While February has been (as it often is) astoundingly cold and awkwardly situated between the holiday season and the dawn of the spring meltdown, it’s been a month full of activities: the groundhog told us that spring is a-comin’, we ate beautiful dinners and brunches and sipped ultura-cool cocktails on the frozen river at RAW: almond, we celebrated Valentine’s day and Mardi Gras, begrudgingly double tapped the Instagrams of all our hot and sunny vacationing friends’, Festival du Voyageur-ed, and paid homage to our hometown hero Louis Riel (by sleeping in on a Monday!). But to ensure that March comes in like a lamb, as it should, I pledge to spend this last February weekend relaxing with a good book – because between all the other activities, February is “I love to read month”!
There’s some great spots to find words on pages downtown – my top faves are:
Bison Books | 424 Graham Ave.
At first glance it’s a cute, unassuming, full-to-the-brim bookstore, but spend a few moments and notice it doubles as an archives, museum, and grandparents’ basement bookshelf. With the sun streaming in the Graham Ave. windows, this is a great spot to spend a cozy, relaxing lunch hour. Bonus: the amazing staff here will help you track down any/every book you could ever want. They are pros. Double bonus: beautiful Instagram shots waiting to happen.
Book Fair Winnipeg | 340 Portage Ave.
This place is the variety show of bookstores downtown. Everything from comics to novels, you could peruse for days and days. Bonus: it’s connected to the skywalks, so a chilly or rainy day won’t dampen your pages!
Coles cityplace | 234 Donald St.
They’ve got all the bestsellers and everything that’s hot right now – plus you get Plum Rewards points that can go towards…you guessed it – more books! Bonus: if you’re like me and don’t mind a little glass of vino whilst you read, there’s a Liquor Mart right across the hall. One-stop-shop.
Millennium Library | 251 Donald St.
Obviously, right? We have this BEAUTIFUL, huge library right here in the middle of downtown! There’s a giant selection of magazines, large-print books, audio books, and absolutely everything in between – and it’s all free if you sign up for a library card (and return/renew everything on time…!). However, if you’re more of a for-keeps kind of person, they’ve also got a book sale on the third floor – everything’s only a couple bucks.
Do you like to take refuge and have a midday reading break? Where’s your favourite spot to do that?
Brace yourselves, my friends – whether you’re ready (emotionally, etc.) or not, Valentine’s Day is here in all of its pink, sparkly, cute and lovey-dovey glory!
No matter what your relationship status, needs, or desires are this Saturday, Feb. 14, you’ll definitely be able to #finditdowntown for Valentine’s Day:
The Met often runs Dinner and a Movie events, and it’s really fun to go to the old theatre, have a delicious dinner and take in a movie. For Valentine’s Day they’re upping the romance, and showing the now-classic Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker, The Notebook. Tissues will almost definitely be in order.
Speaking of movies…
Feel free to go all Lady & the Tramp at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Pick from the delicious offerings on their special Valentine’s Day set menu, and be sure to book your table ASAP! Perhaps after dinner, your date will continue outside on the Red River Mutual Trail, and checking out some of the cool outdoor activities at The Forks.
If you love vinyl, you might love the Love Vinyl event at The Garrick Hotel on Feb. 14. It’s going to be an all-vinyl, house music party featuring four DJs, drink specials and a bumpin’ dance floor all night!
Need I say more? I know very few humans who couldn’t find love over a slice of pizza. And if they couldn’t before, they should give it another chance at Carbone Coal Fired Pizza because it is just so tasty. And for Valentine’s Day they’re offering a Sip & Savour menu, including wine, salad, pizza and dessert for two.
As sparkly as you like it…
At the Fairmont they’re offering everything from Bleeding Heart cocktails and $50 Bubble Buckets and strawberries in the lounge on Feb. 13 to an eight-course aphrodisiac dinner at the Velvet Glove, to the exclusive, one-of-a-kind Dine and Diamonds package which includes a night stay in the Royal Alexandra Suite, 12-course Chef’s dinner, limousine transfers and a $3000 credit to Birk’s Jewellers.
