It doesn’t matter what season you visit, you’ll want to check out these Five Fantastic Family Friendly Ways to spend the Day at the Forks in Winnipeg!
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The Forks are named for the point (or “fork”) where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet. For 6,000 years, long before the city of Winnipeg sprang up, the Forks served as an important meeting place. That tradition as a social hub and heart of the community continues today. With 4 million visitors a year, the expansive area of The Forks is a top Winnipeg attraction. No matter what season you are visiting, you’ll want to make it sure a visit to The Forks is on your to-do list. Winter, spring, summer or fall, here are some of the things you won’t want to miss!
1. Shop: There are two main shopping areas at the Forks: The Forks Market and the Johnston Terminal, happily for during those nippy winter months, they are right beside each other. Of special interest to families with kids would be the tempting and excellent candy selection at the Almond Tree in the Market, and the Sugar Mountain Express, a standalone railway car that has been re-purposed as a candy shop! Tucked away upstairs in the Johnston Terminal, kids and adults will be enamored by the cool toys and games in Kite and Kaboodle. For something a little different, watch the artisans at Bayshore Gifts in Glass molding molten glass into jewelry or figurines. The souvenirs I picked up for my boys there were a big hit, although not as big a hit as hubby’s present from Cognacs, Liqueurs & Cigars by Fenton’s!
2. See a Show: The Forks is home to the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, itself a bright and welcoming building. The MTYP season starts in the fall and continues through the winter, with plays and shows that are delightful and accessible to all ages. In the summer, the Festival Park and Stage is ground zero for outdoor performances in the ‘Peg. The stage has played host to many of the A-list events held in Winnipeg over the years (including a 2010 visit from HRH Queen Elizabeth II) and the annual Canada Day festivities.
3. Eat: Whether you work up an appetite at the Forks or arrive hungry, you are going to want to make sure you have room for some grub. Deciding on what you want to eat from the array on offer in the Forks Market is going to be tough though, be warned. If your family is like mine you end up playing sharesies with everything you eat, that’s going to go in the plus column in this case. I *may have* sampled a little bit of everything (including but not limited to sushi, perogies, and Manitoba pickerel with chips.) Leave room for seconds. And dessert.
4. Learn: The area encompasses Parks Canada’s The Forks National Historic Site, making it a living museum in its own right. Guided “6,000 years in 60 minutes” interpretive tours are offered on the weekends in the spring, and daily during the summer. In celebration of Canada 150, the tours are free in 2017. Also not to miss, and less weather dependent are the restored rail car on display near the Market, the Manitoba Children’s Museum-full of lots of hands-on learning, and the thought-provoking Canadian Museum for Human Rights. For more about the CMHR, see our feature: Spaces of Quiet Contemplation.
5. Get Active: Whatever season you choose to visit The Forks, there is some active fun to be had! The Riverwalk and the Boardwalk Promenade are two of the most popular trails for walking and biking. In the winter, the Red River Mutual Trail is the premiere skating path, and there are several other spots to skate on site as well. Don’t have a bike or couldn’t bring your skates in your carry-on? Don’t worry, you can rent bikes at White Pine Bicycle Co. in the Johnston Terminal, or try a tandem from Bee2gether Bikes. Ice skate rentals are available seasonally from Iceland. The Variety Heritage Adventure Playground is another great spot to get physical. In the summer it really shines, with an adjacent spray park for cooling off. In the winter (if you’ve dressed warmly enough) there’s still a ton of fun to be had crawling around the various zones, each representing a piece of the past!
The Forks is a place for all seasons, and these Five Fantastic Family Friendly Ways to spend the Day at the Forks in Winnipeg are just the tip of the iceberg! What’s the first thing you want to do?
When visiting Winnipeg, stay at the conveniently located Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Winnipeg Downtown. As a base of operations for visiting the Forks and all that Winnipeg has to offer, you will be glad you chose the family friendly accommodations and amenities at the Holiday Inn!