The 2015 Best of Winnipeg

Canstar Community News Readers' Choice Awards 2015


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/06/2015 (2649 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

What you’re reading is the end result of the third annual readers’ survey conducted by Canstar Community News.

It’s a continuation of the Best of Winnipeg survey that ran for years in Uptown Magazine but we brought a community oriented twist to the questionnaire which ran eariler in The Headliner, The Herald, The Lance, The Metro, The Sou’wester, The Times and online at

In addition to asking readers to name their favourite restaurants, shops and services, people and places, we have added categories such as favourite schools, favourite local parks and favourite neighbourhoods.

Silvershot55 | The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock, has been named Winnipeg's best building by readers of the six Canstar Community Newspapers weeklies — The Headliner, The Herald, The Lance, The Sou'wester and The Times.

The results we got were lively and surprising — evidence that readers of this city’s community papers really do love the areas they live in and also take a broader interest in the city as a whole.

The survey was conducted in February, March and April. The hundreds of ballots were tabulated late last month, after which our editorial team of Sheldon Birnie, Jen Cameron, Danielle Da Silva, Simon Fuller, Andrea Geary, John Kendle and Darren Ridgley composed the brief summaries of each category winner. The print package was laid out by Karen Spence.

We hope you enjoy our Best of Winnipeg readers’ survey results. If you have any feedback on the survey process or suggestions for categories we could use in next year’s survey, we’d love to hear from you.

Send your feedback to:

John Kendle, Managing Editor

Canstar Community News

1355 Mountain Ave.,

Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6




Best New Restaurant

1. The Cornerstone

93 Osborne St., 204-505-7772

Located at the corner of River and Osborne in the former home of Papa George’s, The Cornerstone has quickly become a fixture in the Winnipeg food scene. One popular dish is the KFC Banh Mi, a “killer fried chicken” burger with Sriracha sauce, mayo, pickled veggies and cilantro. Wash it down with a cold one, as The Cornerstone uses a unique Plug In & Pour beer-dispensing system which ensures perfect pour every time.

2. The Mitchell Block

173 McDermot Ave., 204-949-9032

3. Nick’s on Broadway

287 Broadway Ave., 204-615-2872


Best Local Breakfast/Brunch Restaurant

1. Stella’s

Multiple locations

Since opening in the Osborne Village in 1999, Stella’s has added seven more locations across the city, including inside the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. It seems Winnipeggers can’t get enough of Stella’s sandwiches, soups, fresh baked bread and Stella’s Jam. And for $5, you can buy a jar of the latter to take home.

2. RAW: Almond

This annual pop-up restaurant offers fine dining on the frozen Assiniboine River.

3. The Tallest Poppy

103 Sherbrook Ave., 204-219-8777


Best Local Burger Restaurant

1. Boon Burger Café

Multiple locations

Opening in 2010 on Sherbrook Street, Boon Burger’s vegan burgers have been a great boon to the city’s vegan community, and just about everyone else. Biting into a bacun (get it?) cheeze burger, a spicy boon buffalo burger or a prairie fried chick’n burger, it’s hard to believe that what you taste isn’t meat, but chickpeas, beans or tofu. Plant-based patties, grilled to perfection.

2. Nuburger

472 Stradbrook Ave., 204-888-1001

3. George’s Burgers & Subs

Multiple locations


Best Local Chinese Restaurant

1. Kum Koon Garden

257 King St., 204-943-4655

Winnipeg’s first dim sum restaurant, Kum Koon Garden has been serving up Cantonese cuisine since 1977. For the uninitiated, bite-sized dim sum dishes are carted around the gigantic restaurant for you to choose from while comfortably seated. Pick from an array of delicious dumplings, including shrimp, beef and pork, yummy egg rolls, rice rolls and steamed buns, and for the exploratory eater, seasoned pigs’ feet.

2. Spicy Noodle House

99 Osborne St., 204-287-2388

3. North Garden Restaurant

33 University Cres., 204-275-2591


Best Local Deli

1. Bernstein’s Deli

1700 Corydon Ave., 204-488-4552

A family business, Bernstein’s Deli has operated in the Corydon Village Mall for 30 years. The Jewish-style delicatessen serves up classic deli sandwiches like Montreal smoked beef, egg salad, chopped liver and pickled tongue, as well as signature creations like latke stackers, fingers and pancakes and the mouth-watering warm corned beef sandwich.

2. Oscar’s Deli

175 Hargrave St., 204-947-0314

3. Ira’s Deli

111 Lombard Ave., 204-949-1116


Best Local Desserts

1. Baked Expectations

161 Osborne St., 204-452-5176

For over 30 years, Winnipeggers have indulged their sweet teeth at Baked Expectations. Located in the Osborne Village, the restaurant boasts over 30 desserts, including pies, tortes, brownies, cakes, cheesecakes and cupcakes, plus a myriad of delicious dainties. But there’s more than just sweets on the menu, with soups, salads, pasta, burgers and sandwiches served throughout the day, along with a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. But don’t forget to leave room for dessert! 

