Tourism Winnipeg provided destination advice and accomodations so we could experience this amazing place. Opinions are my own.
Living in a country as large as the United States, I often take for granted that we are bordered by another beautiful country right to our north.
For our most recent family road trip, we decided we were going to head north through Minnesota and venture to Winnipeg. We packed up our minivan, loaded our four kids in the car, and set off for a family adventure where the six of us would be sharing small spaces together for the next week!
After our first trip, I can say taking a trip to Canada is well worth the short drive from the Midwest!
The Forks – National Historic Site
Knowing nothing about the area, I began to research and found there was plenty for families to do in this gentle, vibrant city. One place of interest and the first place we visited after checking into our hotel was the cultural center of the Winnipeg, The Forks.
Image Credit: Forks Winnipeg
The Forks is where so much of Winnipeg’s history lies. At the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, you can visit The Forks winter, spring, summer or fall.
The Forks is Manitoba’s number one tourist destination, attracting more than four million visitors annually and marked in 6,000 years of history. Early Aboriginal people met here to trade, followed by European fur traders, settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers, and immigrants.
The Forks is a vibrant downtown Winnipeg public space where people gather for celebrations, recreation and, much like the early days, to meet one another. It encompasses natural prairie and flowers, an interpretive park, Children’s Museum, revitalized historic and new buildings, skateboard park, historic port and offers a host of year-round outdoor and indoor attractions.
The Forks in winter – Image Credit: Robert Linsdell, Flickr
To learn more about The Forks history, head here!
Our Experience At The Forks
I’ll be honest, at first glimpse I didn’t think this wasn’t going to be a place the kids would enjoy, but after strolling the grounds for a bit I realized there is a lot here for kids and adults alike!
We took a stroll through the prairie garden and stumbled upon a small group of First Nations people performing a traditional song in the Oodena Celebration Circle.
We sat and listened for a bit and were mesmerized by the sights and sounds around us.
Image credit: Forks Winnipeg
Next, we meandered some of the walking paths and eventually stumbled upon the amphitheater outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Pride Fest was happening that day so we checked out the festivities.
With great music and a fun atmosphere, we strolled through the event while enjoying the great weather and slower pace. We were just able to relax and appreciate being in the moment.
After continuing on our walk, the kids found a little play area that allowed them to burn off some energy while having a bit of fun. There was just the right amount of shade to keep us cool while we enjoyed watching the kids have some unstructured play time.
After enjoying the outdoor spaces, we ventured over to The Forks Market where we did a little shopping and found a great selection of food and craft beers.
Image Credit: The Forks
The Forks Market offers a multitude of shops to browse for a wide variety of specialty items and souvenirs. Downstairs, The Market features an irresistible fresh food emporium with everything from gourmet cheeses to meats organic baked goods and wine.
Photo Credit: Forks Winnipeg
Upstairs, in the Market Loft, shoppers will find items ranging from cigars and aromatherapy products to crafts and artworks from 300 local and Canadian artisans. My kids found some necklaces that they just fell in love with. They were made by a local artisan and we just had to get them!
It was extremely busy the day we visited, possibly due to Pride Fest going on right across the way, but we had no problem finding great food and a few souvenirs.
There was such a great selection of eateries that we each decided on something of our own. A favorite was Nuburger, where the burgers are made with wholesome, non-processed ingredients and the kid’s meal comes with fresh vegetables — a win for any traveling family worried about better food options. 🙂
By this point, it was getting a little late and we took one final stroll down by the water on the river walk. We would have liked to have taken a Splash Dash Guided RiverTour, however, I knew that my little kids weren’t going to last much longer and we better hit the road — to have ice cream at BDI (Bridge Drive-In)!
So what did we think of The Forks?
My daughter (8yrs) told me she really liked spending time here and would have liked to walk around more (given more time). I have to agree that if we had more time we could have spent more than the just the four hours we were there.
In fact, I think another trip may be something my husband and I need to consider. While traveling with our kids is always fun, next time we’d go without the kids and spend a little time exploring the cultural side of the city.
Here’s a quick list of our fun: