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Winnipeg, Manitoba: the Canadian city you shouldn’t miss

This story first appeared in Escape

It was supposed to be a stopover, little more than a place to recharge after the long journey to Canada before flying north to the polar bear capital of Churchill, but as I looked out of my hotel room window all thoughts of getting a jump on jet lag were replaced by an itch to go out and explore.

From my vantage point in The Fort Garry Hotel, one of Canada’s historic railway hotels, I could see the domed Beaux-Arts style Union Station, Winnipeg’s take on Grand Central station in New York, and the stunning new architecture of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and felt the city’s special mix of old and new calling.

The capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg’s history didn’t quite unfold the way it was expected to 100 or so years ago.

Read: The best things to do in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

In 1912 Winnipeg was the fastest growing city on the continent, most of its population was aged under 40 and it was such a hot spot for millionaires that Chicago called itself the “Winnipeg of the South”. But the city’s fortunes started to go off the rails with the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 and by the time it started to recover around the start of WWII, its momentum had been lost.

Located in the centre of North America, Winnipeg has long been a whistle-stop for travellers passing through by road or by rail, but in recent years the city has become a destination in itself. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in major projects, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), the newly expanded convention centre, and True North Square, the $400 million mixed-use downtown development.

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Polar bears sculpture and Inuit Inushuk rock marker at Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg Manitoba

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