Prime picnic places
Ideal settings across the city for your al fresco eats
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/05/2020 (920 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Summer is on its way to the city and after too many weeks of being stuck indoors — either owing to bad weather or, you know, the current state of emergency asking us all to stay home — it’s understandable Winnipeggers are ready to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
With Phase 2 of re-openings on the way, which includes swimming pools and splash pads (with limitations), as well as an increase in the size of socially distant group gatherings, there’s no better time for a picnic in the park… if you can find space, that is.
The Forks and Assiniboine Park are two popular go-to locations, but they are seemingly always busy. Luckily, Winnipeg is filled with other, less frequented parks that can play host to your summer picnic dreams.
Here are five of them.
Stephen Juba Park
Just a 10-minute walk north from The Forks is Stephen Juba Park, a beautiful waterfront park with plenty of green pockets to set up your picnic basket.
While often crowded in the summer months with festival visitors escaping from the bustle of Old Market Square, this quieter summer will likely mean the park is less busy than usual, and perfect for a picnic.
Hot tip: the park has a great east view of the sunrise. Breakfast picnics, anyone?
When I queried Winnipeggers on their favourite picnic spots, one thing became clear: prairie-dwellers love hills.
Garbage Hill — officially known as Westview Park — might be best known for the infamous Hollywood-inspired sign that was erected in 2018, but citizens who grew up tobogganing down its slopes in the winter or hiking its gentle incline trail in the summer know it holds some of the best views of the city, which will make a great backdrop for all your sunny picnic pics.
Maple Grove Park
If you’re craving a picnic and have a dog — or want to be dog-adjacent while you eat your lunch — you can’t do better than a picnic at Maple Grove Park.
Located in South St. Vital right on the Perimeter Highway, the park has plenty of quiet places to picnic, many of them right along the river and well away from traffic. It also boasts tons of field space and an off-leash dog park for your pooch.
There’s no public transit available and it is a bit of a trek from the centre of the city, but on the plus side? Ample free parking.
South of Portage Ave. on the banks of Omand’s Creek lies the little gem of Omand Park.
Whether you’re walking, biking, taking public transit or driving, this Wolseley park plays hosts to people fishing by the river, walking along its trails, playing baseball at its multiple diamonds and — of course — the occasional picnic.
The park is probably best known for its stunning sunset views, making it an ideal choice for an evening dinner.
Happyland was an amusement park in Wolseley that existed from 1906 to 1922, but it’s also the name of a St. Boniface park that is still very much open.
Located at 520 Marion St., Kiwanis Happyland Park is one of Winnipeg’s most diverse parks, featuring an assortment of natural beauty as well as a swimming pool, wading pool, a disc golf course and plenty of walking trails right next to the quiet Seine River.
If you can’t snag one of the picnic tables, hit the trail and find a quiet patch of grass to spread a blanket.
Frances Koncan (she/her) is a writer, theatre director, and failed musician of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, she is now based in Treaty 1 Territory right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.