2. Dessert Sinsations Café

505 St. Mary Ave., 204-284-4661

3. A l’Epi de Blé

1757 Main St., 204-334-2526


Best Local Coffee Shop

1. The Park Café

330 Assiniboine Park Dr., 204-927-6001

Located on the banks of the duck pond at Assiniboine Park, The Park Café offers a scenic setting for a cuppa joe. The café’s coffee is fair trade and it also offers an assortment of loose leaf teas, which you can enjoy inside or on the patio. You’re going to want to order food to accompany your caffeine fix as The Park Café offers a full breakfast and lunch menu created by former The Gates of Roblin chef Heiko Duehrsen

2. Parlour Coffee

468 Main St. 

3. Folio Café

2299 Grant Ave., 204-487-3300 ext. 698


Best Local Greek Restaurant

1. Homer’s Restaurant

520 Ellice Ave., 204-788-4858

You don’t have to go on an odyssey to find the best Greek food in town. Since 1979, Homer’s Restaurant has served up delicious Greek cuisine, like lamp chops, chicken souvlaki and moussaka, an eggplant, zucchini and potato-based dish baked golden brown and served with meat and béchamel sauce. It’s all Greek to me? Yes, and that’s a good thing.

2. Nikos Restaurant

740 Corydon Ave., 204-478-1144

3. Tuxedo Village Family Restaurant

2090 Corydon Ave., 204-897-6565



Best Local Ice Cream/Gelato Restaurant

1. Bridge Drive-In

766 Jubilee Ave., 204-475-6850

Since 1957, Winnipeggers have been screaming for BDI’s ice cream. Order a cone and take a walk across the scenic Elm Park Bridge. And you’re going to need a walk after chowing down on The Sleeping Beauty, a tasty treat consisting of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, whipped cream and peanuts, served in half a pineapple with a cherry on top. Still moving? Then try the Goog, a blueberry shake topped with banana, ice cream, hot fudge sauce, peanuts, whipped cream and a cherry. You know what — you should probably just sit down. 

2. Banana Boat

390 Osborne St., 204-475-4610

3. Nucci’s Gelati

643 Corydon Ave., 204-475-8765


Best Local Indian/South Asian Restaurant

1. Clay Oven

Multiple locations

Ditch the peanuts and Cracker Jack for some samosas and naan bread. The Clay Oven offers three Winnipeg locations, including one inside Shaw Park where you can eat lamb tikka masala and watch the Goldeyes play ball. Butter chicken and baseball, now that’s a winning combo.

2. East India Company

349 York Ave., 204-947-3097

3. The Great Maharaja

510 Sargent Ave., 204-505-4229


Best Local Italian Restaurant

1. Bonfire Bistro

1433 Corydon Ave., 204-487-4440

Bonfire Bistro’s staff asks its clientele to share in their passion for delectable, authentic food. This first-come, first-served River Heights eatery focuses on fresh ingredients to bring out the best flavour in its pizzas, which are cooked in wood-fired brick ovens. Complementing these carefully crafted meals is an expansive collection of wines.

2. Paradise Restaurant

Multiple locations

3. Bellissimo Restaurant and Lounge

877 Waverley St. Suite 1, 204-489-0495


Best Local Japanese/Sushi Restaurant

1. Sushi Ya

659 Corydon Ave., 204-452-3916

As sushi continues to remain popular, Sushi Ya has carved out a place for itself in the midst of Corydon Avenue’s varied restaurants. In addition to sushi menu mainstays, Sushi Ya offers large sushi and sashimi platters. For a touch of extravagance, try the lobster sashimi and enjoy a maritime delicacy in a whole new way.

2. Ichi Ban Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar

189 Carlton St., 204-925-7400

3. Wasabi on Broadway

588 Broadway, 204-774-4328


Best Local Mexican/Latin American Restaurant

1. Casa Burrito

520 Portage Ave., 204-774-2272

After a successful year in 2014, Casa Burrito has brought its commitment to great food to the early hours of the day, expanding its menu to include breakfast. Now, in addition to its quesadillas, burritos, and tacos (which can be filled with a host of ingredients including fish, beef, chorizo, or curried lentil, among others), the restaurant offers breakfast combos featuring breakfast burritos and muffins.

2. (tie) Simon’s Cuisine (now closed)

2. (tie) JC’s Tacos and More

Multiple locations


Best Local Pizza Restaurant

1. Santa Lucia Pizza

Multiple locations

Santa Lucia has been bringing great pizza to Manitobans since its humble beginnings in Thompson, Man. in 1971. Now operating 11 locations around the province — seven of which are in Winnipeg — the franchise continues to offer quality pizza and delicious desserts, as well as a variety of starters, Greek dinners, and classic entrees such as barbecued ribs and fried chicken.

2. Pizzeria Gusto

404 Academy Rd., 204-944-8786

3. Slice’s Pizza

Multiple locations


Best Local Steakhouse

1. Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse

1405 Portage Ave., 204-783-6155

Take a trip back in time and bask in the retro joys of Rae and Jerry’s. The staple steakhouse has served Winnipeggers with style since 1957, offering up great steak and prime rib, as well as the perfect cocktail to go with it. If you want a table, reservations are suggested.

2. 529 Wellington

529 Wellington Cres., 204-487-8325

3. The Round Table Steakhouse

800 Pembina Hwy., 204-453-3631

Best Local Thai Restaurant

1. Pad Thai

2655 Portage Ave., 204-888-9656

Pad Thai’s warm, inviting dining room gets you in the door, but it’s the plentiful helpings and extensive options that keep you coming back. From delicate salad rolls to soft shell crab to green curry, there’s plenty on offer at this St. James restaurant.

2. Sabai Thai Eatery

1113 Corydon Ave., 204-888-6508

3. Siam Authentic Thai Cuisine

587 St Anne’s Rd., 204-254-7765

Best Local Vietnamese Restaurant

1. Pho Hoang Restaurant

794 Sargent Ave., 204-415-6893

Who doesn’t love a little Pho now and then? If you’re in the mood for it, Winnipeggers say there’s no better place than Pho Hoang to get it. The Sargent Avenue restaurant excels at Vietnamese fare, offering vermicelli, noodle soup, and sticky rice. Quench your thirst with a tasty bubble tea, and finish the whole thing off with a delicious fried banana off the dessert menu.

