Favourite winnipeg Winter Activity

Skating on the river trail

Illustration by Kathleen Bergen

1. Skating on the river trail
2. Festival du Voyageur
3. Staying inside


Through a cold climate that puts locals at odds with the outdoors, Winnipeggers are resilient and thrive with winter activities despite the chill. 

The Red River Mutual Trail is a go-to Winnipeg winter destination found in central downtown at the intersection of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, starting just under the Norwood Bridge. According to The Forks’ website, it holds the Guinness World Record for longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world. It has a connected skating rink and an interactive art gallery.

Spokesperson Chelsea Thomson says the trail is a way for people throughout Winnipeg to connect.

“The thing we’ve noticed most is it connects communities,” Thomson says. “It’s an opportunity for people from different parts of the city to come to The Forks on skates or walk or pushing a stroller.”

In the past, the trail has been as long as 10 kilometres, though on average it’s been about six kilometres in length. In the last few years, it’s stretched all the way to St. Vital. Skaters access the trail from throughout the city, but Thomson says The Forks still sees the most skaters - up to 20,000 in one weekend. 

“It’s easy to complain about the cold, but what we do is make it fun,” Thomson says. “As soon as the river is frozen, we are out there. Our river trail crew guys are working really hard to clear the snow, and then we maintain it until spring.” 

The Forks also offers extended skating time with lighted trails and rinks on land, and this will be the first winter that The Common is open. 

“It’s a great opportunity for people to grab a beer or glass of wine after their skate,” Thomson says. 

For ice conditions and trail openings amd closures, visit theforks.com/rivertrail.

Published in Volume 71, Number 13 of The Uniter (December 1, 2016)

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