Sweeping prairie skies, vast fields and cold winters are often the stereotypes that come to mind when people think of Winnipeg, Manitoba. However, there are many other associations Canada’s seventh most populous city is famed for too. For instance, it is called the ‘cultural cradle of Canada’, a ‘cosmopolitan city with an innovative arts scene’ and a place that’s ‘home to a diverse community where more than 100 different languages are spoken.’ Suffice to say, there is a lot to see and do here – especially during the winter season.
Why is winter so great in Winnipeg? Well, quite simply because Winnipeggers are famed for making a big celebration of the season (you don’t get monikers like ‘Winterpeg’ and the ‘Christmas Capital of Canada’ for no reason). A huge part of the city’s culture and environment is shaped by the snowy time of year, and one look at the exciting events lined up for the coming months is sure to prove that.
What’s Happening in Winnipeg This Winter
Winter Fun at The Forks
Yes the prairie fields are abundant here, but so are the rivers. Specifically, The Forks National Historic Site, located at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, is one of the most famed river sites in the nation all year round. An integral trading and meeting place for citizens and visitors for over 6,000 years, the site has been a hub for early traders, hunters, settlers, railway pioneers and, nowadays, more than four million visitors annually.
During the winter visitors can enjoy the Arctic Glacier Winter Park with 1.2 kilometres of skating trails, a toboggan run, the skate-through Great-West Life Snowman Lane or the professionally designed Snowboard Fun Park. Just make sure you check their website: www.theforks.com for updates as many of the attractions are weather dependant or are under construction.
Christmas with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
December 7 – December 9, 2012
With tons of performances throughout the season, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is the perfect place to take in some of the best yuletide spirit in town. If you’re in the mood for some caroling, check out their ‘WSO Pops: Barenaked Ladies – Hits and Holiday Songs’ as one of Canada’s most famous bands performs their hits along with popular Christmas carols.
Festival of Trees and Lights
Since 1988, this event has brightened up Winnipeg by letting citizens and companies decorate trees or wreaths that are raffled off for a good cause. Since its inception, the festival has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities with all decorated trees and wreaths displayed in the centre of downtown Winnipeg.
November 27 – December 9
Festival du Voyageur
February 15 – February 24
As Western Canada’s largest winter festival, the Festival du Voyageur is a non-stop family-friendly event that draws in visitors from around the country. Celebrating Canada’s fur trade history with historical exhibits, shows, and entertainment, this is a distinctly Canadian experience. Held in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, you can expect to see beard, jigging, fiddling, and Louis Riel lookalike contests in addition to snow sculptures, food festivities and more. It’s guaranteed to be a 10-day province wide celebration of heritage, culture and joie de vivre!
Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet
December 20 – December 30
Perhaps the most famed performance for the holiday season, ‘The Nutcracker’ is a must-see for any dance enthusiast. Performed by Canada’s legendary Royal Winnipeg Ballet, you can see the popular fairytale performed by the nation’s best ballet stars.
Whether you’re in the city to visit historic buildings and landmarks, or to experience the diverse and exciting arts scene, Winnipeg is most certainly a must-see winter wonder this season – especially if you’re looking for some snowy fun!
To book a stay a Sandman Hotel & Suites Winnipeg Airport, to see current Hot Deals, room rates and more, click here: www.sandmanhotels.ca/hotels/winnipeg/