2. Pho No. 1 Restaurant

81 Isabel St., 204-943-7449

3. Phuong Nam Restaurant

883 William Ave., 204-783-1339


Best Local Butcher Shop

1. Miller’s Super Valu Meats

Multiple locations

With locations scattered around southern Winnipeg there’s no reason not to pop into Miller’s for a quality roast — or steak, or chicken or anything a carnivore may desire. Purchasing packages of meat streamlines the process for those who have a hard time choosing, and if there’s a social coming up, have no fear: Miller’s offers social packages boasting five meats, and all the cheese, rye bread and pickles you could want.

2. Marcello’s Meats

200 Meadowood Dr., 204-256-6328

3. Tenderloin Meat and Sausage

1483 Main St., 204-582-2280


Best Local Natural/Health/Organic Food Store

1. Organza Market

230 Osborne St., 204-453-6266

Organza, which bills itself as Manitoba’s first full-sized all-natural and organic grocer, commands 7,000 square-feet of real estate in the bustle of Confusion Corner. From that perch, it offers a wide array of organic goods to fill the pantry. But apart from that, the business also offers a health and beauty section. Check out its website for a plethora of recipes so you can get the most out of your purchases.

2. Organic Planet Worker Co-op

877 Westminster Ave., 204-772-8771

3. Borowski’s Health Shop and Day Spa Ltd.

437 St Anne’s Rd., 204-257-7667


Best Local Fine Dining Restaurant

1. 529 Wellington

529 Wellington Cres., 204-487-8325

This Wow! Hospitality concept has a well-earned reputation for quality, having been named in the past as one of the country’s Top 100 restaurants. Want to enjoy your top-tier steak and lobster with only your friends around? Try exploring the restaurant’s private dining options.

2. In Ferno’s on Academy

414 Academy Rd., 204-475-7400

3. 295 York Modern Steakhouse

295 York Ave., 204-896-7275


Best Local Late-night Dining

1. Johnny G’s Restaurant and Bar

177 McDermot Ave., 204-942-6656, 172 Main St., 204-943-1072

This family-owned and operated business is an undeniable hotspot for after-hours meals in Winnipeg. With two central destinations, on McDermot Avenue and Main Street, Johnny G’s eateries are constantly buzzing with hungry night owls up until 4 a.m. on the weekends.

2. Salisbury House

Multiple locations

3. Baked Expectations

161 Osborne St., 204-452-5176


Best Local Foot Cart/Wagon

1. The Red Ember


The Red Ember is a blazing, bright red food truck famed for delivering delicious and original wood-fired pizza creations to the streets of Winnipeg. Often found during the lunch hour along Broadway, the travelling pizza business also offers private catering and is a staple at the St. Norbert Farmers’ market. The pizza options and specials are hard to imagine and packed with flavour, such as the Piggy Pesto with organic hearts and Canadian prosciutto or the Pitmaster’s Pie pairing smoked pork with dill pickles. All pizzas are made from organic flour milled in Elie, Man.

2. Habanero Sombrero

3. Pimp My Rice food truck



Best Place to Take a Date for Dinner

1. Prairie 360

83 Garry St., 204-505-2681

Elevate an evening with your significant other by riding a glass elevator thirty floors up to enjoy an elegant dining room paired with an unmatched view of the city. At Prairie 360, part of FB Hospitality Group, the view is only half the promise. The locally-inspired menu offers a variety of delicious dishes tied to the Canadian Prairies, such as Manitoba oysters, smoked elk, pork Wellington or grilled pickerel. While the atmosphere is ideal for a romantic dinner, Prairie 360 also serves weekday lunch, Sunday brunch and opens up a whiskey lounge on the weekend.

2. Segovia Tapas Bar

484 Stradbrook Ave., 204-477-6500

3. Smith restaurant

Inn at the Forks, 75 Forks Market Rd., 204-944-2445


Best Place to Eat Alone

1. Salisbury House

Various locations

Since 1931, Salisbury House has supplied Winnipeg with a casual environment to enjoy a tasty bite.  With more than 15 locations across the city, including Xpress destinations, the family style restaurant is open 24/7 to accommodate customers any time of day. Salisbury House is a convenient and welcoming local eatery, making it a longstanding go-to destination for those dining alone.

2. Stella’s Café

Various locations,

3. The Park Café

330 Assiniboine Park Dr., 204 -927-6080


Best Patio

1. Tavern United Downtown

260 Hargrave St., 204-944-0022

While Tavern United Downtown is busy all-year round since its located right beside the MTS Centre, the restaurant reaches its full potential during the summer months with its giant rooftop patio. Winnipeggers line up to find a spot on this patio multiple nights a week as different bands and DJs provide live entertainment. The rooftop overlooks the downtown core and is complete with comfortable couches, a lengthy bar top and heat lamps keeping guests warm even after the sun goes down.

2. Santa Lucia Pizza (St. Mary’s Road location)

4 St Mary’s Rd, 204-237-4134

3. Chaise Café

271 Provencher Blvd. 204-504-4012


Best Neighbourhood Pub

1. King’s Head and Eatery

120 King St., 204-957-7710

The King’s Head Pub and Eatery is a staple in the Exchange District and a second home for many who live nearby. The English pub offers great live music multiple nights a week, casual pub fare and more than 30 different beers on tap, many of which are brewed in Canada. The bottom floor boasts a low-key, laid back atmosphere with pool tables and plenty of seating and upstairs is where the dancing and entertainment lives, typically standing room only.

