Here in Winnipeg when it comes to throwing a Grey Cup party we don’t just go for a rouge.
No sir, we kick it right through the uprights for three (yes, that was a CFL specific opening that we knew all you fans would love; our pun department does not bother with fair catch signals).
The first thing you should do is check out all that the 103rd Grey Cup Festival has on offer -- this link will take you there where you'll find a stellar lineup with fun events for both the whole family and you party animals out there.
Once you have your itinerary of official Grey Cup Festival events sorted (tickets can be purchased here for events, and here for the game) be sure to make room for The Peg’s other outstanding, sporty attractions in your playbook – several of which did not exist when we last hosted in 2006.
To kick-off, may we suggest seeing the bears play? No, we’re not talking about heading to Chicago, but rather our roughhousing polar bears at the international award-winning Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park and Zoo.
Even if you consider yourself to be the burliest, most macho CFL fan out there, we guarantee you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face and the tears of joy out of your eyes when you watch these majestic animals swim and play overhead in their massive pool. Plus, if you have kids in tow, this is the best place to tame their energies.
Or how about buffalo – and no, we don’t mean the Bills (but we did love the Doug Flutie days). FortWhyte Alive is a stunning nature reserve located right within Winnipeg where you can witness North America’s largest urban bison herd while hiking throughout the tree-lined trails of its woodlands.
Bison are also featured at The Manitoba Museum, where striking dioramas depict our region’s history. Children will especially dig the towering full-sized replica of the Nonsuch – the original ship that sailed into Churchill, Manitoba, from England in 1668.
From there, if you are feeling sporty set sail for the Golf Dome, where you can sip suds while playing a round on their virtual course, or tee off of their three-tiered driving range. And, if you feel like getting really active, go tackle a couple walls at Vertical Adventures where the courses range from beginner to advanced.
Afterwards, soothe those tight muscles at Thermëa, Winnipeg’s Scandinavian-inspired spa. Thermëa is the embodiment of total relaxation and rejuvenation featuring outdoor thermal pools, exquisite steam rooms and saunas – the combination of which equates to absolute bliss. They also have a tantalizing restaurant only for spa goers where wearing robes is mandatory – which makes dining that much more pleasurable.
More thrills can be had at the Casinos of Winnipeg, where high-stakes entertainment is always on the table at Club Regent Casino and Event Centre and McPhillips Station Casino. In McPhillips’ rail town of yesteryear atmosphere you can play everything from slots, to roulette, to Texas hold’em, while Club Regent’s exotic locale houses a giant saltwater aquarium and a state-of-the-art events centre. It’s also where the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Fan Fest will take place, where you can get your picture taken with the Grey Cup on Nov. 26.
Once you’ve completed your sporting and gaming endeavours, head to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame at Sport Manitoba, where you can learn about our province’s sporting history – particularly all our Grey Cup winning Bomber teams. Yes, we’re not in it this year, but mark our words: the Blue and Gold will be back... Jack!
If you like your art to be sporty, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is currently showing Olympus: The Greco-Roman Collections of Berlin, where several of the priceless, muscular antiquities depict game time for the Greeks and Romans. Throughout the week the WAG and is offering Grey Cup Festival and Grey Cup Game ticket holders 25 per cent off admission with any event or game ticket stub. Plus, their marketing materials feature chiselled Blue Bomber Moe Leggett as a modern day Apollo about to let a football fly.
And speaking of flying, aviation fans will also be wowed by the magnificent flying machines from the past at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. In fact, the St. James area (where the aviation museum is located), should not be missed – especially for you shoppers. It’s here you’ll find Winnipeg’s biggest mall, CF Polo Park, which houses premium brands.
As well, if you were to head south on Kenaston Boulevard even more shopping can be had at Kenaston Common. This area is filled with excellent big box stores and eateries, including one of Canada’s largest IKEAs and a massive Cabela’s where you can stock up on outdoor gear.
If you've brought the kids with you to Winnipeg, you'll want to make sure you are downtown along Portage Avenue for the Grey Cup Festival Santa Claus Parade. The block parties start at 3:30 all along Portage, with the parade getting underway at 4:30.
Finally, you can’t beat The Forks, Winnipeg’s most-visited tourist destination. Inside its market you’ll find worldly food kiosks, an excellent wine store, and charming shops selling locally made goods.
The Forks grounds also houses the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, our newest architectural marvel. Designed by famed architect Antione Predock, Canada’s newest, most eye-catching attraction stands alone in the Winnipeg skyline, shining like a beacon. Inside, an immersive experience that you can’t possibly shake awaits as 11 powerful, interactive and awe-inspiring exhibits gradually climb to the CMHR’s pinnacle, the Tower of Hope (which provides a stunning view of the city). An ambitious museum meant to foster dialogue and promote change for a better world, the CMHR provides a stirring account of the human experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed.
Please remember, this is by no means a complete list. To experience all our Peg City attractions head to www.tourismwinnipeg.com/play/attractions. You can also tweet us @TourismWPG or call our visitor line at 1-855-PEG-CITY for more information on all that Winnipeg has to offer.