Exchange District - downtown, Winnipeg
A sight seeing tour to Winnipeg's Exchange District with its turn of the last century architecture is the first thing I admired about the city. It was established in the early 20th century, it is the original center of commerce and culture. I like the colorful brick old buildings lined with antique shops, stores boutiques etc. They preserved the district very well.
You can take a guided tour to know more about the early 1900s of Winnipeg. It's very rich in history and you will see and learn how a simple town transformed into a booming city rich in culture. The group rate is available for 10 or more people and only runs from June to September.
In the early twentieth century Winnipeg was Canada's third largest city -- behind Toronto and Montreal. It was nicknamed Little Chicago. All people, goods, etc. moving west went through Winnipeg.
The First World War and the Great Depression caused Winnipeg to stop its growth spurt. Interestingly, the district was left virtually intact, and in the 1970's Winnipeg took steps to preserve this area; many exchange buildings became Heritage sites. Now, although many of the buildings have changed use, the Exchange District has been preserved as a distinctive area. It is interesting as that area has been used in the making of movies of the 30's often filling in for Chicago. There are organized walking tours (see the website below).
The Exchange District is now a cool collection of stone architecture. The area includes cafes, restaurants, cabarets, specialty boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and many buildings have been converted to condominiums (in fact, one of my son's has moved there).
The Exchange District is awesome, a little different from when I was younger and liked to hang out there, but it's probably an improvement. There are more places to get coffee (Mondragon, the Fyxx) and lots of little galleries.
When I was younger my best friend and I used to go to the stage in Old Market Square. She's an awesome singer, so we would use the stage to practice. Of course, there are also REAL concerts there, but you can always have your own...
Take a walk around the 20 block area of The Exchange, enter in shops, sit down to eat, stay to dance and enjoy the surroundings. Winnipeg has no better place to enjoy everything all at once.