Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Fenton's Gourmet Foods & Wine Merchants: 25 Years at The Forks

Mo Razik remembers the days he would drive down a gravel road at The Forks, all the way up to Fenton’s Gourmet Cheese Shop – one of the first shops to open at The Forks Market in 1989. He would park his car in what is now Centre Court.

This is Fenton. He hasn't missed a day since '89.
In 25 years, Fenton’s has grown – both physically and in popularity – at The Forks.

In 1994, Mo was granted the first-ever license to own a private wine store in Manitoba, and Fenton’s Wine Merchants opened.

In 2004, after some major renovations to both their license and their space, Fenton’s built a spiral staircase up to the second floor of the store where they sell an endless variety of spirits, liqueurs and also cigars.

And most recently, they expanded the main-floor to include more space to shelve a wider selection of wine.

Fenton’s specializes in grape-based spirits and liqueurs, including brandies, cognacs, armagnacs, and grappas – the latter two of which they carry the largest selection in all of Canada.

You’ll find a different and more in-depth selection of liqueurs at Fenton’s than any other store in Manitoba because Mo works directly with producers – some of which make their products only for Fenton’s.

And you’d be surprised at how diverse grapes can be when it comes to being turned into alcoholic beverages – Fenton’s carries a huge selection of colours and flavours of liqueurs, including bright turquoise pistachio, cantaloupe-coloured melon, and a crowd favourite, white chocolate.

And since summer is just around the corner, Mo suggests picking up a bottle of Limoncello, which has the uncanny ability to turn any drink into a patio drink – but he does point out that it’s best served with ice and soda or as an aperitif.

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, you might want to take advantage of Fenton’s excellent gift basket service – they can combine any of their products from the cheese shop and the wine store, as well as your own items or anything you can find here at The Forks.  

And if you’re not sure how to pronounce the name of the wine you’ve chosen to serve to your dinner guests, or you don’t know what temperature to serve it at or what shape of glass to serve it in, the kind folks at Fenton’s will have all of the advice for you. And if you’re looking for more than advice, Fenton’s also offers wine education courses on regular basis, including several one-evening seminars from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. in May, highlighting learning and tasting in a relaxed setting. For more information visit Fenton's shop at The Forks Market, or online.  

By The Forks communications intern, Larissa Peck

Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to become a Scotiabank Busk Stop Busker

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to decide who gets to hold the golden ticket – a 2014/2015 Busk Pass – and entertain Forks visitors with their amazing and unusual talents year-round.

We’re hosting busker auditions May 2 and 3 and we want to see what you’ve got!

You should become a Scotiabank Busk Stop busker if you:

a) can play an instrument
b) can make balloon sculptures
c) can sing
d) can ride a unicycle
e) can make some really cool art
f) can walk on stilts
g) can juggle many interesting objects
h) have an alter ego
i) have some other amazing and wacky talent
j) can do any or all of these things – in unison, in a family-friendly, entertaining fashion, in front of large groups of people, indoors or outdoors at The Forks

On audition day, you’ll have five minutes to show the judges your busking talent – make it fun!

If you are a musician – if you play an instrument or if your voice is your instrument – you’ll have to provide the judges with two different 30-minute set lists. The judges will ask you to play songs from the set lists you provide.

Once you have a Busk Pass, you’ll be able to set yourself up at one of the Scotiabank Busk Stops at The Forks and entertain the masses!

Submit your application to audition by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 25. Download the form here.

Questions? Call (204) 987-4356 or email

Happy busking!

By The Forks communications intern, Larissa Peck

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Five ways you can be eco-friendlier on your next Forks visit

In honour of Earth Day, we’ve put together a list of eco-friendly things you can do next time you visit The Forks:

Bring a reusable coffee cup or water bottle
The Forks is headed towards having entirely compostable takeaway containers from all vendors on the site, but we’re not there just yet. Whether you’d like a coffee-to-go to keep you warm on the Red River Mutual Trail in the winter or a smoothie to keep you cool while you browse the shops in the summer, why not take your drink to-go in a reusable mug or bottle?

Purchase organic and sustainable products
A number of vendors sell organic and/or sustainably sourced items. For example, Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen is dedicated to cooking delicious take-away meals including perogies, lamb meatballs, and cabbage rolls as well as jams and pickles using organic, sustainably sourced and locally farmed meats and produce. Hempyrean sells organic hemp clothing – a durable alternative to cotton – and other organic hemp products. Generation Green sells a variety of eco-friendly products – from soaps and lotions to household cleaning products – and they offer refill program where anyone who brings in an empty bottle to be refilled receives $1 off.

BYOB (Bring your own bag)
We’ve all heard the terrible stat: plastic bags will take 1000 years to break down in the landfill. If you’re going to be making some purchases at The Forks, come prepared with your own bag to tote your goods around.

Park your car – at home
The Forks is centrally located and well-connected to several bike paths, sidewalks, bus routes, and two major waterways – the transportation options are endless! We offer ample bike parking and even bike valet on busy days like Canada Day, as well as free 3-hour boat docking all summer.

One person’s trash…
Next time you’re in the Johnston Terminal, take a peek downstairs at the Johnston Terminal Antique Mall and see how some of the pre-loved furniture pieces and other items could be upcycled into your living space.

The Forks is dedicated to the planet today and everyday with Target Zero – our mission to have zero garbage, zero waste and zero carbon emissions. Here’s how:

Eighty percent of our “garbage” on the site is compostable. That’s why we started working with an industrial in-vessel composter called BIOVATORTM to compost waste from our five full-service restaurants, 15 fast food merchants, seven fresh food producers, the hotel and all of the yard trimming from the site. We use the nutrient-rich compost in our gardens.

Our Zamboni runs on the oil that cooked the French fries you ate here last month. That’s pretty cool. We filter the used vegetable oil using a centrifuge, and we’ve adapted the diesel engines on our site truck, three gators, refrigerated reefer and our Zamboni so they can be fuelled by the wasted vegetable oil.

Geothermal Heat Pump System
When we needed to replace our old HVAC system, we realized it was an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint by installing a geothermal system that uses energy stored in the earth, the river, and ground water, and also recycles the energy produced in The Forks Market. Energy is collected from three separate wells. The largest well is located across the Assiniboine River at South Point where 168 closed vertical loops were drilled 300-feet into the ground. There are two large radiators sitting at the bottom of the Assiniboine River, and an open loop right underneath the South West corner of the Market collecting energy from the ground water.

Click here to see more on how we’re loving our Earth everyday.

By The Forks communications intern Larissa Peck