Let’s get lit: make your Winnipeg winter shine with these events
Yes, there are few daylight hours during winter in Winnipeg. But life doesn’t have to feel dark. Here are a few shining examples of how you can light up your winter in Winnipeg.
Take a trip to the illuminated Polar Town - Wander through an abundance of installations at Assiniboine Park’s Zoo Lights Festival, which brings to life the mystical Polar Town.
Take a stroll down Vandenbergs Lovers Lane, the most romantic lightscape found in town; enter the Icy Forest, where thousands of LED lights create a magical experience in the dense trees; and don’t forget to stop in and say, “hello” to Mayor Freezin’, who will provide you a warm welcome to the town.
In addition to the spectacular light displays, Zoo Lights Festival will feature over 400 actors, family friendly concerts, a Third + Bird market and a variety of entertainment like bingo nights, craft stations and themed nights hosted by Folklorama, and Winnipeg Folk Fest.
Get your entry ticket to Polar Town here.
Share a story by the fire - The sparkling snow that blankets the 640 acres of FortWhyte Alive will surely brighten up your day, but nothing lights up the winter like this urban oasis’ fireside activities. Pull up a stump for some storytelling around a roaring flame, roast a marshmallow or two, and try your hand at roasting bannock after playing some voyageur games. Or, strap on some snowshoes and a headlamp for a full moon hike through seven km of softly groomed trails that wind past frozen ponds.
Don’t feel like freezing in the elements? FortWhyte Alive has some cozy indoor special activities like weaving your own wall hanging, and creating willow wreaths, ornaments, stocking stuffers, candle holders and home decor using recycled materials.
Click here for a full events calendar.
Snap a selfie under a twinkling arch – Glide through the blissful beauty of winter across The Forks’ one km of on-land skating trails. Once the sun goes down, make sure to stop under the lit archway and the strings of lights on The Forks Historic Rail Bridge (even during the day this is a super Insta-worthy spot to stop). Perfect your pirouette on the Rink Under the Canopy while a DJ spins some sounds to pulsating lights, or join a game of shinny in front of the lit WINNIPEG sign on the Hockey Rink at CN Stage.
Finish off with a specialty latte at Fools & Horses, grab a beer or wine flight at The Common, or indulge in the sweet sweets of Jenna Rae Cakes all inside The Forks Market.
The LEG gets lit with a little help from its Manitoba 150 friends (and the Grey Cup too!) – The countdown to Manitoba 150 is on, and the host committee is kicking things off in bright and shiny style on the Manitoba Legislative Grounds on Saturday, December 14 with Illuminate 150. Not only will you see 300,000 LED lights turn on to illuminate the city’s most stately building, but they are also bringing out some outstanding entertainment too, including X Games snowmobile freestyle athletes who will be soaring through the air while whipping around their sleds.
Another special guest will be the Grey Cup (ahem, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Grey Cup #ForTheW), which you can take your picture with starting at 3 p.m. There will also be hot chocolate, free Manitoba 150 gloves for the first 1500 people, Santa and more. Here’s all the deets.
Manitoba’s largest drive-thru light show – Canad Inns Winter Wonderland is a holiday tradition that sees you and your crew comfortably cruising past one million lights that make up 26 different themed areas. The 2.5 km track winds its way through Red River Exhibition Park, while along the route stop you can stop for a skate at the outdoor rink, pull over for a bucket of mini donuts and hot chocolate, or bundle up to take a free horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Tickets are available at the gate, but you can grab a sweet discount by purchasing advance tickets here.
If the weather is looking frightful and you have kids in tow, head to the basement of the Bay downtown, where you’ll find half a million lights, Santa, a mini playground area, food vendors, craft vendors, a bar from Little Brown Jug and plenty of pretty spots to take a self await.
Lights of the North Indoor Christmas Market has all of this, along with live entertainment and face painting from now until Jan. 5, 2020. Here’s more info on times and tickets, which you’ll want to save on by buying in advance.
For something a bit quainter and quirkier, check out the hidden gem Manitoba Electrical Museum and Education Centre, which is located right behind the older Manitoba Hydro building on Taylor Avenue in Grant Park. They have a groovy new exhibit on from now until Jan. 4 called All that Glows: Then and Now, which is a showcase of Christmas light displays and technology running all the way from the Gilded Age/Second Industrial Revolution to the present.
Admission is just $3, while the Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.