May 28, 2020

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Let's get this party started

Our guide to how to mark Canada's 150th birthday

<p>Canada Day fireworks at Assiniboine Park</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Canada Day fireworks at Assiniboine Park

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2017 (1064 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As Canada celebrates its 150 anniversary Saturday, Manitobans won’t have any trouble finding a place to join the festivities. Here’s a handy guide to help you decide where to spend your Canada Day:

Family-Friendly

At Assiniboine Park, the family fun begins at 1 p.m., with inflatable rides, magicians, clowns, balloons, face painting and organized games running until 8 p.m. On the Lyric Theatre stage, there will be live performances all day long. For an extra cool bonus, the Assiniboine Park Zoo is open for regular admission all weekend, and the first 150 people attending each day July 1 to 3 will get a free polar bear token. Parking is available at Canadian Mennonite University, St. Paul’s and Shaftesbury high schools, the Seasons of Tuxedo and the Asper Jewish Community Campus. Guests can use Winnipeg Transit for free as well.

At the Manitoba Museum, children (3-11) wearing at least one piece of red and white clothing get in for free, and can check out the new exhibit, "Legacies of Confederation: a New Look at Manitoba History." Children can also enjoy the planetarium’s new show about this summer’s solar eclipse, a new exhibit on the world’s giant dinosaurs and the rest of the museum galleries, including the legendary Nonsuch ship. 

Families can also enjoy the biggest Canada Day celebration ever at The Forks, with live performances from more than 50 local acts on five stages around The Forks grounds. Tons of free family programming will run, beginning at 10 a.m. with a powwow and indigenous storytelling at the Oodena Celebration Circle. For cyclists, The Forks is offering free bike valet service. For more information and a full schedule, visit theforks.com.

Fun Outside & On the Street

Want to be stand at Portage Avenue and Main Street as part of Canada’s largest living Maple Leaf? Of course you do. Downtown Biz is organizing the event outside 201 Portage Ave. at 8 a.m. Saturday, and it is giving away free Canada Day T-shirts to the first 2,500 people to show up. Take it or leaf it.

In Osborne Village, the Street Festival begins at 11 a.m., with kiosks, entertainment and delicious street food -- everything from empanadas to jerk chicken to snowcones. There’ll be a craft marketplace, drag shows, fashion shows, a dunk tank, a screening of the animated movie Sing (7 p.m.), and more. There’s also a giant Canadian flag birthday cake of more than 400 pieces. For the festival, Osborne Street between McMillan and River avenues will be closed.

At the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market,  the day-long festivities include sheep shearing (9:30 and 10:30 a.m.), a performance by the Metis Infinity Square Dancers, face painting, farm animals and live musical performances, along with the classic farmers’ market experience.

Sports Fans

The Winnipeg Goldeyes will wear special Canada 150 jerseys for their weekend series against the Sioux Falls Canaries, and will have Canada Day fun infused throughout the three-game set. For the Friday night game, baseball Hall of Fame pitchers and Cy Young winners Gaylord Perry and Ferguson Jenkins -- the latter arguably Canada’s greatest baseball player -- will be in the stands and signing autographs. During the Saturday matinee, Via Rail is giving away a pair of tickets to Jasper, Alta., with all accommodations paid for. 

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers open their 2017 CFL season Saturday night with a road game against the archrival Saskatchewan Roughriders. Last season, the Blue and Gold went 11-7 to earn a playoff berth. Saskatchewan finished last in the West Division with a 5-13 record. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., and the game is being broadcast on TSN.

History Buffs

At Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum, there will be a variety of educational Canada Day fun, including demonstrations of traditional skills from the 1800s, face painting, leather bracelet stamping ($2) and a whole lot of fiddle music. The museum, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is also hosting free musket demonstrations by la Compagnie La Vérendrye; just be careful while the demonstrations are happening -- nobody likes free musket tears. 

