It’s not truly winter until the Zamboni hits the ice and hundreds of locals strap on their skates on a sunny Saturday afternoon to glide down the Red River Mutual Trail, greeting friends and marvelling at the current year’s crop of innovative warming huts.
The Red River Mutual Trail is truly something to explore, whether you want to walk, skate or shuffle down the ice (they have walking paths too, which we thankfully discovered, after more than one wobble). From the second you hit the ice you'll notice this isn’t your typical frozen river. A winter wonderland awaits with sparkling snow-capped trees and warming huts dotting the trail. The huts that are not only architecturally stunning, but kept us sheltered from the wind when we stopped to have a break and admire the breathtaking views. (They make a pretty fun photo op too.)
The Forks hosts an annual competition where architects from around the world are invited to compete in an all-out battle for ice domination. (It may only be a little less intense than that).
Our favourite was a cluster of red-carpet-like blankets dangling from a bridge and flapping in the wind. Enjoy the sensation of feeling whisked away as you grab one and wrap yourself in its fuzzy warmth, creating a cozy cocoon.
Stroll down the trail to the west and you will enter a lime-green nirvana. The hut almost looks super-imposed on top of the white backdrop of the trail.
If you’re in need of a heat recharge, throw some wood on a fire to warm those hands, or stop into The Forks Market for a hot chocolate or a cappuccino.
On Sundays, stop into Arctic Glacier Winter Park (appropriately named, to be sure) for free horse-drawn wagon rides. Then, join aboriginal elders in making bannock and traditional art inside a teepee, and finally, strap on your snowboard and get some tips from the pros at the snowboard run.
If you’re more of an indoors dweller, then head inside The Forks Market and Johnston Terminal where you can pick up local art, gourmet treats and indulge in a vast array of culinary offerings from around the world. Book a romantic table for two at Sydney’s at the Forks, where wide windows offer views of the action on the river, as you clink your Merlot-filled crystal.
The Mister and I agree heading to The Forks is a perfect way to embrace winter, so grab that special loved one or the whole family for a memorable day. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a camera--you’re going to want to use it!
Only in The Peg Chronicles the adventures of the peg family–Missus, Mister and Lil’ Peg as they discover everything there is to see and do in Winnipeg. Follow them at @tourismwpg on Twitter or visit them on Facebook. For even more info on Winnipeg, visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com.