Located in the heart of Winnipeg, the Exchange District National Historic Site boasts a spectacular collection of terra cotta and cut-stone architecture. Established at the turn of the 20th century, the Exchange District is the original centre of commerce and culture in Winnipeg. Today the area is teeming with incredible shopping and cultural opportunities. Visit unique retailers, galleries, eateries and much more.
Location: The approximate boundaries are Adelaide Street, Ross Avenue, Norte Dame Avenue and Main Street for the west Exchange. The east Exchange area is located between the Disraeli Bridge, Waterfront Drive, William Stephenson Way and Main Street. Located downtown, 7.4 km from the airport.
How to get there: From the airport, turn onto Wellington Avenue. Turn right onto King Edward Street (Rte 90). Take the first left onto Ellice Avenue. Turn right onto Maryland Street. Turn left at Portage Avenue and continue to Main Street. Turn left at Main Street and you are located between the east and west Exchange.
Bus routes: #1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 58, 67, 99
Top Places to Eat
• Meat lovers unite at Carnaval Brazilian BBQ! Aromas from this authentic churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) tantalize when you walk in. Watch out; turning your place card to green and be swarmed by a troop of carvers, ready to slice cuts of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and sausage right at your table. 270 Waterfront Drive, W., 204-505-0945.
• Pizzas, empanadas and Cuban melts are on the menu at Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria. For a unique taste experience, try the Manitoban; a blend of pesto, bacon, pickerel cheeks, goat cheese, arugula, sun dried tomatoes and orange zests. 137 Bannatyne Avenue, 204-219-5398.
• Boon Burger Café is a trendy burger joint with a twist; it offers a 100 per cent animal free, plant based menu. Patties are made from fresh cremini mushrooms, brown rice, onion, garlic, organic tofu and oats, and are then perfectly seasoned. 79 Sherbrook Street, 204-415-1391.
• Creative and quick are trademarks of what’s prepared at Bodegoes Restaurant. It’s hard to choose from noodles by the box, chicken fingers or hand-dipped fish and chips, but your taste buds won’t regret a box of coconut chicken green curry noodles. 98 Albert Street, 204-943-3166.
• White Star Diner is a "good things come in small packages" kind of place. While its space may be small, its menu is big on flavour and its portions are plentiful. Try the pulled-pork on grilled cheese sandwhich with bacon. Enough said. 58 Albert Street, 204-947-6930.
• Hermanos Restaurant & Wine Bar captivates its patrons with the flavours of South America. The cuisine is inspired by steakhouses in Argentina and Uruguay, and the wines are sourced exclusively from vineyards in Chile and Argentina. Live music on the weekends and late night dining on Friday and Saturday add a touch of excitement. 179 Bannatyne Avenue, 204-947-5434.
• Fine dining destination Bailey’s Restaurant and Bar serves up specialties such as prime rib and rack of lamb in an elegant dining room decorated in rich woods. 185 Lombard Avenue, 204-944-1180
• Whether playing a game of darts, sipping an imported beer or taking in live music, there are plenty of entertainment options at King’s Head Pub and Eatery. Indian cuisine, classic pub grub, a wide selection of single malt scotch and 26 types of beer on tap are offered at this two-storey British pub. 120 King Street, 204-957-7710.
• Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse features vegan fare that ranges from traditional soups and sandwiches to East Indian samosas. Organic groceries and a selection of political books are also sold. 91 Albert Street, 204-946-5241.
• At Smoke’s Poutinerie classic French Canadian poutine is shaken-up with more than 20 toppings—think bacon, mustard and guacamole. All can be added to your fries, gravy and authentic Quebec cheese curds. 131 Albert Street, 204-253-2873.
• Tre Visi Restaurant’s fine Italian cuisine keeps diners returning to this trendy bistro. Indulge in dishes like tender veal in white wine butter sauce and pillowy soft gnocchi in creamy pesto. 173 McDermot Avenue, 204-949-9032. www.trevisirestaurant.com
• Walk down a flight of stairs on Arthur Street to The Underground Café, where a buzzing atmosphere and vibrant painted mural greets guests with a warm welcome. Freshly made sandwiches are the specialty and the sun burger—a sesame and sunflower veggie patty topped with lime-dill sauce—is legendary. 70 Arthur Street, 204-956-1925,
• The Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe is a one-of-a-kind eatery that doubles as a social hub and space for working Winnipeg Free Press journalists. Breakfast classics, house-made soups, salads and hearty sandwiches flavour the menu. 237 McDermot Avenue, 204-943-0682.
To Places to Shop
• As Winnipeg’s newest women’s fashion boutique, Paperdoll Clothing is a must-visit shop for ladies looking for trendy, glamorous and sexy styles. 1-214 McDermot Avenue, 204-947-9790.