2. The Grove Pub and Restaurant

Stafford Street, 204-415-3262

3. Carlos and Murphy’s

129 Osborne St, 204-284-3510


Best Nightclub 

1. Shark Club Sports Bar and Grill

233 Hargrave St., 204-942-7400

Located in City Place mall, the Shark Club has quickly become a Winnipeg hotspot, especially on Winnipeg Jets game nights, when it overflows with fans before, after and even during the Jets’ 41 regular-season home contests. Boasting 66 TVs and a gaming room complete with 140 VLTs and six blackjack and poker tables. The 17,000-square-foot space is licensed for 500 and even boasts a private dining room.

Interestingly, the next two nightspots named in this category are now closed; perhaps a sign of how the marketplace is constantly shifting and changing.


Best Beer Selection

1. Barley Brothers

655 Empress St., 204-772-2337; 2005 Pembina Hwy, 204-691-3300

As craft beer came into vogue across Canada, Barley Brothers popped up as the Winnipeg home for sampling fine stouts and lagers from around the world. Barley Brothers stays on top of the latest brews by rotating new kegs on tap on a regular basis at both of its locations. The Polo Park location has more than 72 beers on tap while the stadium location on Pembina has twice as many. The atmosphere within is that of a sports lounge known for supporting local sports teams.

2. King’s Head Pub and Eatery

120 King St., 204-957-7710

3. Luxalune Gastropub

734 Osborne St., 204-453-0222


Best Wine Selection

1. Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano

1697 Corydon Ave., 204-488-3684

From the artwork on the walls to the elegant accents splashed throughout the restaurant, Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano provides the perfect setting to indulge in a glass of fine wine. With more than 250 wines to choose from to pair with delicious Italian cuisine, the challenge becomes choosing a bottle for the evening from the extensive list. The wine menu is heavily dominated by Italian wines but also offers specialty vintages from well-known wine regions around the world.

2. Peasant Cookery

283 Bannatyne Ave, 204-989-7700

3. The Mitchell Block Lounge

173 McDermot Ave., 204-975-0160



Best new Local Store (any category)

1. North Point Outlet

189 Henderson Hwy., 204-691-5955

A father and son duo brought this local discount clothing shop to life less than a year ago and Winnipeggers can’t seem to get enough. Marvin and Mayra Dubon own the three JC Tacos and More restaurants in the city and their son, Josue, branched out the family business to include selling brand name clothing for less at North Point Outlet. The outlet stocks notable brands and fashionable apparel for children, men and women by obtaining surplus products from nearby stores, such as Costco.

2. Tiny Feast

217 McDermot Ave., 204- 942-5889

3. The Scrap Came Back

153 St. Anne’s Rd., 204-232-3709


Best Local Vintage Clothing Store

1. Vintage Glory
380 Donald St., 204-942-7186

Sitting at the edge of Winnipeg’s Exchange District and the downtown core, Vintage Glory is your No. 1 spot for stylish, gently used threads. Owner Doug Shand has been in the vintage clothing game for over 35 years, and it shows in Vintage Glory’s well curated selection of clothing, accessories, and costumes, elegant hats, gloves, and footwear. With stock always changing, check back often for that rare find or track Vintage Glory’s Instagram and Etsy shop for their latest acquisitions.

2. The Ruby Slipper Vintage Shoppe
370 St. Anne’s Rd., 204-515-3015

3. Rhymes with Orange
223 McDermott Ave., 204-946-5212


Best Local Men’s Clothing Store

1. Hanford Drewitt
354 Broadway, 204-957-1640

For nearly 70 years, Hanford Drewitt has been a go-to name for the finest in men’s clothing. From finely tailored formal wear to sportswear, denim and casual attire, this downtown shop has everything a sharp dressed man needs to turning heads. Employing experienced, talented tailors and seamstresses, Hanford Drewitt’s made-to-measure suits and dress shirts are a cut above the rest.

2. Normandy Shoppe
791 Corydon Ave., 204-284-5673

3. Lionetti Clothier & Custom Tailor
215 Stafford St., 204-475-0063


Best Local Women’s Clothing Store

1. Mad About Style
538 Academy Rd., 204-489-1151

Mad About Style is the boutique for the gal who’s dressed to the nines at every occasion. Whether you’re looking for a formal dress or some casual denims, a fall jacket or a fetching romper, a handbag, footwear, or other accessories, Mad About Style has you covered with fresh items for every season.

2. Out of the Blue
102 Osborne St., 204-477-6489

3. Sofia’s Boutique
836 St. Mary’s Rd., 204-254-2595


Best Local Place to Buy a Fancy Dress

1. Hush Clothing & Accessories
101-99 Osborne St., 204-474-1208

For a classy, stylish bridesmaid’s gown look no farther than Hush Clothing & Accessories. Located in the heart of Osborne Village, Hush’s “un-bridesmaid” collection offers styles that are unique, can be worn again and again, and won’t break the bank. Whether looking for that wedding appropriate gown, or simply one for a fancy night on the town, head on down to Hush.

2. Sofia’s Boutique
836 St. Mary’s Rd., 204-254-2595

3. Investment Pieces
749 St. Mary’s Rd., 204-594-0400


Best Local Bridal/Tuxedo Store

1. Stella’s Bridal and Evening Collections
516 Portage Ave.; 204-453-9253

For over 30 years, Stella’s Bridal and Evening Collections has been voted one of the top bridal shops in Canada. Led by manager DeeDee Hunt, the staff at Stella’s strives to provide customers with the best, both in customer service and in bridal and evening apparel. Stella’s also boasts the city’s largest selection of wedding dresses, evening wear, and accessories.

