Downtown Winnipeg, Winnipeg
The Manitoba Legislature was completed in 1920. The building style is neo-classical, incorporating Greek, Roman and Egyptian motifs and elements. (Yes Egyptian! See if you can find the pair of sphinxes that guard the north entrance.) The building was designed by Frank Worthington Simon of Liverpool, England.
The building is in the shape of a letter H with a central tower approximately 74.5 metres tall. A top of the tower is the Golden Boy statue. Sculpted by Georges Gardet of France, the 4.9 metre statue was placed atop the tower in 1919.
Arrange for a tour of the building. If you like such architecture you will not be disappointed!
Even though my hometown is Duluth, Minnesota, my adopted hometown is downtown Winnipeg. I've always had a great time there, whether it's -20 on New Year's Day or roasting hot on Canada Day. Where else can you drive through such isolation in the wilds of northern Minnesota for hours and suddenly descend upon a city with over 650,000 people? Arriving in Winnipeg after that long, desolate drive from Duluth is exhilarating. I used to hop on the Greyhound in downtown Duluth and sit back and enjoy the six hour ride to Winnipeg. The economy has changed that, as we no longer have a northbound bus from Duluth. But I digress. I used to stay at the Travelodge (where the bus depot was; today the bus depot is near the airport and the 'Lodge is the Holiday Inn). There was something gritty about staying there - I didn't feel my safety was compromised at all, but just watching the variety of people in this area changes your stereotypes of urban Canada. It's not immune from the problems anywhere else (drugs, homeless, gangs, prostitution, HIV, etc). It became obvious that while Winnipeg is a very interesting place, it is not a place of outwardly obvious wealth (much like Duluth is, compared to Minneapolis).
So what do you want to do downtown? I'm the fitness, health and psychology major so I had the entire downtown as my classroom. Hands down - my favourite place to work out was only a block away. Attached to Portage Place, the YM-YWCA (ywinnipeg.ca) is an example of how great a facility can be when two organizations join together (YMCA & YWCA; I wish that would happen here) to create a state of the art, top notch fitness facility that has the latest equipment and has room to grow. I worked out here every day. One block back to my room to clean up and get dressed and it was time to take advantage of the clear day. Grabbed my kodak to do my next favorite hobby - finding the best spots for cityscape photos of downtown. Top floors of parking ramps, buildings, and just exploring is fun. Downside of traveling alone is finding someone to take a picture of you with the city in the background, but eventually I found a kind local. I personally LOVE the University of Winnipeg campus and the building. I could spend all day just looking around and appreciating the architecture.
Next was a trip down to Portage and Main. North along Main Street is very similar to Duluth's West End, with dererlict hotels with bars where fights and illegal activities are common. One of our worst hotels is the Seaway Hotel (20th Ave W & Superior St), Winnipeg's version is the McLaren Hotel, the Bell Hotel, Winnipeg Hotel and Garrick Hotel. I know some of these places have undergone extensive renovations to spruce up the area, and am excited to see how that affects the community.
There are so many more things to do and places to go. I just gave a short list of free or very low cost things for a single young man or woman to do, and depending on what you like, you can find it downtown. I'm a city/downtown kinda guy, so this is right up my alley. But even if you aren't, what I like about Winnipeg (and Duluth!) is that you can be in the centre of downtown, and 10-15 minutes later you're on rural roads. Horseback riding, nature hikes and all the like are just there waiting for you!
PS: If you're interested in the history of these awesome buildings downtown in Winnipeg, I recently purchased a coffee table photo book of Winnipeg's Portage Avenue. It's got tons of photos and tells great stories of downtown from a century ago.
Typical Convention Centre. There are a few restaurants hidden inside. Not much else going on unless there is an event happening.
When it was completed in 1975, there were only a few similar facilities in Canada at the time. And in 1975, Winnipeg had the largest convention centre in Canada.
CanWest Global Place is the tallest building in Winnipeg with 31 floors. With nothing but prairie around Winnipeg for hundreds of kilometres and several of these tall buildings all located at the corner of Portage & Main, they make it the windiest corner in North America.
The building was originally built by the Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank but was later sold to the Winnipeg owned company CanWest Global Communications.
If you didn't travel to Winnipeg by train, be sure to take few minutes to visit the Union Station on Main Street if you pass by. The architecture on the inside is quite a treat. Be sure to look up in the common area with the ceiling dome.
Walking down Broadway you will see quite a mix of building styles. Standing on Broadway across from the Legislature and looking toward Main St. you will see such a contrast. The stone building is part of the Manitoba Law Courts complex while the newer building is the Woodward Building which houses many provincial governement departments. Keep walking down Broadway until you reach the end of the street at Main St. for more examples.
Our City may not have a Tate or a Louvre, but it does have our Winnipeg Art Gallery to offer. If you're looking for some localish art or are interested in Inuit sculpture, give the place a look. There is also a gift shop.
If you're lucky, the gallery might have a couple of paintings by good artists out on loan from somewhere important. (A few years ago, they had a couple of Van Goghs from the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.)
Just North of the Assiniboine River lives many apartment buildings for those Winnipeg residents who live downtown.
The two hippest streets in Winnipeg are the perfect way to spend a day cafe crawling or an evening pub crawling...or just crawling, no one will think it odd.
You should go on a boat tour. In the tour the guide highlights most of the local attractions which include The Forks, St.Boniface Cathedral, the Parliment buildings, and Can West Global Park.