Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Top 10 Spring Things To Do at The Forks

We've said goodbye to our beloved Red River Mutual Trail (and winter), but it isn't quite time for soaking in the summer sun. So - what's there to do during the spring?!
Here's a round-up of some fan favourites we think you'll love — whether this is your first time visiting The Forks, or you've lived here your whole life and you're due for a refresher.

1) Try the cinnamon buns from Tall Grass Prairie Bakery OR the mini donuts at The Mini Donuts Factory.

Both are sweet, soft and sugary classics. The Tall Grass Cinnamon Buns are baked fresh every single day (the smell is absolutely heavenly in the mornings), and they are made with ingredients from Manitoba (Manitoba organic cold-pressed sunflower oil, whole grain flour, and organic unbleached white flour). Mini donuts are little sugar-covered deep-fried rings of heaven, not to mention they are portable so you can walk and snack at the same time. 

If you're not in the mood for something sweet, you can check out some of the other food kiosks and 6 full-service restaurants on site.

2) Visit the Travel Manitoba Visitor Information Centre

The place to go to find out about all the great things and hidden gems our province has to offer. This new building has interactive exhibits, including a "Heart Wall" to help you create a custom travel plan. Whether you're from out of town or just need a new adventure, Travel Counsellors are available to point you in the right direction. The Travel Manitoba Visitor Centre is open daily from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, and 9:30 am to 9 pm on Fridays.

3) Contemplate the world around you at The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The exhibits and galleries in the nationally acclaimed Canadian Museum for Human Rights will leave you speechless, and the view from the tower will leave you breathless. Spend a day learning about human rights, walking through history in deep reflection, envisioning the future, and inspiring change.  For hours and admission, visit their website for more information.

4) Rent a bicycle from White Pine Bicycle Co.

When your own two legs just won't do,  rent a bike or unicycle from White Pine Bicycle Co. inside Johnston Terminal, and trek all 56 acres of The Forks on one or two wheels. Take your bike for a trek down the riverwalk, one of Winnipeg's most scenic urban walkways. If the riverwalk is flooded, don't fret, there are still plenty more paths to take!

5) Adventure through the Manitoba Children’s Museum

Crummy weather? Bored kids? Bring em' to the Manitoba Children's Museum to burn off some energy and learn something new! This award-winning museum has twelve permanent galleries with super-interactive exhibits, like the tumble zone, splash lab, and lasagna lookout. Open Sunday to Thurs 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Friday & Saturday 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. 

6) Shop at The Forks Market

The Forks Market is full of independently owned and operated shops that all have something special to offer. You'll find wine, skateboards, soap, action figures and moccasins — talk about variety! Pop in for a walk about, you might be surprised what you'll find.

Bonus: The Forks Trading Company on the second floor sells strictly Manitoba made merchandise, including our "Roasted Nuts and Warming Huts" collaboration candle with Coal and Canary (check to see if it's in stock because it seems to keep selling out). They have a great selection of locally made goods you can't get elsewhere.

7) Listen to the buskers

Phil Natividad and his ukulele (singing his heart out in the picture below) is one of the buskers who adds to the ambience in The Forks Market. Nearly a hundred buskers audition in front a panel of judges each year, and a select group are chosen and awarded with busker passes to perform at The Forks. Grab a coffee and enjoy the sounds from all sorts of musical backgrounds. Fiddlers, guitar players and singers park themselves at our busk stops daily to play music for your enjoyment. 

8) Relax at The Inn at The Forks

Need a day to relax? Check yourself in at Inn at The Forks for the full treatment: start your escape at Riverstone Spa with a spa treatment, followed by some fine comfort food and craft cocktails at SMITH Restaurant, and cap it off with getting some rest in a room with a view. Who says you can't find peace and quiet in downtown Winnipeg?

9) Take the kiddos to a play at Manitoba Theatre for Young People

With musicals and plays catered to kids, MTYP will spark their imaginations and entertain them. MTYP also offers theatre school for the little ones who want to get into acting. Visit the MTYP website to see this season's lineup and to buy tickets.

10) Take in the view of the city from the tower

Take the elevator, or hike up the stairs up for the best view of The Forks and downtown Winnipeg from our look-out tower. Bring a camera to capture the experience.

BONUS: Come to The Forks and choose your own adventure! Mix and match from the list above, or go for a walk around the site and explore The Forks to find your own hidden jem. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Until We Meet Again

More than just ice and snow - we had over six weeks of beautiful conditions on the Red River Mutual Trail. Winnipeggers came out in record numbers to embrace winter and take advantage of 6 kilometres of river skating trails, an art gallery, Warming  Huts, and to check out classic "Winterpeg" events on ice.
While we glided our way down the trails, there was a crew hard at work creating and maintaining the ice. Made up of 11 members, the team worked morning, noon and night to keep our ice in impeccable condition.

One of the crew members, Jordan Janisse, captured life on the trail, giving us a glimpse into their world.


Let the season begin.


First flood.


Long days.


Getting ready for the crowds.


Opening day.


Flooding morning/noon/night.


Winter fun on the Red River Mutual Trail.


Too soon, the season comes to an end.

Until we meet again.

