September 21, 2020

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Winnipeg Free Press



Moments of Insta beauty

Winnipeg landmarks make for popular subjects on social media site

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2018 (703 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you need proof that Winnipeg is a beautiful city, look no further than your Instagram feed.


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In a regular series, the Free Press will explore five great things in our city and province. What did we miss? Send us your feedback at

You will find lovingly composed #nofilter shots of sun-dappled elm canopies and moody river vistas, night-time panoramas from string-lighted rooftop patios and postcards from secret gardens. You will find snaps of street art, from Kal Barteski’s arctic-inspired garage doors in Wolseley to Kenneth Lavallee’s star blanket-wrapped buildings in the West End and downtown. Everyone from the Golden Boy to the Nutty Club’s Can-D-Man make cameo appearances, framed by the bluest skies or the reddest of fall colours.

And some folks were lucky — and quick — enough to ‘Gram the much-loved but short-lived Garbage Hill sign (RIP).

In the spirit of encouraging folks to explore their city — and maybe even see it through fresh eyes — the Free Press Take Five rounds up five of the most Instagrammable places in and around downtown Winnipeg.


The New West Hotel

En Masse X Winnipeg, the bold, graphic, black-and-white mural that wraps around the New West Hotel at 786 Main St., was created by a group of eight artists in 2017 as part of the Wall to Wall Mural and Culture Festival, in partnership with the North End Renewal Corporation, Graffiti Art Programming and the Manitoba Arts Council. Winnipeg artists Takashi Iwasaki, Jade Rennie-Harper, Matea Radic, Jay Cabredo, Storm Angeconeb and Charlie Johnston, along with Montreal-based artists Jason Botkin and MC Baldassari, had a 4,000 square-foot canvas on which to collaborate. The completely freestyle mural was completed in under a week, but it would probably take you more than a week to discover all the drawings that make up this work.


The Winnipeg Art Gallery entrance

Everyone knows the Winnipeg Art Gallery, built in 1970 and designed by Gustavo da Roza, is among the city’s most photographed landmarks — a late-modernist wedge of Tyndall stone slicing through a Prairie sky. But for selfie-seekers, there’s no better place than the lightbulb-studded Memorial Boulevard entrance way. Not only do the globes look cool — whether they are switched on or off — the ceiling is mirrored.


The Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre

There’s a lush, peaceful oasis tucked away in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. The pond, pagodas, and beautifully manicured Chinese Gardens at the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre — on King Street in Chinatown — don’t even look like they’re in Winnipeg. It’s a local treasure, but it’s not exactly a best-kept secret: many wedding parties have also become hip to this incredibly photogenic spot.


The Esplanade Riel

Since officially opening to pedestrians in 2004, the Esplanade Riel footbridge has become a Winnipeg icon. Named for "father of Manitoba" Louis Riel and designed by "father of landmarks" Étienne Gaboury, the dramatic side-spar cable-stayed bridge spans the Red River, linking downtown with St. Boniface. The Esplanade Riel, coupled with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, make for a striking skyline, day or night, winter or summer — but photographing the Esplanade is all about working its angles. It’s impossible to take a bad picture of this bridge.


The Winnipeg sign

The illuminated WINNIPEG sign at The Forks was basically meant for Instagram. While many people believe the tourism trend of blaring your city’s name in a block-capital sans serif began with the TORONTO sign installed in Nathan Phillips Square for the 2015 Pan Am Games, it actually began with Amsterdam’s ‘IAMSTERDAM’ in 2004, and the idea has been riffed on by cities from Brisbane to Budapest. And, like many trends, this one came to Winnipeg two years after it arrived in Toronto. (Whatever, ours is better.)

Twitter: @JenZoratti


Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

Read full biography


Updated on Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 5:44 PM CDT: Fixes size of mural at The New West Hotel.

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