Thursday, 25 May 2017

7 Ways to Relive Your Childhood at The Forks

There’s one thing all of us ‘90s babies have in common – if you grew up in Winnipeg, you probably have memories of spending time at The Forks. Remember being covered in sticky cinnamon sugar after pouring the leftovers from the donut bag into your mouth? Sweet, sweet times.

All the fun doesn’t have to be over! Grab your friends – and hey, their kids too if they have ‘em – and head to The Forks this weekend to experience your childhood all over again.

1. Find that long-lost Beanie Baby at Kite and Kaboodle

The Johnston Terminal’s second floor is home to one of the coolest toy stores in the city, where every square inch of Kite and Kaboodle’s shelves are packed with games, books, plush animals, action figures, and whozits and whatzits galore. Your kid self would go nuts if they knew you could get toys whenever you want now. Buy something for your nephew’s birthday or treat yourself – whatever it is, it’ll be awesome.

2. Eat a Skinner’s hot dog 

Nothing says nostalgia like a crisp, juicy Skinner’s foot-long hot dog from The Forks Market. Your mom might’ve made you get a regular-sized one back in the day, but now that you’re a grown adult, you can handle the real size. Probably.

3. The Common: the new lemonade stand

Trade memories of mixing all the Kool-Aid flavours together and making your friends to drink it for trying the best of craft beers and wines at The Common instead. Those double-dog-dares of days gone by have built up your now-sophisticated taste buds to appreciate these homegrown adult drinks. Try a flight of four locally crafted beers or three artisan wines – these will definitely go down easier.

4. Mini Donut Factory: Need we say more?

We probably don’t even have to say anything about this one – as soon as you enter The Forks Market, your nose immediately leads you to the mini donuts. It knows the way. When you were a kid, you probably begged your parents to let you hold the crinkly white paper bag on the drive home so you could secretly eat more than your share before your little sister realized it. You didn’t care that they were so fresh that they were too hot for your little fingers to hold. It’s all about those sweet, melt-in-your-mouth donuts. Mmmm.

5. Rediscover and explore at the Children’s Museum

It’s all in the title! Bring your little cousins or youngins of your own to the Children’s Museum to explore, learn, and feel awesome when they pretend to be the conductor of their very own train. (Right? You totally did that too.) When they’re excited, you get excited too, and you remember how it feels to learn things for the first time when you see it through their eyes.

6. Act like a kid in a candy store at Sugar Mountain

A post shared by Sugar Mountain 🍭🍬🍫 (@sugarmountainwpg) on

Did your mother fear this place like mine did after she let me get the giant Pixi Stick? Maybe you can handle your sugar better now, maybe (like me) you still get hyper, but Sugar Mountain was the store of your dreams as a kid. Now you can try some more adventurous candies or still pick your tried-and-true favourites – but try to make them last longer than the ride home this time.

7. Climb up the Market Tower

When you’re so small, it’s hard to imagine being able to see the whole city at once – which is why The Forks Market tower is so awesome. Take in the views of the rivers, the landmarks, and the wonderful place you call home. If you’re feeling extra competitive, see which of your friends can run up the six storeys the fastest – last place buys mini donuts!

by Diana Chabai, The Forks Marketing + Communications Intern. Diana's favourite way to relive the '90s is to re-create *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" music video dance moves in her basement. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Active Lifestyles: bike ride + lady lunch at The Forks

Eating and drinking with friends is no new thing. Its the most common way many of us connect with others. But, if youre friends with me, Im always sneaking in a little activity into our hangout.

The new warm spring weather inspired me to invite some friends for a bike riding lady lunch date. I love grown up bike riding parties. You feel like a kid again, going places with your own two feet before you had a drivers licence.

Faster than walking, slower than driving, riding a bike is a perfect pace to take in the sights, sunshine and fresh air. Its pretty magical to pedal to your destination - just so leisurely! Not sure how to get to The Forks on a bike path? Find your bike route to The Forks here.

The Forks Market and The Common have transformed "food court" eating. Bringing everyone together, it is the casual downtown destination for everyone. The craft beer, curated wines and fresh food choices are endless. No matter what youre in the mood for - they have it.

I love rethinking how we spend time with people we care about, there are many ways to build activity into our socializing time. Riding your bike to The Forks with pals is such an easy and enjoyable way to hang out. It gives you more time to connect AND get a little movement in. So, next time, why not arrange a grown up playdate bike ride to The Forks for lunch? Its kind of the best day ever.

Lindsay Somers is a lifestyle health coach. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Photos by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

4 Treats You Have to Try at Neon Cone This Summer

Warm sunny days like today are perfect reminders that summer is just around the corner, and one of our favourite ways to celebrate that as often as possible is to swing by Neon Cone, grab a couple of scoops, and chill on the patio.

Although you’ve probably been there for rum raisin or tiger tiger before, the shop – which has been a family-run staple at The Forks for more than twenty years – has so much more to offer than just the traditional standbys. They gave us the inside scoop (har-de-har) on what's brand new, and what you absolutely have to try.

1. Ice cream made in-house, at The Forks

Ice cream is a tricky and delicious science. There's a delicate balancing act between the cream and the rest of the ingredients, that can make or break the flavour or texture. Neon Cone has spent the winter months researching ice cream trends (could there be a worse job?!) perfecting their recipe, sourcing local ingredients, and concocting a line-up of outstandingly delicious flavours that are truly Manitoban. 

With the advice and guidance of a real, Italian gelato specialist, they've also been making their own gelato in the shop for the past few years. 

Featured above: maple whisky butter pecan. It's ok, we're drooling too. 

2. Ice cream flights 

Because you know you're going to want to taste them ALL, this helps eliminate the decision making process. Flights will feature four made-in-house flavours. We got to try a few of them, and haven't stopped thinking about them since. The flight on the left includes all house-made gelato flavours: (from top) dark chocolate, raspberry, mango, and lemon. On the right, homemade ice cream: local honey + lavender, espresso flake, strawberry rhubarb crumble, and carrot cake. Other flavours you might spot in the freezer this summer: Manitoba rooibos tea + blueberry as well as London fog (Earl grey tea + vanilla) with teas provided by local tea shop, Cornelia BeanYum.

3. Cookie Girl ice cream sandwiches

These aren’t the freezer-burned ice cream sandwiches that stuck to the paper you knew as a kid – this is the highly upgraded and doubly delicious version. Neon Cone has partnered with local baker Cookie Girl for a build-your-own ice cream sandwich that will make your sweet tooth swoon. Choose from cookie flavours like funfetti, peanut butter cup, or salted caramel and fill 'em with an ice cream like vanilla, chocolate, or hey, even cookie dough. They keep the ice cream in an extra-cold freezer so it's less prone leak out the sides on that first highly-anticipated bite. Genius.

For another delicious pairing, look for the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Co. brownies in Neon Cone's brownie sundaes this summer!

4. Rotating tap at Fro-Gurts

The family who owns Neon Cone also owns its frozen-yogurt counterpart, Fro-Gurts. While they always offer a selection of your favourite flavours, they also have a rotating seasonal tap – they featured pumpkin pie and gingerbread this winter. Coming up in May: juicy and refreshing blood orange.

Is your mouth watering yet? Neon Cone updates their Instagram account with photos of their newest flavours and specials. Check it out so you don’t miss a minute of the sprinkle-coated action!

by Diana Chabai, The Forks Marketing + Communications Intern. Diana's favourite ice cream flavour is usually mint chocolate chip, but Neon Cone's strawberry rhubarb crumble might be the new winner. 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

From Here and Away at The Forks

From Here & Away has curated a comfortable, welcoming space for all. Photo by Ally Gonzalo   

From Here & Away’s mission statement is printed on the window of our new pop-up studio on the second floor of The Forks Market: We are a clothing company and art collective that exists to encourage self expression, creativity, and the general well being of the human spirit.

Okay Mann performing at From Here & Away.

The crowd for a winter photo-walk led by From Here & Away.

