Unveiling the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

Timeless Treasures: Unveiling the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

If you’re visiting Winnipeg, you absolutely can’t miss out on a trip to the Forks National Historic Site. As a local, I’m hooked on this place – it’s like a time machine that zaps you into a whirlwind of history, culture, and sheer fun!

Walking along the scenic riverfront, browsing through the unique shops and markets, and indulging in delicious local cuisine are just a few of the many fun things to do here.

My favorite events include the summer festivals that light up the site with music, art, and community spirit. From the stunning views to the rich heritage preserved in every corner, the Forks National Historic Site encapsulates the heart and soul of Winnipeg.

What I love most about the Forks is its ability to blend the old with the new effortlessly.

You can explore the remnants of the fur trade era and then immerse yourself in modern art installations or catch a live performance at the outdoor amphitheater.

If you’re looking for a memorable and authentic experience in the city, you can’t beat a trip to the Forks. Scroll down for all the things you need to know about the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg.

Best Time to Visit the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

Many locals and tourists agree that late spring through early fall tends to be the most enjoyable time to explore the Forks.

In late spring (May to June), the weather in Winnipeg starts to warm up, with temperatures ranging from around 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F).

This time of year is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities at the Forks, such as picnicking by the river or attending outdoor events and festivals. The lush greenery and blooming flowers also add to the colorful, captivating setting.

Summer (July to August) is the peak tourist season in Winnipeg, and for good reason. Temperatures during this time typically range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), which is an ideal climate for outdoor adventures.

You can visit during this season but be prepared for the crowd.

As a local, I personally prefer visiting the Forks National Historic Site during the fall months, from September to October. The temperatures during this time range from around 5°C to 20°C (41°F to 68°F).

It’s just the perfect climate for me to bring out my layers and stay cozy while walking the riverbanks. Plus, the autumn foliage adds a burst of color to the historic streets and buildings and it almost feels poetic!

How to Get to the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

The best thing about the Forks is that it’s the heartbeat of Winnipeg and it’s where the action happens. It’s easy to travel to this area, whether you’re commuting by public transport or driving in your own car.

1. By Bus/Winnipeg Transit

Whichever side of Winnipeg you’re coming from, it’s easy to find a bus route going to the Forks. Keep the Winnipeg Transit app handy to see which bus stop is closest to you and check for any route updates.

Here are the bus routes to downtown from major areas around the city:

  • Winnipeg Airport: Bus Route 15
  • Westwood/West Winnipeg: Bus Route 22
  • St. Norbert/South Winnipeg: Bus Route 162
  • St. Vital/Southeast Winnipeg: Bus Route 16
  • Rosser-Old Kildonan/North Winnipeg: Bus Route 77 to Polo Park then Bus Route 12 to downtown
  • Transcona/Canterbury Park/East Winnipeg: Bus Route 11

2. By Car

To reach The Forks from anywhere in Winnipeg by car, you can utilize major roads such as Route 62 (also known as Main Street) or Route 57 (also known as Pembina Highway) if you’re coming from the south.

If you’re already in the downtown area, simply follow Waterfront Drive or William Stephenson Way to reach The Forks.

From other parts of the city, you can use major thoroughfares like Route 90 (also known as Brookside Boulevard or Century Street) or Route 1 (also known as Portage Avenue) to head towards downtown and then follow signs directing you to The Forks.

Things to Know About the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

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LocationForks Market Road, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4S8, Canada
Website  https://parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/mb/forks


Contact +1 204-927-7874
Opening HoursMonday to Sunday: 24/7 (The Forks grounds)

The Forks National Historic Site is a bustling spot in downtown Winnipeg; it’s kind of like the pulse of the city.

It all started with Indigenous peoples, who recognized the strategic importance of the junction where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. They used The Forks as a place for ceremonies, trading goods, and socializing with other Indigenous groups.

