A decade in Manitoba: 10 highlights from the last 10 years

Posted December 20, 2019 | Author Kit Muir

As the heart of Canada, life beats through Manitoba's veins every day. We live vibrantly and strive for positive change. Looking back over the last ten years, we’re amazed by how many things have changed and grown in our province. We can't list all of the great accomplishments and advancements we've seen this decade (there are just too many to count!) but here are few highlights from the past decade (and some of our predictions for the next ten years).

1. Amazing architecture

Last ten years:

Today, no travel itinerary or visit to Manitoba would be complete without a stop at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. But ten years ago, the museum was just an idea. The CMHR has become an icon for Manitoba, and has changed Winnipeg’s skyline in a significant way. It’s impossible to miss this glass cloud, shaped to mimic the wings of a dove and the soaring Tower of Hope as it rises 100 m into the air providing a 360-degree view of the entire city. It’s the most significant change in Winnipeg and Manitoba’s architecture in recent years.

Another new addition to Winnipeg's architecture was Investors Group Field, the now home turf of the Blue Bombers, Valour FC and the University of Manitoba Bisons.

More has been added and changed across the province as well. Older buildings are being re-vamped to house new and exciting businesses without losing the original charm of the city or neighbourhood. Just one example is Prairie Firehouse in Brandon, where the old firehall, originally built in 1911, has been transformed into a bustling restaurant.

Next ten years:

We expect to see many more architectural wonders pop up across our prairie landscape in the next few years. Maybe a floating beluga whale inspired building? Have we reached that point of "the future" yet?

2. Animals & our environment

Last ten years:

Though The Forks existed long before 2010, their strides toward reducing their environmental impact over the last few years have been remarkable. Target Zero is The Forks' ambitious commitment to the environment (zero garbage, zero waste water, zero carbon emissions), and one of the destination's most impressive design feats is the nearly century-old market building retrofitted with a geothermal heating and cooling system.

The Forks recognizes that 80% of their waste from market vendors and on-site restaurants is compostable, so they've installed a very sophisticated Biovator (an in-vessel composter) on site to put all that waste to good use in their gardens. The Forks is so committed to educating the public that they developed an eco walking tour for school-aged kids that takes curious minds around their property to see and touch urban sustainability in action.

The opening of Journey to Churchill at the Assiniboine Park Zoo was another great move into the world of climate change education and wildlife research. In the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre you'll discover facts and see interesting displays about the arctic ecosystem and how it's changing with the climate.

Next ten years:

We predict The Forks reaches their goal and becomes a zero waste site. We also see bigger engagement in environmental action from Manitobans across the province. Let's keep our prairies clean and our animals happy!

3. Super sports

Last ten years:

We’ve had a hat trick decade for sports in Manitoba. First, we saw the Winnipeg Jets return to Manitoba in 2012, bringing back our beloved NHL team and giving us new reasons to celebrate winter and hockey at the whiteout parties. Then, we got our own Canadian Premiere League soccer team - Valour FC who have gained strong support from Manitobans over their first two seasons. And of course most recently, the Blue Bombers brought the Grey Cup to Winnipeg after almost two decades without it.

We’ve also seen a jump in inventive winter sports with the invention of Crokicurl (a mix of crokinole and curling at the Forks) and a growing love for wintery sports like skijoring and yoga in the snow.

We also had the great pleasure of hosting the 50th Canada Games and welcoming young athletes from across the country to come compete in Winnipeg.

Next ten years:

We predict the Stanley Cup will come home to Manitoba, it’s our time! Go Jets go! We’d also love to see more inventive sports — maybe a mix of lacrosse and the frozen fish toss from the Gimli Ice Festival?

4. The rise of local goods

Last ten years:

Local shakers and makers are leaving their mark in Manitoba. We’ve seen many small businesses owners and side hustlers making lovely products that allow us to give locally made gifts to everyone on our shopping list. The increase in craft and trade markets has helped enormously to promote these people and their wares. Third + Bird market has taken the province by storm and continues to grow and spread on their mission to create an exclusive shopping experience with local goods. Then businesses like Flora & Farmer have been able to grow from a market booth to their own storefront.

Next ten years:

Wouldn’t it be great to have everything you need made locally? We sure think so! Our hope for the next ten years is to see our favourite local businesses and makers grow and thrive. And to see even more Manitobans launch businesses that benefit our community.

5. New flavours

Last ten years:

The foodie scene across Manitoba has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade. We’ve seen incredible restaurants establish themselves in our cities. We’ve had a return to Manitoba’s roots with restaurants like Feast Café Bistro, and specialty dinners like Ishkode and a discovery of new flavours with foodie spots like Chaeban Ice Cream and Maque.

Specialty dining experiences have popped up and tingled our tastebuds in new ways. RAW: Almond, a meal served in an architectural wonder on a frozen body of water, had us loving winter in a way we’d never seen and Dan’s Diner, a dining experience under the northern lights connects you with food and nature in Manitoba’s north.

The boom of breweries has also given us the opportunity to sip local Manitoba beer on a warm summer day.

We’ve been so fortunate to see these new tasty places open and welcome us in. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next decade.

Next ten years:

We’ve done dinners on frozen water, now we predict an underwater dining experience! Everyone grab your scuba gear!

6. Camping for all!

Last ten years:

Camping is much more accessible now, even in winter! With yurts in provincial parks around the province and oTENTiks in Riding Mountain National Park, camping is easier for all, and definitely more fun for some of us. Yurts and oTENTiks make great glamping spots for those of us who do not want to venture too far into the wilderness. They offer sturdy walls to protect you from the wind, beds so there’s no sleeping on the hard ground and an area to play games and hang out inside for those in your camping party who aren’t outdoor inclined. And with no tent to wrestle with, you’ve got more time for relaxing.

Next ten years:

Camping on a boat? We've certainly got enough lakes that camping on a boat wouldn't be out of the question. Imagine the cool wind pushing your canoe through the gentle waves as you drift off to sleep. You fall asleep on one side of the lake and wake up on another, ready for an unknown adventure!

7. Setting records

Last ten years:

We’ve had a world record setting decade of world records! Well maybe not quite that many…but we’ve had a great run with some very wacky world records.

Bruce, the pride of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, took home the record for the largest mosasaur on display, Winnipeg claimed the longest naturally frozen skating trail, Narcisse has the largest concentration of snakes, and most recently A Maze in Corn built the world’s largest snow maze. We also lay claim to many of the "world’s biggest" through our well-known roadside attractions — largest wagon wheel, curling rock and Coca-Cola can are just a few examples from around Manitoba.

Next ten years:

Every city and town in Manitoba will hold a world record. There are so many more roadside attractions that could set a world record and so many more roadside attractions that could be built! Our suggestions: biggest bison, polar bear and fat boy burger (how have these not been built yet?!)

8. More room to relax

Last ten years:

Relaxation has been taken to a whole new level in Manitoba over the last decade. The biggest addition was Thermëa of course, the partially outdoor Nordic spa encourages guests to go from hot to cold and back again to jump start the body. It’s great all year round meaning another high point for cold weather fun!

We also saw the addition of Pocca Poca, a spa that brings traditional Japanese Ganban-yoku to Winnipeg. And a very late addition to the decade (just this month in fact) is Sauna Winnipeg, an outdoor sauna experience at The Forks.

Next ten years:

We predict a sauna in every household in Manitoba. Some houses already have them but wouldn't a personal sauna be the perfect way to end a cold winter day?

9. Celebrations galore

Last ten years:

New festivals have popped up and some of our old favourites have celebrated big anniversaries in the last decade. We’ve especially seen a boom in winter events from the most recent Zoo Lights Festival (in its first year right now), to Lights of the North, Holiday Alley and Snowdance Festival — all new festivals that have brought more light and excitement to our winters.

Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama celebrated their 50th anniversaries last year, an accomplishment we’re so proud to have seen this decade.

Next ten years:

We’ve nearly filled every weekend with a major festival somewhere in the province but of course we want to see more! Manitobans should get to spend every weekend celebrating our province if they want to. We predict festivals that celebrate the changing of the leaves in the fall, the melting of the river in the spring and a few new foodie celebrations too.

10. Incredible people

Last ten years:

We’ve welcomed more people from around the world, bringing new food, festivities, languages and cultures to our province. From people who stay for a weekend to people who stay for a lifetime, we’ve seen incredible change in the diversity across Manitoba.

Next ten years:

Our hope for the next ten years is that no matter where you’re from, you’ll feel at home in Manitoba. Even if you’re only here for a quick stop, we want everyone to feel welcome in the heart of Canada.

About The Author

Hi! I'm Kit, a Franco-Manitobaine from the Interlake and a champion of the phrase "there's no place like home." If you see me out exploring the province, say hi! Or reach out at kmuir@travelmanitoba.com.

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