Located just across the Red River from Downtown Winnipeg, Saint-Boniface is the perfect spot to experience the region's distinct and intertwined Francophone and Métis history, while its cute shops, charming cafés and le Patio 340–a fantastic outdoor bilingual bar and music venue–ensures there's a little something to experience for everyone.
Saint-Boniface is a component of The Riel District, which also includes Saint-Norbert and Saint-Vital. All three areas are brimming with Francophone culture and Métis history, while the culinary, theatre and cultural scenes can't be beat.
Saint-Boniface is host to a vast landscape of museums and historic buildings, filled with opportunities to learn more about Winnipeg's French Quarter. One of the best ways to explore is to join a guided walking tour like the ‘Bon Appétit Saint-Boniface–Historical Culinary Tour’ to learn the history of the beautiful buildings, spaces and events, while experiencing the incredibly diverse restaurants that contribute to the community. Tours are offered by Ô Tours (a division of Tourism Riel/Entreprises Riel), guided in both English and French.
The Historical tour starts from Hôtel De Ville, otherwise known as Saint-Boniface City Hall, located at 219 Provencher Boulevard. After meeting your guide and group you will begin exploring the heritage building and surrounding area which includes the old fire station, a unique sculpture garden and a stroll through Provencher Park, all while your guide discusses historical anecdotes as you make your way east to your first restaurant.
This is where the culinary tour really begins as you step into Resto Gare, a family-owned restaurant where you dine in a 1913 Saint-Boniface train car. The historic train station remains as one of Winnipeg’s most stunning dining rooms, serving French cuisine alongside wood framing, grand light fixtures and scarlet drapes. It offers full service in both English and French all while playing the latest Montreal Francophone music.
After an 'amuse bouche' and glass of wine you will continue walking and reminiscing about Festival du Voyageur, Old Saint-Boniface and the history of that charming neighbourhood. You’ll notice beautiful old buildings like La Vérendrye Centre and Saint-Boniface University, as well as many with historical significance like Saint-Boniface Museum and the Saint-Boniface Cathedral which, in its current iteration was designed and completed by famed Winnipeg architect, Étienne Gaboury. The Cathedral is one of the most photographed areas in Winnipeg, while history buffs can also find the gravesite of Louis Riel–the founder of Manitoba–within its cemetery grounds.
The Heritage Garden is a must see, located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Métis right on the riverfront property of the Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface. Venture through the Saint-Boniface Heritage Garden to recognize the space in honour of the Métis Nation.
You will have worked up an appetite and conveniently you find yourself steps from Promenade Brasserie, a new restaurant which features a locally sourced menu that isn’t shy on bringing flavour and spice inspired by chef/owner Jay Lekopoy’s Métis heritage. Here you’ll have another beverage and an entrée. A favourite was the creton mushroom toast. Aside from the delightful company, you can’t beat the dining room and patio views that overlook the downtown skyline and Red River.
You can’t leave without dessert! Luckily, you’re only a five-minute walk across Esplanade Riel Bridge to your final stop, the Kiosk Crêperie Ker Breizh. It’s only open during the summer months and it's the perfect sweet treat to end off the evening. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a stunning prairie sunset with a side of salted caramel crêpe!
Know before you go:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes! You’ll have time to rest, but you’ll be walking 2.7 km.
- You'll need about three and a half hours to experience the full tour.
- Bring a camera or make sure to charge your phone before you go!
Visit Ô Tours to book your next tour.
The Bon Appétit Tour is offered in the summer months on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tours require a minimum of eight people and can accommodate up to 15 people. Purchase price includes two glasses of wine or a cocktail, an appetizer, a soup or salad, an entrée and a dessert.