When European fur traders and settlers arrived in the area, they also recognized the significance of The Forks. It became a major trading post and transportation hub and was crucial in the fur trade and later in the development of Western Canada.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post at The Forks in the late 1700s, which catapulted the site into a commercial hub.

The Forks has undergone various transformations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was a bustling industrial area with railway yards and warehouses.

However, by the mid-20th century, many of these industrial operations had moved elsewhere, and The Forks fell into disrepair.

The area was designated as a National Historic Site in 1974, and in the 1980s, efforts to revitalize The Forks began. That led to its transformation into the cultural and recreational hub as we know it today.

There’s an array of attractions, including parks, restaurants, and shops, including the iconic Forks Market. Visitors can explore historical exhibits, take a stroll along the riverwalk, or enjoy outdoor activities all year long.

The Forks also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from Indigenous culture to music and food.

What to Do at the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg

1. Immerse yourself in public artworks and installations at the Forks grounds.

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Feeling artsy? Head over to Oodena Celebration Circle and the Forks grounds to marvel at the breathtaking public art installations, including the iconic “Niimaamaa” and parkade murals by various artists.

2. Practice your skating twirls at the Canopy Rink.

Canopy Rink is an outdoor skating rink because, you guessed it, it’s nestled under a large canopy structure. It’s a popular spot for people of all ages to lace up their skates and enjoy gliding while surrounded by stunning winter scenery.

3. Visit the Manitoba Children’s Museum with the little ones.

Location45 Forks Market Rd, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4T6, Canada
Website  https://childrensmuseum.com/
Contact +1 204-924-4000
Opening HoursMonday to Sunday: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Admission Rates

General Admission for ages 1-101: $12.25 plus GST

General Admission for Indigenous Peoples: Free of charge

(Note: Regular rates apply to other products and services in the museum)

The Manitoba Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning space designed specifically for children to explore and engage in interactive exhibits. It’s a must-visit if you are traveling with a young kid.

Some of the things you can see and do here include experimenting with water play in the Splash Lab, learning math and time telling at Time Squared, navigating the Lasagna Lookout, and so much more!

4. Shop goodies and feast on good food at the Forks Market.

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Location1 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4L8, Canada
Website  https://www.theforks.com/
Opening Hours

Retail Shops

Sunday to Thursday: 10 AM to 6 PM

Friday to Saturday: 10 AM to 7 PM

Food Hall

Sunday to Thursday: 11 AM to 9 PM

Friday to Saturday: 11 AM to 10 PM

(Note: The building itself is accessible from 7 AM to 10 PM daily, but some tenant hours may vary.)

As a foodie, this is one of my favorite spots in the Forks. This iconic market boasts an eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and artisanal stalls housed within a beautifully restored historic building.

You’ll find yourself in awe of the aroma of freshly baked goods wafting from Tall Grass Prairie Bakery and tempted by the savory delights at The Common, a local food hall offering a variety of culinary delights from around the world.

You could also indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to Sweet City Candy or satisfy your caffeine cravings at the deliciously aromatic offerings of Fools & Horses Coffee Company. 

The Forks Trading Company and Gilbert’s Stone are great spots to check out if you’d like to bring home some novelty items, unique handmade crafts, and artwork.

5. Unleash your cycling and skateboarding skills at The Plaza.

Opening HoursSunday to Thursday: 11:30 AM to 9 PM

Friday to Saturday: 11:30 AM to 11 PM

Admission FeeFree of charge

The Plaza stands as Canada’s premier urban skate park and bowl complex. It was even frequented by legendary skaters like Tony Hawk and Bam Margera!

This spot isn’t only a haven for skateboarders and BMX cyclists but also an urban landscape that blends in with the park-like ambiance of Downtown Winnipeg. It doesn’t matter if you skate or just want to hang out here, you’re welcome either way!

6. Participate in fun events throughout the year.

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As a cultural hub in Winnipeg, The Forks sees multitudes of exciting events and festivals throughout the year. Make sure that you check out the calendar to see what’s happening on your visit!