the University of Manitoba to the Exchange District to St. James, the West End and beyond — organizing a local beer “pub crawl” can be a bit of a challenge.

Two local tour groups have taken up the task of bringing local beer lovers to breweries throughout the city, allowing thirsty Winnipeggers to hit multiple breweries in one night and sample a wide range of lagers and ales while getting a behind-the-scenes look at how beer is made — all without having to worry about driving.


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The extended version of the guided tour gives a sense of what life in Winnipeg was like before, during and after the strike. Tour groups will also learn about key players in the labour movement, such as Helen Armstrong and J.S. Woodsworth, while taking in the heritage buildings of the Exchange.

The BIZ offers walking tours on a number of other themes, such as art and architecture, remarkable local women and punks and anarchists.

  • When: Between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday until Aug. 31.
  • Where: Exchange District BIZ office, 492 Main St.
  • Length: 1 1/2 hours
  • Cost: $10 per person, or $6 per person with a group of 15 or more.
  • How to book: Call 204-942-6716 or email



 Green thumbs on parade

Manitoba Master Gardeners Association Garden Tour

Need some backyard inspiration? Look no further than the annual garden tour organized by the Manitoba Master Gardeners Association.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files The Manitoba Master Gardeners Association’s 2019 Garden Tour will feature nine Winnipeg gardens.

Nine specialty gardens in Winnipeg will be featured during this year’s day-long event. The tour is self-guided, so you can spend as little or as much time checking out the flora. Master gardeners will be at each garden to answer all your questions.

  • When: July 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Various locations
  • Length: Self-guided
  • Cost: $15
  • How to book: Visit for information.



 Art is everywhere

Winnipeg Arts Council Public Art Tours

Whether it’s a streetside sculpture, an architectural feature or an interactive installation, public art is alive and well in this city. The Winnipeg Arts Council has several free guided tours for art lovers who want to take their interest outdoors.

Bike Winnipeg Winnipeg Arts Council runs guided public art tours throughout the summer.

For those working downtown, or with less than an hour to spare, the Art at Lunch series provides a quick overview of art at a single location. The Art Walks series offers guided walking tours in different neighbourhoods around the city.

In partnership with Bike Winnipeg, the Art Rides tours are a chance to add some culture to your weekend bike ride.

  • When: Various dates and times until Sept. 21.
  • Where: Various locations
  • Length: 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours
  • Cost: Free
  • How to book: Visit for a full schedule and to register.



 Two-wheeled adventures

Bike Winnipeg Rides

In line with its goal to get more people cycling, Bike Winnipeg has a slate of guided bike tours throughout the summer. All you need is a bike and an interest in exploring the city.

Mark Cohoe / Bike Winnipeg Bike Winnipeg offers guided cycling tours on a variety of themes throughout the summer.

The group rides are organized by themes, such as neighbourhood history, art, sustainability, active transportation and gardening. Each tour is led by an expert in the field, and there are plenty of stops along the different routes. Bike Winnipeg volunteers act as safety marshals and the rides travel at a leisurely pace.

  • When: Various dates until Sept. 7.
  • Where: Various locations
  • Length: two to three hours
  • Cost: A mix of paid and free tours
  • How to book: Visit for a full schedule and to register.



 Get in touch with nature

FortWhyte Alive EcoTours

It’s the perfect time to commune with nature. FortWhyte Alive’s EcoTours make it easy to get some fresh air while learning about local plants and animals without leaving the city. There’s even an opportunity to get up-close and personal with North America’s largest mammal.

One Plus One Design photo FortWhyte Alive runs weekly Bison Safaris through its summer EcoTour program.

Hour-long bison safaris run throughout the week all summer long. Tour groups are loaded into a bus and shuttled out to FortWhyte’s bison enclosure, where they can watch the animals interacting in their natural habitat from just metres away. FortWhyte also has a three-hour option that includes the safari, a canoe trip, a visit to a Plains-style tipi and a one-room pioneer sod house, and bannock making.

  • When: Various times, Wednesdays to Saturdays in July and August.
  • Where: FortWhyte Alive, 1961 McCreary Rd.
  • Length: one to three hours
  • Cost: Between $10 and $45
  • How to book: Visit to register.

Twitter: @evawasney

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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