October 26, 2020

Winnipeg
-4° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Close
Winnipeg Free Press

ABOVE THE FOLD

Subscribe

Festive flames

Roast chestnuts over an open fire at these winter hot spots

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/12/2019 (314 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The fireplace. At one time a necessary source of heat and a family gathering place in Canadian homes, the classic wood-burning variety has become a rarity in modern residences. This is probably a good thing because, according to Natural Resources Canada, wood fireplaces are inefficient methods to heat homes and can produce high levels of harmful emissions.

Five of the best holiday fire videos

If you like the idea of sitting in front of a warm, crackling fire, but would rather not leave the house — you’re not alone — you can always tune in to one of the many holiday fireplace videos available for free online.

If you like the idea of sitting in front of a warm, crackling fire, but would rather not leave the house — you’re not alone — you can always tune in to one of the many holiday fireplace videos available for free online.

The virtual fireplace was popularize way back in 1966 when The Yule Log television show was first broadcast in the United States. Since then, cable broadcasters in Canada as well as amateur and professional videographers have kept the tradition going with classic and creative versions of the Yule log.

For the last month, Trevor Hnatowich and Scott Anderson, co-owners of Winnipeg video production company Enjoy Creative, have been diving into the good, the bad and the strange in the world of festive fireplace videos on their Instagram channel (@enjoycreativewpg). Here are a few of their top picks from YouTube, reviewed in their own words and rated out of five stars:

Hallmark's yule log videos feature a variety of animals, including Happy the dog. (YouTube)

Hallmark's yule log videos feature a variety of animals, including Happy the dog. (YouTube)

A Happy & Friends Yule Log — Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

If greeting cards and holiday films aren’t enough for you, you’ll definitely want to check out this Hallmark yule log video featuring puppies, cats, rabbits and a pig. ★★★★

Original WPIX Yule Log — two-hour version

A charming vintage yule log video from a New York television station that supposedly started the televised fireplace tradition back in 1966. ★★★1/2

Nick Offerman’s “Yule Log”

If you would like Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman to be a house guest at your holiday party this year, this yule log video is for you. ★★★

4K Campfire On Beach — Crackling Fire with Ocean Waves Sounds (8 Hours)

Sure, it’s not technically a yule log video, but if you’re dreaming of escaping our wintery landscape this one might help. ★★★1/2

Fireplace — Full HD — 10 hours crackling logs for Christmas

If it’s a classic fireplace with real sounds of a crackling fire that you’re after, this video is a sure bet —14.5 million views confirms it. ★★★★

Still, there’s nothing that can warm a person up in the middle of a frozen Winnipeg winter quite like an open flame. It turns out there are plenty of opportunities to feel the heat around town even if you don’t have a hearth at home — or if you’re the proud owner of a decorative fireplace.

In no particular order, here are five outdoor and indoor places to sit by a fire this winter.

FortWhyte Alive

1961 McCreary Rd.

Barret Miller (from left), Christine Ahrens and Kalyn Murdock roast marshmallows at FortWhyte Alive. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Barret Miller (from left), Christine Ahrens and Kalyn Murdock roast marshmallows at FortWhyte Alive. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

The fire pits at FortWhyte Alive aren’t just part of the facility, they’re often a main ingredient in educational programming.

Throughout the winter FortWhyte is hosting a number of campfire-focused activities, including a fire-tending and taffy-making session this afternoon, a backwoods snowshoes hike and bonfire (with s’mores, of course) on Thursday and fireside storytelling with marshmallows on Sunday.

Staff and volunteers will be on hand to stoke the flames during scheduled activities, but visitors are also welcome to rent a firepit on the grounds for $15 for a two-hour time slot. Visit fortwhyte.org for more information.

St. Vital Park

190 River Rd.

Écobuage doubles as a public art installation. (Mike Aporius / Winnipeg Free Press)

Écobuage doubles as a public art installation. (Mike Aporius / Winnipeg Free Press)

St. Vital Park has become a haven for family-friendly winter activities over the last few years. The duck pond is favourite spot for skaters, especially newbies, there’s several kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails and the park is home to the city’s first fully-accessible toboggan slide.

After you’ve had your fill of skating, skiing and sliding, you can warm up next to a roaring fire at Écobuage, a towering steel fire pit and public art installation made by local design firm Plain Projects + Urbanink. Écobuage, which is translated to "controlled burn," has three pits surrounded by limestone benches.

Don’t forget to bring your own firewood.

Thermëa by Nordik Spa Nature

775 Crescent Dr.

Thermëa has a number of cast-iron fire pits on the property. (Supplied)

Thermëa has a number of cast-iron fire pits on the property. (Supplied)

Curling up in a plush robe next to an outdoor wood fire is just one of a dozen ways to warm up at Winnipeg’s Nordic spa this winter.

Thermëa recommends visitors follow a cycle of hot, cold and rest to make the most out of their experience. The recommended 20-minute rest period can be achieved while laying out in a heated hammock or relaxing around one of a number of cast-iron fire pits on the property.

If you’d prefer to sit by a fire inside, Thermëa’s restaurant and lounge also has an indoor fireplace.

You can get a similar outdoor spa experience at The Forks this winter with the opening of Sauna Winnipeg. The pop-up is located at the former site of the Muddy Waters patio and includes two barrel saunas, a change room and an outdoor firepit for cooling down between sauna cycles.

Online reservations are open for Dec. 21 onwards at saunawinnipeg.com.

Confusion Corner Drinks + Food

500 Corydon Ave.

The new fireplace at Confusion Corner Drinks + Food is the centerpeice of the restaurant's recently renovated dining room. (Facebook)

The new fireplace at Confusion Corner Drinks + Food is the centerpeice of the restaurant's recently renovated dining room. (Facebook)

The restaurant on the west side of the city’s most perplexing intersection went through a top-to-bottom rebrand and renovation this summer. The wood fireplace previously located in the middle of the dining room has been replaced with a stately butane version surrounded by bench seating and bistro tables.

If you need an excuse to cosy up next to an esthetically pleasing fireplace, Confusion Corner also launched a new winter menu last week.

Other notable Winnipeg restaurants with fireplaces:

 

  • Peasant Cookery, 
  • the Velvet Glove, 
  • the Park Cafe, 
  • Blaze Restaurant and Lounge, 
  • Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery and
  • Resto Gare Bistro and Train Bar.

 

Festival du Voyageur

866 Rue St. Joseph

The communal fires scattered throughout Whittier Park and Fort Gibraltar during Festival du Voyageur always manage to draw a crowd. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

The communal fires scattered throughout Whittier Park and Fort Gibraltar during Festival du Voyageur always manage to draw a crowd. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

You’ll have to wait until February for this one. The communal fires scattered throughout Whittier Park and Fort Gibraltar during Festival du Voyageur always manage to draw a crowd.

The firepits, usually tended by volunteers in traditional voyageur garb, are a great place to make new friends while warming up in between activities and concerts. Visitors can also expect to feel the heat during blacksmithing demonstrations in the fort.

The festival has yet to release a full lineup for the 2020 event, which runs Feb. 14-23, but artists announced so far include Quebec’s Arianne Moffatt, Winnipeg’s Attica Riots and the Zolas from Vancouver.

Vist heho.ca to stay on top of the music program, which will be updated weekly until Jan. 15.

eva.wasney@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @evawasney

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

   Read full biography

The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

To submit a letter:
• fill out the form on this page, or
• email letters@freepress.mb.ca, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.