May 212014
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Winnipeg English Garden

English Garden at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Free summer outdoor activities in Winnipeg, Manitoba – parks and more

After living through a long, cold winter, Manitobans love their summers and flock outdoors. In Winnipeg, its capital city, there are many places and ways to enjoy the summer weather.

Assiniboine Park, a 1,110 acre park initially created in 1904, offers a variety of attractions and plenty of green space in which to picnic or toss a ball around. Stroll through the Formal Gardens or along the winding paths and free-form beds of the English Gardens. Visit the ever-changing floral displays at the Conservatory. Take your children or grandchildren to the Nature Playground, which includes a sand and water play area, willow tree tunnels, basket swings, rubber mountains, and more.

Walk through some of Manitoba’s largest trees, visit a formal garden, and see Hansel and Gretel’s “Witch Hut” at Kildonan Park. The park also has a play structure, picnic areas, and barbecue pits.

Visit the rock garden, walk around the duck pond, play, or picnic at St. Vital Park.

Walk the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth at King’s Park.

The Forks, where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, has been a meeting place for 6,000 years. It remains a meeting place today with dining, shopping, and a variety of activities and attractions. Visit the Forks and take in some of the activities. Take your children or grandchildren to its Variety Heritage Adventure Playground, a playground designed to encourage imaginative play while presenting historic stories. It also has a water park, open from mid-June to Labour Day.

Walk along the Assiniboine Riverwalk, a winding path along the riverbank running from Esplanade Riel, the bridge into the Saint Boniface area, to the Manitoba Legislature Building. Watch passing boats and enjoy the scenery. Rises in water levels make parts of the path impassable at times, so check the web site for current conditions before planning your walk.

Walk through Assiniboine Forest. Feel as if you’ve left the city far behind you as you walk through aspen-oak vegetation, hear the birds, and spot wildlife. The forest is home to white-tail deer.

Explore the city by walking trails mapped out by the Winnipeg Trails Association. Over 30 detailed trail maps are available on the web site. Each map contains a few facts about the area and identifies points of interest, including availability of washroom facilities. Trails range in length from .4 kilometres to 10 kilometres.

Spend a Sunday afternoon cycling on one of the designated bike route streets closed to vehicle traffic that day. Streets include Scotia Street, Wolseley Avenue, Wellington Crescent, and Lyndale Drive. Check the city website for exact locations.

If you are looking for more organized exercise, try the free, outdoor, noon-hour yoga and zumba classes in downtown Winnipeg. Starting June 22, 2014 and running until August 29, 2014, Memorial Park is host to yoga on Mondays and zumba on Fridays. The Millennium Library Park is host to zumba on Tuesdays and yoga on Thursdays.

The Forks playground

Variety Heritage Adventure Playground at The Forks

For other free summer activities in Winnipeg, read my posts Free Winnipeg Museums, Art, and History and Free Summer Concerts and Festivals in Winnipeg.

Do you know of a park or other free outdoor activity in Winnipeg to add to this list? Do you have a favourite free summer outdoor activity in another city?

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  14 Responses to “Free Winnipeg Parks and Outdoor Activities”

  1. Hi Donna, I don’t know Winnipeg well enough to add to the list though I really do enjoy the Riverwalk. My favourite free summer outdoor activities in other Canadian cities are the Jazz festivals in Old Montreal and Toronto Beach, the International Music festival in Halifax, as well as Shakespeare in The Park which is now held in many cities. I expect that with the vibrant music and arts culture in Winnipeg there are similar events but I have not had the pleasure of attending.

    • Paul, there are a lot of festivals and concerts in Winnipeg in the summer, including a jazz festival. My next post will have information about these. I started to put all the Winnipeg free summer activities in one post, but it was getting too long and cluttered so I split into 3 posts.

  2. Hi Donna, What a winter you’ve had… shish. I have heard of Assiniboine Park. I would love to stroll through the formal gardens and visit their floral displays at their Conservatory. It’s something I do hope to do some day. 🙂

    • The Easter display of flowers at the Conservatory has been a favourite of mine. That time of year is too early for the other gardens and that may be part of the appeal.

  3. My mom was just telling me today that she’d like to visit Canada someday to see their amazing gardens. (She’s a garden and flower fanatic.) I’ll have to send her this information, thanks for sharing it!

    • There are a lot of gardens in Canada I’ve yet to see. I have visited two on the west coast that I highly recommend. Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island and Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver. They are over 1100 miles from Winnipeg, so I don’t get to see them very often.

  4. I haven’t been to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in years. Will definitely have to visit soon and see the new polar bear exhibit.

  5. Donna, I can totally appreciate this post after living in Alaska for eight years…and plus, I love free things to do. Thanks.

  6. Hi Donna,

    My husband will be in Winnipeg next week so I’ll pass along this post and the other you mentioned so he can see what his options are when he is in town. I’m a big fan of the Forks myself.

    • On Sunday, I will post about free festivals and concerts. Most are later in the summer, but if he is in Winnipeg the weekend of May 31 and June 1, Doors Open Winnipeg might be an interesting choice.

  7. It seems you guys have a lot going on in Winnipeg. Not to say that you don’t have enough activities here, in Los Angeles area, but “free” is always good and it’s fun to look at other places. I enjoyed reading your post. It would be nice if you could add more pictures. Keep up the good work, Donna.

    • Thanks for comments. There is a lot to do In Winnipeg in the summer. I’m glad to hear you wanted more pictures. Most of my posts have more photos than this one need. I was more focused on providing a summary of activities here.

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