Winter walking trails in St. Vital Park, Henteleff Park, and Seine River Greenway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Winter in Manitoba is cold and long. Some survive it by huddling indoors. Others claim the best approach is to embrace winter and get outdoors. This year, with a raging pandemic limiting access to indoor venues and restricting travel, it seems more people are doing just that. Skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are all popular. As is simply walking.
I am not much of a cold weather person, but I too am getting out walking this winter. Nearby parks provide a comfortable place to walk. Their snow-packed trails or cleared walkways make for easier and safer walking than neighbourhood sidewalks, which may have icy sections and uneven patches of snow. It feels warmer when I get into the shelter of forested areas even with the trees barren of leaves. And it is beautiful. A stunning and peaceful winter wonderland.
In the rest of this post, I share some of that beauty with you from three parks in southeast Winnipeg. There are numerous other parks and trails to walk on in the city, including the iconic Centennial skating and walking Trail on the rivers in downtown Winnipeg. I’ve chosen to highlight these three because or their proximity to my home.
St. Vital Park
St. Vital Park is a 100-acre park in south Winnipeg. Situated along the Red River, the heavily treed park contains a variety of trails, picnic areas, BBQ pits, a children’s play structure, a boat launch, a soccer field, sand volleyball areas, and a rock garden.
In the winter, you can walk or cross-country ski on trails through the woods or slide down a toboggan slide. The duck pond becomes a skating rink. The path around that pond has become one of my walking routes.
Henteleff Park is a 30-acre park located on a river lot along St. Mary’s Road. Once part of the Henteleff family farm, the park has a market gardening history. Métis families settled here in the early 1800s and formed a gardening community. In 1924, the Henteleff family bought 40 acres of riverfront land and launched a market garden operation becoming one of the first Jewish market gardeners in western Canada. They ran the market garden until 1967 when the land was expropriated by the city. It was designated as a public park in 2002.
Today, the park has retained its rural character even while surrounded by development. With a few remnants of shelter plantings from the city’s former tree nursery, the area is largely a natural landscape of riparian forest that provides a home to diverse wildlife and a refuge to many species of songbirds. Normand Creek, which runs through the park, provides a spawning area and backwater for fish species.
Seine River Greenway and Boise-des-Espirits Park
The Seine is a slow and winding river that runs through southeastern Winnipeg and flows into the Red River in central Winnipeg. The river and surrounding woodlands form an urban oasis and are home to many different kinds of wildlife. There are several trail areas along the greenway. The trails and the natural beauty of the area are the result of work done by the non-profit organizations Save Our Seine River Environment Inc., which formed in 1990 to clean up pollution and dumping, and preserve the natural environment. Today, it continues its mandate “to preserve, protect, enhance, restore and repair the Seine River greenway, to raise public education & awareness of and improve public access to the Seine River greenway.” The Bois-des-Esprits and the Seine River South trails in the south end of the city are the ones I am familiar with. They meander through large oak trees.
On the Boise-des-Esprits trail, which is pictured in the top photo of this post, you’ll find numerous tree carvings scattered along the trail. Some are easily visible. Others require keen eyes to spot. Some are quickly noticed from one direction only and may be easily missed when walking the other way. This Boise-des-Espirit trail web page contains a map to help pinpoint the carvings.
These beautiful trails make for special winter walks.
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