If you go: Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • Article by: HOWARD SINKER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 1998 - 11:00 PM

What to know  

  •   Population: 616,790.

  •   Getting there: Take Interstate Hwy. 94 to Fargo, N.D., and go north on I-29, which becomes Hwy. 75 at the U.S.-Canadian border. It's about 400 miles from the Twin Cities.

  •   More information: Tourism Winnipeg can be reached at 1-800-665-0204. Information from Travel Manitoba is available at 1-800-665-0040 or on the Internet at http://www.gov.mb.ca/Travel-Manitoba.

    Where to stay  

    The choices run the range of what you would expect in a typical U.S. city. But there's an interesting wrinkle on Portage Av. that we discovered quite by accident. The high-rise Holiday Inn Airport (2520 Portage Av.), which is far enough from the airport that it isn't a distraction, has converted 20 rooms on its second floor into Kidsuites.

    Last spring, these rooms were remodeled to include a smallish main room for mom and dad -- and a second smallish-and-cool room for up to four kids.

    The kids' room includes two bunk beds, a CD boombox, a color TV and a Nintendo 64. Games are available for rental at the front desk and, combined with being on the same floor as an expansive swimming pool-and-recreation area, the Kidsuites are a neat place to pass a couple of a days -- if you can handle rooms without a view of the outdoors. Kidsuites cost $99 per night, compared with $83 for a standard room, and should be booked about three weeks in advance. 1-204-885-4478.

  •   If kids aren't a concern, the Hotel Fort Garry (222 Broadway) is downtown, old and stately -- dating to 1913. Parts of the hotel have been closed down in recent years for renovation and the results have included the Palm Room bar, an oval-shaped room with a palm tree in the middle, and an attached fitness club. Guest rooms are currently being remodeled.

    The standard room rate is $79 per night, and there's even an adult version of the Kidsuite -- the Vice Regal, which runs from $179 to $199, depending on the time of year. "It has 22-foot-high ceilings," said Sherraine Christopherson, the Fort Garry's sales manager. "You walk into the dining room and down three steps into the living room and back into the bedroom." 1-204-942-8251.

    Kid stuff  

  •   A trip through the Royal Canadian Mint (520 Lagimodiere Blvd.), a 20-minute drive from downtown, comes with a film and a tour. Prepare your child for the tour guides' questions: The capital of Canada is Ottawa.

    There are a couple of small amusement parks -- Grand Prix Amusements and Tinkertown -- along the nearby Perimeter Highway, which make a good energy release after the tour.

  •   The Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Planetarium and Science Center (190 Rupert Ave.) presents huge slices of Canadian culture, as well as a hands-on science museum similar to the one in downtown St. Paul.

  •   The Assiniboine Park Zoo (2355 Corydon Ave.) is the mainstay of a 376-acre park and features about 300 species, including our family favorite -- the prairie dog display. Adjacent to the zoo is the Conservatory and English Gardens, a peaceful urban arboretum.

    Downtown  

  •   The Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Blvd.) is a triangular-shaped building that has the world's largest collection of Inuit art.

  •   The IMAX Theatre (Portage Place Mall) has several features throughout the day and tickets can be bought for a single movie or a double-feature.

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