Eloping to Winnipeg!

on Jan 14, 2010 @ 11:51 am

Hi everyone! My fiance and I are looking to elope to Winnipeg on Valentine's weekend. We have never been there before, but have heard amazing things about it. We are trying to find a good location, or ideas? I'm not sure if we should just go to the courthouse and do it there then enjoy an amazing weekend doing fun stuff. Any ideas???

19 Replies

my picks on Jan 14, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

You should stay at the Inn At The Forks. It's centrally located and on the grounds of popular Winnipeg must-visit "The Forks", and has decent dining and an in-house spa. "The Forks" is a large complex (actually best visited in the summer, but whatever) with shopping, market, a gorgeous riverwalk, and just a hop over to Winnipeg's downtown.

While you're there, head over to the St. Boniface neighbourhood (a 5 minute cab ride from The Forks) and check out the Festival du Voyageur. There is a snow sculpture display/contest, French-Canadian folk bands and lots of kitschy fun activities.

Other Winnipeg highlights is the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), the various local theatres (I recommend MTC), and Assiniboine Park & Conservatory. Your concierge will be able to give you full details, directions, and other suggestions for while you're there.

For Sunday brunch, you MUST go to the Hotel Fort Garry. It's by reservation only, so have the concierge arrange that for you. It's a comfortable walking distance from The Forks; a little pricey but so worth it. A string quartet provides ambience in this historic hotel.

If you don't want/can't get into The Inn, try also the Fairmont, Place Louis Riel, Hotel Fort Garry (gorgeous, but old school... as in tiny rooms), or any downtown hotel. You definitely don't want to stay in the 'burbs, as there is not much going on.

If you give us more specific ideas of what you like, we can give you plenty of other ideas. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

Ali de Bold
Congratulations! on Jan 14, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

Claire is bang on with her advice. I had my wedding reception at the Inn at the Forks :)

If you've never been to Winterpeg before, dress like you are going to the Arctic, because you are. It should be mighty frosty in Feb. I'd spend a bunch of time researching indoor things like good restaurants, shows and exhibitions unless you are the kind that enjoys out door cold weather. Usually there is skating at the Forks, which is fun that time of year.

Let us know how it goes, and have a wonderful wedding!

skating - duh! on Jan 14, 2010 @ 01:03 pm

Yes, there is a beautiful trail that meanders through the Forks' grounds and onto the river. I'm sure you can rent skates there if you don't bring your own. If you're into snowshoeing, X-country skiing or sledding, I can give you specific recommendations for that too.

as far as the actual "getting married" part goes... on Jan 14, 2010 @ 01:08 pm

You can hit the courthouse, or there is a Wedding Village One Stop Wedding Centre on Pembina Hwy (in the Fort Richmond neighbourhood). It's kind of like Las Vegas I suppose, though I've never gone inside. For elopements where you are just looking for a Justice of the Peace, the Village or courthouse is probably your best bet.

If by elopement, you really mean "us and a few close family/friends" and you need a small cozy venue, we can suggest a few ideas there but you would have to book in advance like with a traditional wedding setup.

... on Jan 14, 2010 @ 02:14 pm

No, it's just us! So that Wedding Village seems like more what we are looking for! Sledding or skating would be fun! Is that downtown? Thank you for all the info...it sure will help us out.

... on Jan 14, 2010 @ 02:32 pm

I tried calling that Wedding Village and it says it's a non working number. Are they still in business?

Google says... on Jan 14, 2010 @ 04:20 pm

I googled for the number and get 204-261-9900. I have no idea if they are still in business, as I no longer live in Winnipeg and last time I visited did not go to that area of town.

I can ask around for you though :)

Congratulations! on Jan 14, 2010 @ 04:32 pm

I unfortunately have never been to Winnipeg, but sounds like you've asked the right people!