2. Say Yes Bridal
263 Vaughan St., 204-943-6500

3. Helene’s Bridal Salon

422 Portage Ave., 204-942-3602


Best Local Place to Buy Jeans

1. Sargent Blue Jeans

1136 Sargent Ave., 204-772-8145

From head to toe, Winnipeggers are definitely down with denim. And when in need of some new denim duds, Winnipeggers look to Sargent Blue Jeans. A West End institution, Sargent Blue Jeans carries top brands like Levis, Silver, Guess, along with many others. If you’re not sure just what you’re after, the knowledgeable staff can suggest a cut or wash for you. If the jeans you pick up don’t fit, Sargent Blues Jeans offers free alterations on products bought in store.

2. Warehouse One

Multiple locations

3. Lennard Taylor Design

Online only –


Best Local Shoe Store

1. Canadian Footwear

Multiple locations

You can find a wide variety of boots, shoes, sandals and other forms of footwear at plenty of shoe stores. But an attention to detail sets Canadian Footwear apart. Offering additional services such as complimentary consultations and shoe repair means you can get the right shoe for you and keep it in good shape for years. If you require special footwear, the business features its Foothealth Centre, which can help customers obtain orthotics which are just right for them.

2. European Shoe Shop

436 Academy Rd., 204-487-4193

3. Cha Cha Palace

580 Academy Rd., 204-284-4128


Best Local Bicycle Shop

1. Olympia Cycle & Ski

1813 Portage Ave. 204-888-4586

An independent bicycle shop that’s been operating at the corner of Portage Avenue and Marjorie Street since 1979, Olympia is a friendly bike store that feels a lot like home to its regular clientele of bicycle enthusiasts. Not only does it offer all the latest high-end gear for hardcore cyclists, the friendly Olympia staff will also take plenty of time to advise families and kids on their first bicycle purchases. The shop also runs the Olympia Cycle Club and even offers monthly clinics on various aspects of cycling and bicycle maintenance and repair.

2. Bikes & Beyond

233 Henderson Hwy., 204-669-5590

3. Woodcock Cycle Works

433 St. Mary’s Rd., 204-253-5986


Best Local Independent CD Store

1. Into the Music

245 McDermot Ave., 204-287-8279

Since first opening on Corydon Ave. in 1987, Into the Music has distinguished itself as a destination for music lovers in Winnipeg and beyond. While it’s perhaps best known for its extensive vinyl stock, Into the Music also has thousands of used CDs, and receives fresh stock in both formats daily. A word to the wise; give yourself plenty of time to peruse the stacks., Into the Music is a browser’s paradise, with something for everyone, be they casual music fan, serious crate digger, or anything in between.

2. Music Trader

97 Osborne St., 204-477-5566

3. Wild Planet

217 Osborne St., 204-956-4400


Best Local Used Bookstore

1. Red River Book Store

92 Arthur St. (204) 943-9788

Nestled into Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District, Red River Book Store’s shelves are jammed, its aisles stacked with treasures. With something to satisfy all readers, from romance to comics, classics to sci-fi, it’s no wonder Red River Book Store has been in business for over 35 years. And it’s not all about books, either — you can pick up DVDs at Red River Book Store, as well as vinyl records and CDs.

2. Sam’s Place

159 Henderson Hwy., 204-415-4728

3. Burton Lysecki Books

527 Osborne St., 204-284-4526

Best Local Bookstore

1. McNally Robinson Booksellers

1120 Grant Ave., 204-475-0483

McNally Robinson Booksellers’ location at 1120 Grant Ave. opened in 1996 and was hailed as the largest independent bookstore (24,000 square feet) at the time. Since opening, McNally has become a mainstay in Winnipeg’s literary scene as a venue for new and established writers to launch works, a place to relax with a good book, and a friendly spot take in a meaningful lecture. Check out the calendar of upcoming workshops and events to help you nurture your love for the written word.

2. CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre

2299 Grant Ave., 204-594-0527

3.  Hull’s Family Bookstore

1317A Portage Ave., 204-947-1365


Best Local Music Equipment Store

1. Quest Musique
1308 Portage Ave., 204-233-4151; 166 Meadowood Dr., 204-231-1677

No matter the time of day, if Quest Musique is open there is music in the air. The locally owned and operated business (with two locations in Winnipeg) specializes in connecting customers with the right musical instruments and gear and has done so for 15 years. In addition to a sales floor that carries some of the best brands, Quest also has a full instrument repair shop with experienced technicians and a long standing music academy.

2. Mar-Schell’s Music
1143 Henderson Hwy., 204-339-2335

3. Ultimate Guitar Works
475 Henderson Hwy., 204-586-1373



Best Local Antiques Shop

1. Mike’s General Store
52 St. Anne’s Rd., 204-255-3463

From the exterior, Mike’s General Store couldn’t sell anything but funky, unique antiques. The Varennes-area shop is adorned in Coca-Cola memorabilia and nostalgic murals enticing shoppers to stop and take a look inside. Owner Mike Huen has appeared on popular television shows Canadian Pickers and Pawn Stars. Huen is also a regular appraiser on Canadian Antiques Roadshow.  Mike’s General Store was established in 1979 and has been buying and selling “interesting” items ever since.


2. Selim’s Antiques
801 Corydon Ave., 204-284-9886

3. The Old House Revival Company
324 Young St., 204-477-4286


Best Local Tailor

1. Mike’s Tailor
B-751 St. Mary’s Rd., 204-255-5859

Mike’s Tailor was voted best but since the votes were tallied the Old St. Vital shop has changed hands. Natalie Nickmann purchased the business in early June and says the new shop, Black and Ivory Clothing Alteration Studio, will be offering all of the same services as Mike’s, including wedding dress, gowns and suit alterations. The new owner is looking forward to offering fast quality service and welcoming both new and old customers into the shop. The business is open Mondays 12-8 p.m., Tuesday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed weekends.

