Kids Are Dreaming Bigger Than Ever Thanks to Dream Streets!

With support from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, The Dream Factory recently launched Dream Streets – their new annual initiative which will run throughout the month of September.

Led by Fools + Horses co-owner Kendra Magnus-Johnston, and U of M Landscape Architecture student Emily Sinclair, Dream Streets brings together the creative minds of designers, the enthusiasm of local business owners, and the generous spirit of volunteers in Manitoba. Through the construction of temporary dream-inspired installations, each life-size 10’ by 10’ interactive pop up showcases the dreams of Manitoba children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, while also raising awareness and funds for The Dream Factory.

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The Dream Factory is a locally-based non-profit charitable organization dedicated to making once in a lifetime dreams come true for these children to help make their lives a little brighter. The organization is recruiting Dream Team volunteers and sponsors throughout the entire month of September to help raise online donations to bring these dreams to reality for Manitoba kids who could really use them. Getting involved is easy! All participants have to do is login online, donate, and share the cause on social media. 100% of online donations are going towards the kids!

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This first year is an exciting experiment The Dream Factory is hoping to build on in years to come. It’s made possible in large part by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Host It  program, in tandem with on-site support from ManyFest and the Winnipeg Design Festival, and the support of some incredible local businesses.

The installations popped up during ManyFest and will be back again during Nuit Blanche, effectively book-ending the month of September at two of Winnipeg’s biggest end-of summer occasions. On Nuit Blanche, the organizers will remount the installations at the Forks in collaboration with the Winnipeg Design Festival. There will be QR codes available so folks scan their phones at each installation and donate directly to The Dream Factory.

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The four installations debuted at ManyFest included a Lego adventure from a child who dreams of going to a Legoland theme park, and a popup where kids received princess makeovers.

For more information on the Dream Streets project and how you can get involved, visit www.dreamstreets.ca.

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Get Ready for the 2018 Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ManyFest!

The beginning of September is a busy one. With kids getting ready to go back to school and people trying to squeeze in the last little bit of summer vacation before heading back to their busy schedules, they are looking for that last little bit of excitement. I myself have had a very busy summer exploring all that Winnipeg has to offer, but I can’t wait for the weekend of September 7th, as the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries ManyFest Downtown Street Festival 2018 will take over Memorial Park and Broadway for three days!

There is so much activity going on at the festival I don’t know how I am going to fit it all in, but darn it, I’m going to try. With admission to Manyfest being free, there is nothing that is stopping me from attending all three days.

Friday marks the beginning of live music and the Food Truck Wars, which lasts the entire weekend, so you better believe that I’m going to take that all in. Who can resist all that delicious food, while swaying along to amazing bands and Djs.

But Friday night I am going to make sure that I have the perfect outfit to take part in the Electric Donkey Run. What could be more fun than get dressed up in neon and decked out in some glow bracelets for a 5-k fun run throughout downtown Winnipeg with some awesome dance breaks throughout the course? Get ready Winnipeg as I bust out my sweet dance moves.

I’m sure once I’m done the run, I will need to stop by The Lakeside Lounge presented by Lake of the Woods Brewing for a craft beer from the award-winning Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. Their flagship Sultana Gold and Forgotten Lake beers sound amazing! Not a fan of beer like I am? The lounge also offers a selection of EJ Gallo wines, as well as El Jimador Margarita Coolers. It also offers a stage and will feature such acts as Discothèque Under the Stars and Beer & Botany with Freshcut. I’m sure I will be making more than one stop to the lounge throughout the weekend.

While I may be busy taking in the Electric Donkey Run on Friday night, I will for sure take in one of the Movie in the Park movies occurring Friday and Saturday, both in the early evening and later at night. I mean the chance to see E.T, Jurassic Park or Toy Story outside on the big screen, yes please! Bring your lawn chairs or bring your old batteries in to be recycled and receive a free outdoor blanket from Call2Recycle.

Starting Saturday that means shopping, as Third + Bird has taken over the market portion, which means a variety of items available for sale.

Saturday and Sunday also give the kids a chance to take in the festivities with Mini-Fest Kid Zone. A family fun zone full of crafts, face painting, interactive displays, indigenous storytelling, a performance stage, big games, Zumba and more. There will be no shortage of activities and fun to keep the little ones busy. Also, why not take in the Wonder Shows midway that is filled with fun carnival rides.