Sledding, skating, etc on Jan 14, 2010 @ 06:19 pm

The best skating starts at the Forks. If the river is safe (and it usually is - and signs will be posted if it's not), you can travel quite a ways northward near to the Kildonan neighbourhoods. That's quite a hike though!

Sledding is trickier, because you'll need to get out of downtown and as far as I know you can't rent a toboggan at any of the sites I used to use when we lived there. Generally, every major city park has one or more toboggan runs, and there are several huge hills on the outskirts where you can ride down.

A great location is Kilcona/Harbour View park in North Transcona/North Kildonan. There is a huge hill that I've never seen overcrowded despite its popularity, and a skating area on the pond. I would estimate it is about 20 minutes from the city centre by car, and it is accessible by the Winnipeg Transit system. No one really likes to ride the bus, but Winnipeg's system is quite reliable and reaches most anywhere you need to go. There is Walmart, Canadian Tire and Superstore in the area (Regent Avenue) where you can stop in and buy a cheap saucer/sled/KrazyKarpet.

Finally, for amazing cross-country skiing you should hit Bird's Hill Park. It's north of the city a short way out of town (probably 45 mins from downtown). You can rent skis in town, but there is no bussing out that way so you'll have to rent a car or pay cab.

Hot Cuppa
Winnipeg Weekend Suggestions on Jan 15, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

Advice from everyone is really great.

I concur that the historical Fort Garry Hotel (built 1913) has a first-class Sunday brunch, well worth the price. They put seating in several rooms, and I suggest that when you make your reservation your specifically ask for your table-for-two to be in the stunning, oval-shaped Palm Room. Or stop by the Palm Room in the evening for drinks and piano bar.

The Forks:
Yes, the Inn at the Forks is wonderful!

Skating at the Forks: You have the choice of a skating rink or the river itself. The river trail is said to be the "World's Longest Skating Trail" (rivals Ottawa's canal). There is also a walking path along the river. I suggest you go to the Salisbury House located half-way along the bridge that spans the river, to sip a cup of hot chocolate and watch the skaters pass by underneath. Go early morning and watch the rising sun sparkle like diamonds on the ice. Stunning.

The cobble-stoned Market area (though the streets may be snow-covered...) has some cool shops (Cake, October), vintage (Ragpicker's), coffee (The Fyxx) a rep cinema (Cinematheque) and pub (King's Head).

Corydon Avenue is known as Little Italy (Bar Italia) and recently a lot of sushi places too have sprung up.

Lilac Avenue has a wonderful little restaurant called Cafe Carlo, (along with one of my personally-favorite shops for clothes, shoes, lingerie, Cha Cha Palace.)

Enjoy the retro-plush lounge at Rae & Jerry's, a perennial favourite for excellent steak and old-school martinis.

If you're getting hair and nails done for your wedding, I recommend Edward Carriere salon. For esthetics, I suggest you ask for Deborah (in my opinion, her Audrey Hepburn-grace and quiet calmness would ease any pre-wedding jitters you may have).

If renting a car (which I suggest because transit is difficult, weather is cold and distances between places can be a stretch), the staff at Enterprise Rental Car are friendly. Bonus is that they're the only car rental where you can call the 1-800 number and ask to be patched directly to a specific location and speak to local staff. Compare prices with on-site airport (sometimes has been cheaper than off-site, believe it or not) with the King Edward location (closest to the airport, about a $6 cab ride to pick up your car). Enterprise famously has low weekend rates.

Osborne Village: a nice block to stroll with your hubby (!), browse in and out of shops and stop for a drink along the way. Interesting shops include Desart (pronounce Dayz-art) and Out of the Blue. Unfortunately, one of the nicest restaurant/lounges, Basil's, shut down due to watermain problems and I don't think it's re-opened. But there are other places to stop in for a drink to warm up. At the south end is a long-time dessert place called Baked Expectations. Try the Shmoo Torte, a Winnipeg specialty.

Whatever you end up doing, have fun. All the best on your happy occasion!!!!


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