Winnipeg’s Exchange District is already known as the go-to place for hip boutiques, unique finds and locally made goods. It’s oozes historic charm with its turn-of-the-last-century warehouse buildings and throughout the year is the place to be with its patios and outdoor concerts, festivals and events.
Design Quarter Winnipeg has taken the very best of this neighbourhood (along with some other nearby parts of downtown) and compiled them into a curated destination experience. Pick up their map and take yourself on a tour of the best design-focused shops, galleries, restaurants and fashion.
A day in the Design Quarter wouldn’t be complete without picking up some locally made handcrafts or a selection of hip items not found anywhere else in the city. Head to the hidden third floor loft of Winnipeg Makers and Market where several artisans have made their workshop/stores inside this vintage airy space. Pick up macrame and handmade pottery from Mud + Stone or hand sewn men’s shirts from Commonwealth Manufacturing. At U.N. Luggage, they carry a huge assortment of bags, suitcases and other travel essentials. They’re also the only shop in Winnipeg to carry Fjallaraven–a Swedish brand known for their canvas backpacks. Then be sure to pop over to Tiny Feast for a huge selection of gorgeous journals, cards, paper and pens and then to Hut K to make your loft the chicest around town.
This area of the city boasts the highest concentration of galleries and art lovers will happily spend an afternoon wandering through the eclectic mix of talent found in these walls. Cre8ery dubs itself a ‘creative space for creative people’ and offers a wide array of shows including classes and workshops. Pulse Gallery features the work of all Manitoba artists in a beautiful space, while Fleet Galleries specializes in framing and restoration of your most loved pieces. Head to Martha Street Studio for art focused on printmaking, while Ace Art Inc. offers an artist run space of contemporary art. For solo exhibitions of established and emerging artists, head to Lantern Gallery.
Those with a penchant for style know this area of town is the place to be. Head to Hilary Druxman where her handcrafted jewellery exdues high style combined with easy wear. Lennard Taylor offers a high-fashion line of beautiful women’s clothing made with crisp lines and luxury fabric sewn right in the back of his store, while Boutique Anya carries ready-to-wear fashion focused on minimalist design.
After you’re done exploring the shops and galleries of Design Quarter Winnipeg, you’ll probably be a little thirsty and there are plenty of places to choose from. If you’re looking for a coffee fix then head to the arguably most Instagrammed spot in Winnipeg, Forth, for a turmeric latte or to Parlour Coffee on Main Street–this tiny spot is the one that started the city’s hipster coffee movement. For more festive drinks, The Common at The Forks Market serves a variety of beer and wine–be sure to try one of their tasting flights served in a Manitoba keystone holder. Cibo Waterfront Cafe provides stunning views of the river as you sip your martini, while Little Brown Jug is a noteworthy addition to the city’s craft beer movement.
Winnipeg’s top-notch food scene makes no exception for the Design Quarter. Here you will find some of the city’s best places to nosh. Clementine Cafe is arguably the city’s most talked about restaurant with its ridiculously good brunch menu and swoon worthy eggs Benny. If you like your food with a conscious then head to Era Bistro inside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where everything on the menu is local, sustainable or fair trade. Casual eats are to be had at King + Bannatyne for hand-crafted, slow roasted meat sandwiches and Miss Browns for smoked meats and hot pressed sandwiches.