Winnipeg Adventures In Friendly Manitoba

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Welcome to Winnipeg, Manitoba ! This week, I’ve been sent halfway across the country for some teaching training. Yep, my very first business trip… So I found myself on a plane wondering what the hell I was doing there – pretty much the story of my life.

Okay, I did NOT lie about all my travels, but I have to be honest : except for visiting my family in France once a year, I hadn’t traveled much these last two years. The thought of going almost 2,000 km from Ottawa was a bit scary since I didn’t know exactly where and why I was going.

On top of that, I landed in Winnipeg Monday evening in the middle of a storm :

Landing In Winnipeg

Landing In Winnipeg

Arriving in such bad weather was a bit creepy. And empty hotel rooms are creepy as well, especially when traveling alone. I was in survival mode. The city looked strange to me : wide roads but no freeways, bunch of people hanging out outside buildings, drugs and no rock’n’roll. I had never realized how “clean” was Ottawa.

Fortunately, Tuesday was much better. I walked to The Forks, one of Winnipeg’s landmark, by the Red River and The Assiniboine. From there I had a good view of Winnipeg’s skyline (if it can be called a skyline…) The city downtown is very spread out and some parts of the city almost look abandoned. Hello, hello, is there anybody in there ? Did everyone run away from the cold winters ?

The Forks

The Forks

Winnipeg Skyline

Winnipeg Skyline

From there, I crossed the footbridge overlooking the Red River to go to Saint Boniface, the old French district. Nope, I didn’t hear any French.

When I first arrived for the training, the staff totally freaked out when they learned I was French. “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have anybody speaking French here !” “Wait a second, I think Kelly took French in Junior High, let’s get her” “She’s out of town for the week, what are we gonna do ?

Nothing. You won’t do anything cause I can speak English. I felt like the language police from Ottawa visiting ! Yes, there’s a language battle in Canada but I’m not part of it. If you speak French, we speak French. If you speak English, we speak English. Language is a mean of communication to me, not a political battle.

And they relaxed. And so did I.

Bridge

Bridge

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Red River And Assiniboine

Red River And Assiniboine

I spent a while at the Forks, where I grabbed something to eat in the indoor market. “Friendly Manitoba” as the license plates say… well, people are friendly. Ottawa is all about politics and securing a good steady job in government, but Winnipeg is far more relaxed and casual.

The Forks Market

The Forks Market

Manitoba Train

Manitoba Train

The next day, I walked to the Legislative Buildings, all the way down Broadway Avenue. Gosh, I can never estimate distances right on a map. Growing up in Europe in a city I could cross in 30 minutes top, I really never got used to the North American scale.

Legislative Buildings

Legislative Buildings

Legislative Buildings Grounds

Legislative Buildings Grounds

And I explored the downtown, around Main & Portage. I loved the tall buildings and the busy atmosphere, the freedom of walking unknown streets, the anonymity. Everything was fresh and new to me. I’m sick of Ottawa. My spirit is crying for leaving.

Downtown Winnipeg

Downtown Winnipeg

Building Reflection

Building Reflection

I flew back to Ottawa a few days later… on my way to another trip, in Toronto.

Flying Over Winnipeg

Flying Over Winnipeg

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

16 Comments

  1. Hey Zhu…GREAT pictures! Again, I wouldn’t know anything about traveling..I would be glad to get out of the state every once and a while. I am going to Houston on the 1st. Me and the kids are going to see my mom. I’ll still be blogging though. L8R

  2. drugs and no rock and roll, huh? that’s too bad…I got to have both…LOL nice pics!! I need to travel more. I’d love to see more of Canada, and Europe too, if nothing else.

  3. Never heard of the drugs without the rock’n roll. It must be very sad.

    Very cool that you are visiting places you haven’t been to before. I don’t know a thing about Manitoba. Are there dangerous moose there? Although, I guess most moose are dangerous.

  4. Oh what a cool trip! Yes, you speak English don’t u? HAHA! Or French, so what’s the big deal! You were made for Canada! I love the fact that Quebec wants to preserve their French side anyway. More power to them!

  5. Hey Zhu!!

    Well, what a wonderful post. Your first business trip – it must have been so exciting! The photos are great, it really provides a flavour of the place. I so definitely agree – empty hotel rooms are creepy. I’ve had to spend a lot of time in Istanbul, Turkey over the past few months due to work commitments and it has been so wierd being on my own in the room.

    Anywayz, great post!! and beautiful Profile Photo too!!

  6. Coybowft : I’m sure you’ll get a chance to travel one day… maybe when the kids are older ? Come on, I’ll take you !

    Mona : Thanks ! :$

    Webmiztris : Europe is quite expensive to travel (I’m sure you already know that) but I’d be happy to be your guide… if you get me some of this drug & rock’n’roll spirit !

    Sebastien : it is, indeed… The most dangerous thing in Manitoba is the winter. As for animals, I only saw stuffed bears. Sorry… 😀

  7. Wat : you wouldn’t believe how crazy it is to live in a bilingual country… I have to show you signs’ picture I took – it’s nor French nor English ! 😀

    Dan : thanks :$ I though it was about time I change my profil pic, I looked mean on the other one !

    Getty72 : How was Turkey ? I’ve always wanted to visit back when I lived in Europe, never had a chance. I wanna see some pic !

  8. Zhu,
    thought it was very cold and creepy – especially compared to Ottawa
    cannot see any snow or blizzards in your photos
    the summer in manitoba is a continental climate – with extreme hot summers – even around the lakes – except of course if you are way up north in Northern Manitoba
    If you are up there watch out for the Manitoba blackflies- then again the Lake Winnipeg fish flies ( mayflies) are no picnic either

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  10. I’m from Winnipeg, and I had a good chuckle at your first impressions of us! I would agree with you on most fronts:) We are casual, we are friendly, we are very much country folk living in a big city:) Hope you get to experience us again… maybe in winter next time, that’s always an adventure!

    • I really love the city, it had an amazing energy and yes, it was truly “friendly Manitoba”.

      My partner grew up in Manitoba and have very good memories of it… although he doesn’t seem to want to experience the winter here again!

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