The Forks

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Living in Saskatchewan, Winnipeg was a city that we drove around in order to get to Ontario. Rarely did we stop to take a look at what the city had to offer. Over the years though I have been to Winnipeg a few times at the beginning and/or end of canoe trips and for long weekends to take in specific events such as an ice hockey game or the Festival de Voyageur.

On a recent drive to Ontario I stopped in Winnipeg with an aunt and uncle visiting from England and we spent an afternoon/evening at The Forks, a collection of buildings at the forks of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. Since my last visit to The Forks almost 20 years ago it has grown into a variety of shops and restaurants with river walks, historical plaques, and live entertainment. The Forks is a National Historic Site managed by Parks Canada located right downtown behind the Railway Station. It is very easy to find and there is ample parking that is free in the evening and on weekends.

Our visit coincided with celebrations for National Aboriginal Day. We were there the night before the big event but were still able to take in an evening of native dancing, drumming, and singing with participants of all ages in various native dress from small children to a war veteran.

The Forks market is full of tempting fruit and vegetables and there is a wide variety of Canadian art for sale in the various shops. There is also a link to Winnie (Winnipeg) the Pooh for any fans of the children's books.

The Historic Port was still a little flooded from the rains this spring but people were still able to take the half hour historical cruises on the rivers for a different perspective of downtown. The most prominent building is the soon to be opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights. From the outside it looks like a modern cathedral and is quite stunning.

There are various sculptures in the grounds and walking paths along the river to explore. The Oodena (Cree for 'centre of the city')Celebration Circle is a tribute to the 6,000 years Aboriginal peoples have been in the area. Step back to take in the whole circle but also look closely at the etchings in the stones to read individual stories and messages.

There is so much to do at the site I cannot detail it all here. You could easily spend a day or two taking it all in, and even more time would be needed once the new musuem opens.

Visit for all events and activities throughout the year.

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