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Canada’s Summer of Sport city guides: Winnipeg.

Great food, world-class culture and fashion-forward shopping are just some of the attractions in this Manitoba masterpiece.

11 February 2015

Suggested tweet: The wonders of Winnipeg are next in our series of city guides for Canada’s Summer of Sport #explorecanada

For adrenaline hunters, there’s no better place to be in 2015 than Canada as the cream of the sporting world heads this way. Leading the charge, Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 action plays out at six cities across the nation.

There are plenty of other thrills and spills on offer across the country, courtesy of Rogers Cup tennis, F1 Grand Prix racing, RBC Canadian Open golf, plus Canadian Football League, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games.

To help visitors feel the buzz of Canada’s Summer of Sport, we’re continuing a series of short and occasionally cheeky city guides for the seven host destinations of the World Cup and Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Up now: Winnipeg, MB

Age :142 years

Appearance : Flat doesn’t mean dull. Heritage waterways, early-20th-century architecture and the glassy facade of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which stretches skyward from atop a grassy knoll, characterize cosmopolitan Winnipeg.

Winnipeg in five words : Heartland, wind, culture, Jets, rebellions

Is it easy to get around? Much of Winnipeg is pleasantly walkable, though the 535-strong bus fleet is usually close at hand. Penny-pinchers can jump on the Downtown Spirit, a no-charge bus that stops at all of the city’s major attractions.

What’s the city’s hidden gem? It’s quite literally hidden in the architecture of Manitoba’s Legislative Building—a hermetic code of hieroglyphs, numerology and symbols. Discover its secrets on a guided tour.

Where can you catch the sporting action live? Welcome to Canada’s newest professional sports stadium: Investors Group Field. Set on the University of Manitoba campus, this 40,000-seat venue opened just two years ago in all its $210-million glory.

Are there fun bars and pubs to watch the games from, too? Barley Brothers pairs craft beer and big screen TVs—its new location near the stadium is a solid sporting choice. Or drop into one of The Peg’s five Tavern United locations, a locally favoured sports pub.

Enough about sport—where are the hot spots to eat and drink in the city? Too many! Unusual entrées such as “stinging nettle linguini” grace the menu of Deer + Almond; 529 Wellington serves Winnipeg’s best steaks in a century-old mansion. Chef Scott Bagshaw impresses with his international fusion cookery at Deseo Bistro. Prairie 360 Skyline Restaurant & Lounge dishes local interpretations of comfort classics and premium whiskies in the city’s only revolving restaurant. Winnipeggers relish the Mediterranean cuisine and wine at industrial-chic Cibo Waterfront Café, as well as the takeout from Shawarma Khan, an eatery owned by former CFL lineman Obby Khan.

Some visitors like to shop ‘til they drop—where should they go? Start on Corydon Avenue for eclectic stores such as Things, Antiques & Gifts, a consignment centre supporting Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Then zip over to funky Osborne Village, where you’ll find more than 175 vendors inside ornate 1900-era buildings. Speaking of architecture—the cut-stone structures of the Exchange District almost distract from the amazing retailers within (vintage fans prefer Rhymes With Orange). The fashion-forward favour Academy Road for its upscale shops—the young-and-hip like Moule and the mom-to-be-and-hip opt for BUMP Maternity. Finish your day perusing the shops of local merchants at Forks Market and Johnston Terminal.

What’s the nightlife like? Toss back pints of Fort Garry Brewing Company Dark Ale at Toad in the Hole Pub & Eatery before catching live music at The Cavern. Or sip shaken martinis (you know Winnipeg’s James Bond connection, right?) at G Martini Bar. Any way you do it, the city’s chic flock to Osborne Village.

Life isn’t just fun and games—where can visitors feed their minds? Winnipeg is on the world stage for its wondrous Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where visitors wander alabaster walkways and use gesture-based technology to explore humanity’s trials and triumphs. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet is considered our nation’s best classical ballet. The Winnipeg Art Gallery houses the world’s largest collection of Inuit art. Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art displays multimedia and interdisciplinary art focused on ideas and issues affecting society today. Graffiti Art Programming Inc. celebrates spray-painted street art.

One of Canada’s attractions is its amazing nature—what are some nearby outdoor delights? Drive 90 minutes east of Winnipeg to the edge of Whiteshell Provincial Park and paddle the Pinawa River—pass wild rice paddies and portage alongside rumbling rapids before reaching the post-Apocalyptic-like ruins of century-old Pinawa Dam.

Make local friends in Winnipeg : Talk up the Jets and Blue Bombers. We’re infatuated with our NHL and CFL teams.

Make local foes in Winnipeg : Gentle reminder to big-city folk: Winnipeg is the centre of Canada, not the middle of nowhere.

Looking for more visual inspiration from Winnipeg and Manitoba? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over Canada.

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