The Forks, Winnipeg

The Forks, Winnipeg

settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants.


6,000 years ago

Numerous archaeological digs have shown that early Aboriginal groups arrived at The Forks site around 6,000 years ago. The digs conducted between 1989 and 1994 discovered several Aboriginal camps. Artifacts related to the bison hunt and fishing were unearthed. Evidence showed that Nakoda (Assiniboins), Cree, Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) and Dakota visited the site.


Europeans arrived by canoe in 1738. La Vérendrye erected Fort Rouge, the first of a long line of forts and trading posts erected in the area. The Red River Colony and the forts were all established near The Forks. The area remained the hub of the fur trade up until the 1880s. At that time, grain production became Western Canada’s principal industry and the main transportation for that industry was rail rather than waterways.

The Forks Market Today

The Forks Market's first floor contains mostly food shops, where specialty items can be found as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. The second floor is home to many ethnic shops, as well as a ballet conservatory and a large craft store among other things. Across the large courtyard you may find Johnson Terminal, home of Finn's Pub, an Old Spaghetti Factory, more shops and a large cooperative antique store in the basement. There are often buskers in and around the Forks, who must audition for a buskers license to perform there.

Manitoba Theatre for Young People

Manitoba Theatre for Young People is a theatre for children and young adults in located adjacent to the Forks Market. It was founded in 1965 as Actors' Showcase and incorporated in 1977. In 1982, it became a professional theatre devoted to young people. For many years, the theatre operated out of the Gas Station Theatre in the Osborne Village area of the city but in 1999 the theatre move to its new location in the CanWest Global Performing Arts Centre, a convert|28000|sqft|m2|sing=on facility for MTYP and its school.

Winnipeg International Children's Festival

The Winnipeg International Children's Festival is a children's festival held annually at The Forks. It was founded in 1983 and was held at Assiniboine Park for many years before moving to its present location. It is held every June. The festival is made up of 30 acts, held over four days, for a total of approximately 120 performances.


In 2005 it was announced that a new skatepark would be built on the grounds near The Forks. "The Plaza" as it is now known, was built with money donated from the "J.W. Burns Family Foundation". It is one of the largest skateparks in Canada, and is renowned for not only its size, but its pleasant style and diversity. In 2006 the park was visited by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk to shoot scenes for his movie release "Secret Skatepark Tour 3". []

The skatepark includes a 30 000 square foot skate plaza, and an convert|8500|sqft|m2|sing=on 'bowl complex'.The design features 'skateable' artwork, and is built to tolerate the regular use and enjoyment of skateboarders and cyclists. The park was also designed to integrate into the urban architecture of the city.

While at The Plaza, skateboarders, BMXers, mountain bikers and inline skaters are encouraged by staff members (whose work includes teaching skaters/bikers the ethics of the park) to share the park harmoniously with one another.

Esplanade Riel

On September 5, 2000, Winnipeg's City Council approved the preliminary design and authorized the start of detailed design and environmental licensing for the Paired Bridges, to replace the existing Provencher Bridge.

The Paired Bridges design includes two separate bridges—one designed primarily for vehicles and commuter cyclists and the other designed exclusively for pedestrians, cyclists, and recreational users. The slender-profile vehicular bridge includes two through lanes in each direction, divided by a centre median, and features a short right turn lane for traffic turning onto Ave Tache southbound. The pedestrian bridge is a modern cable-stayed structure, light and elegant, featuring a large plaza for commercial activities—a meeting place that will connect Provencher Boulevard to The Forks physically, economically and culturally. The Paired Bridges are expected to strengthen the connection between The Forks and the St. Boniface French Quarter, becoming a symbolic gateway between two of Winnipeg's most historically significant communities and promoting commerce and tourism.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Forks, which served as a meeting place for peaceful negotiations thousands of years ago will once again serve as a meeting place—this time for learning, reflection and fostering positive change; it is the proposed location of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (the first national museum outside of Ottawa). The Museum, targeted to open in 2010-2012, will be the first of its kind, and will be a structurally magnificent piece of architecture.

World's Longest Skating Rink

In January 2008, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized The Forks as the home of the longest skating rink in the world. The 8.54-kilometre-long ice rink on the Assiniboine River and the Red River is almost 1 kilometer longer than the previous record-holding rink. The 7.8-kilometre long rink on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada has lost its World Record title which it had held since 1971.


External links

* [ The Forks Website]
* [ More photos of The Esplanade Riel] GSI Highway Products (

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