Photos by: Jordan Janisse

Fun Facts of the 2016 Red River Mutual Trail (RRMTrail):

- Open for: 46 days
- Total length: 6 km
- Most skates by one person (that we know of): 31
- Most Skaters in a weekend: 18,000 on Louis Riel Long Weekend
- Gallons of water pumped from the Red River to flood the RRMTrail: 630,000
- Thickest part of the ice: 28"
- Warming Huts on the RRMTrail: 5 new and 12 returning
- Warming Hut children got lost in: Snow Maze (don't worry, all children were also found)
- Hockey pucks recovered from berms around the Historic Port Rinks: 138
- Kilometres driven by the Olympic Ice Resurfacer: 700
- Number of canoes raced down the RRMTrail: 4
- Wind Derby Machines flown down the RRMTrail: 6
- Gourmet meals and cocktails consumed at the RAW:almond restaurant: 3200
- Number of Christmas trees used on the RRMTrail: 300
- Number of people on the RRMTrail Crew: 11
- Total of floods happening between 10 pm and 5 am : 10
- Litres of coffee consumed by the RRMTrail Crew: 80
- Total of injuries for RRMTrail crew members: 0
- Number of Fashion Shows on ice: 1
- Bathing suits that were worn on the RRMTrail during the fashion show: 2
- Weddings on the RRMTrail: 1
- Listed as one of the Top 10 Rinks in Canada!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

From the UK to Winnipeg

If you’re from the United Kingdom, chances are Bryan Cummins from Unique Ireland can show you your coat of arms, and which county your family comes from. All he has to do is look at the posters hanging by his front counter that display historic arms from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales – the countries you’ll find represented in his store.

Unique Ireland is a “one-stop Celtic shop” for everything Irish, Scottish, English or Welsh. Bryan, owner of the store, worked in the hotel industry for many years and had a dream to one day own his own business, before finally opening Unique Ireland at The Forks.

A store that features Irish and UK products seems like a natural fit for Cummins. Although he was born and raised in Winnipeg, his parents both came from Northern Ireland. So the Irish culture and community always have been– and still is – a big part of his life.

After selling Irish items online, and then taking his sales to Folklorama, Cummins realized enough demand to open a year-round shop. Today you’ll find rugby jerseys, tee-shirts, scarves, maps, crests, posters, and all kinds of fun and distinct souvenirs at Unique Ireland. If you need a tartan plaid cap, a bodhran drum, or Celtic wall tiles, Unique Ireland has all of those things.

Some of his most popular products are imported food items like tea, chocolate and crisps. He also sells a lot of Dr. Who and Guinness merchandise, and is the only retailer in Winnipeg that carries jerseys from England’s Premier League football teams. 

Cummins travels to Ireland as often as he can to visit family, and to source opportunities for new items and trends. He adds new products to his store every two to three weeks. He also accepts special orders to make sure you get that hard-to-find item.

Through Unique Ireland, Cummins is doing his part to help keep Irish culture alive in Canada. He is also proud and passionate about living the culture himself and has competed in Irish dancing throughout his life. 

One of his favourite things about being at The Forks is meeting different people from the UK. Everyone has their own story about why they moved here, or what brings them to visit Winnipeg. And he can even help them find their coat of arms, right there in his store.


  1. Unique Ireland opened its doors in 2013 on Canada Day – a fitting date for a multi-cultural store to open in a multi-cultural market like The Forks.
  2. Irn-Bru is a Scottish carbonated soft drink, known as ‘Scotland’s other national drink’ – and you can get it at Unique Ireland.
  3. In Canada, we call them potato chips. In the UK, they call them crisps. Unique Ireland carries a variety of crisps, including cheese and onion, and haggis and cracked black pepper.
  4. Dr. Who is a British sci-fi TV show produced by the BBC since 1963. It’s a significant part of British pop culture, and cult television favourite in other parts of the world. You’ll find all things Dr. Who at Unique Ireland. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

We Walk + We Talk

You don’t always know what you have in front of you until it is about to be taken away. In 2013, my mom was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.

Three years later, she’s literally living on borrowed time. Every day is a gift. For my own mental and spiritual health, I’ve made a choice to work less and spend more time with her.

“Let’s got for a walk at The Forks,” she’ll often say.

Walking at The Forks is one of our favourite ways to be together. We start with an intention of a walk and come home with so much more.

We’ll sit perched on a bench by the river, watching a mama duck and her baby ducks paddle along. Then my mama will tell me a sweet story about my brothers and me that I’ve never heard before.

We admire how the sunlight reflects off the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in the late afternoon, and then we’ll find ourselves in a conversation about what it was like to be a single mom in the 70's.

Stories unfold naturally. We walk and we talk.

Being outside gives us space to live in the moment. We stroll along the paths and talk about the shapes and colours of the clouds. We sit and listen to the birds. We find peace and calmness.

The Forks has given us a place to experience the simplicity of a beautiful day. And I am able to connect and be present with my mom.

When we walk, we talk about hard things- and not hard things. We laugh. I cry. I tell her how much I’m going to miss her. She tells me that she knows.

We are both so grateful for this gift of time and space to share together.

Lindsay Somers is a Lifestyle Health Coach. You can follow her healthy lifestyle adventures on Instagram and Twitter@lindsayhsomers.