Spring is most definitely in the air, and this week we're shining the spotlight on all the activities offered by Tourisme Riel to get out there and enjoy it! Though another successful Festival du Voyageur is over, there's no shortage of things to do and explore any day of the week in the city's French Quarter, Saint-Boniface.
Explore the Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM), which offers diverse cultural programming for all ages and tastes, and houses many groups that contribute to the artistic vitality of the franco-manitobain community right here in the city, . You can come listen to Winnipeg's finest jazz musicians every Tuesday at Mardi Jazz, watch French movies (with English subtitles) on the second Saturday of each month, take dance classes, and see exhibits at La Galerie year-round, to name just a few activities! You can also access the Heritage Centre and Cercle Molière theatre, the longest-running theatre company in North America, through the CCFM.
If it’s art you’re looking for, there’s also La Maison des Artistes Art Gallery and new outdoor Sculpture Garden, both located at the old St. Boniface City Hall on Provencher, which features works of francophone artists.
You can definitely fill your day with culture in Saint-Boniface, but that doesn't mean you can't fill up your plate! The area is full of fine cuisine, ranging from the local to the international, all infused with a distinctly French flavour. Visit the only restaurant in North America on a bridge, Chez Sophie sur le Pont, atop the Esplanade Riel, and take in dramatic views of The Forks, the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and Saint-Boniface itself. Hit up Promenade Café and Wine to experience French food in a friendly atmosphere with a commitment to local ingredients. Chaise Lounge offers an affordable melange of breakfast, lunch and dinner bistro fare with a focus on local, fresh foods. Enjoy the elegance of Resto Gare, an historical gem located in a hundred-year-old train station, try the fusion of French Canadian and international fare at InFerno's Bistro, or taste a slice of traditional Tourtière accompanied by live music at Le Garage Café. For a complete listing of area restaurants, click here.
The area also offers adventure, architecture and all sorts of engaging historical activities. The Grey Nuns’ convent, Winnipeg’s oldest building, houses Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum. The Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts that reveal the lives and culture of the Francophone and Métis communities of Manitoba, including a special exhibit about Louis Riel, the “father” of Manitoba, containing the largest collection of Riel artifacts in the country!
Once summer rolls around (it's coming!), take in a show at Theatre in the Cemetery, which will be presenting two plays in July and August: In Riel's Footsteps, a unique theatrical tour of the St. Boniface Cathedral cemetery, and Chasse-galerie, Quebec's best known folklore tale. Performances in French and English are available. If you can't wait until then, visit the beautiful St. Boniface Cathedral, which is undergoing renovations and an exciting new direction, including events like a concert series in March and April. For more information, check out the Tourisme Riel website.
Soon enough, Tourisme Riel will be offering their renowned guided walking tours, the first of which will be offered twice daily from Victoria Day to Labour Day (and on request at other times of the year). Find out about the people, buildings and events that have shaped today's Old St. Boniface and discover the community's unique architecture, atmosphere and charm. You can also take in a free guided tour of the St. Boniface Cathedral and grounds every Saturday from June 2 to September 1, where you can walk through history, learn about the cathedrals and the fires that destroyed them, and discover the resting place of some of Manitoba's greatest heroes.
Other options to learn about the area's rich history in new, interactive ways include GPS Adventures. Designed for groups, these allow for the discovery of interesting areas through a scavenger-hunt type activity. And for those with a penchant for pirating (or geocaching), go seek out treasure with several caches in the area ready to be hunted down! Not to worry if you don't own a GPS unit—the Provencher location rents them out, and also offers lessons on how to use them.
Whether you're looking for history, architecture, fun activities with the family, arts, culture, or great eats, Tourisme Riel and the Saint-Boniface area has it all. Grab your spring jacket and enjoy the balmy weather, and go explore this vibrant area of the city!
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.