Downtown Holiday Shopping for Kids

Spend the day downtown, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find amazing gifts for your kids! Here are some of our favourite spots to look out for.

 

Kite and Kaboodle

Start your day at The Forks! Get some breakfast and head over to Kite and Kaboodle, which has an impressive selection of books, toys, kites, and games. The store is bursting with over 25,000 items, and 5,000 are added each year.

kiteandkaboodle

The staff at Kite and Kaboodle attend trade shows and constantly search for new products, so you get to choose from the best.

 

Pylon

While you’re at The Forks, pop in to Pylon. If you lose to your kids on every pop-culture quiz imaginable, you’ll want to see their selection.

pylon

With Superman socks, Sonic the Hedgehog toques, Doctor Who figurines, and thousands more, this is your one-stop pop-culture shop!

 

Living in the moment: Experience art and culture downtown

One way to give a gift that lasts all year is to gift a family membership so you can experience your favourite places over and over again and get exclusive invites and sneak peeks to upcoming events. Another way is to gift tickets to show or special presentation from one of the many iconic cultural and arts organizations within downtown Winnipeg.

If you’re looking for a family membership, have a look at the Manitoba Museum or the Manitoba Children’s Museum.

If you’re interested in taking in a play or art display with the family, how about Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Centennial Concert Hall, or any of the programming events put on by the Winnipeg Art Gallery or the Winnipeg Railway Museum at the Forks.

nonsuch

Books and more!

Downtown Winnipeg has plenty of stores for the bookworms in your family.

bisonbooks

Located on the main floor at cityplace, Coles features a wide selection of new books and gifts. If your kids are Harry Potter fanatics, get them Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay. If they love hockey, pick up 99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky.

 

If you’re looking for quality, pre-owned books, check out Book Fair Winnipeg. This Portage Avenue bookstore has books and comics that you may not find at Coles.

 

If you’re looking for even rarer books, head over to Bison Books on Graham Avenue. They have 20,000 used, old, and out-of-print books that you won’t find anywhere else.

I love to read!

 

 

Peggy books
Beautiful bookshelf at Bison Books

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?

Something’s Happening on Graham

Graham’s a street that sometimes gets overlooked – it’s not as prominent as Portage, not as big and full of food trucks as Broadway, and because a lot of it is designed for transit and bikes, not that many of us drive down it every day. But over the last little while, I’ve seen it changing piece by piece around Kennedy – and it’s gradually transforming into one of my favourite little blocks downtown! If you’ve never explored it, go check it out on your lunch hour – it’s worth checking out these spots that are new to the block.

Seeing the downtown grow doesn’t always mean massive exciting skyscrapers – although I love seeing those go up too! It’s the building of these little intimate neighbourhoods too, places that draw people to walk around that make the sidewalks fill up with people, and I think their successes are worth celebrating.

Art:

There are murals tucked in between the buildings, including a cute mural tucked away beside Second Cup with adorable helicopter bees (I really don’t know what else to call them). It’s also the street when the incomparable Kal Barteski installed her Love Every Body interactive artwork – I went down to take a selfie, and you should too!

There’s an amazing farmers market:

The Downtown Farmers’ Market started here last year. The plaza behind Manitoba Hydro Places is already a great place to sit for lunch when it’s sunny, but when the Thursday market comes out, it’s packed with people like looking for an excuse to leave the office for lunch and buy fresh-baked cookies!

Constantly changing menus at Sana SoupHouse:

They’ve been there less than a year and already I’m not sure what I’d do without their soup of the day list when it’s a rainy day and I need a cozy lunch. Plus, how many places in the city actually have soups like Chilled Strawberry, West African Peanut, and Pumpkin Apple Spice?

Rare finds at Bison Books:

This used & rare book shop relocated here a few years ago, and I never get tired of visiting it to see what literary oddities they’ve dug up. My favourite recent find, courtesy of their Facebook page: Elvis’ Favourite Recipes.

A new shop has popped up:

Pop-up events and pop-ups shops are all over the downtown this year, and I can’t get enough of it! The latest – Chook, at the corner of Graham & Vaughn, which has clothing, skateboards, and comes complete with a skateboard ramp inside! It wasn’t open when I was there, so I shamelessly peered in the windows to take pics.

 

The Urban Bakery is back home on Graham:

After nearly 10 years on Portage Ave, the Urban Bakery renovated a space on Graham and added a ton of creative touches, from a shoe wall to a handcrafted wood slab checkout counter, to an entrance that leads off the back alley!

It’s coffee heaven:
Alright, these aren’t new, but they’re essential! There are no fewer than 3 coffee places within this block: Starbucks, Second Cup, and the independent coffee house Twist Cafe. Second best of all, they all come with patio areas to sit and sip in the sun. Best of all – the Second Cup names their plants.

Graham Ave Second Cup