Remember to pop in at my space on the second floor of Portage Place to make your Valentine for downtown and enter to win all kinds of prizes!
And if nothing else, eat plenty of chocolate this Valentine’s Day! :)
Whether you have several, one, none or only potential Valentines this Valentine’s day, why don’t you take a little time out of your day and show a little love for the heart of the city, my home and yours: downtown.
This week, swing by my Valentine-making space on the second level of Portage Place (where the Lennard Taylor Launch It! shop used to be). There you’ll find all kinds of Valentine’s Day activities including craft supplies, retro love songs on vinyl and a bunch of contests to enter.
Stop by and make a Valentine and let me know what you love most about downtown Winnipeg, or make one ahead of time and drop it off.
For all the details, click here.
Take a guess at how many candies are in each jar for a chance to win daily prizes including:
Bouquet courtesy of Freshcut Downtown
Two tickets to Winnipeg Mardi Gras
Betsey Johnson sparkly owl bracelet (HBC)
Saucy Jack Butter London Nail Polish (HBC)
Bobbi Brown lip gloss trio (HBC)
Two tickets to Winnipeg Mardi Gras
Pearl necklace and bracelet (Flash Boutique)
Selection of craft beers
Mama Pacha’s Brilliant Beard Balm (Flash Boutique)
Paper Chess Set (Best of Friends)
Space Invaders Playing Cards (Best of Friends)
5 Classic Bond Stories (Coles cityplace)
Black and Sparkly
Anne Klien ankle boots (HBC)
Butter London Nail Polish (HBC)
Smashbox Lipgloss (HBC)
Timex watch (HBC)
Here’s what I know about Mardi Gras:
There will be bright, shiny décor, beads, costumes and outfits.
There will be jaw-dropping performances by The Lindsays – sword swallowing, fire dancing, contortion and circus skills.
There will be deep fried pickles, sweet potato fries, fried oyster po’ boys, gumbo, Louisiana pasta, jambalaya, freshly shucked oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp. (Hint: come very hungry)
There will be Love Potion and Oyster Shots (among other signature cocktails).
There will be a wine bar.
There will be dancing to the electrifying sounds of Dwayne Doopsie and the Zydaco Hellraisers, brought to us directly from New Orleans.
And beyond that…anything goes!
You gotta see it for yourself! I have two pairs of tickets for Saturday, Feb. 14. Comment below and let me know if you’re most intrigued by the sights, tastes or sounds of Mardi Gras – and you could be headed off to the New Orleans in our own downtown!
Two winners will be announced Tuesday, Feb. 10.
Ok, I need your help.
I’m going to a really cool party this Saturday, and I need help deciding what to wear! (Yes, again.)
This year, the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Art and Soul fundraiser theme is The Lucid Dream - a style that incorporates what Salvador Dali was best known for: surrealist art.
The evening sounds amazing: the Gallery will be outfitted in several different dreamscapes and we’ll be dancing to the beats of Attica Riots, DJ Hunnicut, DJ Co-op, DJ Mamacutsworth and Ashy+Zuky of Jams, and there’s even going to be an Absinthe bar – where things could get quite surreal with a bit of the green elixir!
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is an amazing downtown Winnipeg institution – they have beautiful galleries, feature the largest collection of Inuit art in the world, and they bring in really cool exhibits – like Dali Up Close, so I’m thrilled to support – but I’m nervous to be surrounded by a bunch of creative arty-types in genius costumes, so I want to make sure mine is on point!!!
So. Help me out here, friends. What’s the most lucid-dreamy, surrealist costume you can think of? Shoot me some ideas in the comments section below, or tweet me an example pic on Twitter (@downtownpeggy) and follow and tag @WAGArtandSoul while you’re there. And while you’re brainstorming on my behalf, also be thinking about what you’d wear – because I’ll be making a random draw for two VIP tickets to The Lucid Dream at 3pm on Thursday.
