While choosing a top ten list of things to do and see in Winnipeg might be akin to choosing a favourite star in the sky, each year, I sit down with my pen and paper and task myself with the challenge. With sweat dripping down my brow, I erase and write and erase and go back and forth until it's just right. (I might be blowing this a little out of proportion here).
So with that mighty introduction, here is the first half of my top 10 things to see and do in Winnipeg:
1. The Forks: Obviously. It's fun, it's big, it's got food and trees and shopping and so many things to do. In the winter you can dine or skate on the frozen Red and Assiniboine rivers, in the summer, you can walk the riverwalk with your sweetie beneath a canopy of trees. Once you've worked up an appetite, you can go and eat perogies and fish and chips and rotis and locally made cheese croissants and the best hazelnut cannoli this side of Palermo (I leave it up to you if you want to do that all at once or pace yourself).
2. Winnipeg Art Gallery: I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than wandering the works of Canada's oldest public gallery. With it's travelling exhibitions, enormous collection of inuit art and rooftop restaurant, it's the perfect way to spend a day. And, well the giftshop is awesome. In my books that counts for a lot.
3. The Exchange District: You might recognize this little bustling area as it's served as the backdrop for Brad Pitt (oh my!) and some other Hollywood hotties in the past thanks to its stunning turn-of-the-century architecture. Nestled in its streets are bits of history, local boutiques, unique restaurants and plenty of charm.
4. The Manitoba Museum: There are few things cooler than walking through a town inside a building--if you've never tried it, trust me on this. And that's exactly what you can do here inside a life-sized replica of Winnipeg circa 1920 and the nonsuch Ketch. There are also bison and other wooly creatures (stuff of course) as well as a planetarium and science gallery where you can channel that inner geek with some cool experiments.
5. St. Boniface/Winnipeg's French Quarter: Louis Riel was a pretty cool guy who did some pretty cool stuff and Winnipeg's French Quarter is kind of his stomping ground. There are museums and the beautiful St. Boniface Cathedral (where Louis is actually buried) to visit as well as some great little restaurants and shops that all embody that 'joie de vivre' of its people. It's like a holiday within a holiday.