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On the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies in the Manitoba province, the sprawling metropolis of Winnipeg, glittering 'gateway to the West' stands where two rivers - the Assiniboine and the Red River - meet: 'Winnipeg' in the language of the Cree native Americans means 'muddy waters'.

Prior to the arrival of European colonists in the eighteenth century Winnipeg was largely an agricultural community farmed by the indigenous population, but following settlement first by the French and later by the British, Winnipeg grew to become an important fur trading post. Gaining city status in 1873, Winnipeg's fortunes were further bolstered by the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881. Despite the effects of recession and war in the subsequent century, Winnipeg rallied and invested in significant redevelopment, transforming the city into a compelling destination for tourists.

Today, Winnipeg is an exciting mix of historic and multicultural neighbourhoods, teeming with classical and contemporary architecture, beautiful public parks and attractions. The Forks, a National Historic Site and the point at which two rivers meet, is particularly noteworthy for its open air market and food court, eclectic shops selling unique gifts and souvenirs and for its bars and cafes with terraces that afford delightful riverside views.

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Our guide to Winnipeg

Local sites to see

Assiniboine Park

Established in 1904, this 283-acre riverside park offers sufficient attractions to easily fill a whole day in Winnipeg. Stunning landscaped gardens include the Formal Gardens, English Gardens, the therapeutic Abilities Garden, the Herb Garden and the Garden of Life. Winnipeg's superb zoo is also in the park, along with a conservatory containing eight thousand plant and flower species and a nature-themed playground.

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Opened in 1912, western Canada's oldest public art gallery contains extensive collections of artworks Canadian and Inuit artists as well as many international pieces dating from the Gothic and Renaissance periods. The gallery also hosts an ever-changing roster of exhibitions.

Exchange District

This picturesque and tree-lined National Historic Site in downtown Winnipeg is home to many of the city's historic and cultural attractions including the Nivsky Square which regularly hosts free entertainment during the summer, Winnipeg's theatre district, and a selection of eclectic shops and restaurants.

St. Boniface Cathedral

Originally built in 1860 but destroyed by fire, the Basilica and Cathedral of St Boniface in Winnipeg's olden French Quarter was reconstructed on a larger scale in 1906. This building was also damaged by fire in 1968 but its impressive stone façade, vestry and external walls were retained and incorporated into the impressive current cathedral which dates from 1972.

Expert Opinion
"Canadians call it 'Winterpeg', in Winter can go as low as minus 40."- John Coppen - Canada Tour Manager

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