Summer kicks off with a handful of attraction openings and fun things to do in Manitoba—particularly in Winnipeg and Brandon.
PLAN A FULL DAY AT A PACKED FAIR
How do you like them candy apples? The Red River Ex is back and better than ever. Winnipeg’s summer staple boasts all the fair favourites you know and love, including carnival rides, midway games, food vendors, free live performances, and livestock and agricultural shows. Of course, this year’s schedule also boasts some new attractions: look for the XPOGO Stunt Crew’s springy spectacle, Bandaloni the One Man Band, and the “Cutest Show on Earth” where kids can become stage stars. June 17-26
WATCH SCALE SHIPS SET SAIL
With its countless lakes and rivers, Manitoba is hardly a stranger to boats and regattas. One of the most charming regattas can be found in the heart of Winnipeg—on the lapping shores of the Riley Family Duck Pond in Assiniboine Park. From the comfort of dry land, the captains of the Winnipeg Model Boat Club navigate their ships through the calm waters as passersby—human and fowl—watch in fascination. June 19
GET YOUR WINGS
Buy a piece of aeronautical history at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada’s first-ever “Fly Market.” At the event, the museum will be selling some of its surplus exhibit panels, mounted photos, library materials and even aircraft parts. Guests can also peek inside the facility’s restoration shops, which are normally closed to the public. You can even climb into heritage planes like a 1958 Vickers Viscount turboprop. June 25
FOLLOW THE RIVER TO FUN
Flooding has long been a fact of life in Manitoba, though in recent years its toll has been more pronounced. Brandon’s Riverbank Discovery Centre is still recovering from both the 2011 and 2014 Assiniboine River floods, but it remains a unique destination for learning about the vital role of rivers and wetlands in our ecosystem. This summer it also celebrates the Wheat City’s agricultural history with an interactive “Cool Gardens” installation (June 18 to Sept. 25), which features a bird-watching tower made of straw bales offering 360-degree views of the river corridor. The centre is also set to roll out a $28-million master plan to regenerate and protect its watery surroundings for years to come.
This summer sees a few “sweet swings” happening at Brandon’s new Ashley Neufeld Softball Complex. The $2-million facility, under construction since 2013, will include four full-size diamonds, plus four more youth diamonds. Two of the larger diamonds and all of the youth fields are now complete and ready for the boys and girls of summer. Overlooking the Assiniboine River, the site caters to the area’s many ball players, and has already been earmarked as a potential venue for future provincial, western and national tournaments.