2. Ralph’s Custom Tailors
1108 Corydon Ave., 204-453-8533

3. Benny’s Quality Cleaners & Tailors
1412 Main St., 204-586-3947


Best Local Laundromat

1. The Washeteria
556 Keenleyside St., 204-667-0839

Known for its high contrasting primary colour walls and shiny machines, The Washeteria is Winnipeg’s best local laundromat. Located in East Kildonan, The Washeteria boasts the largest washing machine in Winnipeg and an eight load machine owners call Mr. Clean. The locally owned business is celebrating five years in the service this June.

2. Aqua Magic Laundromat
1368 Main St., 204-582-2886

Village Laundry
213 Osborne St., 204-997-7839


Best Local Gym/Workout Studio

1. Innovative Martial Arts & Fitness
558 Keenleyside St., 204-505-2787

Kicking, punching and fighting aren’t all that happens at Innovative Martial Arts & Fitness. The mantra of this year’s best local gym is that martial arts training changes lives. This martial arts studio in East Kildonan emphasizes the benefits of training including self-discipline, confidence, fitness, and decreased stress. Innovative Martial Arts & Fitness trains everyone from pre-school to retirement to enjoy mixed martial arts.

2. Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex
999 Sargent Ave., 1-877-311-4974

3. Duckworth Centre, University of Winnipeg
400 Spence St., 204-786-9349


Best Local Yoga Studio

1. Moksha Yoga
Multiple locations

If you like your yoga hot, Moksha Yoga is the place to stretch, strengthen and tone your body. Moksha’s knowledgeable and experienced teachers lead yogis through postures and breathing exercises in heat. Moksha also offers state-of-the-art facilities, including a cork studio floor, all based on clean, green conscious construction practices. Just bring a mat, a towel and some clothes you don’t mind getting really, really sweaty in.

2. Yoga Public
280 Fort St., 204-947-9642


3. Yoga North
 894 Westminster Ave., 204-779-6895


Best Local Tattoo/Piercing Parlour

1. Soul Survivors Body Art
118 Osborne St., 204-284-1173

If you’re looking for a piece of art to keep with you for a lifetime, Soul Survivors Body Art is the place to go. Located in the heart of Osborne Village, Soul Survivors has been inking Winnipeggers since 2001. The shop covers all aspects of body art from portraiture and tattooing to body modifications and piercing.

2. Kapala Tattoo
71 St. Anne’s Rd., 204-255-8897

3. Iron Lotus Body Art
1170 Pembina Hwy., 204-284-7131


Best Local Spa/Esthetics Shop

1. Ten Spa
222 Broadway Ave., 204-946-6520

Relaxation — it’s this Winnipeg spa’s specialty. Ten Spa, located on the 10th floor of the Fort Garry Hotel, specializes in rest, relaxation and refreshment, offering facials, body scrubs, massages and pedicures/manicures. Try the hamam, where one, surrounded by heated marble and steam, is led through a cleansing and rejuvenating ritual that dates back to the Turkish Empire. Or, go for a body cocoon, a revitalizing full body skin treatment that’ll transform you from bug to butterfly.

2. Riverstone Spa
75 Forks Market Rd., 204-944-2444

3. Thermea
775 Crescent Dr., 1-855-284-3344


Best Local Car Wash

1. The Chamois
Multiple locations

Let’s face it. Your car was a slush and salt-stained mess all winter. Now that summer’s finally here, give your auto a little TLC and take it down to The Chamois. Locally owned and operated, The Chamois’ three locations clean your car outside and in. While you’re waiting for your detailing package of choice to be completed, take a load off on one of The Chamois’ comfortable couches, browse some reading material or check the hot display car in the lobby.

2. The Wave Car Wash
119 Scurfield Blvd., 204-487-6699; 399 Goulet St., 204-255-9283

3. Midtown Car Wash
44 Gertrude Ave., 453-5344


Best Local Manicure/Pedicure Salon


1. Tiber River Naturals

408 Academy Rd., 204-474-2333; 3-1650 Kenaston Blvd., 204-284-4247

Tiber River Naturals is a Winnipeg-based company founded in 1999 by Adriana De Luca. As a new mother, the hard-working De Luca wanted a way to stay closer to home with her newborn daughter, so she started selling homemade soaps at parties. She partnered with Michelle Lalonde in 2005, the pair opened its first store at 408 Academy Rd. and has continued to go from strength to strength. The business — which includes a Nail and Body Bar — specializes in making beauty and body products using natural, environmentally-friendly ingredients.

2. Total Wrapture

2255 Ness Ave., 204-837-9727

3. Giselle’s Professional Skin Care & Spa

30-166 Meadowood Dr., 254-253-0900


Best Local Hair Salon

1. Berns & Black

468 Main St., 204-944-8454

Located in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, Berns & Black scissored down the competition in this year’s Best Local Hair Salon category. Since opening its doors in 2009, the business has amassed a loyal client base, and owner Kitty Berns believes strongly in using only eco-friendly products. The salon’s vintage, art deco-inspired interior, which embraces a classic black-and-white design, echoes the building’s history and heritage. Recycling is also part of the mantra of the business, as some of the location’s furniture originates from antique stores in Winnipeg.

