Ask just about anyone about the first thing that comes to mind when they hear “St. Norbert” and I’d bet you anything that the first response would be the farmers’ market. That the lively Saturday Saint-Norbert Farmers’ Market – also open on Wednesdays – is one of the highlights of this bilingual community just beyond the Perimeter is undeniable. But just beyond the market, there are a few other points of interest that are not only worth a visit, but make for a great day trip with the family. The next time you’re sitting idly at home wondering where next to wander on Manitoba’s map, enter Saint-Norbert as the next location into your GPS with these ideas to help you plot your journey.
St. Norbert Farmers’ Market
It goes without saying, really. Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market is a must! The vendors are a warm bunch, quick to answer your questions and even offer you a few green thumb tips for your own planting ambitions. Wondering what you can pick up at this farmers’ market? Just about any and everything. The list is endless! The breads are delicious, the preserved goodies are to die for, the eggs come by the dozen or more, depending on how many mouths you have to feed, and the meats are local and conveniently prepackaged. Of course, this is a day trip, so be sure to pack a cooler to store your purchases as you continue exploring. If you’re looking for something quick and ready-made, Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market is the place for good grub and The Red Ember is the stop for great pizza!
Next stop: Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park
The ruins are all that remain of this once grand edifice, but they are stunning in any light. For the last few weeks of spring each year, Shakespeare in the Ruins breathes new life into the old structure with matinee and evening theatre performances. Of course, you don’t need the excuse of a play to head out to the old monastery, the grounds are inviting, enveloped by nature with several walking paths, and picture-perfect opportunities. The St. Norbert Arts Centre, set in one of the site’s old monastic buildings just behind the ruins leads to a cultural and historical oasis and a beautiful garden where you can sit quietly and just take it all in.
On to next: Aurora Farm
Even if your visit to Aurora Farm is all about curiosity, something about this special place will make you want to stay on just a little bit longer. It’s guaranteed to be a hit among animal lovers, especially animal-loving kids. There are horses, alpacas, goats, chickens and gardens, which are in full bloom during the summer months. The farm is only open on the weekends, and is a natural progression from the market and the monastery on your journey through these parts.
Final destination: La Barriere Park
I’d be the first one to admit that I was sceptical about going to this park. After driving for what seemed like an eternity, I kept asking myself if La Barriere Park would indeed be worth the journey. Turned out it was! This park is as expansive as it is well maintained, with trails enough to get you lost, or on your way to discovering something new. This is also the perfect place to bring your pet along to roam along the edge of the creek, while you set yourself up for a day of fishing its waters. The views here are stunning and the footbridge is as Insta-worthy as it gets. On the day I visited, La Barriere Park also held the pleasant surprise of a cricket match in full swing, which, of course, was the perfect culmination of this fan girl’s day.