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Spare Time: What to do between games in Winnipeg...

Photo of Bridge Drive Inn
The Bridge Drive Inn - Best Ice Cream Desserts in Winnipeg

Restaurants

Change is a constant in Winnipeg. Many restaurants and favorites from one year are gone the next. As a result this guide section focuses more on "neighborhoods" instead specific spots around town.

Photo of creperies on old Provencher Bridge
Le Crêperie on the old Provencher Bridge heading to St. Boniface
(Removed in 2002,replaced with a striking, new center stay design)

Neighborhoods

One thing that makes Winnipeg special are the many neighborhoods with great ethnic character or specialties:

If it hasn't been mentioned enough the prime place to see is The Forks. Though not a neighborhood, it has been "the meeting place" for hundreds of years. It's near the heart of the city (and the ballpark) and where it began (native meeting place where the Assiniboine flows into the Red river). Once a railroad yard, it is a bustling (daily) farmer's market with shops and restaurants. It's always busy day or night.

St. Boniface (aka "The French Quarter") is across the river and home to the largest population of French speakers in all of western Canada. Once a separate community it is just one part of Winnipeg. During the day try Le Croissant (276 Taché Ave.) for great croissants and pastries. Evenings try Just Desserts (150 Provencher Ave.) for late night cakes and pies.

The walk to St. Boniface is worth the effort now that the new bridge is in place. The footbridge, named Esplanade Louis Riel, parallels the street bridge and there's is a restaurant in the middle. This is remeniscent of Le Crêperie on the original bridge.

Osborne Street is the old '60's bohemia area with its restaurants & shops. There are also malls for those wanting the "standard" shopping experience, including one downtown at second flow (skyway) level. Try the Tap and Grill, Toad in the Hole, or maybe the Tea Cozy for just a cup or full afternoon tea.

Photo of Nucci's Gelati sign
Nucci's Gelati - The one you want to visit.

Corydon Ave. is "Little Italy." This neighborhood is just blocks from Osborne St. and is a great area to sit, have a meal and dessert, and enjoy the "art of people watching" (passagiatta) and great gelati at Nucci's 643 Corydon Avenue (204.453.8270), --do not accept any substitutes (there is another gelateria on Corydon).

Sites & Attractions

The Manitoba Sports Museum is the site to visit for Northern League fans. It takes up a portion of the eighth floor of The Bay (Hudson's Bay Company) store on Portage and is only a few blocks from the ballpark. It's free (donations recommended) and a quarter of the space is dedicated to the Goldeyes.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery features some of the best art, both aboriginal and modern, that Canada has to offer. It's worth a stop while downtown.

Polo Park is well down Portage and the Mall of Winnipeg. If you make the trip be sure to check out old Deformity Field.

Since there is so much to do make sure you get a copy of Where Winnipeg. It's a great (and complete) guide to all the activities in the area. It also has very convenient maps of the area.

Lodging

Usually ample and varied

Though its name has changed twice since Goldeyes returned to town (in '94) the highly recommended "bargain extravagance" is staying at the The Fairmont (formerly The Lombard, The Westin and maybe other names; 2 Lombard Pl downtown). AAA members can find a great bargain for a 4-star hotel room downtown including parking in the ramp next door (extra fee) and walking distance from the new park (saving the extra C$2.5 fee around the park). It's perfect for couples in town for the weekend.

This may seem pricey, but keep in mind that if you have more than C$200 in valid expenses (which includes lodging) you can get the GST back at the border. Buy C$50 (or more) of souvenirs at the park and you can get the 7% taxes (C$12 or more) back when you leave the country.

Affordable lodging downtown includes the Radisson (formerly the Delta on Portage) and Place Louis Riel All-Suite Hotel and many others are a short walk from CanWest. Though other, less expensive, hotels are can be found near the airport, most of the best of Winnipeg and the ballpark are within walking distance (saving both gas and parking expenses).