2. Aura

Various locations,

3. Hair FX

915 Grosvenor Ave., 204-452-1442

Best Local Barber Shop

1. Hunter & Gunn Quality Hair and Barber Shop

567 Broadway

One indication that Hunter & Gunn offers an updated twist on the modern barbershop experience is the assertion on the shop’s website that “we are not your father’s barber” but rather “your barber.” If you want a male-oriented barber’s shop characterized by old newspapers and uncomfortable chairs, this isn’t the place for you. Hunter & Gunn offers a selection of cutting, grooming, and pampering services at competitive prices in comfortable, relaxed surroundings. Phone numbers for each of the shop’s six employees are listed on the website,

2. Windsor Barber Shop

713 St Mary’s Rd., 204-795-0433

3. Tony’s Barber Shop

118 Regent Ave. W., 204-224-0283


Best Local Pet Supplies Store

1. Best West Pet Foods

Various locations

Based in Manitoba and northern Ontario, Best West Foods started out solely as a pet food retailer, and has evolved into a full-service shopping experience to serve the needs of all kinds of pets, The company now operates more than a dozen stores catering to animals of all shapes and sizes, ranging from fish to ferrets, hamsters to hedgehogs, birds to bunnies and — of course — dogs and cats. 

2. It’s Raining Cats & Dogs

620-B Academy Rd., 204-489-0120

3. Pet Traders

1333 Portage Ave., 204-477-1616


Best Free Event

1. Ballet in the Park, Assiniboine Park

What better what way to introduce community members to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet than Ballet in the Park? The free family-friendly event has been an annual Winnipeg tradition since the early 1970s and attracts more than 20,000 people annually, according to organizers. The program typically features a diverse mix of performances. This year’s Ballet in the Park will feature three sessions that will be held at the Lyric Theatre at Assiniboine Park between July 29 and 31 at 7:30 p.m.  

2. Canada Day at The Forks

3. Free Stage at Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival


Best Place to People-watch

1. The Forks

It seems fitting that The Forks retains first place in this category this year when you consider it’s the meeting point of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and situated in the heart of the city, as well having centuries of history as a meeting and trading spot. Whether browsing in The Forks Market or the Johnston Terminal, or taking in a show, visitors to The Forks will find no shortage of things to amuse, entertain and enlighten them.

2.  Osborne Village

3.  Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival/Old Market Square

Best Place to go on a Date

1. The Forks

There’s much more to The Forks than just shopping or people-watching. In fact, many Winnipeggers think it’s a great place to go on a date. Lovebirds can enjoy a relaxing drink, share a meal or take a long walk along the river — or all three. There’s also the option of taking a boat ride to enhance the time spent with that special someone.

2.  Assiniboine Park

3. Assiniboine Park Zoo


Best Festival

1. Winnipeg Folk Festival

Another annual Winnipeg tradition embraced by our readers this year is the Winnipeg Folk Festival. This year’s event will be held from July 9 to 12 at Birds Hill Park. As ever, the festival promises to be three days and four nights of music, food, fun, friendship and camaraderie in keeping with the organization’s mission of “creating experiences of discovery and learning through the celebration of people of people and music.” This year’s lineup includes — for example — Brandy Zdan, Jason Isbell, Matt Andersen & The Mellotones, Royal Canoe, The Mariachi Ghost and Wilco

2.  Folklorama

3.  Festival du Voyageur


Best Building

1. Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The realization of the dream of the late Izzy Asper, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in September 2014. The Antoine Predock-designed building was also voted Best Building by our readers last year — before it had opened its doors to the public — leaving little doubt that it’s considered the most eye-catching edifice in the city. 

2.  Manitoba Legislative Building

3.  Marpeck Commons at Canadian Mennonite University


Best Neighbourhood to Live In

1. River Heights

Our readers have given the southwest Winnipeg neighbourhood of River Heights two thumbs up as the this year. A largely residential area that is also home to many local businesses, bars and restaurants; River Heights is known for numerous elm trees that line the neighbourhood’s streets. It’s also the home of Grant Park Shopping Centre, as well as Kelvin High School and St. Mary’s Academy. At the time of the 2006 census, the population of River Heights was 56,505.   

2. Wolseley

3. St. Vital

Best City High School

1. Sisler High School

1360 Redwood Ave., 204-589-8321

Home of the Spartans, Sisler High School was named one of Canada’s 10 best public schools and the best all-around high school by Maclean’s magazine in 2012. Winnipeg’s largest high school, Sisler is also one of the most culturally diverse in the province. It opened in 1957 and has greatly expanded its space and programs. Sisler students have the chance to take on unique educational challenges such as first year University of Manitoba courses in calculus and English, advanced placement chemistry, French immersion, technology classes for female students, performing arts and a pre-employment program. Sisler is also respected in the sports field as Spartan teams excel in many athletic areas.

2. Westgate Mennonite Collegiate

86 West Gate, 204-775-7111

3. Institut Collégial Vincent Massey Collegiate

975 Dowker Ave., 453-8023


Best Community Centre

1.  Bronx Park

720 Henderson Hwy, 204-667-5731

Renovated in 2009, Bronx Park is one of Winnipeg’s newer community centres with lots to offer for people of all ages, from older adults who are members of Good Neighbours Seniors Centre to youngsters who paddle in the outdoor wading pool or play indoor and outdoor soccer and hockey. The 25,000 square-foot facility includes a gymnasium, multi-purpose room, classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, a woodshop, computer lab and creative arts labs.

