Home to a grain exchange that once rivaled the world’s largest markets, Winnipeg’s architecture, neighborhoods and hospitality reflect a small Canadian prairie town. The city was an aboriginal trading center prior to the arrival of the Europeans and was at the heart of the Canadian fur trade.
The city also boasts one of North America’s most richly diverse music scenes — a living classroom for music students. Many of the music institutions are world-renowned with rock ‘n’ roll alumni like Burton Cummings from The Guess Who, Crush Test Dummies and Neil Young.
“Students can observe a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra dress rehearsal then be invited for a Q&A with the conductor, or they can have a music clinic with reputable organizations including the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Music and Winnipeg Singers,” said Sarah Robinson, business development manager for Tourism Winnipeg. “There also is the opportunity to have an exchange with a local school.”
Aside from its many musical offerings, Winnipeg brims with cultural landmarks, museums and galleries. Tourism Winnipeg suggests several attractions for students to discover the city’s rich and varied history, and profound character.
Known for its vivid portrayal of Manitoba’s rich and diverse history, planetarium shows and science gallery exhibits, Manitoba Museum has nine interpretive galleries that explore the interrelationship of people and their environment. Students travel through millions of years as they journey from north to south across Manitoba’s vast and varied landscape, from the icy artic coast to the windswept prairies.
The museum offers 40 education programs in English and French. Guided museum programs include the opportunity to have students explore on their own. Science demonstrations last 30 minutes and allow 60 minutes to explore the Science Gallery. Complimentary lunchroom space is available upon request.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Winnipeg is often associated with the study of moral principles and behavior, as it’s home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is “the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of international human rights,” Robinson said.
The museum explores the subject of human rights with special but not exclusive reference to Canada. Through variously themed programs, workshops and tours, students are given the tools to help them think critically and with empathy. Programs last between one and two hours, and are followed by a visit to galleries and exhibits that reflect their lesson.
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre
One of North America’s birding hotspots, Oak Hammock Marsh features restored prairie marsh, aspen-oak bluff, waterfowl lure crops, artesian springs and some of Manitoba’s last remaining patches of tall-grass prairies. More than 18 miles (30 kilometers) of trails are available for groups to explore.
The interpretive center offers a variety of programs for middle and high school students, including marsh walkabouts, wetland ecology, snowshoe walkabouts, geocaching 101 and voyageur canoe trips. Plan an unforgettable overnight stay at the center with special dawn-to-dusk programs. Watch the sun set over the marsh among nocturnal creatures, then explore the night, gaze at the stars and learn the legends of constellations.
Assiniboine Park & Zoo
For classes interested in studying the environment, “Winnipeg is home to several sustainable tourism attractions where they can feel empowered to make change and learn about topics such as polar bear conservation, climate change issues, eco-tours and environment concern,” Robinson said.
One of these attractions is Assiniboine Park & Zoo, where educational programs connect students with nature and inspire them to become environmental stewards. All programs incorporate objectives in science with connections to art, culture, language and social studies. Many of the programs include hands-on activities, and different styles of learning are encouraged through story, music, verbal presentations, tours and teamwork.
Royal Canadian Mint
Students can join interactive guided tours, in English and French, featuring displays and behind-the-scenes looks at the Royal Canadian Mint. There, they can discover the wonders of high-speed, high-volume coin production. Every single Canadian circulation coin is produced in Winnipeg — literally billions each year. The currency produced there spans the globe, from Africa to New Zealand, to the medals of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Finish the 45-minute tour in the boutique, where students can shop for collector coins, gifts and souvenirs. Within 6 miles (10 kilometers) of the mint, students also can visit the Forks National Historic Site, the French Quarter, the Manitoba Legislature and Fort Gibraltar.
For more information, contact Tourism Winnipeg at 855-734-2489 or visit tourismwinnipeg.com.