Manitoba’s Cultural Experiences

Manitoba is a cultural hub with a lot to offer, from the arts to festivals, with a rich dose of historical sites. Here are some essential stops on any cultural tour of the province.

Cultural Centre

The Winnipeg Exchange District is a National Historic Landmark and certainly one of Winnipeg's cultural centers, with a vibrant restaurant, theater, museum, and nightlife scene. What really sets Exchange District apart is the architecture. Here you can enjoy ornate 20th-century architecture strongly reminiscent of Chicago. This old-world architecture meets ultra-modern at the Cube, a performance stage surrounded by an interactive metal-mesh cube covered with colorful lights, in the district's Old Market Square. This unique outdoor space is home to a variety of music festivals and performances – everything from the Winnipeg Folk Festival to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Where the Red River and the Assiniboine come together, there is a 6,000-year-old rendezvous. The Forks in Winnipeg is a district that holds incredible historical significance and is now home to beautiful markets, inspiring museums, and gardens. Originally horse stalls for railroad companies, Forks Market is a welcome stroll among inviting boutiques and restaurants. If you're visiting the Forks in the winter, step up your skates and glide along the breathtaking frozen red and more than 5 miles of the Assiniboine River. Then visit one of the many museums nearby.


One of the most fascinating buildings in the entire country is Winnipeg's Canadian Museum of Human Rights. The dazzling structure of curved steel and glass is truly something to behold in itself, but it also houses a mighty collection of 10 core galleries housing you that make you think about the human experience and your place in it. It is the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to human rights awareness and education, and during your visit you will learn about indigenous perspectives on rights, the Holocaust and other genocide, how to break the silence and inspire change, and much more. Some, all through a uniquely Canadian lens.

The collection of more than 24,000 is the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), the oldest civilian gallery in the country. These works span almost all eras and forms, from ancient Greek sculptures to Renaissance paintings to modern photography displays. The gallery also contains the largest Canadian art ever produced, and contains the world's largest collection of contemporary Inuit art.

The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in Winnipeg, and its scope is as large as its collection. Nine permanent galleries showcase everything from a full-sized 17th-century ship you can actually explore to the entertainment of early bison hunting. Regular touring performances also ensure a new, unique experience each time you visit.

Finally, located in Brandon, Manitoba, the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is deeply rooted in the local community and dates from 1907. With an emphasis on Manitoba art, the gallery showcases contemporary art of regional, national and international importance. The luxurious gift shop features Manitoba artists in paint, jewelry, ceramics and textiles.

Experience Manitoba Culture and History

Are you sure you want to get your figurative hands dirty with cultural experiences? Head to Manitoba's Birds Hill Provincial Park for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, a four-day celebration of musical genres such as folk, blues, bluegrass, roots, gospel, Celtic, French Canadian, world and country, as well as arts, food and community. soul. Enjoy the melodious sounds from the main stage, where world-renowned artists perform every evening. Meet skilled musicians face to face. Browse artisan shops. Dine on fabulous cuisine from 25 different food vendors. Camp out on site and let the good times last through the night.

Any mention of dance companies in North America must begin with the longest continuously operating company on the continent: the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. When you watch a production from RWB, you are sure to be captivated by the creativity, beauty and technical prowess. Granted 'royal' status by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, a performance by RWB should be at the top of your list if you have even a casual interest in dancing.

While we're on the topic of dancing, you'll have a hard time sitting still during Winnipeg's Manito Ahabi festival. From the moment drummers strike a pounding rhythm, and women in fancy shawls spread their butterfly hats, you know you're in a special place. Manito Ahbi is named after a sacred place in Manitoba's Whiteshell Provincial Park and is an Ojibwe word meaning "where the Creator sits." The festival evolved from this traditional gathering place, where pow wow performers in feathered headdresses share the spotlight with tribal hip hop musicians wowing the red carpet crowd. Feel your full body as the Cree, Ojibwe, Dakota Sioux and more tribal dancers walk around and sing along to one of North America's top pow wows. And when there's something called "interracial dance," don't be surprised if it joins in.

From Aboriginal we move to European. Dubbed as "the world's biggest kitchen party," the Festival du Voyageur is a chance to experience food, fun, and French Canadian heritage on the snowy streets of Winnipeg. Recreate a 19th-century fur-trading outpost, taste traditional fortified wines, and enjoy dozens of live music performances at a variety of venues. Taking place every February for 10 days, this annual celebration of Manitoba's fur trader history is not to be missed.

For more information on these early explorers, head out of town and follow the Voyagers' Path to Manitoba's Akens Lake Wilderness Lodge. Learn the secrets of wilderness fishing and how to prepare a traditional shore lunch. Then hike along a historic port where fur traders once walked. Along the way you'll see ancient pictographs and learn about the history of Lake Akence, the Gaiman River, and the Bloodvein River as you follow in Voyager's footsteps.

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