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Thank you, Sasha. For crossing paths way back in New Zealand. And for being my friend from near Winnipeg all these years, ultimately marking it as one goal I definitely felt I needed to reach as part of my Trans-Canada travel adventures. Little did I know beforehand, that Winnipeg proved to be such an exciting destination for a first-time arts & culture traveller like myself. All the more I feel like I now have to share with you! Or did you know about a week-long winter festival called “Le Festival du Voyageur” – The Traveller’s Festival? (Must come back for that, at some stage). That the headquarters of the world’s first-ever Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, a founding member of the “World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network“, are located in Winnipeg? That the town is home to one the most exciting museums all across Canada, namely the Canadian Museum for Human Rights?
Don’t miss. Certainly don’t miss the latter one on any of your upcoming trips to Canada. It really is THAT special.
Let me start by telling you where to head when first coming to town: The historic epicentre of Winnipeg roots out from a place rightly named “The Forks” …
… where a surprisingly varied historic, natural & cultural tour with dear Karrie, of Parks Canada, “forks out” into many different areas: Thanks to her, who is part European, part Aboriginal Canadian descent called “Métis”, I learn more about the ancient ways of settlement, trading, and living of her people by the confluence of the Red & Assiniboine Rivers of Winnipeg. A great first tour into the local area history of the town. Check this out.
If you happen to be in town on a Wednesday night, DO NOT MISS the Canadian Museum of Human Rights’ Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour. It is one of the best museum tours I have ever taken …
… and that I say with pride and new-found awe, having visited some of the top modern museums in the world over the course of recent years, such as the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao or the Te Papa national museum in Wellington, New Zealand. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is different, however, and quite unique in its approach. An astounding architectural masterpiece, it embodies the spirit of both modern construction art, as well as ancient symbols of culture and religion wherever the teachings of the First Nation peoples of Canada are concerned. The so-called “Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour“, held every Wednesday evening at 7.30 p.m., gives a small group of visitors the unique chance to experience the museum almost on our own, listening to the songs and stories of First Nation elders and their (women) interpreters. Just beautiful. Let me take you on this tour …
… teaches me many new conclusions, and contexts, about First Nation belief systems and traditions, such as the “Seven Sacred Teachings” of Aboriginal elders. Let me share what I have learned that day with you here, as I believe there is some truth to be found in these teachings that appeal to all of us:
“In our culture, we have a lot of balance. The male & the female. There is grandfather sun and grandmother moon. Right now, we are in the ‘changing leaves fall moon’. A time to let dead things go, to get rid of what’s toxic to you …
The Wolf: It teaches us humility. Always when they meet, they bow to each other. No one is superior.
The Beaver: It teaches us wisdom. Knowing which gifts you have, and how to use them.
The Buffalo: It teaches us respect.
The Sabe, it teaches us honesty. The protector of trees. Be honest with others, but also with yourself.
The Turtle: It teaches us truth. Follow the teachings.
The Eagle: It teaches us love. The great messenger, because he flies the highest and is a messenger between us and the Great Spirit. Love yourself. Know yourself. Get to know who you are. Then share that love with others.
The Bear: It teaches us courage. The Momma bear would do everything for their cubs. Just like them, let us be courageous ..”
Around Downtown Winnipeg: Consider an O-Tour Bus Tour as well as heading out to FortWhyte Alive in order to continue your cultural travel motto in town.
Therese at O-Tour Bus company does the most amazing job at filling any knowledge gaps you might still have after spending 48 hours in the city of Winnipeg, as well as the “Great Province of Manitoba”. Taking us past the Assiniboine Zoo, we catch a glimpse of the town’s famous white buffalo, while real bisons (buffalos) are waiting within just a few metres distance at FortWhyte Alive, a nature / culture conservation area southwest of downtown Winnipeg. I very much enjoyed learning more through both attractions …
Heading out? Head to Spruce Woods Provincial Park for a very relaxing, fall hiking & camping adventure near Winnipeg …
… and I will say “near Winnipeg” in the Canadian fashion now, actually referring to a good distance of some 200 kilometres out of town. “That’s nothing”, my friend Sasha and I would laugh, me totally chiming in by the end of our one day one night road trip. But everything in terms of actual worth, if you wish to get a feel for original Prairie settlements yet again … sand dunes & river bends walking time it is, then!
More travel photos & recommendations on what to see & do around Winnipeg can be found looking here:
I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂
Disclaimer: I have been supported on this trip to Manitoba by VIA Rail as well as Tourism Winnipeg. All opinions are my own.