Winter in Winnipeg (and Manitoba more generally) is an unusual thing… It gets brutally cold and we tend to hibernate. For instance, I just blasted through two seasons of Narcos in a couple of evenings but as soon as the weather gets even a little bit nice we take advantage in droves. I was feeling like a bad Winnipegger this week for not getting out in this unseasonably warm winter weather, but I swear, I am going to make up for it next week!
Having something to look forward to makes waiting out the thaw a little more bearable. Here is a quick list of events that can help you make the most of a Manitoba winter.
Have you ever heard of Snowdance? Every year I’m like oh, this is a great idea I have to remember this for next year… Then I forget about it until it’s already happening. So yeah, Snowdance is THIS WEEKEND (January 22-22). This evenings concerts are sold out but there are some sweet daytime activities lined up for tomorrow… including dog-skiing, snowga, an alpine race, curling and hockey on the lake, a semi-organized game of shinny and a polarbear swim and sauna… and there’s music in between in the chalet.
Raw: Almond – It’s the best. If you haven’t been someone has probably told you it’s the best. It is truly a unique experience and one I think that every Winnipegger should have the chance to experience… unfortunately tickets are so in demand that people line up for hours to get their hands on them and the best way to get tickets is to have bought them before…. It is once again sold out and the ticket prices keep getting a little higher each year. I will soon be priced out… In a slight change this year, the once affordable no-reservations required brunch is now $40 and only a few spots will be saved for skate/walk-ups
The Warming Huts Reveal takes place Friday January 27th in The Forks Atrium Market at 10:30. The winning enteries will be on display for the press before going down onto the ice. Later that night (9pm) in The Common, the huts will be celebrated with Haute Hot Hot 2017; a night of art, architecture, and music – where you can meet some of the designers. $5 cover at the door, proceeds go to The Forks Foundation.
The Big Fun Festival is an annual, five day (Jan 25-29) music festival showcasing multiple genres of music in several venues in downtown Winnipeg. The festival showcases the best of Manitoba’s current and upcoming artists as well as some hand picked acts from across Canada. The festival runs from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon with a variety of events taking place in close proximity to each other so that festivalgoers can travel between the shows. . Shows on the same evening are staggered and are distinct in sound and delivery so that you can have many different experiences.
If staying indoors but dining out is more your thing there’s Dine About Winnipeg runs Feb 3-12: Enjoy three-course, set price dinner menus at some of the city’s finest restaurants. Restaurants will sell out, and reservations are reccomended. This year there are 20 restaurants participating at 3 price points for set menus $18, $28 & $38
Festival du Voyageur: The festival celebrating Manitoba’s Francophonie started in 1969. That makes this year the 48th annual… It’s kind of hard to explain to someone who has never been… Manitoba has a rich Franco-Canadian and Indigenous heritage, the festival not only celebrates that history but and keeps alive the traditional teachings and ways of living of some of this country’s and our province’s earliest settlers. A mandatory school field trip for most grade schoolers studying Canadian History, the festival has a lot to offer kids and even more fun for adults including the ice bar and the late night music. If I had to boil it down, I’d describe it as a kitchen party in your ski pants and the music may or may not be in French. Also a great excuse to brush up on everything you thought you forgot from your French immersion days…
For the hardcore, there’s an outdoor bike race/run called Actif Epica Feb 18th.
Going into it’s 6th year, the Gimli Ice Festival seeks to do for winter what the Icelandic festival does for August long weekend.
Then there’s all the cool stuff they do at Oak Hammock Marsh: Battle of the Bannock, Snowshoeing, Astronomy nights (northern lights Feb 18), Maple syrup Workshop (March 18) & Fort Whyte Alive: Cabin Concerts & Cabin Yoga, The Lake Shaker, Fire & Ice Winter yoga festival (And if you’re into yoga there’s also the annual Snowflake Festival which was last weekend). That’s on top of the snowshoeing and skiing you can learn and do there.