Since the beginning of 2016 we’ve run photography workshops aimed to encourage creative expression in individuals from all walks of life. We also support an ever-growing online community who shares their experiences to a central #FromHereAndAway hashtag. Additionally, we produce ethical clothing, predominantly made in Canada, to support our operations.

Some of the product offered by FH&A.

Our new studio at The Forks is open to anyone to work, connect, read a book, or just hang out in, under the spirit of that mission statement. In a way, it is a microcosm of what The Forks represents: enabling community, being as accessible as possible, and encouraging self-expression. We use our space at The Forks to anchor operations, sell goods, and hold special events such as concerts and artist talks.
Build Films giving an artist talk at From Here & Away.

Next time you’re at The Forks, visit our space to study, make art, just sit for a bit, or meet up with a friend.

We're open 11-5 Tuesday to Sunday.

If you’re interested in renting the space for your own community event, please email for availability.

Visit to learn more.

By Joseph Visser, of From Here And Away. Find him on the second floor of The Forks Market working on cool projects, watering his many plants and welcoming folks into his cozy space. Ask him anything about photography and/or life. Naturally, he took all the photos featured in this post. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

7 things The Forks is doing to help save the Earth + how you can help

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day, the only day completely dedicated to appreciating our planet and all it does for us, even though it deserves our attention every day. Sort of like Mother’s Day, but for Mother Earth instead.

At The Forks, we do our best to make caring for the environment one of our top priorities with Target Zero. Our goal is a big one: zero garbage, zero water waste, and zero carbon emissions.

Here are 7 things we’re doing to help make Winnipeg a greener place.

1. Turning fries into fuel

Between all of the restaurants and fast food merchants on our site, we go through a lot of vegetable oil using the deep fryers. Instead of trashing it, we fuel our site maintenance vehicles with waste vegetable oil. By filtering the oil using a centrifuge and some modifications to engines, we have successfully operated our diesel equipment year-round.

Currently, our site truck, three of our gators, refrigerated reefer and Zamboni are all being fueled by waste vegetable oil. Eating another plate of fries is totally helping the environment.

2. Using a geothermal heat pump system

Our old HVAC system was on the fritz, so we took the opportunity to install a geothermal system that uses energy stored in the earth, the river and ground water and recycles the energy produced in The Forks Market.

Energy is collected from three separate wells. There are two large radiators sitting at the bottom of the Assiniboine River, and an open loop right underneath the southwest corner of the Market collecting energy from the ground water. All the ventilation in the Market was redesigned with efficient units that pre-heat the fresh air with recycled heat generated by the restaurants. We also installed 53 heat pumps throughout the Market to efficiently distribute heating and cooling.

This may sound boring, but what it means is since its installation, we’ve cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 42% – preventing 448 tonnes of CO2e from being released into the atmosphere. That’s heavier than nearly 200 rhinos. If air pollution came in the form of an angry rhino, there might not be an air pollution problem.

3. Composting old stuff to grow new stuff

We generate a lot of organic waste here between the food merchants, restaurants, hotel and yard trimmings. Eighty percent of our “garbage” is compostable. Our in-vessel composter BIOVATORTM creates perfect conditions for trillions of microbes and bacteria to digest organic matter. This process creates a nutrient-rich compost that we use as top-dressing and soil amendment in our gardens.

Right now, we’re looking into finding a way to help our visitors minimize their environmental impact while enjoying The Forks. These plans include composting bins near all trash bins and getting our vendors using 100% compostable plates, cutlery and napkins.

4. Reducing water use when you gotta use it

We installed low-flow toilets and waterless urinals to reduce our water use. Each urinal saves over 150,000 litres of water per year. Together with the low-flow toilets, these changes save the building over 2 million litres of water annually.

5. Getting on our bikes and riding

A true sign of spring is when you can bike to The Forks without hitting any icy patches. We’ve been expanding our bike paths to make it easier for you to get here without fuelling up. Once you’re here, we’re also your one-stop bike shop: rent or buy a new set of wheels from White Pine Bicycle Co., spend some quality time with friends on a Bee2gether tandem bike, or give your aluminum steed some love with the bike service station in front of The Forks Market.

