Winnipeg: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: August 26, 2022

Although St. Boniface is now merged with Winnipeg, I consider that there are enough points of interest to merit a separate Top 10. At the time of my visit, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was still unfinished, it would deserve its place among the main sites to visit in Manitoba’s capital city of over 700,000 people.

01. Upper Fort Garry

The Hudson’s Bay Company trading post dates back to 1822 and was rebuilt in 1835. It was the administrative centre of what later became Manitoba and the residence of the first governors. At the end of the 19th century the fort was demolished except for its main gate. A multimedia display has been set up to retrace the history of the site.

02. Parliament

The size of the Manitoba Legislative Building, begun in 1913, illustrates the ambition of the young province created in 1870 and just expanded in 1912. The dome is crowned by the Golden Boy, a sculpture cast in Paris and installed in 1919, facing north where future prosperity is expected. The building can be visited all year round free of charge.

03. Government House

Located next to the parliament, the mansion dates back to 1883. Apart from the high mansard roofs inspired by the Second French Empire, the rest of the building, exterior and interior, is in the Victorian style. While the Lieutenant-Governor’s role in executive functions has lost some of its importance, he remains very present in support of causes of public interest.

04. Hugh John Macdonald House

The house built in 1895 was the residence of Sir Hugh John Macdonald, an influential Manitoba politician who became premier of Manitoba in 1900. He was the son of Sir John Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada, who was instrumental in the creation of the country in 1867. The house has been preserved from a past fashionable style due to the fame of its first occupant.

05. Seven Oaks House

Here, in 1816, members of the rival Hudson’s Bay and North West companies clashed before they merged. Dating from 1853 for the residence and 1826 for the store, the buildings reflect the early days of the new colony. John Inkster, the first owner, developed several activities that benefited from the growth of the province.

06. Ross House

This 1853 log cabin belonged to a prominent Métis family, holding public offices such as sheriff and postmaster. The private dwelling served as a post office, with early mail being sent through the United States. The protection of the building led to its relocation; it is now renovated and can be visited.

07. Bank of Montreal

Overlooking the main downtown junction since 1913, between Main and Portage, the venerable façade is soon to become home to the Métis heritage centre. It is an illustration of the financial boom that Manitoba achieved in the 20th century, notably thanks to Prairies grains, to the point of becoming the Canadian agricultural commodity exchange with the futures market created in 1887.

08. Assiniboine Park

The park is located on downtown edge and occupies a surface area of 450 hectares, preserved since 1904. It contains sports fields as well as the zoo and an open-air theatre. The Pavilion, which serves as a focal point, has exhibition and reception areas, with the tower concealing a water tower. The English garden and the sculpture garden are also very popular (more).

09. Léo Mol

Within the Assiniboine Park, the collection of his own sculptures donated by Léo Mol attracts many visitors. The artist grew up through the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and then the German invasion before managing to emigrate to Manitoba in 1948. He liked to represent the daily activities as well as the wildlife of his new country (more).

10. Living Prairie Museum

It takes to be in the midst of the Canadian Prairies to find a museum of this nature. A prairie, a simple prairie in the middle of Winnipeg’s suburban areas. But a prairie that has always been a prairie. Never ploughed or cultivated, it is home to 125 species of grasses and plants, many of which have been eliminated elsewhere in favour of the more profitable ones.

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