Experiencing local food is an essential part of being in a new destination -- the mortar that binds the many pieces of the travel experience. For this and other reasons, TravelGumbo loves visiting markets around the world. On these pages we've featured markets from South America, North America, Asia and Europe. We've not previously visited a market in the middle of a cold Canadian winter, so let me show you what this looks like when it's -20 C outside.
While visiting out father in Winnipeg this past winter, my brother and I decided to spend a few hours at "The Forks". Anyone who's been to Winnipeg will know the important context of these words. "The Forks" refers to the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the historic site at which the city was founded. A hundred years ago it became a place of warehouses, train stations and business, but the region fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century. Twenty-five years ago several of the old warehouses and train terminals were refurbished and converted into a modern market. With bright skylights, a controlled climate and a cheerful atmosphere, it's a nice place to go -- especially on a cold winter day. Beyond the market there's numerous restaurants, walking paths, a (live) theater, Children's Museum, baseball stadium (Winnipeg Goldeyes), and a soon to be opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights. These places are delightful to visit, especially in the summer, but our focus today is on the Forks Market.
In the summer the Forks has an active and very popular Farmer's market; Manitoba has some of the most fertile farmland in the world and while its summer is short, the days are long and warm and vegetables especially do very well. Obviously not much grows outside at -20 C, so produce during the winter is mostly imported and frankly not that interesting (although some more durable local produce like potatoes, root vegetables and such are still around). That shouldn't dissuade you from visiting because there's lots of interesting stuff to see inside these cozy buildings with the wonderful skylights. There's fresh baked goods, cheeses and wine, candy and those great mini-donuts you usually by at fairs, and many small vendors that sell tasty inexpensive meals. Smoked fish from Lake Winnipeg are considered a delicacy and Canadian made food is on ready display as you can see below.
The food stuffs are mostly on the main floor of the complex; above, on the second floor is an assortment of shops selling durable goods like clothes and Canadian-made items that might interest you and which you're unlikely to find elsewhere.
So here is a photo gallery of a visit to "The Forks" Market on a cold winter's day. To learn more about a photo, roll your mouse over it to see its legend or enlarge the thumbnails below for full legends: