Winnipeg is rich with history ripe for student exploration. Throughout the city you’ll find diverse cultures, histories and attractions that combine to make an interactive itinerary that will engage, inspire, and entertain students.
History is positively brimming in St. Boniface — Winnipeg’s French Quarter — and Ô Tours is the ideal tour guide to bring your students to all the top spots.
It all starts at the striking St. Boniface Cathedral where students will be introduced to the history of Louis Riel, the founder of Manitoba, and how, as the leader of the Métis people, he started and led the Red River Rebellion against the government of Canada.
Right beside the Cathedral is St. Boniface Museum where — along with Riel House National Historic Site — students will be introduced to the fascinating history of characters like the Grey Nuns, the sturdy early pioneers, and, of course, Riel.
A few blocks away at Fort Gibraltar students will travel back in time to meet the Francophone pioneers. Inside this replica fur-trading fort, costumed interpreters and experiential programming will relate what life was like during the 1800s. Should you be visiting in February, students can also take part in Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada’s largest winter festival where daily school programs involve snowshoeing, music making, and hatchet-throwing with the Fort’s interpreters.
Start your day at Upper Fort Garry Provincial Park, a brand new outdoor Provincial Heritage Park that marks — and still contains the stone entrance to — the region’s original Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.
Using smartphones and downloadable guides, students can embark on a series of discovery, unlocking points of interest while also marvelling at the Heritage Wall, which depicts the region’s history from the First Nations, through to the fur trade and the building of Winnipeg via hieroglyphics and a rolling sound and light show. Downloadable resources for educators, created in collaboration with local teachers, make it an excellent resource for student groups.
Later that evening, take your students for a night at the museum that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson would surely approve of.
The Manitoba Museum allows educators to customize a memorable sleepover, bringing to life the natural history of the region and beyond.
Students will take a mystery flashlight tour and scavenger hunt of the galleries, watch a show at the Planetarium, explore the whacky side of science at the hands-on science gallery and learn about the history of the fur trade aboard the Nonsuch, a replica 17th century ship that is the museum’s most-popular attraction.
Devote your third day in Winnipeg to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Curriculum-linked, immersive guided class tours are available daily throughout its 11 galleries.
The “When Rights are Denied” tour will challenge students to witness a range of historical and contemporary world events and have them discussing their own concepts of freedom, identity and discrimination. The “Debating Rights” tour will see students examining the issues, laws and people that have shaped Canada, while recognizing how universal consensus is a rarity in human rights discussions.
In the afternoon, head out for some fun at either The Real Escape or Enigma Escapes. These thematic escape rooms are always a good time, challenging student’s (and teacher’s!) ability to logically solve fun and fascinating puzzles while working as a team.