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Manitoba Winter Explorer Guide: 10 spots for enjoying arts & culture

Posted November 08, 2021 | Author Jillian Recksiedler

Manitoba is Canada’s cultural cradle with world-class museums, stellar performing arts groups and a tight-knit creative community - be it musicians, chefs or filmmakers - that call it home. During winter, plan a visit to one of these cultural cornerstones.

A visit to Manitoba means travelling through Treaty 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Territory and through communities who are signatories to Treaties 6 and 10. It encompasses the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Anish-Ininiwak, Dakota, Dene, Ininiwak and Nehethowuk and the homeland of the Métis. To learn more about Manitoba's Treaty areas, click here.

Qaumajuq, Inuit Art Centre, Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg Art Gallery's new addition, Qaumajuq (pronounced kow-ma-yourk), houses more than 14,000 pieces of contemporary Inuit art in a showcase visible vault that reaches three storeys high. The first of its kind in the world, Qaumajuq combines art and technology to create direct connections to the land, people, and culture of Canada’s North.

Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon

This cultural hub along Rosser Avenue is found on the second level of Brandon’s town centre. Free and open to the public, it is worth a visit to AGSM to view the contemporary art exhibits in the main exhibition space, which regularly features works of regional and national artists, including student work from Brandon University. Be sure to browse the cute gift shop, too, for some locally made finds.

Northern Manitoba’s Trappers’ Festival, The Pas/OCN

This venerable cultural festival of Northern Manitoba celebrates 75 years in 2022. The King Trapper Contest is a signature event, where hardy Northerners vy against one another in uniquely Canadian sports such as tree felling, canoe packing, moose calling and trap setting.

Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery, Winnipeg

This nationally recognized leader in contemporary Indigenous art, Urban Shaman is a gem hidden behind the historic facades in the west Exchange District. Admission is free and it is managed entirely by Indigenous artists committed to showcasing the works of emerging, mid-career and established artists.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg

It stands alone as the only museum in the world dedicated to the topic of global human rights issues. Through eye-catching design and poignant, interactive content in ten permanent galleries and two temporary galleries, the CMHR is a reminder of the darkness of days past and a beacon of hope towards a brighter and more just future.

New Icelandic Heritage Museum, Gimli

This signature museum shares the struggles and triumphs of the first Icelanders in the region in 1875. Included are stories about the first Ukrainians in the area as well as the important role of the Indigenous figures, such as John Ramsay, in the survival of these settlers. Save time for a kids' photo op to dress up in Viking garb.

Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg

In recent years, the Manitoba Museum has renovated a few of its core nine galleries, giving Manitobans a reason to return to this family favourite. The updated Prairies Gallery now shares more Indigenous stories with artifacts like a beautiful plains tipi and Red River cabin and cart. The renovated Nonsuch Gallery still showcases the life-size replica of the fur trade vessel that launched the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the new Winnipeg Gallery, learn about notable citizens and capital city pop culture.

Heritage North Museum, Thompson

This cozy log cabin museum is packed with an impressive collection of boreal forest critters and artifacts from the city's more recent mining history. It also honours traditions of the local First Nations with a signature diorama of a birch bark canoe and caribou hide tipi as the centrepiece of the room.

The Forks, Winnipeg

Where the Assiniboine meets the Red River has been a place of cultural exchange for over 6,000 years. Indigenous roots are celebrated in vibrant and modern public art and murals found throughout the site. Recreation like ice skating, snowshoeing and fat biking abound on the frozen river trail, a perennial winter tradition. Head indoors to warm up après skate in The Forks Market, a hub for top food and drink vendors, as well as a treasure trove for independent shops and local makers.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg

Manitoba is very fortunate to be the home of many world-class performing art groups, but none more reputed than the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. RWB is Canada’s oldest ballet institution, so be sure to show some support for this cultural icon when the curtain rises this season for four performances, including holiday favourite The Nutcracker.

Jillian Recksiedler, Travel Manitoba

About The Author

Hi, I'm Jillian, a marketer, communicator, traveller and Manitoba flag waver. Growing up in rural Manitoba during the '80s means I have a penchant for daytrips, maps (the paper kind), and prairie sunsets. I never tire of sharing stories about my home.

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