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Aug 28, 2020

8 min. read

Polar bear viewing in Churchill is a once-in-lifetime trip, but why stop there? A stopover in Winnipeg before or after your polar expedition is the perfect way to find your heart in Manitoba. With winter fun like this, who has time to hibernate?

Day 1.

Check in at the Inn at the Forks, a chic riverside hotel and the perfect base for exploring The Forks. Nestled at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, The Forks has been a gathering place for 6,000 years.

Get a sense of First Nations' history by downloading the Forks' audio walking tour (available at theforks.com). It'll take you around outdoor murals and several art installations by Indigenous artists, including Niimaamaa—a sculpture of a pregnant woman, representing Mother Earth.

Visiting in January? Do a lap on the frozen river's skating trail with cozy pit stops in architect-designed warming huts. Or try your luck at crokicurl—a cross between crokinole and curling that originated in Winnipeg—before grabbing a bite at The Forks Market, where you'll find everything from sushi to empanadas. Order a glass of wine or beer at The Common while you wander around the market, perusing food stalls.

Drive past the impressive Manitoba Legislative building as you head to the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The zoo's "Journey to Churchill" exhibit is a perfect northern primer. Observe polar bears and ring seals as you learn about tundra coastline and wildlife.

Cap off your day with dinner at Enoteca, a bistro in River Heights. Chef Scott Bagshaw serves up innovative twists on classic Italian fare that'll make taste buds dance with delight.


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Day 2.

Start your morning in the historic Exchange District at one of Winnipeg's most acclaimed brunch spots. Clementine's international menu includes dishes like Turkish eggs, served with hummus and chili butter, or Spanish-style oatmeal.

Walk over to the Manitoba Museum to learn about the province's human and natural history. Be sure to board the Nonsuch, a life-size replica of a 17th-century merchant ship.

Cross the Red River via the elegant Provencher Bridge, which links downtown with St. Boniface, Winnipeg's French quarter. Order café au lait at Café Postale before stopping at Bothwell Fromagerie, which stocks Manitoba-made cheese. Make your way to the Musée de Saint-Boniface. Originally a 19th-century convent, the museum details the history of French-Canadian and Métis communities in Western Canada.

For some downtime, try the Nordic spa, Thermëa, nestled in a lovely wooded area south of the downtown core. Do the full circuit of treatments including outdoor pools and saunas.

Wrap up your time in the 'Peg on a flavourful note with a helping of sugar cane shrimp and pho at Vietnamese eatery Pho Hoang in hip Osborne Village. It'll keep you craving a second visit to this vibrant city!


Don't forget to check out our Dining Partners. If you're a CAA Member, you can save at select restaurants by swiping your CAA Membership card.

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