Within easy driving distance of Winnipeg, Red River North offers a variety of experiences for all ages and interests. Take a day (or two or three) to discover the many attractions of Red River North! Here are some ideas ….What type of tourist are you?
#1. History Hound
Love local history and want to see our region’s history first hand? Pick up a copy of the Selkirk & Area Heritage Tour at any visitor info centre in the region, or download here.
Hint: Take Highway #9 north of the perimeter and turn right at River Road….Start at #31 and work backwards …)
Spend the morning exploring the legacy of the Hudson’s Bay Company through the treasures of the River Road Heritage Parkway and Lower Fort Garry .
Photo: Lower Fort Garry
Then travel north to the busy transportation and commercial hub that was Selkirk around the turn of the century, by way of the historic St. Andrews Lock and Dam .
Photo: St. Andrews Locks and Dam
The Marine Museum at the entrance to Selkirk Park showcases five lake boats – on the MS Keenora , you’ll get a feeling for the era of steamships and the lifestyle of the crew and passengers on this immense boat that plied the waters of Lake Winnipeg until the sixties.
Photo: Marine Museum of Manitoba
Cross the Red River to visit St. Peter’s Church and cemetery in the original territory of Chief Peguis and his people, then visit other points of interest in East Selkirk before returning to Winnipeg on Henderson Highway.
Photo: St. Peter’s Church
Allow six hours to get the most out of this, using the guide.
#2. Scenic Ice Cream Looper
A traditional favorite of Winnipeggers for many years! Head north of Winnipeg on Highway #9 and turn right at River Road to enjoy the fabulous scenery along the River Road Heritage Parkway, studded with wayside stops, historic stone buildings, modern luxury homes and incredible vistas along the Red River.
Photo: Captain Kennedy House on River Road
At Lockport, stretch your legs at the St. Andrews Lock and Dam, or the Lockport Provincial Heritage Park on the other side of the bridge. Treat yourself to snacks at Skinner’s, the Half Moon or Sonia’s stand and head south on Henderson Highway to see the iconic onion-domed churches of the tiny Ukrainian communities that line this winding road that takes you back to the city.
Photo: Skinner’s in Lockport, Manitoba
Perfect cycle/motorcycle loop! Good for antique cars, too.
Minimum of three hours including a lunch stop. If you go on Sunday, allow time to visit the Locks Market beside Skinners on River Road!
Photo: Locks Market in Lockport, Manitoba
#3. Fish and Fun Seeker
Pick up a copy of “ Let’s go Fishing” at a visitor info centre, then head to the Lockport Heritage Provincial Park ( east side of the bridge) or Selkirk Park or waterfront to cast your line. The catfish and, in the fall, walleye are waiting for you, whether you are master angler material, or just want a day relaxing in the sun!
Photo: Selkirk Waterfront
While at Selkirk Park, enjoy the picnic tables under their leafy canopy, the beachy swimming pool, the skateboard park and the walking/birdwatching trails – something for everyone! There’s a boat launch there as well.
Photo: Fishing in Selkirk Park
Lockport, Selkirk and the “miracle mile(s)” between them are great for ice-fishing, too, as is the south basin of Lake Winnipeg near Chalet Beach and Matlock.
Take the family and take a whole day!
#4. Family Finder
The churches and cemeteries of the area provide a marvelous opportunity to research your ancestors! Hudson’s Bay Company employees -mostly Scots- often intermarried with local women to produce stable communities along the Red River – you’ll find their graves at the churches at St. Andrews, Little Britain and St. Clements.
Photo: St. Andrews Church
Later settlers – Icelanders, Germans and Ukrainians occupy graveyards tied to the Selkirk /East Selkirk communities. The final resting place of Chief Peguis and many of his people lies beside St. Peter’s Church near the majestic St. Peter’s Dynevor Bridge.
The Robert Jefferson Heritage Collection at the Gaynor Family Library offers a growing body of information on local history and families.
#5. Beach Bum
No cottage? No problem! At either end of Red River North, discover provincial parks with wonderful swimming, hiking and picnicking facilities. Bird’s Hill Park is only fifteen minutes from Winnipeg on Highway 59. If you continue north to Grand Beach, you’ll be rewarded with one of Canada’s finest sand beaches on the edge of an inland ocean, complete with boardwalk, dining, and beach supplies.