And what a way to finish the festival on Sunday morning than with a run as the Winnipeg 10 and 10, will hit the streets. I haven’t decided if I am going to take in the 30 kilometre, 10 mile, 10 kilometre or the five kilometre run. Maybe I’ll just watch the five kilometre family fun run instead.

Whatever activities I decide on doing that weekend, I know that I am going to have a blast at Manyfest!

Who’s ready for Movies on Memorial?

Things are about to get mean and green over at Memorial Park this summer.

Kicking things off on Tuesday, August 7, you can catch everyone’s favourite green ogre, Shrek, on-screen, conveyed by none other than celebrated Canadian comedian Mike Myers.

The lasting cultural phenomenon, Mean Girls, written for the screen by SNL darling Tina Fey, will be shown on the big blow-up on August 14.

Movies start roughly at dusk (around 9 p.m.), projected on the big, inflatable screen along Broadway at Memorial.

As always, showing up early will be rewarded, as you’ll have your pick of blanketed perch for the main event.

It also means you get to interact with any kiosks set up for the show – expect something from presenting sponsor, Bridgeport Office Solutions, as well as popcorn, your favourite treat from a food truck, and lots of lovely people cozying up to catch the free outdoor entertainment.

As a seasoned Movies on Memorial-goer, I have a few pro tips to share to make the most of the screening:

Bring bug spray

Sometimes a sponsor will shell out for this (thanks for looking out!), but it’s best if you prepare so you can reapply on demand if the pesky pests don’t let up throughout the show.

Layer up

Even though Winnipeg summers are beautiful, our summer nights truly cool down, especially in August. Bring layers so you’re ready for the dip in temperature as dusk turns to night. You likely want to wear closed-toe shoes (resist the flip flops!) so your feet don’t lose heat.

Bring lots of blankets, pillows (go crazy!), or a low, attendee-friendly chair

You’ll likely want to mark your spot for the duration of the show with a nice beach blanket or throw. Then, don’t be afraid to cuddle up with a blanket overtop – you won’t regret mimicking your living room comfort out in this beautiful setting.

Bring your friends and pets

If you have a well-mannered dog who likes to cuddle at your side during movies, bring him or her out! The park is pet-friendly and as long as you don’t disturb other movie-goers, you may as well invite Sparky!

That’s it – you’re ready to enjoy Movies on Memorial!

The final screenings for this year’s 2000s theme are School of Rock (August 21), and Miss Congeniality (August 28). In case of rain, movies will be moved to the next calendar date. An announcement will be made by 5 p.m. on the day of the event if it needs to be rescheduled.

Maximizing Your Experience Downtown at the Downtown Winnipeg Night Market

This Friday (and Friday, July 27 and Friday August 31), my pals behind the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers’ Market are hosting their first ever Downtown Winnipeg Night Market from 4pm-11pm at Manitoba Hydro Plaza and on Kennedy Street between Portage Avenue and Graham Avenue!

The Downtown Winnipeg Night Market is a great way to end off the month and kick off your weekend in the heart of downtown. Plus, you’ll get to see a lot of cool things, support a lot of great local businesses, experience the new Pop-Up Park on Kennedy and so much more!

Here’s how I’m planning to maximize my experience this Friday:

GETTING THERE

Did you know that the Winnipeg Bike Valet will be on site during the whole event offering their bicycle valet service (it’s like a coat check for bicycles!)? It’s a great way to easily travel downtown, to and from the other destinations you’re hitting on Friday, and I love the friendly folks behind the Bike Valet!

Find the Winnipeg Bike Valet on Edmonton Street at Graham Avenue on the South East corner, thanks to my friends at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Additionally, you can always walk, take Winnipeg Transit or drive. Street parking is free after 5:30pm and there will be lots of availability to park in downtown parking lots and parkades.

