When we mentioned to people we were planning on stopping in Winnipeg for a couple of days, to visit another Canadian city and avoid spending 60 hours straight on a train people looked at us like we were mad. In fact, even our host upon our arrival asked us why we were there and then referred to his home city as the armpit of Canada.
Here are some fun facts about Winnipeg:
- It is situated almost on the geographic centre of North America
- It has a climate that most resembles the climate experienced in the Northern Territories
I actually quite enjoyed our time in Winnipeg, despite everyone’s derision and the chilling temperatures.
We spent the best part of a day in the fantastic Winnipeg Art Gallery. It was amazing. There was a fascinating visiting exhibition of work by William Kurelek. He grew up on the Manitoban prairies and it was great to be able to compare his images with those we held in our minds from our journey the day before. His later work takes a more macabre approach, showing imagery of a world gripped by nuclear war. You can see some of his work here if you are interested.
http://kurelek.ca/ Also showing was an exhibition about food and art from the galleries archive as well as some beautiful Inuit carvings.
In Winnipeg we spent time wandering in the Exchange district and around Oswald Village, where we were staying. Both areas had a great sense of community. The Exchange District has clearly undergone some major recent gentrification, has vestiges of great typography on lots of the walls, and some beautiful, ornate, colourful buildings.
We also visited the Manitoba Museum. The Museum was great, albeit huge: it looks at the history of Manitoba from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, despite my love of museums, by the time we got the the Hudson’s Bay exhibition, complete with replica ship and the more recent history of the settlers, which were the sections I was most interested in, I had rather run out of steam.
We finished our trip to Winnipeg with poutine. A Canadian National dish, poutine is made up of chips (or fries) served with gravy and cheese curds. It’s disgusting, but delicious.