We’d normally have a robust, event-specific guide for you on Earth Day…But alas, pandemic.
Now that we've got that tired lede out of the way, let’s think positive and continue to go green both on Thursday, April 22 and every day after.
Below you’ll learn how FortWhyte Alive continues to push sustainability to the forefront, while also providing an enchanting setting to get back to nature.
On top of that, we highlight some of the city’s eco-conscious attractions and tours -- with special info for educators -- along with properties that ensure a sustainable staycation.
On a normal Earth Day, FortWhyte Alive would be hosting hundreds of locals for a day of connecting with nature. There’d be games for the whole family, farm animal visits, recycling depots and the sort of planetary zeal that would see Suntots singing.
While that will all surely be back, this year FortWhyte Alive is offering a full week of Earth Day themed activities, all accessible virtually. Earth Week at Home (April 22-25) features daily streamed seminars with experts in their fields from across Canada.
You and the fam can attend one-hour sessions covering a range of topics from wolves in Newfoundland, to bison in Banff and at FortWhyte and adventure photography. There will also be children’s concerts, interactive workshops hosted by Manitoba Theatre for Young People and numerous opportunities to learn more about sustainability and the need for biodiversity.
All sessions are free, but registration is required.
FortWhyte Alive will also continue to offer numerous eco tours once we return to normalcy. The greatest hits include A Prairie Legacy: The Bison and its People – a Canadian Signature Experience that sees you getting up close to North America’s largest urban bison herd, hurtling a dart using an atlatl, exploring the lakes on a large voyageur canoe and roasting marshmallows and bannock over a fire.
Other noteworthy experiences for educators and groups at FortWhyte Alive include a bison safari, Oh Deer!, Bird’s Eye View and the Farm and Bee Tour. For the latter, you’ll don a beekeeper suit and collect honey before visiting the pigs, chickens and rabbits that are raised on their sustainable urban farm.
In the meantime, FortWhyte Alive has a bustling events calendar that features both virtual guides for home, and self-guided experiences out on the trails and along its wetlands.
Just north of the city, Oak Hammock Marsh is an important wetland and habitat for numerous species. The mission at Oak Hammock Marsh is to connect people with wetlands, which happens almost instantaneously when you look out over the vast marsh and hear the sounds from up to 300 species of birds, countless amphibians and the dozens of mammals who call this place home from spring through fall.
This globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) was designed to be a key migratory habitat and waterfowl-breeding centre. You’ll can learn all about this while canoeing and hipwading through the marsh, where the smell of blooming wildflowers and close encounters with colourful birds perched on cattails are on the agenda.
Another major attraction that puts an emphasis on conservation is the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo. As viewers across Canada have watched this year on CBC’s new show Arctic Vets, the scientists and animal care professionals at the zoo are all about assisting species at risk while explaining the need to combat climate change.
Outside of Arctic Vets, at the zoo proper, you can learn more about this mandate at both the Journey to Churchill exhibit and the adjacent Leatherdale International Polar Bear Research Centre. Plus, while you are there, you can see polar bears swim over your head, which is amazing.
Support local shops
As you’ll see in our Local Shopping listing, the city is ripe with local makers and stores that put sustainability at the forefront of their enterprises. Whether it’s coffee, beauty products, farmers’ markets or fashions, Winnipeg ensures your purchasing power can also be green.
For plenty of eco-approved options all under one roof check out Generation Green, one block up from Portage and Main at 433 Main St, and Planet Pantry, the latest addition to the Johnston Terminal at The Forks.
A sustainable staycation
Two of Winnipeg’s chicest properties are also its greenest.
The Alt Hotel Winnipeg has been built according to eco-friendly building standards using a geothermal heating and cooling system. Even the water is heated using geothermal technology, while rooms are equipped with dual flush toilets to conserve water usage. Rooms are equipped with a range of eco-friendly products that are biodegradable and refillable and reusable when possible. To control power usage, your room key also activates the automatic lights, which turn off when you leave.
The Mere hotel has a five Green Key rating making it “a hotel that exemplifies the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility throughout all of its operations.” The property also features a geothermal heating and cooling system replete with motion sensor thermostats in each energy efficient room.
The hotel also offers a Brita water filter for rooms to avoid water bottles, while the majority of the products found in each room are locally sourced. Outside the hotel you'll also find an EV charging station.
Right now, we are currently offering packaged stays as low as $159 at The Mere (includes late checkout, complimentary cocktails and the option of a second night for $99).