• The finds at Rhymes with Orange are just as unique as this shop’s name. Check here for 40s-70s styles and mid-century housewares. 1-223 McDermot Avenue, 204-946-5212.
• Luxury furnishings take centre stage at Blue Moon. Discover what your home could be if filled with the artsy finds found here. 109 Pacific Avenue, 204-452-7096.
• Step back in time at Into the Music; a record lover’s paradise. New and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs and full collections provide hours of browsing, buying and listening fun. B-245 McDermot Avenue, 204-287-8279.
• If you’re looking for something a little off the wall, chances are Antiques & Funk will have it. They buy estates, entire households, collections and single items and then sell their odd and unusual finds at 474 Main Street, 204-943-4782.
• Looking to boost your assets with a corset? Callisto Couture Corset brings these garments, which date back to 1600 BC, to modern women looking to dazzle as brides, at formal events or in the boudoir. #506, 63 Albert Street, 204-480-8613.
• Thirty-five years ago a young Winnipeg mom was looking for baby furniture but couldn’t find exactly what she wanted. A family-owned store called E-children was born, specializing in everything a child could need, from newborn to teen. 103 Princess Street, 204-944-0508.
• Unique and edgy is the name of the game at Hoopers, which specializes in Danish, mid-century and modern furnishings from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. 70 Albert Street, 204-943-5240.
• Adorable boutique bakery Cake-ology creates picture-perfect cupcakes, cookies and cakes that taste as good as they look. 85 Arthur Street, 204-612-9866.
• From dapper hats, bows and buckles to silky scarves and fashion-forward fascinators, The Haberdashery Guys & Girls has a great selection of accessories to complete an outfit. 84 Albert Street, 204-256-3758.
• Prestige dealers at Mayberry Fine Art are experts on Canadian art. Specifically, they specialize in paintings from the Canadian Group of Seven. 212 McDermot Avenue, 204-255-5690.
• Dig through the incredible treasure trove of books, miniatures, games, magic and toys sourced from around the world at Toad Hall Toys, established in 1977. 54 Arthur Street, 204-956-2195.
• Specializing in luggage, business cases and handbags, UN Luggage offers customers durable, stylish pieces to suit all travel needs. 175 McDermot Avenue, 204-943-1068.
• There are thousands of prints, posters and art cards to browse through at Warehouse Artworks. From conservative to contemporary, inexpensive to valuable, they have a print to satisfy your wish list. 222 McDermot Avenue, 204-943-1681.
Top Things to See and Do
• Grab your swords and armor and head over to Imagine Games & Hobbies, where you can rent gaming tables and battle friends and foes at Warmachine, Hordes and any other game that puts you face to face with your enemies. 246 McDermot Avenue, 204-452-8711.
Every Friday and Saturday night, live bands alternate with Winnipeg’s hottest DJs at Whiskey Dix. Over 12,000 sq. ft. of space, three bars and high tech lights and sound ensure everyone dances the night away. 436 Main Street, 204-944-7539.
• A visit to the Exchange during the summer must include a visit to Old Market Square, which plays host to numerous summer events and festivals. The Winnipeg Fringe Festival and the Soca Reggae Festival are two of many must-attend events. Located at the corner of Bannatyne Avenue and King Street, 204-942-3059.
• The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Bee Gees, Tragically Hip and Gene Simmons are just some of the big name acts that have appeared in the 2,305-seat Centennial Concert Hall, making it one of the city’s top entertainment venues. 555 Main Street, 204-956-1360.
• Movie buffs head to Cinematheque, which is run by the Winnipeg Film Group. This intimate theatre screens top art house film titles in Canadian and world cinema. 304-100 Arthur Street, 204-925-3546.
• In summer months, tour an exceptional collection of turn-of-the-20th-century buildings led by knowledgeable and dynamic guides hosting the Exchange District Historic Walking Tours. 204-942-6716 for details.
• Explore nine permanent galleries and an ever-changing variety of specialty exhibits that explore the human and natural history of the province at The Manitoba Museum. Climb aboard the Nonsuch, a 17th century merchant ship, watch an animated underwater adventure that takes you back 450 million years and view treasures from around the world. A planetarium and hands-on science gallery are also on-site. 190 Rupert Avenue, 204-956-2830.
• Catch live scheduled entertainment in the ornate theatre at Pantages Playhouse Theatre. This Exchange District landmark has played a vibrant role in Winnipeg’s arts community since it first opened in 1914. 180 Market Avenue East, 204-989-2889.
• Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre—Canada’s first regional English-speaking theatre—presents more than 250 performances annually. Catch a play at the main stage or warehouse venues, take in the Fringe Festival or check out the Master Playwright Festival. 174 Market Avenue, 204-956-1340.