Second day in Winnipeg starts with breakfast at The Original Pancake House (Canadian style). A hard working staff with a positive, accommodating attitude serves very good coffee and breakfast exactly as we ordered.
Somehow on the drive towards downtown I’m in the wrong lane, cross the wrong bridge and end up on the east side of the Red River. Unexpectedly we are right in front of Saint Boniface Cathedral. This was on my possible list for today so becomes our first stop.
Much of the early 20th-century cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1968. A new, modern cathedral was erected behind the neoclassic facade and remaining walls creating an interesting juxtaposition of architectural styles. And, a popular location for photographers. We spend over an hour visiting the site, reading historic grave markers and in quiet reflection in the current sanctuary.
Known as Winnipeg’s French Quarter, visitors could spend an entire day (or more) exploring the culture of the surrounding neighborhood.
With limited time and great ambitions these two tourists cross the river to The Forks National Historic Site at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. This has been a gathering place for 6,000 years: aboriginal peoples, fur traders, buffalo hunters, settlers, and immigrants. Today it is Winnipeg’s #1 tourist attraction and encompasses museums, restaurants, lodging, shopping, and recreation.
After our visit Bob sums up The Forks as “underwhelming.” We feel the history isn’t emphasized enough. Granted, in summer there are historical interpretation tours but nothing in mid-September. We find the shopping venues mostly imported tacky.
Food options at The Forks seem uninspiring. The friendly manager at the Mint recommended Hermano’s in the Exchange District as her favorite Winnipeg restaurant. Sangria and tapas are the perfect late afternoon choice – sautéed shrimp, cheese board and watermelon cucumber salad.
A visit to WAG – Winnipeg Art Gallery – caps our day as we take advantage of the Friday after 5pm out-of-towner ½ price. Their contemporary Inuit art collection specifically draws our interest. The museum gift shop is well stocked with creative, tasteful selections of art, jewelry, books, carvings and gifts. The best shopping we’ve seen so far.
Similar to the morning drive we cross the wrong bridge and take the long way around to the hotel. Winnipeg is not laid our on a grid, the sinuous rivers and multiple bridges create traffic challenges. It often feels like you just can’t get there from where you are; but, in the end worth the effort.