Further North: Back in the U. S. of A.

The English Gardens at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

The Winnipeg sign at the Forks, framed by the Human Rights Museum of Canada. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

I’m back in the U.S.A. My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We had a wonderful time in Canada.

You know what’s on the news in Canada? Wildfires. Public policy (not politics … policy). Bears. Every day, the bears do something different. Sometimes they sneak into an old lady’s kitchen to steal sugar. Other days they bite a dude. It’s exciting. No drug ads and long lists of side effects. Just charming PSAs on recycling starring raccoons. It’s glorious and I want this for America.

I’m getting back in the swing of the news cycle and will have some juicy posts for you this week in advance of next week’s Minnesota primary. I’ll also try to figure out what’s going on at Mesabi Metallics, though I’m not optimistic I’ll succeed.

But first, some vacation photos:

Your intrepid blogger at the Forks in downtown Winnipeg. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)


Interior of the Human Rights Museum of Canada. This museum provides a powerful experience using architecture as a tool to convey change and human progress. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)


One of the things I loved about Winnipeg was the constant presence of public art and murals. Some were high profile, like this one, but even the bowling alley had one. Some of the images were commemorative or historical, some were abstract, and some simply depicted day-to-day life in Winnipeg. It did a lot to spruce up lower income neighborhoods and create the sense of a unified city. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)


The Assiniboine Zoo provides a glass tunnel under the polar bear tank that lets you watch the bears swim from below. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)


Outside Winnipeg, we visited the precise center of Canada. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)


The Winnipeg Goldeyes played the Chicago Dogs on our last night in town. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

We saw much more in Winnipeg. The Mantoba Museum. The Royal Canadian Mint, where they make coins not just for Canada, but countries all over the world. Fort Whyte Alive, where an old cement factory was rehabilitated into a wetland nature preserve. We went five-pin bowling and ate international cuisine and plenty of poutine.

Winnipeg’s is a beautiful international city smack dab in the middle of thousands of miles of prairie. I’d recommend a visit. Winter might be a different story, but you’ll be glad to know that every public parking space provides access to a block heater plugin.


  1. Winnipeg is great! It was always a fun weekend trip from Fargo back in my college days. Has there been any revival of downtown outside of the immediate areas along the river?

    • I don’t know what it looked like before. I thought the downtown looked pretty good. It’s like any big city — some spots are better than others. But I found that the heart of a city had a modern glass and metal sheen. The rest — dominated by older brick structures — were really spruced up by lots of murals and public art. Most of those looked recent. I’d guess within the past five years. It was a diverse city and friendly. It seemed completely safe. But the river areas were certainly the most attractive, no doubt.

  2. Joe musich says

    I had a dental emergency the last time I was up there. Dentist came to the office on a sat night, took care of the problem, cost 11 bucks and enjoyed the rest of the time there. The pictures you posted were pretty much what we did. Explored moving there with round one of Bush 2. The mayor at the time was helpful. Everybody should enjoy the city.

  3. Bill Hansen says

    Twenty years ago, we took our kids for a weeklong vacation during the Festivale du Voyageur in February. Our friends thought we were crazy, but we had a blast! We did everything you mentioned and also saw a play (“Singing In The Rain” with real rain), an ice show, an opera, live music and the Western Canada Aviation Museum. The Winnipeg Ballet was out of town, to our disappointment. We cross country skied and, weirdly, snowboarded for the first time, which became a life sport for the family. Oh, the Festivale was also fun, with skating on the river, outdoor curling and a toboggan slide that hit 70 mph, or so it seemed. I heartily recommend Winnipeg for a family vacation.

  4. I will add my own personal endorsement of Winnipeg for vacations. Several years ago, my wife and I went there for a four day weekend, and had a very good time. Downtown was largely in excellent shape, the city, like everywhere in Canada, was clean and safe feeling, and we did a lot of the same things you did. The city is quite flat, but the locals have done a great job of taking advantage of anything and everything to make it attractive.

    Americans tend to think that Canadian tourism centers on fishing trips to the wilderness, Banff and Lake Louise, Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. But we have travelled a lot in Canada and had a good time at many places, even including a pleasant two days in Thunder Bay with a visit to Fort William, a trip I also endorse for a weekend away.

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