Rubber boots? We’re here for it, as is spring in Winnipeg! Here, melty conditions simply mean more outdoor merriment, making it a great time to go explore the city’s ample parks and outdoor attractions.
Fairy tales along forested trails
Feeling woodsy? Pay a visit to Bois-des-Esprit (“Woods where the Spirits Dwell”) where encounters include whimsical carvings both big and small along with deer and other wildlife. The 117-acre setting runs around the Seine River, which you can also paddle (pending the ice melt) after renting from outfitters like Wilderness Supply and Winnipeg Canoe Rentals.
More enchanting settings can be found in Assiniboine Park, Kildonan Park, and in the Sturgeon Creek neighbourhood. Assiniboine Park’s Leo Mol Sculpture Garden is brimming with large bronze statues from the master Ukrainian/Canadian artist depicting everything from scenes from Greek mythology, to local figures, to playful dancers and bears. Across from the park, Assiniboine Forest offers a tranquil setting with numerous paths and wooden walkways over marshlands with plenty of whitetail deer to be spied amongst the oak and aspen trees.
Not to be outdone with its fairy-tale-like setting is Kildonan Park, with its Witch’s Hut (a la Hansel and Gretel) and charming little bridges, while Sturgeon Creek is home to Grant’s Old Mill – a reconstructed circa 1829 water-powered flour mill whose surrounding woods feature charming little wooden deer figurines.
Fat Bikes and feathered friends
A nice active way to see the city is to rent yourself a fat tire bike, which is very stable and secure and can easily master our namely flat terrain. You can rent these from shops like Woodcock Cycle Works, White Pine Bicycle Co, Northern Bicycle, and new outfitters Kendrick’s Outdoor Adventures and Type Eh Bikes – which also offers guided tours.
Once on your mount, a great spot to check out is The Forks, Manitoba’s most-visited tourism destination. Here, you can take to the extensive trails that run along the rivers and over the iconic Rail Bridge. Another gem of a location with plenty of trails to explore is FortWhyte Alive. This urban nature centre features gorgeous aspen forests, lakes and wetlands, all of which are connected by well-kept trails. It’s also a primetime location for birding, with winter species like blue jays, owls and cedar waxwings along with hundreds of migratory species which return to its trees during the spring.
Another birder’s paradise is Oak Hammock Marsh, located just north of the city. Here, you can encounter all manner of wildlife – both fair and fowl on the many trails that trace the wetlands.