attractions&events | here for it
During this pandemic, we’re here for adapting, we’re here for safety, and above all, we’re here for still providing the sort of experiences that locals, Manitobans and visitors have grown to love in Winnipeg – and so are all the excellent events and attractions below.
A brand-new world-class centre + Van Gogh and the WSO
The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has gracefully navigated the pandemic by hosting spacious rooftop events and providing plenty of space for visitors within its galleries to view its magnificent collection.
On top of works spanning the late Renaissance through to the present (many noteworthy pieces of which are on view now as part of Salon Style - Reimaging the Collection), the WAG is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit Art.
This contemporary Inuit collection will be showcased in grand scale this winter when the $65-million, 40,000 sq. ft. Inuit Art Centre opens to the public in January. The new Centre will feature works from nearly every community from the North with a particular emphasis on sculpture via a towering, three-storey glass vault that will display hundreds of works from the Collection’s 7,500 carvings.
While many of our world-class performing arts groups are currently on hiatus, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) has “recomposed” to adapt their fall-winter programming. Upcoming socially distant approved performances span the likes of Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and more, while there’s also plenty of Pop Series performances that will see the WSO paired with local musicians along with a Halloween show too.
Mesmerizing is an apt word to describe Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibit at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. The experience starts with a striking, darkly lit introduction to the life of Van Gogh before you enter a 25,000 sq. ft. exhibition space where 200 of the painter's masterworks are are shown throughout an hour-long loop corresponding to a soundtrack that moves from tranquility to intensity. It's a feast for the senses and is guaranteed to make quite the impression. Tickets are all time-allotted, while capacity is kept at a minimum, meaning you have this huge space seemingly to yourself making social distancing a cinch too. On now until Oct 31.
Light up the holiday season
When the snows of winter start to fall, much like the start of The Muppets, here in Winnipeg it’s time to hit the lights.
The official holiday season in Winnipeg begins in November with the annual Santa Claus Parade -- which this year will mark 111 years! This year’s event on November 14 will be a bit more subdued than usual, given the need to control crowd size and make room for social distancing, but as of right now they are still looking to stage this legendary parade in some form, so stay tuned here for more details as they arise.
One big attraction that is sure to be a hit, particularly given its built-in social distancing model, is Canad Inns Winter Wonderland (November 21 to January 2) at Red River Exhibition Park. This event features more than 1 million lights in concert to create 26 unique themed areas spread across 2.5 km, all of which you take in from the comfort of your car (while listening to Christmas tunes, of course). There is also a gorgeous skating rink onsite (illuminated by festive lights, needless to say) that you can hit up when you visit.
Should the weather be looking frightful, there’s also plenty to be had indoors that is safe and delightful.
During the holiday season, two classics that will put you in the festive spirit are All that Glows, Then and Now at the Manitoba Electrical Museum (November 14 – January 2) and the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes at the Children’s Museum. Both retro exhibits showcase fun bits from Winnipeg’s past, with All that Glows illuminating Winnipeg’s history with Christmas lights, while Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes features original old school large dioramas that depict classic scenes from children’s stories.
For non-holiday themed fun, be sure to check out our vast array of Escape Rooms, along with the Winnipeg original gaming centre Activate Games -- which surely soon will become a world-wide phenomenon. At Activate you and your team star in what is essentially your own 8-bit video game, but instead of using VR you actually physically navigate a series of game rooms, scoring points by doing everything from ducking lasers, to frantically shooting hoops, to navigating a colour-coordinated climbing wall. It’s such addictive fun.
Adults into games will also gravitate to the Rec Room. This new place combines great food and drink with all manner of merriment like axe-throwing, ping-pong, arcades, bowling, VR and more.
For something more cultural, be sure to check out the city’s many galleries and museums.
The Manitoba Museum always provides a trip, both through the history of the region – via dioramas, exhibits, and artifacts, including some really cool creatures from the Cretaceous period – and through space, via Planetarium shows.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights presents the triumphs and tragedies of human rights stories from across the globe, all staged within an awe-inspiring architectural setting that climbs from darkness to light.
The Dalnavert Museum is where it’s at for Victorian-inspired holiday fare. Their Winter Storytelling for Kids runs the first three Sundays in December; throughout the month they will host specialized Victorian Christmas tours; each Friday they will host a Victorian Christmas Dinner with a tour for small groups; and the annual Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens will be read by Ron Robinson and available for small onsite audiences along with being offered as a virtual download to rent.
Plus, don’t forget to cash in on the Royal Canadian Mint. It provides an experience that is worth every penny, showing visitors how millions of coins are made for countries across the world. (It also has a gift shop that sets the gold standard for collector’s items.)
The city’s smaller galleries are great too, with some standouts including Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery, aceartinc., cre8ery, Graffiti Gallery, Mayberry Fine Art (by appointment only currently) and Platform: Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts.
While we don’t yet know what’s in store for Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada’s largest winter festival, we do know that in the meantime you can experience a “best of” its 2020 programming online. Festival du Voyageur @ home is available now for viewing and features 360-degree videos of many great performances in the big tents that make this annual event so incredible.
Prairie Theatre Exchange too has moved most of its productions to March and beyond. In the meantime, from October 29 to November 15 you can watch Katharsis by Yvette Nolan for free online. This “love letter to an empty theatre” is a specially commissioned short play, created for and filmed in the deserted Prairie Theatre Exchange venue.
Return to Here for it Winnipeg