In St. Boniface, there are also free walking tours from Tourisme Riel (starting at 219 Provencher. At 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., no reservation required), free admission to Fort Gibraltar (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and activities along the Esplanade Riel (beginning at 12 p.m.). There is a free shuttle service by the Winnipeg Trolley between St. Boniface sites running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is offering $5 admission on Canada Day, with special family programming throughout the building. Canada Day will also be the last day to participate in the CMHR’s interactive mosaic installation, a free activity which projects iconic Canadian imagery on guests’ faces and adds the images to a projected video. Entry to the museum’s welcome hall is free, and ERA Bistro, the museum’s restaurant, will wrap up its "Great Canadian Tour" event with a menu featuring poutine, bannock, tourtière, salmon and Caesars.

At Fort la Reine Museum in Portage la Prairie, Manitobans can celebrate by snacking on traditional bannock, participating in a historical scavenger hunt, and constructing Red River Carts. Kids under four and museum members get in for free, $5 for everyone else. 

Out of the City

At Whiteshell Provincial Park, Canada Day guests will be able to plant white spruce trees in a maple leaf formation at the park’s goose sanctuary from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Seedlings are available for free at the Alfred Hole Goose Sanctuary, Whiteshell Fish Hatchery or any campground office for people to plant at home -- they really spruce up the place.

In St. Laurent, the Métis bilingual community will hold a celebration featuring music, a baseball game and the unveiling of a new community monument. The Asham Stompers will perform with St. Laurent’s Little Steppers, and guests will be treated to an evening dance with music by the Mark Morisseau Band.

Admission to all Parks Canada places is free for 2017, and on at Riding Mountain National Park, there’s a full slate of Canada Day activities, including a paid kayak excursion to Deep Bay to meet the artist in residence starting at 9 a.m., live entertainment between 12:45 p.m. and 6 p.m., and a citizenship ceremony welcoming more than 100 new Canadians between 11 a.m. and noon. At dusk, there will be fireworks in Onanole. To register for the kayak excursion, contact the park’s visitor centre.

In Gillam, the Manitoba Hydro Torch Relay will make its way through town at 3 p.m. ahead of the upcoming 2017 Canada Summer Games. After the relay, there will be a community celebration at 5:30 p.m.

Musical Highlights 

There will be live music at many celebrations, but some can’t-miss shows include Whitehorse, Faouzia, 3Peat, Sierra Noble, Mariachi Ghost, Lanikai, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at The Forks, where more than 50 acts will perform. At Assiniboine Park, performers include local legend Ray St. Germain (4 p.m.), Celtic rockers Dust Rhinos (6 p.m.) and up-and-comers Petric (9:30 p.m.). At the Osborne festival, Thousand Dollar Truck will rip their way through country and rock covers, and Franky & the Poor Boys will do their best Creedence Clearwater Revival impression.

Fireworks

Winnipeggers can catch massive fireworks displays around the city once the day ends. The show begins at various times: The Forks is scheduled for 11 p.m.; Assiniboine Park is scheduled for 10:40 p.m.; St. Norbert Farmers’ Market will begin its display at dusk. 

Getting There, Getting Home

Winnipeg Transit will operate on a Sunday schedule for Canada Day, but is also providing additional services to accommodate increased ridership.

Transit will run a free shuttle between The Forks and Osborne Village between 12 p.m. and midnight., and extra Route 11 buses will run along Portage Avenue between The Forks and Assiniboine Park between between 12 p.m. and 11 p.m. 

There will also be several park-and-ride shuttles operating to and from Assiniboine Park throughout the day, with details available at winnipegtransit.com or by calling 311.

Post-fireworks departures:

  • The Forks: buses will be available on Main Street between York Avenue and Graham Avenue;
  • Assiniboine Park to downtown: buses will be available at eastbound Portage Avenue at Overdale Street;
  • Assiniboine Park to St. James/Assiniboia areas: buses will be available at westbound Portage Avenue at Overdale Street.

Regular Transit fares apply.

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