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HAVING FUN

The Downtown Winnipeg Night Market is fun for the whole family and includes:

  • Farmers’ Market vendors on Manitoba Hydro Plaza 4pm-11pm
  • Enjoy two beer gardens: The patio at Rudy’s Eat & Drink and the Rudy’s pop-up beer garden on Kennedy Street 4pm-11pm
  • Instagram Alley on Kennedy Street featuring Creating A Scene, Studio 393 and Graffiti Gallery for you to capture your experience 4pm-11pm
  • Big Fun Games on Kennedy Street from 6:30pm-11pm
  • Balloon Artist and Facepainter on Graham Avenue from 6pm-9pm
  • Live painting of The Horn on Kennedy Street from 7pm-8pm
  • Experience the new Pop-Up Park on Kennedy Street 4pm-11pm
  • Buskers including Ila Barker, Lana Winterhalt and Phil Natividad providing music throughout, plus Kurrent Motion entertaining throughout the evening
  • Downtown Winnipeg businesses including Teeyah’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, Bison Books, Fluid Float, and Clay Oven are also all on site

MAKING A NIGHT OF IT

Make the Downtown Winnipeg Night Market just one of your many stops on Friday!

Did you know that Alleyways Market is taking place from 4pm-10pm in the Exchange District? Stopping by both of these markets is a great way to support local and find yourself the perfect produce and gifts for you and your loved ones!

Street patio! The weather looks great so I’m looking forward to hitting up the Rudy’s Pop-Up Patio on Kennedy, while I’m at the Market.

Goldeyes! Our baseball team takes on St. Paul Saints at 7pm at Shaw Park.

Patio hopping! It’s Friday night and I know I’m looking forward to the long weekend! You’ll find me at some of my favourite downtown patios and places for dinner, snacks and drinks!

Dancing! With a handful of venues downtown showcasing great music of all types, I’m going to be wearing my dancing shoes all night long!

Here’s a handy map with some of my recommendations – enjoy Friday!

For more information on the Downtown Winnipeg Night Market, visit downtownwinnipegbiz.com/night-market/.

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Timon’s UP!

Today’s Guest Blog is from Michelle Boulet, Director of Timon of Athens, and the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruins.

Shakespeare in the Ruins is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year, and while the venue for their plays is the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park, their administrative office are in Portage Place (along with our mutual friends, Prairie Theatre Exchange)

At Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) we believe that the immutable truths of our shared humanity revealed through Shakespeare’s writing remain relevant and transformative to today’s audience.  We seek to pair the questions and problems raised by Shakespeare’s work with the compelling questions being asked in our culture today.  We consciously illuminate our times through the magnifying and magnificent lens of Shakespeare’s art.

In 2015, our mainstage spring production was Antony & Cleopatra.  We set this timeless loves story against the backdrop of pre-confederation Manitoba.  We could not have found a better vehicle to generate dialogue about Indigenous issues.  Here, the effects of colonialism are still felt on a day to day basis.  The show resonated powerfully.

Jump ahead to the spring of 2016 and we produced Richard III featuring SIR Artistic Associate Debbie Patterson in the title role. We knew SIR stood poised to make history by casting a woman with impaired mobility due to multiple sclerosis as Richard III.  And indeed, we received international press.   But it was Deb’s artistic journey and the joy of embracing inclusivity that made the mounting of this production so memorable.

Which bring us to 2018, SIR’s 25th Anniversary and to Timon of Athens.   One of Shakespeare’s least known works, the compelling tale of a wealthy man whose privilege prevented him from learning the true value of money. Despite dire warnings he is unable to see which of his friends are false.  This underrated drama is seldom produced.  But it is perfect for us, being a timely exploration of elite privilege and the hard fall that follows the loss of public stature.  Do you think a play about personal judgement and power might have something to say to us in 2018?

In a year which saw the toppling of many a male public figure and the surge of the female voice, we have opted to tell the story using an all-female cast.

And what do we hope to achieve?  Well for all of the young people who will see the show, we hope that for the girls they see themselves reflected on stage.  And the boys we hope we are on the cusp of a world that will never be the same.  Not just changed, but changed utterly….made better.   For in making more space for women, and for those whose voices are marginalized, that is the path to a better world.

The outdoor performances will be set in the early 1980’s, a time when the art scene was gaudy, colorful, and rife with controversy. The show will feature live music and more than a casual nod to that exhilarating period where the rich blindly gave money to artists, “high”art and “street” art were in fierce competition and feminism often took the form of women adopting an androgynous, boyish form.

While the title isn’t Shakespeare’s best known work, an SIR supporter recently quipped, “I’m so excited for this one. It’s Beckett before Beckett was Beckett.”

 

Michelle Boulet

Director of Timon of Athens | Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruins

 

Timon of Athens runs May 30-June 23, 2018 at the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park.

Call 204-942-5483 for tickets or visit www.shakespeareintheruins.com

6 Ways to Not Let Spring Break Slip By

Nothing says spring better than school being out! And when there’s reason to celebrate, downtown shows up.

Just in time for Spring Break, plenty of arts and community organizations (the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ included!) are ramping up their programming to welcome parents and their children during their time off.

Here are just a few of the amazing offerings for parents and kids alike.

Spring Break Art Camp at The WAG (300 Memorial Boulevard)

From Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids can take in a full day of camp with various art themes, play games, and of course, see the incredible art on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

While Monday’s clay day is sold out, Tuesday is open for kids to try their hand with a paint brush; Wednesday will welcome students on break to design their own super hero; and on Thursday, kids will discover the uses for unconventional materials in their masterpieces.

Visit here for more information on the WAG’s art camp.

Tetris, Manitoba Theatre for Young People (2 Forks Market Road)

Why not take this opportunity to introduce your kids to a live theatre experience, if you haven’t already? Watch as these flexible performers weave together in unexpected ways, and treat your kids to a full sensory experience for their first play. The show runs about 45 minutes, and is ideal for ages 5 to 12. Visit the MTYP’s box office page for showtimes and to buy tickets.

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Video Games Live, Centennial Concert Hall (555 Main St.)

Just when you thought you’d never get your kid to sit still for a symphony, the Video Games Live show immerses the audience in a gaming-like experience, with dazzling video on screen, live action, lighting and special effects. This interactive multimedia experience showcases music from some of the most popular video games of all time, created and produced by veteran video game composer Tommy Tallarico. A treat for symphony lovers and gamers alike!

Video Games Live plays Monday, March 26. Visit the Centennial Concert Hall’s page for tickets and more info.

A Dog’s Purpose, The Globe Theatre in Portage Place (393 Portage Avenue, 3rd Floor)

Brought to you by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, this free event invites you to take in a family-favourite in this downtown relic.

Opening its doors at 5 p.m. for the special event, make sure to scoop up treats from your favourite Portage Place vendors before showtime. Plus, it pays to come early, as the first 100 people will also receive a special loot bag!

Showtime starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28. Click here to see all event details.

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Along with regular programming and activities, the Children’s Museum and Manitoba Museum kick into another gear for Spring Break.

Help to build a life-size cardboard castle at the Children’s Museum, or hunt for all things small during the Manitoba Museum’s Science of the Small-themed scavenger hunt.

Have an amazing Spring Break!

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Four Ways to Test Your Luck of the Irish This Weekend

There has to be a reason for all this early snow melt – it must be the luck of the Irish!

With St. Patrick’s Day on its way with warmer weather, this weekend is shaping up for some seriously shamrock-infused good times.

Downtown never disappoints in the Guinness or whiskey department, and this St. Patrick’s Day is no exception, with special events happening all throughout my favourite neighbourhood.

  1. The People’s St. Paddy’s Fun Run-Walk (The Forks Freight House, 1 Forks Market Rd)

If you haven’t already signed up for a 5-km or 5-mile run, head to The Forks early to cheer on the individuals, couples and family teams participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Running Room race.

Most noteworthy are the extravagant green costumes donned by runners, and the good-natured vibe of the race where prizes are simply awarded for the best costumes and highest volume of donations.

After the race, grab breakfast at the Original Pancake House or Danny’s All Day Breakfast while you wait for it to be appropriate to grab a pint at The Common (or until it opens at 11:30!).

  1. Shannon’s Irish Pub & Eatery (175 Carlton St.)

Heading to the “Official House of Jameson on the Prairies” on St. Patrick’s Day just feels right. Here, you’ll find the most time-honoured St. Patrick’s Day entertainment featuring traditional dancers, live music, plenty of pub fare (including fish and chips on special!), frosty pints of Guinness, and of course, Irish whiskey.

  1. Patrick’s Day Beer Bash & Dance Party, Club 200 (190 Garry St)

For a raucous evening, stay out into the wee hours at Club 200’s dance party hosted by Anita Stallion with DJ Wizzard. You can usually count on the renowned LGBTTQ* club for a packed dance floor, but for St. Paddy’s Day, you can even expect cheap green beers for a fun-filled evening (on special for just $4!).

  1. Shark Club (2nd floor, 233 Hargrave St)

While it doesn’t land on game day, Shark Club is gearing up to do St. Patrick’s Day justice as though Laine was from the motherland (I mean, with that gingery beard, he nearly passes).

All the Irish classics are on special – from $4 Jameson shots to $5 pickleback shots – which are really just whiskey shots chased with pickle juice for those of us less practiced.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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10 Reasons to Hit Up the Winnipeg Tattoo Show this Weekend!

The Winnipeg Tattoo Show is this week!  Opening at 1pm on Friday, February 23rd and running through to 6pm on Sunday February 25th, there’s a jam-packed schedule of Tattoo and Tattoo-related awesomeness coming your way.

Here are my top 10 reasons to hit up the Winnipeg Tattoo Show this weekend!

1.  Watch Live Tattooing and Tattoo Competitions

This one’s a no-brainer – there is a great selection of the best of Winnipeg’s Tattoo Artists at the show this weekend!  You can check out their work beforehand and even book yourself in for a tattoo during the show, if the artist you choose has availability.

There are different Tattoo Competitions each day – Friday is Neo-Traditional and Horror, for example  – and there are daily Tattoo of the Day awards culminating in a Tattoo of the Show award on Sunday.

If you’re a fan of the show Ink Masters, there are four of the show’s stars at the show this weekend – Big Ceeze from Anaheim, California, Babiery from New York, NY, Erik Campbell from Grand Junction, Colorado and Jhon, also from New York, NY.  Even if you haven’t been able to book an appointment with your favourite Tattoo Artist, this is a pretty amazing way to see them work live!

2. Catch Some Great Live Music

There’s a great selection of local musical talent to take in during the show, in addition to tattoo artist talent. Friday evening sees local band “Lowdown and the Dirty Rotten” play two sets – the first from 5 to 6pm and the second from 9 to 9:45.  Describing their style as rebel country/hillbilly, they’re definitely a band you need to catch!

The other two bands to watch this weekend, The Honour  and The Paul Stanleys will be playing as a part of the F#ck Cancer Fundraiser (Reason #3, below!).

3. Have Fun and Support a Great Cause at the F#ck Cancer Fundraiser for CancerCare Manitoba

$15 will get you in to the F#ck Cancer fundraiser social, from 9pm Saturday evening to 2am Sunday morning, with all proceeds going to CancerCare Manitoba.  There will be live bands (The Honour and The Paul Stanleys, mentioned above), a silent auction, prizes, dancing, and what Manitoba social isn’t complete with the traditional late lunch!  Get your tickets online or at the CancerCare Manitoba Booth on Friday or Saturday.

4. Watch Burlesque Performers

Come and watch M Funk Dance Productions perform burlesque-inspired routines at 4:30pm on Saturday and at 1:30pm on Sunday.

5. Crush on a Drag Queen, at the Drag Queen Show

Experience the most fabulousness that the Prairie Provinces have to offer!  On both Friday (from 7-7:30pm) and Saturday (from 6 to 6:30pm) Jenny Talia (in photo above, from Regina, SK), Victoria Lush (Winnipeg), Lita Takeela (Winnipeg), Satina Loren (Winnipeg) and Tyra Boinks (Winnipeg) will strut their stuff and entertain audiences !

6. Cheer on the Pinups in the Very First Peg City Pinup Competition

Hosted by the lovely and delightful Evie Assault (pictured on the poster to the right) and happening throughout Friday and Saturday, follow Peg City Pinup Contestants as they compete in Formal Wear, Swimwear and at a Talent Show. They are all vying to win the title of the very first Ms. Peg City Pinup, with a fab prize package that includes photo shoots with Pinup Photographer, Dano Tanaka, outfits from the prettiest pinup boutique, The Foxy Shoppe, along with a sash and crown.  The winner will be announced between 5:15 and 5:45pm on Saturday evening.

7. Support the Great Vendors

There’s a vendor area showcasing pinup and lifestyle clothing, artwork including pin-striping and graffiti styles, baking, cosmetics, you name it really!  The list of vendors can be found here.

8. Come Play at Kids’ Corner

Bring the family – kids 12 and under are FREE!  There’s an entire section dedicated to kids where they can colour, get “tattooed” (temporary tattoos by The Sparkle Girls and The Wow Factor), and play games.  Everybody’s favourite magical sisters, Anna and Elsa, will be in attendance on Saturday, between 2 and 4pm.

9. Marvel at Local Performers

Local contortionist and antipodist (juggling using her feet!), Samantha Halas  will be performing throughout the weekend, as will Brett Hogan , who can do everything from fire-breathing to acrobatics!

10. Drool over the Motorcycles and Hotrods

I don’t know about you, but it just seems to me that tattoos and speed go together!  Walk through and oggle the hotrods and motorcycles area of the Winnipeg Tattoo Show.

The Winnipeg Tattoo Show starts at 1pm on Friday, February 23rd and runs through to 6pm on Sunday February 25th.

Until next time, friends and followers,

Valentine’s Day Ideas You Can Find Downtown

Love is always in the air downtown, it’s truly a romantic destination. You’ve got the obvious wins with amazing restaurants, luxurious hotels, world class spas and shopping that rivals anything you can find in any city.

I’m going to do you a favour and narrow it down a little with “Valentine’s Day ideas you can find downtown”.

Let’s start with entertainment.

  • Winnipeg Art Gallery has a “Maker” series class on. Create your own succulent garden. Go home with something cool that you created, and make a lasting memory. http://wag.ca/visit/events/diy/display,event/1059/makerlab-terrariums
  • Royal Winnipeg Ballet will be showcasing some of their up and coming talent and choreography. Be in the know on this world class dancing troupe. http://www.rwb.org/whats-on/show/firststeps
  • The Jets have home games on the 13th and the 16th. It’s not on the 14th, but if you are a sport loving couple, this is a pretty awesome answer.

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Food? We have got you covered downtown!

  • East India Company will never ever let you down. It’s delicious and a staple in the downtown of Winnipeg. Their buffet has butter chicken, nothing says love like butter chicken.
  • The Merchant Kitchen also can feed you right. They’ve got a fantastic menu, and if I may be so bold, try out their fried chicken, it is sure to light your passion.
  • Earl’s Main Street location doesn’t get enough love. They will consistently feed you well, give you some of the best wine on the market, and ensure you have a great start or end to your evening. Always a fan favourite.
  • Affinity Vegetarian Garden is always an amazing option. The food is absolutely delicious, and as the name suggests, vegetarian friendly. This is one of those can’t miss restaurants that sets Winnipeg apart.

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If you want a simple night of dinner and an activity, we have got you covered. Of course, there is the next level of romance and that’s a staycation. Yes, we have you covered there as well in downtown Winnipeg.

  • Fort Gary Hotel and Ten Spa are regularly offering amazing packages. Add to that a morning at Yoga Public and you could be on the path to a fantastic Valentine’s Day.
  • Inn At The Forks and Riverstone Spa pair together beautifully. You can spend the day at the Forks eating and shopping and then pass the evening away at the spa. If that doesn’t set up the most magical night, well, I don’t know what would.

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You really can’t go wrong downtown in Winnipeg. Of course, you can make at simple as a couple drinks at Brown’s Social House, The Pint, Rudy’s Eat and Drink or La Roca. Mix that with a walk at the Forks, and dinner at any one of the other amazing restaurants downtown and you’ve got the perfect night in the Peg. Love is always in the air, you just have to go see for yourself.

Did we mention the coffee shops? No, no we didn’t. We’ve got those as well.

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11 Fun Things to Experience at Rendez Vous On Ice!

Hého, my Downtown Winnipeg Friends!  It’s almost that time of year where we all embrace our francophone heritage, no matter how deeply hidden it may be!  If you’re wondering how Downtown Winnipeg celebrates Festival du Voyageur with our St. Boniface Neighbours, look no further than Rendez Vous on Ice!

Rendez Vous on Ice has been held for the past five years and is a licenced outdoor beer garden/trading post on the Red River Mutual Trail that takes place during the first four days of Festival du Voyageur.

Here are 11 fun things you can experience at Rendez Vous on Ice this year!

1. Food/Bevies

One of the top things that Winnipeg is known for, other than then our chilly winters, is our great foodie scene!  Rendez Vous on Ice has partnered with Evolve Specialty Catering to provide a great menu of Francophone faves!

They kick things off with Breakfast on Friday, February 16th from 7am to 10pm.  Grab a Breakfast Burrito or an Apple Butter Trail Tail on your skate commute to work, along with free hot chocolate!  On Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons and evenings, enjoy traditional treats like Smoked Meat on Bannock, Poutine, Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins, Tourtiere, Pea Soup with Bannock, Mac N’ Cheese Bites or Baked Beans with Bannock.  There are also fun deserts like a S’mores Brownie in a Cup, Maple Taffy, Apple Butter Trail Tails and bevvies available too!  All food ranges in price from $4 to $8 – super reasonable, if you ask me!

2. Winter Sport Demos

If you’re like me and figure that if you can’t beat winter, you may as well enjoy it, Rendez Vous on Ice has a number of fun winter sport demos for you to try!  On the morning of Friday, February 16th, from 7am to 10pm, you’ll be able to try out Fat Biking, Snow Shoeing and even Cross Country Skiing!  I’ve heard that there’ll even be a Fat Tire Bike Loop Trail for people to try out!

3. Yoga

Looking for a little Zen after a hectic week? Look no further – at 7am and  5pm on Friday, you’ll be able to participate in Yoga on Ice with Ashley Bourgeois from Wild Path.

4. Rugby

If Zen really isn’t your thing and you need more of an adrenaline rush, pop in on Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, to watch the coldest rugby tournament on the planet and the only one of its kind to be played completely on frozen river ice!  Cheer on the Winnipeg Wasps Rugby Club Snow 7s while they play!

5. Ice Carving Demos

On Friday, February 16th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm there will be half hour Ice Carving Demos where you can watch master ice carvers demonstrating their skills on blocks of ice that have been harvested from the Red River.  The carvings will be on display all weekend, but this is your chance to see the chain saws and chisels in action!

6. Pride Parade and after Party

At 3:00pm on Saturday, grab your rainbow flags and lace up your skates to join the Voyageur Pride Skate!  Fièrte du Voyageur is a Winter Celebration for Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ community that is open to everyone.  From 5:00pm to 8:00pm Room Service Winnipeg has lined up a great night of entertainment featuring local DJS and more!

 7. Fashion on Ice

On Sunday, February 18th, from 5pm to 5:30-pm, join in on this stylish celebration of Winnipeg, winter and fashion!  Fashion on Ice showcases local fashion and accessory designers and retailers with this year’s #WoodFashion theme sure to be a hip hit!  In its fifth year, Fashion on Ice proves that winters in Winnipeg can be fashionable!

8. Live Music and DJs

Throughout the four days that Rendez Vous on Ice is open, they will host a number of live musicians and local DJS.  Here are a few of the acts to catch – Spence Tradition, Justin Lacroix, Pierre Freynet, Sol James and Moonfruits, as well as a host of DJs like, DJ Breeze, DJ Ketchup Chips, Rhayne Vermette, MonsieurIceberg aka Damien Ferland, DJ Beekeeni, Tony Neu, DJ Kasm, DJ Cedrik le Fantastik, and more!

9. Fire Dancing and Glow Hooping

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30, watch Karrie of Kurrent Motion as she entertains the crowds with fire dancing and Glow Hooping.  Knowing Karrie, I’m sure that anybody who is interested will be able to join in a Hoop Jam!

10. Wild Winter Canoe Race

Pre-register your team of 5 at www.wildwintercanoerace.com  and head down on Monday, Louis Riel Day, to take part in head-to-head heats on the four-lane, 200-metre, snow packed course as participants race canoes in snow for awesome prizes and bragging rights!

11. Come play on Ice with Peggy!

I’m definitely going to be checking out Rendez Vous on Ice throughout the first weekend of Festival du Voyageur!  In fact, Stefano Grande, the CEO (aka Quarterback) for the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and I have put together a super fun, fat bike tour that takes in all of the Warming Huts along the Red River Mutual Trail, stops for a warm up at Old Spaghetti Factory at Johnston Terminal and ultimately ends up at Rendez Vous on Ice for dinner and even a chance to take part in the Yoga on Ice!

There are only a very few spots –Click this link and select the February 16, 2018 date to register now for your chance to join us https://downtownwinnipegtours.com/tours/bikes-brunch/

All photos courtesy of Rendez-Vous On Ice, taken by Leif Norman