Here in Winnipeg we don’t just embrace winter, we hug it tight with two gloved hands then shape it up to make one of the most creative cities you’ve ever seen. When our rivers freeze, they become one of the world’s longest skating trails, boasting works of architecture from some of the world’s best designers. We provide the opportunity to get (nearly) nose-to-nose with swimming polar bears, play host to one of the best winter festivals, and have attractions that epitomize the phrase, “winter wonderland.”
Awe-inspiring Winter Experiences
Winnipeg’s number one tourist attraction, The Forks has it all. Get a group together for a game of Crokicurl then rent skates and glide down the Red River Mutual Trail past Warming Huts that have been celebrated in the New York Times, LA Times and countless design publications. Five new huts are on the ice this year, including designs from Berlin and New Jersey, while on January 26 you can see Terje Isungset, an Ice Musician from Norway, perform using ice instruments as part of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival. This will be staged in the brand new Pavilion Sub-Zero, a venue for outdoor pop-up performances (in partnership with Festival du Voyageur) featuring an ice bar. Even more skating and ice can be found on land in the Arctic Glacier Winter Park, where at night you’ll skate under a canopy of lights strung from the trees and archways. On weekends you can participate in horse-drawn wagon rides, attend snow sculpturing sessions, and experience Indigenous storytelling and bannock making inside teepees. Après skate (or simply go for some fabulous dining) inside to The Forks Market where there is a wine, beer and food hall – along with countless shops brimming with local designs like moccasins, candles, art and more.
For 50 years now, Western Canada’s largest winter festival has brought forth 10 days of live music, French food, dancing, ice sculptures, and plenty of family fun with jaunty costumed interpreters who are living the circa-1810s lifestyle within the walls of Fort Gibraltar. This celebration of the fur trade era takes place in St. Boniface – the city’s charming French District – from February 15-24, 2019, while new to this year – along with a few extra special things to celebrate half a century of fun – will be an outdoor ice bar location in the Forks harbour.
This stunning nature reserve – located right inside the city – is a one-stop destination for all things winter, from snowshoeing, to ice fishing, tobogganing, hiking, and countless special events and experiences to enhance your visit. Take a walk in the woods, making sure to catch a glimpse at Canada's only urban bison herd. After, stop in at the Buffalo Stone Café to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or a late lunch.
Celebrated by locals and visitors alike, this Scandinavian spa brings new meaning to total relaxation. Situated in the snow-capped forests of Fort Garry – just a ten-minute drive from downtown – Thermëa is an open-air spa featuring thermal pools, Finnish saunas, luxurious steam rooms, and several relaxation chambers, all of which are enhanced by the colder winter gets. The onsite restaurant – where dining in your robes is mandatory – specializes in holistic (and delicious), locally sourced fare, with an excellent wine, beer and craft cocktail program.
Visit the swimming polar bears, Arctic foxes, muskoxen, caribou, snowy owls and seals at the multi-award winning, Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo, then explore the sprawling setting of the park – where you can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, or ice skating on the duck pond. The Park Café, located in the Qualico Family Centre, does a banging breakfast and lunch, while the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden is simply majestic with a fresh sprinkle of snow.
Manitoba’s “first and only fashion outlet” features more than 100 brands spread across over 400,000 square feet of stylish indoor space. Find the best in brand name fashion at Outlet Collection Winnipeg with retailers like; Kate Spade, Michael Kors Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Saks Off 5th, Calvin Klein, Nike, Under Amour and more! Elevate your shopping experience at this unique property that brings fashion and lifestyle retailers together under one roof.
Chef Mandel Hitzer and architect Joe Kalturnyk’s winter pop-up restaurant (January 24 - February 17, 2019) staged on the frozen Assiniboine River has been celebrated in the New York Times, LA Times, Globe and Mail, Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, Maclean's, and Eater – to name but a few publications – as there is simply nothing else like it in the world. The three-week restaurant brings in renowned chefs from across North America to collaborate in Winnipeg, serving extravagant multicourse meals in a super stylish tent and wood structure right on the ice. It’s so cool that you can literally skate to dinner and proceed to dine in your skates. Tickets are released in December for the event at The Forks on a first-come, first-served basis, with the remainder being sold online.
The world’s largest snow maze (they are waiting for verification from Guinness) is now available for exploration at Amaze in Corn, located just minutes south of Winnipeg. Utilizing over 300 truck-loads of snow, featuring over 1,300 metres of snow-packed walls spanning 2,300 square metres, the maze takes visitors an average of 45 minutes to navigate. Throughout its two-metre tall walls you’ll also find fire pits and various snow sculptures that will help you navigate this wintery labyrinth.
It's an embarrassment of riches this winter for Winnipeg's celebrated performance groups. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet winter season includes Nutcracker (December 19-29) and Romeo & Juliet (February 13-17), while the celebrated Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has dozens of performances from pop, to live film soundtracks to the classics throughout winter. Theatre buffs are in for a treat with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Prairie Theatre Exchange, who have plays being staged seemingly every night, while the Club Regent Event Centre plays host to legendary touring groups and great stand up, with a winter lineup that includes Honeymoon Suite, Jeremy Hotz, Streetheart, Charlie Major and Rick Springfield. Plus, there’s Justin Timberlake (February 4) and Disney on Ice (February 21-24) at the Bell MTS Place.
Puck in The Peg
Winnipeg is hockey crazy, so whether you are looking to catch a game or learn a thing or two about the history of hockey, we have you covered this winter. Both the NHL Winnipeg Jets and the AHL Manitoba Moose call Bell MTS Place home, where you can catch dozens of home games this winter in an atmosphere that is the envy of both leagues. The Moose are a fantastic and affordable option for families and groups, while the Jets – whose games are regularly sold-out – have been tipped by many insiders to win the 2019 Stanley Cup (not to jinx it!). Off the ice, the Manitoba Museum currently has two exciting hockey exhibits, including Manitoba: Heart of Hockey, featuring some priceless artifacts, and Hockey: The Stories Behind Our Passion, a national touring exhibit (both on now until January 13), while the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame always has a top-shelf selection of Winnipeg’s hockey history on display in their gallery.