Friday, 16 August 2013

Splash Dash River Tour

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, Winnipeg!  And we deserve it.  Summer almost threatened to leave us as quickly as it came.  Thank goodness it's decided to return and grace our shoulders, cheeks and noses with its bright and sunny presence.

To celebrate the return of summer, I went for a Splash Dash River Tour at The Forks yesterday.  I'm embarassed to admit I had never previously been.  Working at The Forks, I see the boats launch and pass through the Historic Port all day long, but I'm always working and therefore never seem to get my behind onto said boats to take a little cruise myself.  So yesterday, when things slowed up a bit in the afternoon, I decided it was high time I hit the waterways of Winnipeg to see what these Splash Dash Tours are all about.

The tours leave every fifteen minutes from The Forks HIstoric Port and guides start by taking you down the Assiniboine River first.  The guides offer tourists a bit of a local history lesson where you can expect to hear about Duff Roblin's floodway, the Legislative Building's tie to the Masons and Louis Riel's resistance.  The stops along the tour aren't just for history lessons though, they're also an opportunity to get to know fellow tourists.  On my boat there were several out of towners including some folks from Calgary and Victoria.  They were snapping loads of photos and seemed very interested in our Manitoba history. It reminded me of how fun it is to be a tourist in your very own hometown.
Once at the Legislative, the boat does a 180 and heads back down the Assiniboine, passes by The Forks and turns onto the mighty Red River.  Coming off the Assiniboine and onto the Red really gives you a perspective of how much bigger the latter is to the former.  She's a big river and when you think of all the historical events that took place on and around this mighty waterway, you really get a sense of the incredible heritage that is embedded in our city's culture and history.

I highly recommend taking your sweetheart, your kids or your grandma down to The Forks this weekend and treating them to a Splash Dash River Tour.  It's definitely an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages.  If possible, ask to be on Ian's tour.  His relaxed and friendly style made everyone on the boat feel at ease, and his humour made the already interesting history lessons even more enjoyable.  

Tours leave the docks in the Historic Port every fifteen minutes from 10am until sunset and operate until about mid-October (weather permitting).  Cost is $11/adults and $9/seniors and youth.

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