I’m all ears!
…hm, maybe there’s an idea…
So you New Year’s resolution was to up your fitness game in 2015. I’m not here to comment on the originality of your resolution, but I am going to ask us all to be honest with ourselves and each other for one moment here.
How’s that working out for you?
I hope you’re reading this before you’ve completely exchanged your runners for fuzzy slippers and your water bottle for a wine
glass bottle and your towel for a cozy blanket and the comfiest spot on the couch to hibernate until the snow melts and the puddles evaporate. Why? Because it’s not impossible! You can do this. You wanted to and you are going to! And here’s how.
Maybe the incentive you need is a little luxury. This space is beautiful, clean, quiet and features all the workout equipment you need to tone-up…waaayyyy up – with a view of the iconic Portage and Main and The Forks heritage site from the top floor of the downtown hotel. Also take advantage of the 12-metre saltwater pool and hot tub, and unwind in the eucalyptus steam room for a bit to ease those hard-working muscles – all this for $65/month. Bonus: The Fairmont is connected to Winnipeg Square, so you might not even have to set foot outside to get there.
Maybe all you really need is to throw a pair of sneakers in your bag and take to the indoor walkways over your lunch hour. Did you know there’s over 2km of indoor walkways available for the trekking? This option is completely free and weather protected – no excuses! Just download a cool podcast and pop in your headphones – or better yet, grab your cubicle neighbour and get walking!
The YMCA, yes. Bonus points to me if I got you grooving in your seat just now with the mere mention of that one! The Downtown YMCA (301 Vaughan St.) offers all kinds of classes from Tae Kwon Do to adult learn to swim, to TRX to volleyball. And of course if you prefer to just hunker down and work out all by yourself, you can do that too. There are many membership options ranging from $45/month for adults to $79/month for your whole family.
The frozen river in the winter opens up a ton of active transportation and recreation options! Could you walk, skate, ski or snowshoe to work on the river? I say take advantage of that shortcut before it melts away for another year. Otherwise, hop the Downtown Spirit bus to The Forks after work, bring your skates (or rent a pair there for $5) and get your cheeks rosy and your heart rate up by skating the 2.5km of river trail! Bonus: free, family fun!
This brand new technology is the latest and greatest in getting an optimal workout in the absolute least amount of time possible. The vibrations of the Power Plate invigorate your muscles and get your blood pumping faster and harder than your body could on its own in the same amount of time, helping you to achieve a more worthwhile workout in less time. Yoga Public offers private, 30-minute Power Plate sessions, beginning at $99 for your first three sessions. Give it a shot – let me know how you like it!
What’s your trick for keeping on track? I’m sure we could all use a little inspiration from one another. Keep up the good work, friends! :)
The holidays may be over and the “New Year” is getting older by the moment, but I must say one way to keep the merry and bright going is to grant a whole bunch of people’s wishes. I had no idea how fun this would be!
In case you missed it, (and I’m sorry if you did!) I spent the month of December asking people to take photos of items or experiences they found downtown, for themselves or on behalf of someone special, and get them to me via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #downtownwishlist.
I got to sit here, watch the (over 200!!!) entries roll in, and then grant some wishes!
Thank you so much for participating! I loved seeing what you were wishing for and hearing your stories – I’m sure I wasn’t the only one on social media who came away with a bunch of great Christmas gifting ideas!
In the end, and thanks largely to the generosity of the businesses in the downtown, I was able to grant 30 wishes in total!
Here are a handful of highlights:
Special thanks to Carbone Coal Fired Pizza, True North, The Fort Garry Hotel/Ten Spa, Era Bistro, The Fairmont Winnipeg/The Velvet Glove, cityplace, Prairie 360 and the Winnipeg Art Gallery for your generous wish-granting contributions!
Next year I want to grant even more wishes – so keep your eyes peeled and send them my way!