2. Central Corydon Community Centre

Sir John Franklin site, 1 Sir John Franklin Rd., 204-488-7000; Crescentwood site, 1170 Corydon Ave., 204-488-7000; River Heights site, 1370 Grosvenor Ave., 204-488-7000

3. Jonathan Toews/Dakota Community Centre

1188 Dakota St., 204-254-1010


Best Library

1. Henderson Library

1-1050 Henderson Hwy., 204-986-4314

Recently renovated Henderson Library is bright and welcoming, accessible, and able to meet the needs of the North Kildonan community. The renovated library features an additional 6,000 square feet. The library boasts the second-highest circulation statistics after Winnipeg’s Millennium Library. Favourite genres include inspirational, romance and westerns. An English conversation group supports newcomers in practising English skills.

2. Cornish Library

20 Westgate, 204-986-4679

3. Louis Riel Library

1168 Dakota St., 204-986-4568


Best Local Park

1. Assiniboine Park

55 Pavilion Cres., 204-927-6000

Assiniboine Park is truly one of Winnipeg’s treasures for residents and tourists. Visitors to the park can choose from a multitude of activities such as family picnics, playing cricket, strolling through the Leo Mol statue garden, hiking or cycling along the trails, ice skating and tobogganing in the winter and visiting the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The zoo’s exhibits include the popular polar bear exhibit, Journey to Churchill, as well as over 200 species of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world.

2. St. Vital Park

190 River Rd.

3. Kildonan Park

2015 Main St.

Best Local Swimming Pool

1. Pan Am Pool

25 Poseidon Bay, 877-311-4974

Built in 1967 for use in the Pan American Games, the Pan Am Pool is one of Winnipeg’s largest indoor swimming pool facilities. It is used for diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo competitions. In addition to its main swimming pool and dive tank, the facility also offers a kiddie pool, and a walk/jog area, weight room, aerobic studio and multi-purpose room. A variety of fitness programs are offered.


2. Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex

999 Sargent Ave., 204-821-0711

3. Bonivital Pool

1215 Archibald St., 204-986-6802


Best Dog Park

1. KilCona Park

1229 Springfield Road

Its paws up for Fields for Fido — part of spacious KilCona Park. Situated in the northeast part of Winnipeg on over 99 hectares of a former landfill site, the park offers 225 parking. The off-leash area is located east of the parking lot on hill, and has a natural boundary of water to the north, east and south. Don’t forget to bring your bags to clean up after your furry friends.

2. King’s Park

198 King’s Park

3. Maple Grove Park

Frobisher Road


Best Bike Trail

1. Assiniboine Forest

When cycling through the Assiniboine Forest, it’s wise to be on the lookout for wildlife as the forest is home to many of the city’s white-tailed deer and other woodland creatures. The main cycling path through the forest is paved, there are plenty of benches along the route if you need a break, and parking is available at a lot just off Grant Avenue.

2. Bishop Grandin Greenway

3. Transcona Trail


Best Toboggan Hill

1. Westview Park

1 Midland St.

Unseating last year’s top pick of Assiniboine Park, Westview Park (aka Garbage Hill) is easily accessible and, at 20 metres above the surrounding landscape, provides a gradual slope for people of all ages to slide down.

2. Assiniboine Park

3. FortWhyte Alive

1961 McCreary Rd, 204- 989-8355


Best Place to Go For a Walk

1. Assiniboine Park

Assiniboine Park has numerous trails to explore, as well as offering countless attractions for individuals to enjoy such as the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Assiniboine Park Conservatory, Pavilion Gallery Museum, Nature Playground and Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, to name but a few. During the summer months, the park also plays home to Winnipeg’s cricket community and is the venue of numerous cricket matches.

2. The Forks

3. Transcona Trail


Favourite Winnipegger

1. Ace Burpee

A perennial winner of this honour, 103.1 Virgin Radio’s morning-show host and program director Ace Burpee is likely so popular because he’s just so darned… awesome. Seriously, though, when he’s not on-air, Burpee is all over the city hosting and MCing charitable dinners, taking in public events, attending Jets and Bombers games or doing good works. He’s a positive Twitter presence, a dedicated fitness buff and an all-around likeable guy.

2. Dancing Gabe

3. Brian Bowman


Favourite Winnipeg Politician

1. Brian Bowman

Elected just last October, new Winnipeg mayor Bowman is still obviously in the honeymoon phase with local citizens. Or maybe he’s still got the untainted sheen that comes with not being a career politician. Regardless, Bowman has been a breath of fresh air since entering the mayor’s office at City Hall. His emotional and honest response to a Maclean’s magazine cover story which branded Winnipeg as the most-racist city in Canada is still regarded by many as the kind of leadership modern Canadian cities need.

2. Robert Falcon-Ouellette

3. Several tied for third.


Favourite Winnipeg Sports Personality

1. Dustin Byfuglien

At the time Canstar readers were voting in the Best of Winnipeg survey, the Jets were at the height of a post-Christmas run that saw them firmly establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the tough Central Division. Many fans felt that run was sparked when Big Buff was moved from forward back to defence and his huge hits and booming point shot were certainly key factors in the team’s fine, mid-season form.

2. Jennifer Jones

3. Paul Maurice


Favourite Winnipeg Media Personality

1. Ace Burpee

See above.

2. Gord Leclerc (CTV)

3. Janet Stewart (CBC TV)/ Jen Zoratti (Winnipeg Free Press)


Favourite Professional Sports Team

1. Winnipeg Jets

This city has been obsessed with hockey since before the arrival of the Atlanta Thrashers and the birth of Winnipeg Jets 2.0. Now that the team has made the playoffs for the first time since its 2011 launch, it’s quite possible that the Jets are more popular than ever. Which is kind of hard to believe, given the proliferation of Jets gear and licence plates all over town.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

3. Winnipeg Goldeyes

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