Winter like a Winnipegger
The number one question people ask about Winnipeg - is it cold? The answer is yes. And, truth is you ARE going to freeze if you’re just standing in a snowbank. If you want to tackle winter like a Winnipegger, you can’t let a little wind chill stop you from doing some of the incredible activities the city has to offer in the cold months.
Here’s a hot list of cool things to try that will have you crushing winter like you’re from The Peg:
Take part in Western Canada’s largest winter festival - Just try not to get swept up in the traditions of the past during this jovial gathering that merges historic and modern French Canadian culture. Embody the spirit of the voyageurs and embrace the joie de vivre at Festival du Voyageur, February 14-23, 2020. This is kitchen party plays host to over 150 bands, ranging from toe-tapping traditional French-Canadian fiddle music to dance-inducing indie pop. Down a Caribou (a mix of wine, whisky and maple syrup) in an ice glass, judge which city chef has the best take on pea soup and roll some sticky maple syrup in snow around a stick for a final sweet treat.
Pop on a toque and bounce between saunas surrounded by snow - Get hot, then cold, then do it all again. There is no better time than winter to take part in the 2,000-year-old thermal cycle ritual at Thermëa, Winnipeg’s luxury Scandinavian spa. Start by sliding into one of the outdoor thermal pools set between the pine trees and the snow for a true Nordic experience. Then find your bliss inside one of four steamy Finnish saunas inspired by Mediterranean traditions. Finally, if you dare, walk under Icebër, the icy waterfall which will rejuvenate your body and senses.
Find your way out of a record-breaking snow maze - Verified by the Guinness Book of World Record, this 30,000 sq.-ft. maze at A Maze in Corn (just outside of Winnipeg in St. Adolphe) features 1,300 meters of snow-packed walls which stand over six feet tall. It may take you about 45 minutes to navigate your way through the labyrinth, but don’t worry -- fire pits and various snow sculptures will help you navigate along its polar passageways. After, take a slide down the giant snow mountain, take a sleigh ride or just relax inside the warming barn with a cup of hot chocolate.
Grab an ice pick and climb North America's original free-standing ice-climbing tower - Every winter the Club d'escalade Saint-Boniface’s ice tower rises from the prairie landscape. As soon as the temperature drops, the three-sided structure is flooded by suspended bar sprinklers covering the plywood in ice, which can range from one foot to three feet deep in some parts. And, depending on the wind and the weather, the way the ice forms changes from year to year, making each season a different climbing experience. This 20-foot ice tower offers a variety of difficulty levels, so whether you are a beginner or a pro, there is a vertical adventure for all.
Get up close with some Arctic animals - No one knows cold winter weather like a polar bear, so why not check out how they live at the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo. Experience the fresh snowfall outside as you watch the bears frolic in the flakes, or get an up-close look as they swim in the icy waters above you through the exhibit’s viewing tunnel. Catch a glimpse of the super cute seals as they swirl around or try and spot the illusive winter wolves as they trot through one of the many Arctic-inspired exhibits.
Hot tip: Winnipeg boasts three Canada Goose factories, making it easier than ever to grab a jacket that’s going to keep you toasty (and stylish) no matter which activity you choose.