6. Using our local, natural resources

Our irrigation systems use river water throughout the site – that includes water that keeps the lawn green and the crokicurl icy. We also installed two large rainwater tanks in our parkade, which we use to maintain our ice skating surfaces in the winter. With these initiatives plus the toilets, The Forks Market alone saves three Olympic-sized pools of water every year!

7. Making like trees and leaf-ing them to grow

We’ve planted 500+ trees in the last 10 years, but we’re not stopping there! We’re continuing so we can keep greening our site and offsetting carbon. Our home is a beautiful place, and it’s only getting lovelier with our urban garden, public orchard and prairie garden, PLUS all those fabulous shade-giving friends.

Here’s how you can be greener on your next visit to The Forks:

• Bring a tote bag to carry your shopping
Bike here! 
• Bring a re-usable mug or bottle for your drink
• Check out merchants that sell sustainable and organic products, like
          Generation Green or 
Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen
• Go vintage – shop the antique mall at Johnston Terminal instead of buying new

We’re offering four free Target Zero Eco Tours on Saturday at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.  

The tour stops at hot spots like the BIOVATORTM, the geothermal loops, and the rain water collectors. Check out all the event info here.

Let’s get outside today and appreciate our planet– especially now that Winnipeg is starting to turn from grey to green. Happy Earth Day!

By Diana Chabai, The Forks Marketing + Communications Intern

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Micro Brews + Micro Bites

“Would you like a micro glass of wine or micro coffee with your micro entrée? Alright, I’ll be back with that in a micro-second!” is just a snippet of what you may hear your average-sized server offer at The Forks’ new micro restaurant.

One thing we’re always aiming to do here at The Forks is stay on-point with trends, and if we look to what’s cool on the West Coast, it’s micro restaurants absolutely exploding the food scene – serving these amazingly tiny dishes – and we want to be on the leading edge of bringing what’s trendy to Winnipeg.

The concept is exactly as it sounds: the entire fine-dining experience scaled down to miniature size, with exquisitely crafted and executed dishes that not only satisfy on the flavour front, but impress with detailed plating and presentation

This is a food trend that puts culinary talent to the test. It’s absolutely astounding to see the technique these chefs employ to be able to execute these micro dishes. It’s a really neat concept – you get the experience of feeling truly larger than life.

In the heart of Winnipeg, a city known for its foodie vibe and tremendous chef talent, The Forks expects this new restaurant will surely be a treat for locals, and will also draw foodies from far and wide.

We haven't officially signed on a restauranteur, and we're also currently sourcing a local ceramic artist to commission the custom serving pieces. Looking forward to the restaurant opening in 2018!

April Fools! 

Have you read about the mural in the Food Hall?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The scenic loop: running at The Forks

One of the best ways for me to instantly feel better is to go for a run. I run a couple times a week from my studio in the Exchange to The Forks. I love running. It gets the cobwebs out. I feel lighter, energized and relaxed all at the same time. It is my most consistent tool. It resets me.

I am a social runner, I enjoy chatting and running. It is one of my favourite ways to spend time with people I care about. My best friend and I have scheduled twice weekly runs. It’s pretty fantastic. We get to hang out, do something great for our bodies and work out whatever is on our minds. It’s a win-win-win situation. On weekends, my husband and I lace up and tour around. It’s pretty awesome to have my favourite people double as my running buddies.

My running route is a scenic and beautiful tour of downtown Winnipeg centred around The Forks. It connects different distinct neighbourhoods. In my 30 minute run I tour The Exchange, Waterfront Drive, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Esplanade Riel Bridge, the historic rail bridge at The Forks, St Boniface Hospital, and the St Boniface Cathedrale. The trail hugs the river which is beautiful in all seasons. I often think of  the river as the living part of downtown- the ice, the melting, the currents, it’s always alive. I enjoy the process of watching the snow and ice melt and the green reappear.

There are very few times when we are away from phones, computers and to do lists. When I’m out on my loop the only thing I have to worry about is putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. It’s so simple and beautiful.

