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 River Trail past Warming Huts that have been celebrated in the New York Times, LA Times and countless design publications. 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.
Winnipeg is home to Western Canada’s largest winter festival. Since 1970, Festival du Voyageur celebrates the fur trade era. The event takes place in St. Boniface – the city’s charming French District – from February 14-23, 2020. You’ll find activities such as an International Snow Sculpture Symposium, children’s activities, a rich heritage program depicting the Fur Trade and concerts from over 115 bands, ranging from traditional French-Canadian fiddle to indie-rock. Roll your own maple taffee or sip Caribou from an ice glass, only at Festival du Voyageur!
Immerse yourself in nature, without leaving the city. FortWhyte Alive 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, snowy owls and seals at the multi-award winning, Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo, which is open daily all winter, 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 sq. ft. 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.
The world’s largest snow maze – as verified by Guinness – can be found just outside of Winnipeg in St. Adolphe, MB. Spanning over 30,000 sq. ft., utilizing over 300 truck-loads of snow, the maze features 1,300 meters of snow-packed walls which stand two-meters (6’6 ft.) tall. The maze takes visitors an average of 45 minutes to navigate, while throughout the labyrinth you’ll encounter fire pits and various snow sculptures that will help you navigate its polar passageways.
It's an embarrassment of riches this winter for Winnipeg's celebrated performance groups. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet winter season includes Nutcracker (December 19-28) and Moulin Rouge (Feb. 26-Mar. 1), 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 The Tenors (Dec 12), Tracy Morgan (Mar. 7) and Howie Mandel (Mar. 27). Plus, there’s The Harlem Globetrotters (Jan. 5), Monster Jam (Jan. 25) and Disney on Ice (Mar. 13) coming up at Bell MTS Place.
Puck in The Peg
There’s no doubt Winnipeg has some of the most passionate hockey fans in the world. The Bell MTS Place roof rattles as the crowd booms, “True North” during the Canadian national anthem at one of the season’s 41 Winnipeg Jets home games, and you’re sure to feel the frenzy when Laine scores yet another hat trick. Hockey fans get equally as pumped for the Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg’s American Hockey League's team, as they take to the ice for some affordable, family fun.