BPR Travel Diary | Wonderful Winter-peg
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
While Ontarians are busy complaining about cold weather, one province over, Manitobans are singing this phrase as they rejoice in the opportunity to enjoy their favourite winter activities.
This January, I had the pleasure of experiencing the icy season through the eyes of a local Winnipegger. I jetted off to snowy Winnipeg for a press trip with The Forks, Winnipeg’s number one tourist destination and meeting place for discerning locals. Over three days I got to see everything The Forks has to offer and truly experience the magic of winter!
Coming off of a holiday break spent watching holiday movies, I was ready to experience some good ol’ fashioned winter fun in one of Canada’s coldest cities.
As I prepared to leave Toronto, I ensured I packed everything I might need to survive the cold: a winter jacket, hats, mittens, and hot paws for when the cold decided to nip at my fingertips. I thought it might be a little too much, but boy, was I glad I came prepared!
Winnipeg greeted us with -14 degree weather. Not nearly record breaking cold by Winnipeg standards, but cold enough for a Torontonian to feel the icy chill. I was happy to discover, my room at The Inn at The Forks was especially cozy, with a luxurious bed, extra warm blankets in the cupboard, and a welcoming housecoat that I lived in every time I retired to my room.
After settling in, we made our way over to The Forks Market for dinner at PASSERO, the chic Italian restaurant from celebrated local chef, Scott Bagshaw. While I was pining to try their ricotta gnocchi for some time, my favourites of the evening included a plate of delicate, crispy fried brussel sprouts, a roasted beet salad and an extremely flavourful yellow-fin tuna carpaccio. As someone who is not usually crazy about raw fish, I couldn’t get enough of it!
We concluded the evening with a walk along the skating trails which ended with a serene night time view of the Museum of Human Rights. The crisp air paired with delightful twinkling lights really convinced me that I was in a winter wonderland, and I looked forward to seeing what the next day’s activities had in store.
With a full day of activities ahead of us, we began the morning with a hearty breakfast at SMITH, who served a mean fresh pressed juice and gorgeous plate of Shakshuka, soft poached eggs in a spiced tomato sauce. This provided us with the fuel we needed to head out into -17 degree cold for a tour of the Forks’ famous Warming Huts, a project which attracts submissions from artists and architects worldwide. My personal favourite was the Golden Bison, a structure combining two Manitoban icons: the bison and The Golden Boy.
This was followed by a friendly game of crokicurl, the Manitoban invented game combining two Canadian classics: crokinole and curling. We had a lot of fun trying our hand at this bizarre winter game. It’s definitely something I recommend to anyone who has the pleasure of travelling to Winnipeg during the winter months!
In the afternoon we took a break from the cold to tour the market, and sat down for an intimate lunch with world-renowned Sommelier, Véronique Rivest. Visiting The Forks to debut her winter wine and beer selections, Véronique had prepared a beautiful lunch showcasing food and wine pairings from The Forks Market. While I don’t typically drink wine, I was fascinated by Véronqiue’s extensive knowledge and palette and loved the opportunity to learn from her. My favourite part of the meal was the Butter Lettuce Salad from Red Ember Common, its creamy and nutty Green Goddess dressing brought the entire dish to life.
We ended the day with a bike tour around the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The Fat Tire bikes had comically large tires, and while many of us were skeptical of a bike ride in the cold weather, this was arguably the best part of the trip. I felt completely refreshed, but also completely wiped out.
Of course, I couldn’t leave Winnipeg without a quick skate. So, I laced up my rentals and headed out to the Assiniboine river. I was a little rusty so I made good use of an old Warming Huts project of red chairs outfitted with sleds to push around the ice.
Skating on the frozen river made me feel as if I was in one of those classic holiday movies I had enjoyed over my break – you know – the kind where one of the leads in a budding romance learns to skate for the first time?
Even though my romantic counterpart was nowhere to be found in this version of my movie, the skate was the perfect way to end my trip. I’d go back to Winnipeg in a heartbeat… I just hope there is still some snow when I get there.
By: Brittany St.Louis, Account Coordinator