Photo: Grand Beach
Next door is Grand Marais, with groceries, more restaurants and shops, gas, entertainment, and ATM. The visitor info centre features a modern interactive museum which showcases the history of the resort.
Patricia Beach, a less developed provincial park provides a haven for beach-goers who want a quieter and more natural environment. It’s also on Highway 59, just past the South Beach Casino.
Photo: Patricia Beach (Photo Credit: John Dalebozik)
Take a picnic and stay ‘til sunset!
#6. Bird Nerd
Red River North lies on a western migration route – as the seasons change, discover different feathered visitors throughout the region. Visit the Lockport/Selkirk area to see the magnificent white pelicans dive near the Locks or drift down the Red River in search of dinner.
Photo: Pelicans on the Red River (Lockport, Manitoba)
West of Lower Fort Garry, you’ll find Oak Hammock Marsh , a Ducks Unlimited nature centre featuring boardwalks and boatrides through the marsh.
The walking trails in the parks at Selkirk, Bird’s Hill and Grand Beach and the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail allow you to observe birds in a forest environment, while the shore birds will keep you company at the beaches of Lake Winnipeg . Even if you don’t see the timid piping plovers on the shore, you will hear their cries!
Photo: Selkirk Park Trails
#7. Arts and Tarts
Check out the “Markets” section of this website to see when and where you can find a fine assortment of arts, crafts, local vegetables and fresh baking. That conversation with the person who made the item is often worth the trip!
On a summer Sunday, you can visit both the Skinners Locks Market at Lockport, and the Petersfield Market on Highway #9, just 20 minutes north of Selkirk, by the Mallard statue. Stop for a gourmet light lunch or latte in Selkirk at the Ubuntu Café at the Gaynor Family Library and you’ve had the best day ever!
Tuesday- Saturday 11AM – 4PM, check out the Gwen Fox Gallery in Selkirk, to see local artists’ work on the walls and in the gift shop. There’s a new show every month (come back often!), and some of it is for sale. On Wednesdays in August, check out the D.O.G Days of Summer market 11:30 – 1:30, at the Selkirk Waterfront, and catch some live music too!
Photo: Selkirk Community Arts Centre
The boutique at Lower Fort Garry has a great selection of Manitoba /Canada souvenirs, as well as books about the region and the fur trade.
The first weekend of June and of September, the WAVE tour of artists’ studios starts in St. Andrews and continues up into the Interlake – allow two days for this if you love connecting with painters, potters, jewellery makers, carvers, photographers, print and paper makers….
#8 Do it your Way
Canoe, hike, cycle or drive to major and lesser-known sites using these interactive maps to follow your own interests. See maps here and create your own itinerary to enjoy the treasures of Red River North.
Photo: Hiking in Selkirk Park
#9 Waters of the Fur Trade
Embark on a one or two day exploration of the Red River and related waters. Click here to download the tour.
#10 Following the Fur Trade
Article by Jillian Brown. Click here to download the article.
#11 Flood Tour
The water in the Red River has a tendency to fluctuate and even to flood during the spring. This guide will indicate where you can go to observe the Red River’s water levels in designated safe locations from Emerson to Lake Winnipeg. Click here to download the tour.
#12 People of the Red River Settlement
First came the fur traders, second came the settlers. Following a route similar to the People of the Fur Trade tour, this driving itinerary delves into the lives of the individuals who settled in the Winnipeg area and along the banks of the Red River to the north. Click here to download the tour.
#13 First Peoples on the Red
Explore the rich heritage of the First Nations people along the historic Red River on this full day drive and stroll tour.
Learn about a momentous peace meeting held at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers over 600 years ago, explore the expression of modern Aboriginal life in the city, discover a pristine setting where you are transported back in time to a world where the trees whisper, monsters are vanquished and relaxation pervades. Click here to download the tour.
#14 Galleries and Museums of the Red River Valley
This is a tour that will let you explore the incredibly variety of galleries and museums that can be found in the northern half of Manitoba’s Red River Valley. Along the way you will encounter a variety of cultures and a diversity of crafts that will surely inspire you. Click here to download the tour.