To help you get started and explore my favourite loop, I put together my top five tips for you to start running at The Forks:

1.     Make a plan. Not a runner? Start by walking. The Couch to 5K app is helpful in that it gives you a walk to run ratio building up over time. Commit to days and times. Use the historic rail bridge at The Forks as your starting point of the 3 km loop. Follow it to the Norwood Bridge, along the path behind St Boniface Hospital, along Tache Ave. and across the Esplanade Bridge back to the Forks. This base loop connects to many different active transportation routes: Assiniboine Ave, Lyndale Drive, North Winnipeg parkway, and the Seine River. Exploring is part of the fun!

2.     Invest in good shoes. You need one piece of official equipment for this sport - invest properly. Start with a brand new, properly fitted pair of shoes that are made for running. Not your old ones from 1997 aerobics step class. This helps prevent injury. Seriously, I have the bunions and multiple lost toenails to back this up. Check out Canadian Footwear or Running Room. The shoe experts can connect you with the proper shoes to support your body so you an have a comfortable running experience.

3.     What to wear. Weather-wise, it’s still quite a mixed bag. After running all winter, spring running feels like a tropical dream! You really only need one layer on the bottom - pants! And up top, two layers. Ladies - a good sports bra goes a long way. Also, zipper pockets are pretty important to carry keys and phones.

4.     Technology + Tunes. For keeping track of my runs, I like to use Runkeeper. Music? I am a super social runner (see #5) I run alone 10% of the time and when I do, I prefer the peace and quiet and watching the world pass me by. But, I think I’m a bit alone on this, many people love music when they run, pumping them up and having a party of one. I asked my friend and runner Rachael to give me her top five pump up running songs:
1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
2. B-Boys In the Cut by Beastie Boys
3. Wake Up by Arcade Fire
4. Queen B*tch by David Bowie and
5. The Choice is Yours by Black Sheep.
If you’re a set it and forget it kind of person, Google Play music is super helpful in curating just the right playlist for you. You type in one song or artist and it will curate a playlist based on that.

5.     Buddy up! I’m social. It’s not JUST exercising, it’s visiting time. I also like appointments for things. Making a regular commitment to meet someone to walk or run helps to keep you consistent. When someone is expecting you, you are much more likely to be consistent. Work downtown? Make plans with an office pal to go for a lunchtime jaunt.

There you have it! And don’t forget to stretch after every run. Here are some basic stretches and yoga moves from Runner’s World that are helpful in promoting flexibility and reducing injury. Can’t wait to see you out on the loop this spring!

Lindsay Somers is a lifestyle health coach in Winnipeg. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram. All photos my Mark Reimer.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Shawl Dancer: a mural at The Forks

Photo by Synonym Art Consultation 

At one end of the Food Hall in The Forks Market, Synonym Art Consultation artist Storm Angeconeb has transformed a construction zone into a beautiful mural.

Photo by Joseph Visser

Storm said she was so excited to do this piece, and really wanted it to reflect her Ojibwe culture. She is originally from Lac Seul First Nation, but mostly raised in Winnipeg.

Photo by Joseph Visser

The artwork depicts a First Nations woman – the namesake of the piece, The Shawl Dancer. Birds are shown breaking through a brightly coloured geometric background.

Photo by Joseph Visser

Storm shared that she often uses birds as a symbolic representation of herself in her work. For this piece particularly, she said she wanted the birds to be a representation of growth. She feels the location at The Forks, a historic landmark on Treaty One territory, is the perfect fit for this piece.

Photo by Joseph Visser

The artwork is expected to be up at least until summer 2017 while construction of local coffee shop, Fools + Horses Coffee Co.’s second location is underway at the opposite end of The Forks Market Food Hall from The Common beer and wine kiosk. 

Photo by Synonym Art Consultation 

StormAngeconeb is a young, emerging visual artist participating in both murals and mentorship programs (Graffiti Art Programming, Wall-to-Wall Mural & CultureFestival, mentoring under Winnipeg artist KC Adams) throughout the past couple years. She’s learning to adapt her skills to paint in diverse mediums on a range of surfaces from walls to light boxes. Storm is eager to

pursue a post-secondary education in fine arts in fall, 2017.