On The Map

Picture shared by reader Julia Davi.
Picture shared by reader Julia Davi.

If you are a bit of an explorer at heart, you might find this interesting.

A while back, I read something about Winnipeg, Manitoba that really surprised me.  And, at the same time, it didn’t.  Winnipeg, nick-named “The Peg”, is the unique and interesting place I have come to call home for more than two decades.  I have been wanting to write a post on The Peg for a while, and when I read the big news, I knew it was time.

A Little Background…

Now, before I get to the news, there is something you need to understand about Winterpeg (That’s our other popular nick-name. With our record low winter temperature being -47.8C before the wind-chill, you can easily guess why.  In all fairness, we rarely get anywhere near that cold!).  People have a tendency to complain about, or at least poke good-natured fun at this place. It’s too cold, there is too much snow in the winter, the drivers are bad, too many mosquitoes in the summer…

If you don’t believe me, check out this hit song, actually titled, “I Hate Winnipeg” (written and performed by a popular Winnipeg band), this Simpson’s clip that was often played on one of our networks, or this commercial (it’s a chuckle).

The Weekday Off

I’ll admit that I have certainly complained at times, especially when I’ve had to drive to work in a blizzard.  Or when my garage door froze shut and I was almost late for work. But I digress…

Overall, there are many wonderful things about Winnipeg.  One just has to learn to see them.  In fact, I have come to see Winnipeg as “a weekday off”. Let me explain.

When I was in university, my summer employment often found me working on the weekends and having Monday and Tuesday off.  Some people didn’t like that schedule, but I saw it differently.  Sure, it wasn’t “The Weekend”, but there were many unexpected advantages to a weekday off.  It was easy to make appointments and run errands, and there was always a choice spot wherever I went… be it a provincial beach or a city café!  In time, I came to love, in some ways, even prefer the “weekdays off”.

And that is the perspective I try to share when we all start getting down on Winnipeg.  It’s a week-day off. If you look at it from the right perspective, Winnipeg has many unexpected advantages, and is a wonderful place with much to offer.

So what’s the big news I recently read?….

Lots of clean, natural beaches in Manitoba. Sometimes, you get a whole beach to yourself!
Lots of clean, natural beaches in Manitoba. Sometimes, you get a whole beach to yourself! My son took this picture.
Picture by Julia Davi.
Picture by Julia Davi.

The Big News

Well, you can imagine what an unexpected and pleasant surprise it was to read that Winnipeg has been named, by non other than the National Geographic Traveler, as being one of the top 20 cities to visit in the world!  Top 20 – On the same list as some pretty amazing places, like the last remaining Himalayan Buddhist kingdom; an island in the South Atlantic Ocean that is full of penguins; one of France’s finest vineyards; even places like Bermuda, and New York city.  I won’t go through all 20 places named, but feel free to check it out for yourself. (Here’s a link to the web-site edition… though I still want to read the print edition for the full article.)

Now, when the conversation starts to turn towards the obvious difficulties of living in this climate and city, I remind us: Hey, we’ve been named one of the top 20 cities in the world to visit.  And people pause, smile and nod in agreement.  That’s true, they say.

The National Geographic Traveler has given my positive perspective a lot of credibility.

By now you might be asking, Okay… so what are some of these cool things about The Peg?

Here is a quick list.   Just some of the reasons why Winnipeg is kind of an awesome place (to visit, and yes… to live!):

The serene butterfly sanctuary at the Assiniboine Zoo.
The serene butterfly sanctuary at the Assiniboine Zoo.
  • We have wonderful restaurants with authentic cuisine from all over the world.
  • A world-class zoo, the oldest ballet company in Canada, a vibrant arts community, interesting galleries and museums- including the new National Museum of Human Rights.
My son took this picture on a beach that was almost deserted late one morning.
My son took this picture on a quiet beach that was almost deserted late one morning.
  • Many beaches within easy driving distance of the city. In fact, Grand Beach has been listed among the Top Ten Beaches of North America.
  • Lots of beautiful parks and trees, and the Forks (The place where our two rivers meet, The Forks has a children’s theatre, and is full of shops, galleries, restaurants, cafés, and special events – both indoors and out).
  • We have the longest ice skating river trail in the world (at 8.5 km), and a popular winter festival (Le Festival Du Voyageur), as well as many other festivals, many of which take place in the summer.

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  • We are a diversely multicultural city, and also a distinctly bilingual city, with celebrated vibrant French communities amongst the English majority.
  • We have the typical cold, snowy prairie winters.   It may not be easy, but if we look at it objectively, it’s an interesting experience.  That fluffy white snow is rather magical, if you dress for the weather.  One can also try winter sports, or stay inside feeling super cozy and warm.  Bonus:  Bragging rights for being tough enough for the Manitoba winters!
  • We also have beautiful, sunny, hot summers, and fleetingly colourful autumns.
Natural beauty year-round, as seen in the summer. Picture by Julia Davi.
Natural beauty year-round, as seen in the summer. Picture by Julia Davi.
  • The city is surrounded by cool towns such as Gimli (one hour away), provincial parks, and a national park only 3 hours away.  There are lovely farm fields all around, and lots of nature to be seen, all within easy driving distance.

