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What To Do In Winnipeg; Polar Bears, Human Rights And A Walking Tour

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Three Amazing Winnipeg Adventures

I have fallen in love with Winnipeg. It has a crazy good food scene that balances the new and hip with old school comfort food. I’m talking seriously good perogies people. There is also plenty to see and do in town when you aren’t eating your way into a coma. You can’t miss exploring the Canadian Museum For Human Rights when you are in town or the Assiniboine Park and Zoo. Both are epic Winnipeg adventures. The wildcard adventure for me was a historic walking tour of the Exchange District in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. No matter how long you are in “The Peg” you’ll have a great time.

Outside of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg Outside of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights in Winnipeg

Exchange District Walking Tour – 20 city blocks and over 150 buildings built around the turn of the 20th century make the Exchange District a true gem. In 1997 it was recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada and for good reason. Tours take place from May to August and start at the Exchange District BIZ offices on Main Street.

Amazing and well preserved early 20th century architecture makes the Exchange District such a treasure Amazing and well preserved early 20th-century architecture makes the Exchange District such a treasure

There are a number of tours offered. I took the Main Tour which lasts for 1.5 hours and covers much of the district and the buildings within it. Tour guide Sabrina Janke shares her passion for history throughout the tour and I guarantee you will walk away impressed with the knowledge she passes on about early Winnipeg and the men and women who helped build the city.

Tour guide Sabrina shows historical photos along the Exchange District historical walking tour Tour guide Sabrina shows historical photos along the Exchange District historical walking tour
The well preserved Pantages Theatre where Vaudeville reined The well preserved Pantages Theatre where Vaudeville reined

At a cost of only $10 a person, this is not only an affordable tour it is also fun. Check out their food tours as well if you are into sampling some of the local restaurants within the Exchange District.



Canadian Museum For Human Rights – A visit to Winnipeg is not complete without a tour of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights. You can tour the galleries and exhibits on your own or you can take part in the guided tours. I highly recommend you take the tour first (English in the morning and French in the afternoon) and then explore on your own afterwards.

A timeline of Human Rights including the repatriation of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms A timeline of Human Rights including the repatriation of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms

I found my time exploring the museum equal parts inspiring and horrifying. It is horrifying to witness the horrific acts of humankind on display and inspiring to see how individuals and communities rose above those horrors to fight for the rights and freedoms we in Canada enjoy today.

Over view of the plans for Auschwitz Nazi concentration Camp Overview of the plans for Auschwitz Nazi Concentration Camp
All being are born free and equal All beings are born free and equal

The devastating effects of residential schools on the indigenous peoples of Canada and the Holocaust are just a small part of what is on display. A particularly moving exhibit was the Viola Desmond exhibit highlighting her portrait on the Canadian $10 bill and how she helped to inspire the Canadian Civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat in a movie theatre in 1946.

Panorama of the Galleries inside the Canadian Museum of Human Rights Panorama of the Galleries inside the Canadian Museum For Human Rights

Assiniboine Park and Zoo – Without a doubt, people far and wide come to Manitoba to see Polar Bears, but they are just one out of almost 200 animals you can see when you explore the Assiniboine Zoo.

Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg

One of the most popular exhibits is the Journey to Churchill which takes visitors on a journey 1000 km north to the shores of the Hudson Bay where Polar Bears roam free. These orphaned and rescued Polar Bears are first brought to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre before transitioning to their new home.

The Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Zoo The Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Zoo

Love the Polar Bear but don’t forget the rest of the animals and sections of the zoo like the Grasslands + Boreal Forest section or the McFeetors Heavy Horse Centre. Late spring to early fall you can even check out the Butterflies at the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden.

Up close with an Arctic Wolf at the Assiniboine Zoo Up close with an Arctic Wolf at the Assiniboine Zoo

This is just scratching the surface of what you can see and do while you are in Winnipeg. I could have spent a couple of days at the museum and zoo and probably still not seen everything.

Don’t forget to check out the Era Cafe before during and after your tour of the Museum. The food is delish.

Banana French Toast at the Era Bistro at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.jpg Banana French Toast at the Era Bistro at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.jpg

 

 

 

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Travel Winnipeg for inviting and hosting me during my stay in the city. All views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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