Pearl Jam Canadian Guide – Winnipeg

At approximately 2000kms, the journey to Winnipeg will be the longest journey of this tour and, if you’re driving from Hamilton, the quickest way distance-wise is actually crossing back over to the US and heading up through Wisconsin and Minnesota. This will be a tough leg to take on but an exciting one as well. At least back in 2005, we had Thunder Bay to stop in between Winnipeg and Southern Ontario. If anyone out there is doing it, enjoy the ride!

Once the long trek through the endless prairies is complete and you’ve seen gone through all the Great Lakes, you’ll arrive in the middle of Canada, Winnipeg. Known more for their harsh winters and abundant amount of mosquitoes rather than their vacation or tourist appeal, Winnipeg is a cosmopolitan city that consists of a broad mix of cultures thanks to the European fur trades from the early days. Today it is an attractive city, with museums, historic buildings and excellent restaurants.

Most of the city is within walking distance, including the MTS Centre, venue for the Pearl Jam show, located in the center of downtown. There should be plenty of accommodations nearby. The big news for the city, of course, is the return of the Winnipeg Jets to the National Hockey League. This turn of events has brought new life into a city that was only waiting to show it off. And by the time September rolls around for the concert, the hockey will be on the verge of hosting it’s first hockey game in 15 years. It will be an exciting time to visit the city. Thanks to Paul Broadfoot for his local recommendations to help enhance your visit.

Things to do

The Forks
One of the loveliest public spaces in Winnipeg and a must-see for any visitor, the Forks is a historical site along the riverside in the heart of downtown featuring a nice market and a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment. This is the site where the Aboriginals met more than 6,000 years ago and then the European fur trade.

Assiniboine Park
Located at the end of Corydon Avenue, Assiniboine is a huge park at the West side of the city that is popular with the locals. In addition to the zoo, gardens and conservator, a nature playground was also developed this year, which is billed as a life-size Alice In Wonderland type park for kids of all ages. Coming here for the day could end nicely with dinner and drinks at nearby Little Italy.

Fort Rouge
Winnipeg’s first suburb but these days it’s a vibrant, inner-city neighbourhood that offers great shopping and dining options. Corydon Avenue is in this area.

Osborne Village
One of Canada’s most densely populated neighbourhoods and Winnipeg’s trendiest area. Offering locally-run businesses that flaunt cutting-edge food, drinks, music and consumer goods, Osborne Village has an urban vibe that is unique to Winnipeg and Canada.

Museum of Man and Nature
Imaginatively presents an outstanding display of the region’s geography and people, including galleries that range from pre-history to the present day. It’s worth checking out.

Places to Eat

VJ’s Drive Inn – 170 Main Street
This is a simply a burger shack for take away orders only, so don’t expect anything fancy. But it is considered the best burgers and fries in town, as voted by the public. Give it a try.

Civita – 691 Corydon Ave
This is one of the more popular restaurants on Corydon Ave, also known as Winnipeg’s little Italy. It’s a very hopping destination for locals and tourists alike for good food and drink with many choices within walking distance of each other. Bonfire Bistro also has great pizzas.

Wagon Wheel Lunch – 301 Hargrave St
Thanks to their enormous sandwiches, this old-fashioned diner is a popular joint that also serves poutine. Light eaters, bring a friend!

Provence Bistro – 620 Niakwa Road
For a little more money, Provence Bistro is a great choice, located at Niakwa Country Club just outside of downtown. The restaurant over looks the golf course giving it a pleasing view to go along with their fine dishes.


Most of the entertainment happens in and around downtown. From the Pearl Jam show to annual festivals, there is always something going on. Check the listings for more info.


Winnipeg is a town full of life ready to welcome all visitors. If you have doubts, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Have any comments or recommendations of your own? Any tips on mosquito repellant? Am I way off on this? Please post your comments below.


Jason is the author of the book This All Encompassing Trip and loves to travel to see Pearl Jam. He spends his time doing design and video work as well as running a daddy blog called The Rockstar Dad.

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