Winnipeg, or ‘Peg’ as the locals call it, is the capital and the largest city of Manitoba’s province. The name comes from the Western Cree, meaning the “muddy water”. Locals refer to it as the “river city” since three beautiful rivers—the Red, the Assiniboine, and the Seine—flow through its neighborhoods. Winnipeg’s cultural scene compares to the biggest Canadian cities—it is home to the famous Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, and Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Winnipeg is situated at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Lake Winnipeg and 95 km (60 miles) to the north of the US state of Minnesota.
The free bus service to major attractions, shopping, and entertainment spots is offered by Winnipeg Transit. Also, if the weather conditions are not suitable for walking outside, a 1.2-mile indoor walkway system will help you get anywhere in the heart of downtown.
The beginning of the city was three forts (built in 1738, 1810, and 1821), formed together with the Red River Settlement. The name “Winnipeg” was taken from Cree Indian words win nippe, which means “muddy water”.
The establishment of the Canadian Pacific, the first Canadian transcontinental railroad, in 1885 led to Winnipeg becoming one of the major arteries for grain market warehousing and transportation. The city remains the headquarters of the grain industry in Canada.
The Forks is an excellent destination at any time of the year. Located at the confluence of the Red and the Assiniboine rivers, The Forks is an entertainment and shopping district assembled in a number of historical buildings. Once a railway repair facility, this set of buildings were reconstructed into numerous shops, restaurants, and museums.
This recent addition to Winnipeg’s cultural scene is recognized for its state-of-the-art design and unique concept in refracting human rights around the world and Canada. It holds six levels and 11 galleries telling the stories behind human rights. In addition to these expositions, there’s the Israel Asper Tower of Hope which provides one of the best views of the city.
The Manitoba Museum is dedicated to telling the history of the province. Here you can find nine permanent galleries showing the best things that this province has to offer. The Northern Lights display, a recreation of Hudson Bay’s fur trading post, and 95-million-year-old Pliosaur fossil are among the museum’s highlights.
Assiniboine Park and Zoo is located within the grounds of Winnipeg’s oldest park, and it is home to over two hundred animal species. It has helped to preserve such unique northern animals as polar bears, bison, wolves, and foxes. It also holds such exotic species as Siberian tigers and red kangaroos.
More than 57,000 people gather in Birds Hill Provincial Park in early July for the Winnipeg Folk Festival. You can camp on-site, listen to music in 7 outdoor stages, or purchase goods from local artists at the Hand-Made Village.
Doors Open Winnipeg, held in September, is staged to celebrate the city’s history and cultural heritage. During this event, it is possible to enter buildings that are not usually open to the public. Join a guided tour where volunteers will tell you more about the history behind the breathtaking architecture.
This festival is organized in May to celebrate Indigenous music and arts. It features the Indigenous Music Awards, Indigenous Marketplace, International Competition Pow Wow, and many more cultural activities!
If you’re looking for warm, sunny weather, May, June, July, August, and September serves the best weather in Manitoba. On average, July and August tend to be the warmest months and the most popular months to visit. Come to Winnipeg in early July if you want to catch the four-day Winnipeg Folk Festival.
If you’re a first-time traveler, the best choice would be to stay at Downtown Winnipeg as it includes several interesting touristic districts. It includes the historic Exchange District and The Forks, which are some of the most interesting places to visit in Winnipeg.
South of the Assiniboine River and west of the Red River is a Fort Garry district named after Upper Fort Garry. This historical site dates back to 1822 before even the city itself was founded. This area is perfect if you prefer to live farther from the downtown bustle and feel more like a local.
Interested in the French part of Canadian history? Then St. Boniface is an excellent choice for you! Saint Boniface was the home of Louis Riel, the legendary political leader who laid the ground for Manitoba becoming the fifth Canadian province.
Winnipeg is an exciting destination at any time of the year—there's enough history, culture, and nature to keep you busy!