Isn’t it funny how the air changes when August rolls around, chased by September? I’m not sure if there’s any actual science behind that, but in my mind, it’s a fact.
The days can still be hot and sunny, but the sun rises later, the mornings are cooler and a 10 pm sunset is a distant memory. It’s too early to think about winter, and definitely too early to give up on enjoying a Winnipeg summer.
And to me, that means continuing to spend as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying picnics! Yes, you heard me right: good, old-fashioned picnics. Winnipeg makes it easy as, with abundant public parks and green spaces where you can spread your picnic blanket. Most Winnipeg parks are open from 7 am to 10 pm.
Here is my list of four parks in Winnipeg that should be at the top of your picnic list!
1966 Portage Ave.
Truth be told, I never knew that Bruce Park existed until a friend told me! The embarrassing part is that I have driven by this park countless times. It just goes to show how often we don’t really notice what is right there in front of us.
Sitting on 4.4 hectares of land south of Portage Avenue, and just east of the Assiniboine Park foot bridge, Bruce Park offers a number of options for picnickers. It has a few tables, a few well-placed benches, and plenty of space to roll out a blanket.
Appeal: Quiet refuge away from the hustle and bustle of downtown life.
• Parking access is available from the lane that borders the park to the west.
• Washroom facilities only available when the pool is open.
Crescent Drive Park
781 Crescent Drive
There are so many reasons to love this park. From the wildlife that shares its space, to the Red River that passes it by. Wildlife, you ask? In addition to birds and squirrels, a number of deer call Crescent Drive Park home. There’s also a monarch butterfly garden nearby. Visit at the right time of year, and you may find yourself being entertained by these little beauties.
Appeal: Natural setting along the Red River, close to Thermëa and the Crescent Drive Golf Course.
• Plenty of parking.
• BBQ pits available.
• Portable toilets provided while a new picnic shelter and washroom facilities being rebuilt.
La Barrière Park
4403 Waverley St.
While not technically in Winnipeg, La Barrière Park is just too good to leave off this list!
I first fell in love with La Barrière Park in winter because it’s a great place to walk my dogs. It now calls to me year-round, with or without the dogs. Its trails lead you over the La Salle River and through a mature forest where you can run, jog, or walk. The slow-moving La Salle River is quite popular with paddlers. My camera also professes a love for this park, and always finds something to capture.
Appeal: Proximity to the city and variety of picnic settings to choose from.
• Interesting nature trails.
• BBQ pits available.
• Sites available to book for larger groups.
• Washroom facilities on site.
Situated between Chalfont Avenue to the west and Shaftsbury Boulevard to the east.
Finally, la pièce de résistance! If you want to feel like you are in a natural park and without leaving the city, Assiniboine Forest is the place for you. This park will appeal to both the explorer and the observer in you. Its trails range in length from 1.1 km to 2.8 km, and lead you through everything from thick forest to wetlands. Make your way to the Eve Werier Memorial Pond to enjoy a beautiful observation area with plenty of seating.
Appeal: Trees, trails, wetlands, and prairie grasses make this park a microcosm of Manitoba.
• Parking lot is located at the corner of Grant Avenue and Chalfont Road.
• Washroom facilities available at the entrance.
• Five trails to explore.
Packing Your Picnic Basket
The beauty of a picnic is that you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want! One of our favourite picnics entails a weekend visit to the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company, either at The Forks or in Wolseley, where we pick up cinnamon buns. After a quick stop at Starbucks for coffee, we’re off we go to picnic in the park.
So embrace the rest of the season, get outdoors, and have a picnic