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The water-break near winnipeg Beach.
The water-break near winnipeg Beach.
  • If you are really adventurous (and don’t mind spending a bit of money), you can take a trip to visit Churchill, and see real-live polar bears and beluga whales in their natural habitat.
  • The house prices and cost of living are still relatively low!  This means that one can have quite a high quality of life on an average income.
  • The provincial slogan for our license plate is “Friendly Manitoba”, and most of us really are.
A unique winter experience
A unique winter experience

On top of everything, there are some interesting facts about this city.  Did you know that Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg?  Or that the character of Bond, yes… James bond was probably inspired by a real-live Winnipegger?  Ditto for Snow White.

That’s not all…  Just for fun, click here or here to find out more.

Sure, going to the Caribbean to soak up some sun does seem like a top choice for a vacation, you won’t get any argument from me.  But still…  Winnipeg is an interesting place for the brave hearts!  How exciting that our square “Peg” has made the top 20s in this round world!

Do you have an unusual or little known favourite destination?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photo by Julia Davi.
Photo by Julia Davi.
There are many city parks where to exercise and enjoy urban nature.
There are many city parks where to exercise and enjoy urban nature.

Published by

Carina Spring

Hi! So glad you stopped by my little blog, where I joyfully embrace creativity. Here, at Home... hurrah!, I celebrate the beauty and depth of everyday moments, explore what life has to teach us, and share some of the interesting things I see and learn along the way. Thanks for the visit!

15 thoughts on “On The Map”

  1. As you know, I love Winnipeg, and visiting you guys there. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I liked going in winter… 🙂

    But as a long time Edmonton resident, I feel duty bound to add “Edmonton rulz, Winnipeg rulz!” Ha ha! 🙂

    1. Hi AncientMariner! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 We sure love your visits here, and certainly understand that they are normally planned for the summer! …And as you know, we love Edmonton, and visiting you guys there, too! (PS: I’ve read that Edmonton has the longest, uninterrupted river valley trails of any city in the world! Did you know that?) Take care and thanks for the visit! 🙂

    1. Hello Laurie, thank you so much for the visit! I don’t know if I am correct, but I’ve heard that Maine is rather familiar with cold winters, too. I will have to read up. 🙂 I appreciate the comment. Take care!

  2. I had no idea how beautiful Winnipeg is, neither! and how diverse! It is a very beautiful place, thank you for enlightening me.
    Your son takes beautiful pictures, too. The beach picture is so serene.

    1. Hola Mila! Thanks for the kind words, I will pass the compliment on to my son – he’ll be touched. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I am glad you enjoyed the post. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  3. Dear Carina, what a great post! I loved learning about Winnipeg. I had no idea what a lovely place it is, truth be told, the only knowledge of or connection I have with Winnipeg…is YOU! So Winnipeg holds a dear place in my heart for that reason alone. My fave fact about Winnipeg I learned today is Winnie the Pooh’s name. I happen to love A.A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh and all the friends in the hundred acre wood. His poems are quite clever, and I was actually given a 1908 original copy of Now We Are Six from my grandparents when I turned six in 1978. So do the math! Ha. My grandparents read that copy of Now We Are Six aloud when they were “courting” in 1927-28. Lovely post, I learned so much and am happy to know you live in such a beautiful place full of opportunity. We also have a butterfly sanctuary not too far away and yet I’ve still not been there, it is only open 6 months out of the year and I seem to miss it each time. Have a wonderful week! xo

    1. Hi Allie! Yes, I remember reading (and hearing, because you had recorded that post) on your blog about that wonderful book that you had received as a gift on your sixth birthday. Actually, I thought you might enjoy that little fact about Winnipeg when I was writing it. What a special gift to have from your grandparents, something you can cherish into your adulthood. Interesting that you guys also have a butterfly sanctuary in your city. Please let me know how you like it if you ever do go. I find the one here so relaxing – it is a place full of colourful flowers and gentle, exotic butterflies, and you actually see monarchs there, which sadly are rare to see in the yard these days. I am planning on planting some Milkweed in a big pot this upcoming spring, in the hopes of helping a monarch find a home and a place to eat. Thanks for the visit, Allie, and the lovely comment. Take care! xo

  4. Wow! What wonderful photos. I never realised you lived anywhere so gorgeous. Well done Winnipeg on you listing. Of to check out the list and if anywhere in the UK is worth visiting 🙂 xxx

    1. Hi Bekki. Thanks! Actually, most of us Winnipegers didn’t realize we lived anywhere so gorgeous either! 😉 As for the UK, it has so many well known places worth visiting! Have a great week, and enjoy the link. 🙂

  5. Wow! Winnipeg sure sounds like a nice place. You should work for their tourism board. If I ever get the chance I will take a winter walk in one of the parks there.

    1. Thanks, Juan. I don’t think I will be quitting my day job just yet to join the tourism industry. 😉 But yes… bundling up and going for a winter walk in Winnipeg is an adventure on its own, sometimes, and I do enjoy it.

      The truth is, most places have their pros and cons, and Winnipeg has a lot going for it. Most of all, though, I just feel very lucky to live in a peaceful place, to have food at my table, and be surrounded by a family I love.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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