Last week my family and I took a long weekend jaunt to participate in some family activities in Winnipeg, Manitoba. While I have been to Quebec City and my husband has been to Niagara Falls, Ontario, the kids hadn’t been to Canada yet. We packed out luggage and passport ID and off we went. The trip was a great time especially because we stayed busy doing things the kids enjoyed. Here are a few ideas for what to do on your visit to Winnipeg.
Winnipeg history. For my family, it’s not a true travel experience unless we dig into the destination’s history, at least a bit. We feel it’s important to learn how the town or city came to be, understand the roots of the people and discover what makes the region special. We don’t have to spend days immersed in the past, but I really like the kids to learn something. We certainly feel we found it at Lower Fort Garry. The Fort is approximately a 45 minute drive from our hotel, the Clarion, in Winnipeg but once you arrive you feel as if you’ve stepped back to another time period, the 19th century in fact. This Hudson’s Bay Company post boasts the oldest stone fur trading post still intact in North America. But what really adds to the ambiance are the costumed interpreters who bring the fort to life as they re-enact the lifestyle and events of mid-1800s. We were extremely lucky to visit during October when the haunted tours are offered. Eying moving silhouettes in the windows, ghosts floating in a meadow and items flying off of counters is especially spooky as we roamed this historic landmark at night. The tour we took was family-friendly, but the later tours are far scarier.
Paint your own pottery. In addition to bringing home memories and cultural understanding, my family travels we make it point to pick out the perfect souvenirs from our destination. Usually items like picture frames and Christmas ornaments end up packed in our suitcases. Lucky for us we were able to bring both from Winnipeg. But more than that we had the opportunity to paint our own at Brushfire Studios. Our children selected little boxes for their treasures. I couldn’t believe the wide assortment of pottery options available: plates, mugs, espresso cups and saucers, clocks, piggy banks, hooks, ornaments, jewelry boxes, picture frames and more. My husband did a nice job on his ornament and I had fun painting a road trip themed picture frame.
Classic train ride. Prairie Dog Express has been owned and operated by the Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. since 1970 and it boasts one of the oldest running steam locomotives in Canada. All of the coaches are nearly 100 years old and the station is over 100 years old. The Prairie Dog Express departs daily and runs March through September. The train departs from Inkster Junction Station up to Gross Isle and Warren, an estimated 20 miles. Volunteers work the the locomotive and make the experience happen. Their passion is apparent as they greet and entertain passengers. Stained-glass, old-fashioned seats and the hum of the tracks once again brought us back to a slower time and yet revealing another slice of Winnipeg’s history.
Thank you Travel Manitoba for assisting in some of the expenses of our adventure.