Explore Your Own Backyard: The Forks Market (Winnipeg, MB)

river-forks

There’s something about the river that calls me home. It’s serene, it’s calm and it is where I go to unwind and collect my thoughts. On a warm summer day, cool fall night or even a chilly winter day you can find me here – The Forks Market, and yes, I’ll be down by the river.

25 years ago The Forks Marketplace was established to bring the city together where you can shop, dine and hang out. The location of The Forks is rich in history – just a stones throw from historical Upper Fort Garry, fur traders and Aboriginals would meet on the banks and sell goods, and trade furs . My great (times 4) grandfather (who worked for The Hudson’s Bay Company as a clerk then a chief officer) walked the banks a very long time ago and I have always felt a deep connection with this very spot. Fast forward a few centuries and you would find my father as a child running around the train yard that was once housed here and it was just a block from his house and his father’s coal company (now occupied by The Goldeye’s Baseball Park).

Comprised of several popular spots that include The Johnston Terminal, The Children’s Museum, Inn at the Forks, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, The Plaza at the Forks, and the soon to be Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Forks is one heck of a popular hang out and it is always busy. Recently the good people at The Forks added a Farmers Market situated in the parking lot every Sunday, May until October (11am-4pm) – filled with great produce, jams, baked goods, crafts and so much more.

The Almond Tree

Inside you’ll find great little shops, stores and restaurants where you will always find something to purchase and eat. You must stop by Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company for THE BEST cinnamon buns and a cup of coffee. You won’t be disappointed. When you enter you are inundated with the most amazing smells that your nose and brain can be assaulted by. There are a lot of restaurants and each one is of a different culture – Ukrainian, Caribbean, Chilean, Chinese, East Indian; not forgetting the Mini Donuts, Frozen Yogurt, Skinners, Fish and Chips or even crepes. Bring a loaded wallet and an empty stomach because you will want to try everything! If you’re looking for breakfast there’s The Pancake Factory or Danny’s All Day Breakfast to satisfy your needs.

generation-green

If food isn’t your game and shopping is what tickles your fancy then there’s plenty for you to find. From kitschy to clothing, memorabilia to Green & Organic, The Forks has what you are looking for. Mostly located on the second floor there are over a dozen shops for you to explore and browse, there truly is something for everyone.

Head on over to The Johnston Terminal for even more shops, a cafe and if you like pasta, dine at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Both buildings are filled with local businesses and artisans with great products for sale. My favorite – Hartmont Candle Company – where their products are all homemade with unique scents. Seriously go for the soy melts… Rootbeer, Dr. Pepper and Cherry Cola are my favourite!

If you want to take in the views, head up to the third floor of the Market and take the elevator straight up to the observation deck – that is, if you’re not afraid of heights. Stunning 360 views of the city, and the best part, a bird’s eye view of the two rivers that meet.

So if you’re looking for a place to relax down by the river, window shop or support local businesses then The Forks is the place for you. A popular place for residents and visitors to take in, The Forks does not disappoint. And please, don’t forget a bag of Mini Donuts.

The Forks is open 7 days a week, with exception to certain holidays. Visit the website (linked above) for hours of operation, directions and business directories.