This is a guest post by Steven Sirski – backpacking writer, director, drummer and English teacher. He has been travelling for over two years now and has had the opportunity to backpack through Western Europe and Southeast Asia, teach English in South Korea, and research his heritage and ancestry in Poland and Ukraine. With a passion to move, he loves to discover new ideas and meet new people all over the world. You can read more about his travels at his website: www.stevensirski.com
By Steven Sirski
Inspired by the Five Things to do in Winnipeg post, I’ve written up another five top things to do in the biggest city in central Canada.
Winnipeg prides itself on having a great music scene and it’s no lie. Unlike their Toronto or Vancouver counterparts, Winnipeg musicians are an isolated bunch which means touring isn’t very economical. As a result, just about everybody in Winnipeg is in a band, or knows somebody in a band. For rock, metal and punk, check out The Royal Albert, The Academy on Osborne, The Zoo or the Pyramid Cabaret. For folk and acoustic fare, coffee shops such as the Ellice Street Theatre, The Academy on Osborne, or McNally Robinson. For jazz, check out the Franco-Manitoba Centre in St. Boniface, McNally Robinson, or the Paragon restaurant downtown. For a variety of musical styles, check out The King’s Head Pub and the West End Cultural Centre.
Winnipeg hosts a variety of sports, particularly football and hockey. The CFL is Canada’s professional football league and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are currently dominating the 2011 season leading to the nickname of “Swaggerville.” One of the biggest match-ups you can catch is the Labour Day Classic or the following week’s Banjo Bowl, so-called because of Troy Westwood, the former place kicker for the Blue Bombers, who called the Saskatchewan folks a bunch of “banjo-picking inbreds,” and thus added more salt and vinegar to an already bleeding wound. The NHL is the North American professional hockey league and the beloved Winnipeg Jets have just returned in 2011. Pride couldn’t be higher as the Jets will face-off for the first time since 1997 at the MTS Centre. Lastly, the Winnipeg Goldeyes are the city’s professional baseball team in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (AAIPB) league.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo
Currently refurbishing their polar bear exhibit, the Assiniboine Park Zoo occupies the entire northern section of the larger Assiniboine Park. Good for a day trip and completely affordable, under $5 entrance! After you’re done petting the animals, check to see if anything’s going on at the Lyric Theatre just behind the Pavilion. Anything from a film festival to music concerts or cultural festivals can be held during the summer.
Take a Tour
Tourism Winnipeg offers several tours all over the city. There are walking tours throughout the Exchange District. You can also take a tour of our Legislative Building, built with a bunch of references to Freemasonry. Like ghosts? There’s a ghost tour. Like music? Take a tour of Winnipeg diverse history of music from Neil Young to Burton Cummings. If you want to extend your musical exposure to Winnipeg, check out the venues above.
Museums and Galleries
Winnipeg doesn’t appear to be a very historical city but the area has been used for thousands of years as
a trading post. Two major rivers, the Red and the Assiniboine, meet to create “The Forks,” where the First Nations and European fur trade
rs met to exchange furs and other goods. The area is now used mainly as a tourist draw with a variety of historical buildings but, opening in 2012, the Museum of Human Rights will focus on human rights issues throughout history and around the world. If you’d like to learn more about the prairies and their environment, check out the Fort Whyte Centre. For historical architecture, check out the Legislative Building or take a walk through the Exchange District. If you’re a fan of fine art, the biggest art gallery in the city is the Winnipeg Art Gallery which hosts local talent in addition to travelling exhibitions. Finally, you could
always check out the place where a portion of Canadian money is made at The Mint!
And that should keep you busy during your stay in Winnipeg!