Favourite local gathering place

The Forks

Photo by Mike Sudoma

It’s no wonder Uniter readers chose The Forks as the top public gathering place in Winnipeg in 2017 – it has served as a meeting place and central hub for more than 6,000 years.

“We know that Indigenous people passed through and traded in this space before it became the centre of the fur trade and eventually a railway hub,” Larissa Peck, marketing and communications co-ordinator for The Forks, says.

But it wasn’t always a gathering place. It fell into disrepair in recent history.

“From the late ’60s to the late ’80s, the space we know as The Forks sat as an abandoned rail yard – no access to the waterfront, just brown and dreary,” Peck says. “The land was gifted by the three levels of government to The Forks to turn it into a community space.”

Today, The Forks attracts more than four million tourists and Winnipeggers each year, according to Peck.

The Forks has activities year round. In the summer, there are free outdoor events like Canada Day and the Pride Winnipeg Festival and powwows, as well as activities held at the Oodena Celebration Circle, boat tours, the riverwalk and much more.

In the winter, The Forks features, among other things, ice skating, the Red River Mutual Trail on the river, the Arctic Glacier Winter Park, tobogganing and indoor shopping and/or hanging out in the The Forks Market.

“We strive to be an inclusive, progressive, urban meeting place for Winnipeggers and tourists year round,” Peck says, adding that “We see almost as many (visitors) over a frigid weekend in February … as we do on a hot August weekend.”

More activities and information can be found at theforks.com.

Published in Volume 72, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2017)

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