Festival season has come early to Manitoba. And why shouldn’t it? Our prairie winters are the perfect backdrop for festival fun, especially when said festivals involve plenty of outdoor activities. Your first stop is at The Great Ice Show for an ice party unlike any other, followed by Brandon’s cultural Winterfest. By night, head to the Big Fun Festival taking place at a variety of venues throughout Winnipeg. This week is going to be an absolute blast. Here’s what’s hot…

Wander through an icy wonderland at The Great Ice Show

The Great Ice Show

Starting January 25
The Forks

It’s finally here! After much anticipation, the Forks has been transformed into an icy wonderland that you have to see to believe. Explore every inch of this artistic achievement and see a wide variety of sculpted animals, a huge toboggan slope, igloos and an enormous ice replica of the Manitoba Legislative Building! There’s something for everyone at The Great Ice Show, including workshops, weekly activities, fireworks, DJ’s and an ice bar.

Big Fun Festival

Big Fun Festival Winnipeg

January 27 to 31
Various venues

Winnipeg’s annual winter music festival is back! The best of Manitoba’s current and upcoming artists, as well as impressive acts from across Canada, are featured in this 5 day festival of multiple genres and styles. The Big Fun Festival brings together the two things that Winnipeg is most known for: our rich artistic community, and our great winters. Don’t miss it!

Skate down the Red River Mutual Trail

Red River Mutual Trail

The Forks

Take in the picturesque sights of Winnipeg as you’ve never seen them before, from the frozen Red River! Venture out to The Forks to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities: skating, walking, curling, hockey, family activities, historic interpretation, cycling, broom ball, and much more.

Savour winter in Riding Mountain National Park

Riding Mountain National Park in winter

Riding Mountain National Park

Awaken your senses and chart your own amazing experiences on the many trails awaiting you in Riding Mountain National Park. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skate-skiing, traction kiting, and sleigh rides will take you to places that are deeply moving and beautiful. Connect with nature and with yourself when you embrace winter and all the rewarding ways you can interact with the season.

Grab dinner and a movie at FortWhyte Alive

FortWhyte Alive Dinner and a Movie

January 30
FortWhyte Alive

Gather in the balmy passive solar greenhouse of FortWhyte Alive for a relaxing night of the classic dinner and movie combo. Fill your belly with veggie chili from Diversity Foods before settling down for a screening of Michael Pollan’s ‘In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto’. Can you say perfect date night?

Roadtrip to Hecla Island

Hecla Island

Don’t wait until summer to see the beautiful Hecla Island. Hit the road and head to the Hecla Lakeview Resort for a winter weekend getaway. Once there, take to the trails with snowshoes or cross country skis, then head to the Salka Spa for some much-needed you time. For more information on this Manitoba staycation, check out Shel Zolkewich’s Hecla Island adventure!

Visit an indoor farmers market

Downtown Farmers Market Winnipeg

January 28
Manitoba Hydro Place

Long after the Farmers’ Markets of summer have packed up their goods and left for the season, the Downtown Farmers’ Market heads indoors for once a month shopping! The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s popular farmers’ market offers fresh baking, vinegar, jams, spices, meat, sauces, fruits, vegetables and preserves.

Get loud at Monster Jam

Monster Jam Winnipeg

January 30 and 31
MTS Centre

Get your motor runnin’ cause Maple Leaf Monster Jam is returning to Winnipeg for three BIG shows! Watch in awe as twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines tear through the MTS Centre. Monster Jam is the most exciting form of family motorsports entertainment on the planet. The larger-than-life machines will bring you to your feet as they race and rip through a custom-designed track full of obstacles. This year’s exhilarating lineup includes Bounty Hunter, Monster Mutt and Midnight Rider.

Feel alive at the New Music Festival

New Music Festival Winnipeg

January 23 to 29
Various locations

The 25th year will be a huge milestone for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival, the leading voice of of new music in North America. The festival is marked with 3 world premieres from past composers-in-residence as well as new American voices and a commission from Stephen O’Malley.

Put on your dancing shoes at Billy Elliot: The Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical Winnipeg

January 12 to February 6
John Hirsch Mainstage

Be inspired by the story of a boy who defies the odds and realizes his dreams in Billy Elliot the Musical. You will be dazzled by Billy, a young boy in UK destined to follow his father and brother to work in the coal mines until he discovers the exciting world in ballet. Featuring music by Elton John and incredible dance sequences, Billy Elliot The Musical is set to be the Royal MTC’s largest production of the year.

Get a taste of our multicultural mosaic at Winterfest

Brandon Winterfest

January 28 to 30

If you thought Folklorama was Manitoba’s only multicultural festival, you’re dead wrong. Head to Brandon for their annual multicultural mosaic, featuring venues and pavilions from the Ukranian, Chinese, Scottish, Irish, Mauritius, Metis, English and Brazil people. Food, drink, free admission, music, entertainment and a friendly atmosphere make Winterfest one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Celebrate 100 years of the vote

Nice Women Don't Want the Vote Manitoba Museum

November 5, 2015 to April 10, 2016
Manitoba Museum

On January 28, 1916, the Manitoba Legislature amended the Manitoba Election Act and for the first time in Manitoba’s history, some (but not all) women could vote in provincial elections. With the 100th anniversary of this event, the Manitoba Museum’s brand new exhibit, “Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote,” outlines the causes, contradictions and people involved. Check out the exhibit over the weekend to sit in a complimentary presentation from 1 to 4pm. Don’t miss this unique glimpse into the suffragist movement!

Participate in a hardwater fishing derby


January 30
Oak Lake

Oak Lake is the place to be for hard water fishing this week. Get your fish on at the 6th annual Oak Lake Ice Fishing Derby! The top prize is $10,000 for catching the tagged fish with $3000 in guaranteed prizes.

Skate, slide and snowboard at The Forks

Arctic Glacier Winter Park

Open Daily
The Forks, Winnipeg

Head down to The Forks for the official celebration of winter at Arctic Glacier Winter Park! Skate on the many trails, slide down the toboggan run, or try your tricks in the professionally designed Snowboard Fun Park.

Dive into the world of Canadian air pioneers

Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

On until January 31
Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

In the 1920’s and 30’s, cold weather was an enormous obstacle for aerial access to the North. Now until the end of the month, head to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and dive into the lives of Canada’s air pioneers and the cold-weather transport airplanes that formed the foundation of today’s northern air industry.