From luxury to joie de vivre, Winnipeg offers up culture, history and relaxation all perfect for creating your ultimate 48-hour getaway.
This fall, we're featuring an amazing collection of road trips that will help you explore every corner of Manitoba. Of course, no visit to the province is complete without exploring its capital city, Winnipeg, located on Treaty 1 territory. Once you've checked out our one day itinerary, tack on another day with these additional suggestions.
St. Boniface is home to the largest francophone community in Western Canada. When you visit this Winnipeg neighbourhood, you'll find history, architecture and culture lining the streets. The neighbourhood was once its own city but was amalgamated into Winnipeg in 1972. Now it's linked to Downtown and The Forks by the Esplanade Riel. So take a walk across the bridge and feel the passion for culture, food and art as you explore St. Boniface.
Musée Saint Boniface Museum is in the oldest building in Manitoba. Built more than 170 years ago, the building was originally a Grey Nuns Convent and was used as a hospital, orphanage and school. Now, it is full of Francophone history and art, including a permanent exhibit on Louis Riel which houses artifacts of great importance that belonged to Riel or were closely linked or inspired by his life. On your way out, stop on the lawn to admire the bronze bust of the Métis leader, sculpted by Franco-Manitoban artist Réal Bérard in 1989.
The Saint Boniface Cathedral is an architectural gem in the heart of the neighbourhood, less than a block from the museum. 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 makes for a stunning photograph. Louis Riel's tombstone sits neatly at the northern edge of the cemetery in front of the Cathedral, where a plaque informs visitors about his life and legacy.
Maison Gabrielle Roy
For more "recent" history, visit La Maison Gabrielle Roy. The building is the original home of the Franco-Manitoban author. Her hometown and the house itself is featured and described throughout much of her work. If you are at all interested in learning more about this French literary legend, the house-turned-museum is worth a visit. It's open year round by reservation.
In St. Boniface it's easy to start your day right. Grab a croissant (or an entire box of cinnamon buns, croissants, danishes, muffins – you get the point) at La Belle Baguette. The bakery, located on Ave de la Cathédrale, is owned by Winnipeg-born pastry chef Alix Loiselle who has baked in restaurants across the country. The expertise comes through in each bite, whether you're eating a classic buttery croissant or indulging in a sweeter flavour like the apricot or almond croissants.
Then head to Café Postal on Provencher Boulevard. This small coffee shop will keep your tummy warm and happy all morning. They've got the bases covered when it comes to coffee and tea, serving everything from matcha to cold brew coffee to hot chocolate and much more besides.
Assiniboine Park & Zoo
A day spent at the Assiniboine Park Zoo is an absolute necessity for all types of travellers. Step into the Wapusk Lowlands, where some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals, including owls, Arctic fox, caribou and wolves dwell. Walk through the entrance to the arctic tunnel and be amazed by swimming polar bears overhead and playful seals. After meeting the animals at the zoo, spend some time in Assiniboine Park’s compelling Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, or take the kids to the fabulous Nature Playground.
Winnipeg Art Gallery
This iconic building in downtown Winnipeg features a modernist design and more than 27,000 works of art inside its walls. It is home to the largest collection of Inuit art in the world and will soon open the WAG Inuit Art Centre in late 2020. Browse the galleries where local Manitoba and Canadian artists are at the forefront, along with international works representing various cultures, centuries and mediums. The WAG is also home to one of the most sought-after gift shops in the city.
New in 2021 is the Winnipeg Art Gallery's stunning new addition, Qaumajuq. The architecture was inspired by Canada's nothern landscape and will be home to more than 14,000 pieces of Inuit art.
The first of its kind in the world, it offers a space where Inuit voices are held front and centre. Through stories and community its aim is not only to create a vibrant gathering place but a true path to reconciliation. This accessible space combines art and technology to create direct connections to the land, people, and culture of the North.
An outdoor oasis set in a quiet nook of the city, don't miss on of Winnipeg's best spas. The signature Thermal Experience is the ultimate way to relax, and follows a hot-cold-rest cycle. The spa can be enjoyed in any season; and is a different experience depending on when you go. Steam rises over the dreamy temperate and hot pools, while the Polabër cold pool and the Icebër waterfall beckon only the brave. Wander into the indoor spaces for your hot cycles and enjoy a variety of dry saunas (don’t miss the Aufguss ritual) and steam rooms. During the rest period, lay down on a slab of hot rock or lean back on a heated seat and be soothed into a slumber with the aid of relaxing music overhead. Firepits are located throughout the facility for s’more roasting and relaxation. Feel the sand between your toes on the new forest beach where you can lounge in a cushioned chair or hammock.
Finish your day of relaxation at Resto where you can enjoy delicious food sourced from fresh and local ingredients, all from the comfort of your robe. Treat yourself to a smorrebrod, hygge bowl or a hearty Thermea burger and wash it down with bubbly.