Published in Lifestyles 55 plus
Fall this year brought with it a little taste of winter with its early snow. Weather broadcasts depicted snow covered cities all over Canada and by early October it was here in Winnipeg, too. Luckily, the early October snow didn’t last too long here in Manitoba. Looking out my office at the Legislature I couldn’t help but think of all the winter festivals we are so fortunate to have in our beautiful province.
Winnipeg is a world class city in a world class province. We have so much to be proud of here. We have interesting festivals all year round but I think our winter festivals are especially impressive because of how Manitobans brave the cold and get out to enjoy what this great place has to offer. Winnipeg is officially classified as a World Winter City (as designated by the World Winter Cities Association for Mayors) and it’s a fitting title. There’s so much to experience in the winter months!
Here are a few of my favourite Manitoba winter activities:
The Santa Clause Parade kicks off this list of festivals. This holiday parade is sure to get your family excited for the holiday season. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Winnipeg’s Santa Clause Parade marched for the first time in 1909. It has since grown to a large attraction that people attend from far and wide. It is estimated that roughly 60,000 people attend the Winnipeg Santa Clause Parade annually.
The Manitoba Legislative building is one of Manitoba’s most extraordinary buildings. This grand and beautiful building has been my workplace for twenty years. Our beautiful building is open to visitors all throughout the year but on one special day offices are open to guests. In the holiday spirit the Legislature’s Christmas Open House is sure to be a great time for the whole family. I particularly enjoy the Open House as the Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. Every Christmas Open House the Speaker leads all MLAs in joyful choir singing on the grand staircase. It’s a great sight to see visitors fill this architecturally stunning place.
Northern Manitoba has many awe inspiring attributes. From the Polar Bears to the Northern lights this region is jam packed with special Canadian gems. One of those gems is the Northern Manitoba Trappers festival. This winter festival celebrates winter in a way that is true to northern Manitoba’s roots. Located in The Pas, Manitoba, guests get a feel of some of the fun that ties to Northern Manitoba’s trapper history.
It is well known that voyageurs played an important role in the history of settling the prairies. The Festival du Voyageur has taken place every February since 1970 in Saint Boniface, Winnipeg. There are great aspects to this event for all ages. Taking place at Fort Gibraltar this event has all the makings for a memorable time. There is delicious food, wonderful music, impressive ice sculptures, and educational activities. The purpose of the Festival du Voyageur is to promote the discovery of the rich history of the voyageur era and the vitality of the French language and culture in Manitoba. This ten day event takes place in mid February and boasts a plethora of bands and entertainment, fireworks, school programs, fiddling and jigging.
Skaters on the Red River Mutual Trail don’t have to go far from Fort Gibraltar to get onto the longest ice skating trail in Canada. With artistic warming huts lining the trail skaters are able to enjoy themselves with the opportunity to rest out of the cold.
Asessippi Provincial Park is another wonderful area in our province. In our prairie province we are most usually associated with flat plains so it is great to have an area with rolling hills. This region is beautiful all year around. In the winter the snow covered hills create a gorgeous ski area. In February, Asessippi celebrates a Family Weekend for guests to bring the whole family and enjoy the winter sports Manitoba has to offer.
Although the Journey to Churchill at the Assiniboine Park Zoo is an exhibit open all year I think it is worth mentioning when discussing winter activities as it’s a great way to see what makes Manitoba the Polar Bear capital of the world. This exhibit has areas where guests can see the polar bears and seals swimming in their respective tanks. It’s amazing!
I am so proud to be Manitoban. All throughout the year we have many interesting events. We live in a truly unique place. With our hot summers and cold winters there is so much to do. It’s wonderful that we Manitobans aren’t ones to shy away from some colder weather.