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.

Free Downtown Entertainment This Summer

While the whiteout parties are behind us, there’s no shortage of excuses to head downtown in droves for free entertainment this summer.

Tune in

Throughout June and July, every Thursday comes alive with members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) serenading people in the streets through their lunch hours.

Edmonton Street (between Graham Avenue and Portage Avenue) will see duets or solo acts from the WSO perform each week. Concert pianists, violinists, horn players and vocalists will carry tunes throughout the noon hour.

On Tuesdays, Cityplace draws its own crowd for a lunchtime concert series out on its second-floor terrace off the food court. Catch live Manitoban acts throughout the summer months until August’s end.

Not to be outdone, Portage Place stages its own Indigenous Concert Series on the last Fridays of June, July and August.

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Sweat it out

If it’s a workout you’d rather fit in, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Fitness in the Park is kicking off another summer jam-packed with opportunities to work up a sweat.

Every Monday to Friday, from now until August’s end, green spaces throughout the downtown will host free fitness classes suited to all types of participants.

Memorial Park, Millennium Library Park and Upper Fort Garry will see Pilates enthusiasts, Zumba lovers, boot camp devotees and yogis unite for a free sweat.

The rotating roster at each location helps you mix up your routine if you’d like to attend multiple classes – visit Millennium Library Park for yoga on Mondays and Fridays, Memorial Park for Zumba on Mondays and Fridays, Millennium Library Park for Zumba on Wednesdays and Pilates on Thursdays, and Upper Fort Garry for boot camp Tuesdays and Thursdays.

(Dates are weather permitting – be sure check the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ social media channels @downtownwpgbiz to be notified in case of any changes!)

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Shop ‘til you drop

Finally, shopping for fresh produce during your workday is made easier through the popular Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Farmers’ Market, serving up fresh local fruits and veggies, baked goods, preserves, meats and cheese, crafts and many other handmade gems looking for a home.

Everything from locally made bitters and spirits, gluten-free perogies and fresh lemonade can be squeezed out of this hyperlocal festivity. Located behind Manitoba Hydro Place and along Edmonton Street, the market is always received with much fanfare (not unlike our beloved Jets making playoffs). Find the Market running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday from June through September.

Stay tuned for more on special Night Markets (new this year) to take place the last Friday of each month this summer from 4 to 11 p.m. outside Manitoba Hydro Place.

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For more information on upcoming downtown summer events, visit downtownwinnipegbiz.com/events.

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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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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

 

 

My Top 6 Poutine Picks for La Poutine Week

Just as we start saying ‘he ho!’ to the snow sculptures and all things Festival du Voyageur, the dreamers that co-founded Le Burger Week bring their latest celebration of comfort fare to our city. And it doesn’t get more Franco-Canadian than poutine! I’ve narrowed it down to my top 6 poutine picks, and I’m ready to tackle them all in the spirit of a hungry Voyageur. Winnipeg’s first La Poutine Week is on Feb. 1 -7.

  1. Pony Corral (444 St. Mary Ave.) – Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine

Offering different tasty creations literally sandwiched atop fries at each of its locations, Pony Corral is serving up a nod to poutine’s Quebecois roots at its downtown restaurant. And though Montreal smoked meat is somewhat of a classic poutine topping, Pony Corral isn’t stopping at the meat – placing the fully loaded sandwich, bread and all – atop a heap of fries (not even sparing the pickle topper!).

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  1. Tavern United (345 Graham Ave.) – Manitoba Sociable Poutine

There’s hardly a more relatable local tradition than popping into The Tavern before a Jets game, except for maybe one – the Manitoba social. Tavern United is playing on both these classic Manitoban experiences with its Manitoba Sociable Poutine. See whose weddings come to mind while savouring a poutine dripping with nostalgia. The Tavern combines its famous English cut “chips” with the traditional social fare of Old Dutch ripples, plus Danny’s pulled pork, bacon, and red onion smothered with cheddar cheese sauce, squeaky cheese curds and Royal whiskey sauce.

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  1. Rudy’s Eat & Drink (375 Graham Ave.) – The Dirty Donald

Savour the sophistication of Rudy’s The Dirty Donald, featuring heavenly duck confit mingled with Rudy’s crispy fries, a semi soft aged cheddar, a decadent roasted garlic sage jus – finished with sour cherry ketchup and crispy sage, sure to please even the most elevated of palates.

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  1. La Roca (155 Smith Ave.) – Papas Locas Poutine

Who doesn’t love a Mexican take on the traditional Canadian fare, and who better to nail this than downtown’s premium Mexican lounge? The Papas Locas has crispy fries served in a skillet, baked with homemade mac and cheese sauce, queso cheese, bell peppers, and more common burrito fillings like carnitas (pulled pork), green onions, corn and fresh sliced jalapenos with La Roca’s own pico de gallo.

La Roca

  1. Peg City Poutinerie (2nd floor, Cityplace) – Korean Steak Fajita Poutine

Maybe you’re already familiar with the Cityplace poutinerie’s charms, but its limited-edition Korean steak creation is sure to spice up your food court fiesta. Enjoy the usual suspects of Peg City’s perfected trio of fries, cheese curds and gravy – mixed with red and yellow peppers, caramelized onion and Korean steak drizzled with sesame seeds.

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  1. White Star Diner (258 Kennedy St.) – Shepherd’s Pie Poutine

Just when I thought the homey fare couldn’t get any better, White Star Diner merged a couple of this Canuck’s favourite meals. With its famous meat loaf and sweet green peas paired with the squeakiest cheese smothered with real beef gravy, White Star somehow made two familiar comfort foods better.

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Let me know what your favourite poutine is for La Poutine Week by tagging me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @downtownpeggy.

