Header Photo by Kristhine Guerrero (@gyk26)
The temperature is dropping in Manitoba but that doesn't mean you have to stay inside and wait for winter to end. With all the activities happening in Saint Boniface over the winter, you've got so many opportunities to get up and move, warm your body and your heart, and realize that winter in Winnipeg is a wonder. Here are 10 things to do in Saint Boniface this winter.
1. Saint Boniface Museum
Saint Boniface Museum is in the oldest building in Manitoba. Built more than 170 years ago, the building was used as a hospital and orphanage before it was transformed into the cornerstone museum for Francophone history in Winnipeg. You'll experience an important part of Manitoban, Francophone and Métis heritage and culture as you walk through the exhibits in this historic building.
2. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Just a few steps from the Provencher bridge, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights rises above the buildings of Winnipeg's downtown. The museum offers a diverse range of exhibits, from Canadian Journeys to Inspiring Change. With 10 permanent galleries and a handful of temporary exhibits, the CMHR can and should be visited again and again. In the calm, welcoming environment of the CMHR, visitors can also take time to reflect on the difficult issues addressed throughout the museum's galleries.
Before you leave, make your way up the tower of hope for an extraordinary view of Winnipeg, enjoy a delicious local meal from ERA bistro and shop the ethically produced and fair-trade products in the boutique.
3. Saint Boniface Cathedral
The Saint Boniface Cathedral is an architectural gem in the heart of the neighbourhood. The current church was built in 1971 after a devastating fire burned the majority of the previous church. The old facade from 1894 still stands tall in front of the modern building. The combination of new and old is unique architecturally and shows an important part of the history of the church and Saint Boniface as a whole.
4. Santa's Village
The first half of December offers an exciting experience for the whole family at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain. Bring your kids to Santa's village where you'll meet the elves of the North Pole, taste some of Mrs. Clause's cookies, watch a special Christmas performance and of course meet Santa! The decorations and activities are sure to put you in the holiday mood.
5. La LIM improv
There's nothing that'll make you crack up more than improv theatre. Anything could happen, at any moment! Every Friday night from October to April, players from the french improvisation league of Manitoba (la LIM) jump in the arena to test their wit, push the boundaries of imagination and of course, make the audience laugh. You'll be able to vote for your favourite team and help them make it to finals at the end of the season.
6. Tourisme Riel
Tourisme Riel is where everything comes together. Stop by the visitor information centre at 219 Provencher Blvd to get details about upcoming events, activities and everyday highlights in the Francophone community in Winnipeg.
Even if you aren't looking for information, the architecture of the building alone is worth a stop. Tourisme Riel's offices are in the old Saint Boniface city hall, built in 1905. The building was used as a city hall until Saint Boniface amalgamated with Winnipeg in 1972.
7. Maison des Artistes Visuels Francophones
In the old Saint Boniface city hall you'll also find a small art gallery. The Maison des Artistes Visuels Francophones has a rotating exhibit space that features art pieces that work with Manitoba's Francophone community. The gallery also oversees the sculpture garden. Filled with contemporary art in different mediums, don't miss this outdoor space filled with art on your way out.
8. Promenade Taché and La Vérendrye Park
For history buffs, Saint Boniface has many monuments that represent important historical moments in Franco-Manitoban culture. The plaques along Promenade Taché, a walking path that runs along the banks of the Red River, mark and describe the historic arrival of the Grey Nuns and Oblates and their impact on Saint Boniface. La Vérendrye Park also holds an important monument dedicated to Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de La Vérendrye, a French Canadian explorer, who is often seen as a representation of French fur traders in Manitoba.
9. Festival du Voyageur
This is the hottest place to be in the coldest month of winter! Whittier Park welcomes thousands of Francophones and Francophiles for a week in February for Festival du Voyageur. Come discover or re-discover French music for all ages, taste traditional Franco-Manitoban dishes and shop local goods in the souvenir tent.
Wander around to admire the elaborate snow sculptures dotted throughout the festival grounds, grab a sled and shoot down the toboggan slide at full speed, or make your way into a tent to dance (or watch others dance) the Red River jig.
10. Next Level Escapes
Escape rooms are a great way for families and friends to create memories that will last. Next Level Escapes in Saint Boniface puts your entire group into a room for one hour with the goal of solving puzzles in order to escape. High pressure situations like this can bring out the best and the worst in people but even if there is a bit of tension, at the end of the day there will be guaranteed laughs to release it.