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Twelve Things a Woman Will Enjoy in Winnipeg

Evelyn Hannon

Winnipeg, Manitoba is a female-friendly gem of a Canadian city. It isn't splashy, glitzy or an 'urban fashionista' and that is exactly why I loved the time I spent there during the summer. I saw few if any neon signs and didn't meet any slick touts trying to talk me out of my money. In terms of safety, I remained vigilant as always but I never felt threatened in any way, shape or form. Winnipeg is a laid back city with an easy going tempo. Its citizens are STARS - helpful, pleasant and very down to earth. Bring your camera, prepare to chat with folks and simply meander. This is definitely a welcoming three-day getaway. Here are my suggestions. Enjoy!

Stay in style ...

Typewriter

I was invited to stay at the Fort Garry Hotel and Spa, a designated national historic site built in 1913. Originally built as a Grand Trunk Pacific Railway hotel, this elegant Grande Dame harkens back to a time in history when Winnipeg was a major transportation hub, a gateway to Western Canada for settlers from United States and Eastern Europe. Forget modern design, this hotel retains its old world charm and distinct Chateau-styled architecture. My room was spacious, drapes were velvet and furniture 'elderly' European style. I appreciated the luxurious bathroom amenities complete with soft white on white monogrammed towels. In terms of service it was prompt and helpful with never an inkling of 'too cool for school' staff attitude. I'd stay here again in a minute. Room rates at time of writing started at $139 Canadian. Address: 222 Broadway Website: fortgarryhotel.com

P.S. The Fort Garry Hotel and Spa has been the set for two popular Hollywood movies - Shall We Dance starring Richard Gere and Capote staring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Some high profile women who have stayed at the hotel include Diane Keaton, Isabella Rossilini and Kirstie Alley.


A visit to the Forks Market is a must do ...

Typewriter

Located at the juncture of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, the Forks has played an ongoing role in Winnipeg's history. Thousands of years ago Aboriginal groups lived and traded here. Later it was the hub of the fur trade. Then, from 1886-1923 it served as the rail yards for Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian National Railways. Today many of those railway buildings are being reused in the latest version of this site. With great ingenuity the former stables have been transformed into food, produce and gift stalls (some selling Aboriginal art) which today form the vibrant, two-story Forks Market. Past railway history is very much in evidence with old photographs dotting the walls and entrance and exits sporting names like Box Car Lane and the Carriage Lane. Besides the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, you'll find locally-produced honey (sampling allowed), hand-crafted chocolates, a variety of pancakes, artisan breads and much more. Be sure to check out Nick's Strawberry Cannolis, the Sri Lankan curries and Yudyta's Ukrainian Food. There is something here to please every palate. I promise you will not leave hungry. And like me, you'll probably pick up a gift or two for your pals back home. Website: www.theforks.com


Antiquing at Johnston Terminal ...

Typewriter

Just steps from The Food Market is the Johnson Terminal with many more shops to browse and a lower level mall with enough antique and bricabrac stalls to keep you interested for hours. With 40 different vendors within 5,000 square feet this spot is a collector's paradise. Even though I had only a half hour to browse I found the perfect glass rooster to add to my kitchen collection. Prices were reasonable and best of all, it was service with a smile. P.S. This stop is the perfect reason to pack some bubble wrap and tape for the treasures you are sure to bring back home.


The city of Winnipeg is adorned with 200 murals ...

Typewriter

One of the Winnipeg treats I will always remember are the interesting murals found all around the town. Many honour the different ethnic groups found in the city, others reflect back on the city's history and still others honor specific people. All are huge, colorful, fun to look at and great to photograph. You can see my Journeywoman Winnipeg mural album by clicking here. P.S. Hats off to this city that honours their artists. I did not find one piece spoiled by graffiti.


The Canadian Museum for Human Rights ...

Typewriter

When I visited Winnipeg in July 2013, I was only able to see the exterior of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The building looked spectacular rising up against the very blue prairie sky. I so look forward to actually touring the building and studying its content. The inauguration will take place in 2014. According to their website, 'this will not be a traditional museum focussed on objects and artifacts. This is an "ideas" museum, which will tell stories of Canada's commitment to human rights, and inspire reflection and dialogue relating to the subject. Human rights-related events and champions from both Canada and around the world will be featured.' Website: museumforhumanrights.ca

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