Winnipeg: Capital of Manitoba, City of the Plains

A Beacon of Culture, Business and Culinary Delights

Downtown Winnipeg, View From the Forks
Downtown Winnipeg. morrismulvey / Moment / Getty Images

The border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the states of North Dakota and Minnesota meanders across the prairies of the midcontinent of North America, with long views to the horizon as far as the eye can see.

Cosmopolitan City of the Plains

The capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg, is most definitely a city of the plains, but that doesn't translate to mean "boring." This city of nearly 664,000 as of Canada's 2011 census has a bustling arts scene, with an abundance of theater venues and live music events to choose from. Then there's The Forks, a public space where the Assiniboine and Red rivers meet with a market, culinary scene and entertainment venues. Winnipeg is a city of neighborhoods, with the most interesting the hip Exchange District with early 20th-century architecture, the French-feeling St. Boniface and the bohemian neighborhoods of Osborne Village and Corydon Avenue. The Manitoba Legislative Building is in the city center near the Assiniboine River.

Winnipeg is near the geographical center of Canada and North America and is a transportation hub, with extensive rail and air links. It became the capital of Manitoba in 1870. It's a multicultural city where more than 100 languages are spoken. And this diversity adds a delicious dimension to its lively restaurant scene.

Winnipeg Attractions

There's fun to be had at The Forks, wandering through art galleries in the Exchange District and having a bit of lunch gazing at vintage architecture or doing some serious boho shopping in Osborne Village or Corydon Avenue.

The Manitoba Legislative Building makes for an interesting tour and if the legislature is in session, you can watch laws being made. Assiniboine Park covers 1,100 acres of parks and gardens and has a children's nature playground, complete with willow tree tunnels and giant bird's nests; a zoo; conservatory, steam train; and restaurants. The Manitoba Museum is known for its walk-through dioramas of natural settings and a Winnipeg streetscape of the early part of the 20th century when Winnipeg was young.

Besides the art galleries in the Exchange District, there's the Winnipeg Art Gallery for art lovers. This museum, founded in 1912, has a large collection of Canadian art and the largest public collection of Inuit art in the world, with more than 10,000 works.

Weather in Winnipeg

Winnipeg has a bad reputation when it comes to the weather. It's not entirely unearned. Its northern continental location means it has short summers, but they're nice while they last. The average high in July is 79 degrees Fahrenheit 26 Celsius), with lows in the mid-50s (13 Celsius). By October the average high is 51 degrees (10.5 Celsius), so residents of Winnipeg have to make the most of nice weather when they can. The average high in January is 12 degrees (-11 Celsius), with a bone-chilling low of -7 (-21 Celsius). But on the plus side, Winnipeg has the most days of winter sunshine of any Canadian city and is also relatively dry.