Downtown. The hub and centre of a city, a city’s heart.
On the streets where skyscrapers reign, you can learn so much about a city when you explore its urban centre. Urban landscapes are my thing. Walking up and down the streets of a busy metropolis excites me! How about you?
Whenever I travel, downtown is where I expect to find the three C’s: Culture, Character, and Community.
Culture can be found through various events, restaurants, galleries, mom-and-pop shops etc.
Character can be found in the buildings, the architecture and especially the people.
Community can be experienced through interactions with the people who live there, the neighbourhood vibe and even through the people visiting for their first time.
In Winnipeg all three of these characteristics exist, at different levels.
The folks at Downtown Winnipeg Tours have been integral in ensuring that visitors to Winnipeg get a sense of how downtown has shaped our city. It’s also great for those of us who live here and don’t necessarily explore as often as we should.
The Downtown Winnipeg Tours allow for people to experience downtown Winnipeg in fun and unique ways. There are six types of tours offered; some by foot, some by bike, some with wine, some with beer, and even some for breakfast. No matter which one you take, you get a different view of downtown Winnipeg every single time and you learn about Winnipeg’s rich history along the way.
I recently attended a Downtown Winnipeg Patio Crawl where our group of 12 attended four different patios. At each location we learned about the establishment, and sampled their signature drinks and appetizers.
As someone born in raised in Winnipeg this walking tour was an eye-opener in the sense that I had no idea about some of the history in our city. It was also exciting to walk along unknown routes and experience downtown from a different perspective.
Even though there isn’t a plethora of patios in downtown Winnipeg, thankfully the folks who run the tours make sure to mix it up so that even if you’ve been to one patio the route to the next one may be on a route you haven’t ever taken before.
From my perspective, there are four major benefits to signing up for a local downtown tour in any city:
1) DELICIOUS FOOD AND DRINKS
Nourishment for your travels! Who doesn’t get hungry and thirsty while walking up and down the city? I love sampling items that I may not have chosen if I had just gone on my own or with my family.
2) LOCAL BIZ SUPPORT
Many of the establishments on the tours are local businesses where the owner comes out to meet and greet you and tell you a little bit about their venue. As you progress on the tour, you also have the time to notice stores and vendors in the nooks and crannies you may not have ever seen before.
3) EDUCATION & AWARENESS
Learning, learning, and more learning! On a tour you learn: a) about the city itself, b) about the businesses within the downtown area, c) the impact of businesses on downtown, d) the quirks and fun facts about landmarks, streets, and meeting places, e) the opportunities and potential threats to the local infrastructure, f) new projects and so much more!
4) SOCIAL/COMMUNITY INTERACTION
You meet and engage with new people in the group, at the venues and even on the street! All of this engagement and sharing occurs during and after the tour on social media and/or through word of mouth. It creates a sense of community and conversation.
After attending my first downtown tour, I have even more appreciation and pride for my city! I cannot wait to sign up for another one, but I also hope to do something similar in my travels outside of Winnipeg as well.