If you happen to be a sports fan in Winnipeg, there is no better place to live than downtown where you can immerse yourself in the sporting vibe. All within walking distance from 300 Main Street, Winnipeg houses five top-of-the-line sporting venues that attract visitors and athletes from all over Canada and beyond. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to check these out—and if you live in an apartment downtown, you don’t even need to worry about parking. Put on your favourite sneakers and your favourite jersey and head out your door to one of these stellar sporting venues.
The Winnipeg Jets are, of course, the kings of downtown Winnipeg when it comes to sports. And it’s a well-deserved crown. The Jets have earned a reputation as being one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. With young stars such as Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Connor Hellebuyck making headway, this can’t-miss team has been drawing not only national, but world-wide attention for their fast and fluid style of hockey.
It’s an expensive night out if you plan on taking a date to a Winnipeg Jets game, but it’s usually worth it. In the heart of downtown, there’s no bigger gem than the beautiful Bell MTS Place. Built in 2004 and standing on the former Eatons site, the arena is owned by True North Sports & Entertainment, a company which also owns the Winnipeg Jets. They put out a product that is highly entertaining to watch night in and night out; you’ll leave with no regrets.
Winnipeg has a long and rich history of being a serious-minded hockey town, dating back to the early days of the sport when the Winnipeg Victorias won three Stanley Cups in the early 1900’s. Later, in 1920, the Winnipeg Falcons (a team of Icelanders from the West End of town) captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in ice hockey. It’s only fitting that Winnipeg would erect an enormous hockey arena and stadium right in the centre of its downtown. You can’t be a downtown Winnipegger without taking in at least one Jets game this season.
At the University of Winnipeg campus on Portage Avenue you’ll find the beautiful Duckworth Centre, home to the University of Winnipeg’s Wesmen basketball and volleyball teams. It is both an accessible and an affordable option for high-calibre sports entertainment. It’s within walking distance of downtown at 400 Spence Street and is a stop on most of the major bus routes (should the weather be frigid).
Duckworth Centre is the University of Winnipeg’s premiere athletic facility. It features a large gymnasium which includes volleyball and basketball courts, a fitness centre with an indoor running/walking track, multiple racquetball/squash/handball courts, saunas, and much more. This top-notch facility is open not only to students, but to the general public as well.
With the hosting of the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s big contribution for the event was the construction of the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre, now known as the Qualico Training Centre. A world-class sporting facility, you’ll find it right in the centre of downtown Winnipeg on Pacific Avenue next to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (which is also well worth a visit).
This brand-spanking new training facility features state-of-the-art training spaces and courts. Unique to its kind, it also offers a comprehensive resource centre for top athletes to access a variety of physiotherapy and athletic rehabilitation treatments. The Qualico Training Centre is jam-packed with three basketball courts, six volleyball courts, twelve badminton courts, a full world-class gym for working out, running tracks, yoga rooms, and more.
If you live or work in downtown Winnipeg and you’re looking for ways to stay active, check out the Qualico Training Centre; I promise you won’t be disappointed! You just may invest in a membership at the facility by the end of your visit.
Located just over the Osborne Street Bridge into downtown and adjacent to the Manitoba Legislative Building, the Granite Curling Club is a hidden downtown gem. It’s one of the oldest curling clubs in the world and certainly the oldest in Western Canada.
Affectionately known to curling fans as the “Mother Club”, the Granite has produced countless Canadian and world champions. The original Granite Curling Club dates all the way back to 1880. In its current downtown location, the Tudor-framed clubhouse was built in 1913 and is recognized as an official historic site of Manitoba. It is often considered to be the “St. Andrews” of curling because of its contribution to the sport in curling’s mecca.
If you have a free winter evening and you’re a sports fan looking for something to do, stop on by the Granite and have a drink, watch some curling and have a good time! If you like what you see, sign up for a league and try out the game for yourself. Did you know curling is making a comeback and is one of the fastest growing sports in the prairies? Join the enthusiasm and wrangle in some friends to join a team with you.
It’s hard to think of a better summertime sports option than watching a Winnipeg Goldeyes game over at Shaw Park. When tickets can be had for as little as $9, it’s a no-brainer for an evening of fun. Centrally located, adjacent to The Forks (local beers and snacks of every ethnicity) and across the street from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, you could even make a whole-day excursion out of a Goldeyes Game.
While Winnipeggers (understandably) tend to fixate on the Jets and their standings, let’s take a moment to point out that the Goldeyes are one of the better baseball teams in the American Association, winning two league championships in the past three years. Even if you’re not an outspoken baseball fan, it’s worth your time just to see former MLB slugger Reggie Abercrombie hit some homeruns for the Goldeyes.
Have you ever wondered why they’re called the Goldeyes, anyway? Here’s a piece of sports trivia: The club is named after the goldeye, a fish often served as a smoked delicacy and commonly called Winnipeg Goldeye. So why not take in a Goldeyes’ game and then smoke up some goldeye when you get back to your apartment after the game? That’s the make of a true Winnipegger.
That’s only the beginning of the list of downtown stops for Winnipeg sports enthusiasts. Comment on your favorite spot for sports in downtown Winnipeg. We’d love to hear from you.