Happy poutine eating!

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Top 5 Things to Look Forward to at This Year’s Wonderful Wedding Show

To do list: venue, invites, dress, cake, flowers, music. These are just a few of the many things you need to consider when planning your wedding. It can definitely get pretty overwhelming! If you’re planning your upcoming wedding, you’re in luck because the Wonderful Wedding show is back for another year at the RBC Convention Centre!

The Wonderful Wedding Show is the largest single source of information available about local wedding services, featuring all of the city’s leading wedding industry professionals.

This year’s Show features over 300 displays and 130,000 square feet of the latest must-have wedding products, services, fashion shows and more!

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Here are the top 5 things to look forward to at this year’s Wonderful Wedding Show:

Fashion Show

Guests will be treated to two full-scale production fashion shows each day, with wedding fashions from the world’s foremost designers and the city’s leading retailers. The fashion shows will debut bridal wear for the new year, offering brides a chance to view gowns that have never been seen before.

The Fashion Show is included with the price of admission. Seating is limited so be sure to arrive early!

For Fashion show times and participants, click HERE.

Inspiration Gallery

Head over to the Inspiration Gallery for exquisite and unique tablescapes designed by the city’s top wedding professionals.

In partnership with a team of Premiere Wedding Experts, the Gallery promises to offer visitors an elegant experience with countless inspirational ideas and details to plan their ultimate day.

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Photo by BEK Photography, Table by A Dream…Wedding & Events
The Brides Lounge

Don’t forget to stop by the beautiful Brides Lounge, designed by the FABULOUS Rick Mayhew of Decorations by Rick!

The Brides Lounge is a perfect place to take a break during the show with your wedding posse and relax and enjoy free fine wine sampling courtesy of Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.

Decorations by Rick will also be showcasing the latest wedding trends that will provide you with endless inspiration for your own special day.

The Brides Lounge is located right next to the main Bar & Concessions so you can also enjoy a light lunch and drinks with your besties!

The Grooms Lounge

The Eph Apparel Grooms Lounge will provide a relaxing environment with a comfortable seating & television area for visitors to take a much deserved break during the show.  And of course the Grooms Lounge will also feature free wine & liquor sampling, some sweet treats and fun games!

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Chance to win a $20,000 Dream Wedding

103.1 Virgin Radio, the Wonderful Wedding Show, & St. Boniface Golf Club are proud to present “Win a $20,000 Dream Wedding.”

Two contestants will be selected from entries from the Virgin Radio website contest to participate in the Dream Wedding finals. Two additional contestants will be drawn from entries taken at the show at the Virgin radio booth, located in front of the Fashion Show stage.

This wedding show weekend sounds like its going to be an amazing one and I want to send one lucky person and their squad to experience it! Visit my Facebook page and enter to win 4 tickets!

For more information about the Wonderful Wedding Show at the RBC Convention Centre and to purchase your tickets today, click HERE.

Happy wedding planning!

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The Ice Castles Are Here!

I don’t know about you, but ever since I heard that they were being built at Parks Canada Place on the Forks Historic Site, I’ve been excited to see the Ice Castles! Any trip to the Forks for the past month has involved me walking or biking past the fenced-off area, watching the castles grow as if by magic.

Finally, after much anticipation, the Ice Castles will open to the public on Friday, January 5th, and I got to have a sneak preview last night, along with my media, travel and tourism pals!

First off, let me say that it was a brisk -35°C with the wind-chill. I bundled up with thermal layers, massive cozy scarf, my favourite Hudson’s Bay toque, alpaca wool socks and some warm boots.  The “floor” of the Ice Castles is made of layers of ice and ice chips – which is much like walking on coarse gravel – so good, flat-soled boots are recommended.

Just approaching the Ice Castles at night is breath-taking.  I hadn’t even walked up to the entrance and was already snapping pictures of the towering ice walls, glowing with colour-changing LED lights.

As I entered, I was greeted by a couple of popular enchanted Ice Princesses.  The Ice Princesses will be greeting guests on Saturdays and Sundays between 1 to 4pm, weather permitting.

The most beautiful and adorable Polar Bears and Polar Bear cubs, painted by our own amazing Kal Barteski, are dotted  throughout the Castle walls and corridors.

 

There’s something so wonderful about watching a fire dancer with a backdrop of ice!  The fire twirler last night was as funny as he was talented, keeping up a running banter as he twirled, getting the audience involved in his act. On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 7 to 10pm, there will be fire performances.

What would an Ice Castle be without ice slides?  Young and old(er) alike will delight in whooshing though the icy chutes on magic carpets. So FUN!

My favourite feature was the colour-changing ice fountain.  I was mesmerized as the water danced and changed colours from dark red, to purple to pale blue, accompanied by music.

I had the chance to talk to Blake, who is the Site Manager of the Ice Castles. It’s really an amazing process where icicles are made and then hand-placed in location. The icicles are then sprayed with water to make the ice-walls and other structures grow.  The ice artists were able to start on building the structure at the beginning of December, working daily to grow icicles and create the astounding Narnia-esque structures.

Probably what I loved the most about the Ice Castles was how beautifully they frame two of Downtown Winnipeg’s iconic structures, the Esplanade Riel bridge and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  Both lovely in their own right, they made a glorious backdrop to photos taken from within the Castles.

The Ice Castles will open officially on Friday, January 5,  from 4 to 9pm.  They will be open during the day on Saturdays from 12:00 to 10:30pm and Sundays from 12 to 8pm. They’re also open weekday evenings on Monday and Wednesday through Thursday from 4 – 9pm.  They will be closed on Tuesdays.  For more information, and to purchase your tickets, check out their website: www.icecastles.com/winnipeg/

Until next time,

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