We took the chance to get away this past weekend. It was the one weekend from August to November that wasn't full of either a judging contest, workout or an extension activity for either Ben or myself. It probably could have been more productively spent at home - doing our "honey-do" list.......but we went to Winnipeg instead.
Winnipeg is the largest city in the province of Manitoba with approximately 600,000 residents. For those of you who don't know, that's just about the same size as the entire population of North Dakota. Manitoba is the province directly north of ND in what I naively will call "Central Canada", they were home to the Olympics some time ago and house a Canadian Hockey League team called the Manitoba Moose. This is only metropolitian area in Manitoba, the next closest city in population has 7,600 people.
We (okay me) strategically planned our agenda because certain venues had some limitations on the times available for us to visit. Ben happily obliged in my taking the lead. Our first stop, after the run-in at the border was to the Royal Canadian Mint. This mint makes all of the coin currency for Canada as well as at least 23 other countries.
If you want more details of anything we mentioned about the trip, shoot us a call or email.
Below is the photo of Ben holding a brick of gold on display in the gallery of the Mint. Its approximately 25 pounds and worth ~$485,000 based on the gold price on Friday when we visited. This area is protected by an armed guard who spends more time answering questions about the value and taking photos than actually protecting the brick from looters.
We quickly found out that many of the activities I planned were only available during the peak tourist season, which evidently ended 24-hours prior to our trip. So...........we managed to adapt and hit a few "reserve" spots including the Convention and Visitor's Bureau (noted in the photo of me as a Scandavian bar maid), the Manitoba Museum (no camera allowed), the Forks National Historic Site and a few token eatries.
In this photo below, Ben is posted on the pedestrian bridge at the juncture of the Assiniboine River and the all Mighty Red River. It was a rather brisk ~50 degrees by this time at dusk so we didn't spend much time there. That evening we endulged on pasta and breadsticks at the Ole' Spagetti Factory in the Forks District.
The next morning we headed off to the Assiniboine Park to just snoop around. Ended up enjoying ourselves and the weather so much that we went through the historic English Gardens and the Lee Mol sculpture Garden as well as the Assiniboine Zoo. Notice anything about the landscaping in the photo?
Our hands-down eating experience in Canada was on Saturday afternoon when we visited the Boston Pizza joint. We quickly devoured the Tuscan inspired variety and commented on how this was probably the best pizza we had ever eaten. Hopefully this resturaunt is in the "states" or will be soon. We did notice that you didn't see any of our popular resturuants like Applebee's, Sonic, or Red Robin.
We also got lost in the Exchange Shopping District, almost mugged by a rather questionable appearing gentleman on the street and sampled "Canada's best BBQ closest to KC" at a local joint (just for your information - the food was good, but couldn't compare to Kansas City BBQ).
Unfortunately for us, we were left with little do in the evenings because the shopping complexes we planned to visit on Saturday evening all closed at 6:30 p.m. which is exactly the opposite of the "states".....usually Saturday's are the open-late days.
We ended out early Sunday morning and made it back to Fargo to eat at TGIF's for the local 4-H fundraising event over lunch hour. All-in-all we had no trouble getting back-and-forth across the border, except being bombarded with questions and considered this a good weekend getaway.
The next trip would have to include a trip to Lower Ft. Garry, the Paddlewheel Tour of the North Red and maybe a trip to the ballet. If we decide to go back, we'll choose a warmer time of year to travel and make time to stop at the Pembina Gorge on the way home.
Our next big trip together will be to Iowa for Thanksgiving and then our big road-trip to Kansas and Indiana for the holidays - we're hoping that if we put up the Christmas decorations, the holidays will come faster!