Dining is not just about taste; get the other senses involved at these restaurants, which offer live music in harmony with mouth-watering flavour.
Prairie Ink Restaurant (pictured), inside McNally Robinson Booksellers, hosts sweet music every Friday and Saturday night. Acoustic crooners and jazz trios are the backdrop to healthful eats like kicky curried spaghetti squash. Reservations preferred. 1120 Grant Ave, 204‑975‑2659, mcnallyrobinson.com/restaurant
Hip venue The Good Will slings java during the day and sates late night cravings with slices from Little Pizza Heaven. Indie rock, jazz, and hip hop artists usually take the stage. 625 Portage Ave, 204-221-1577, thegoodwill.ca
Excellent pub grub, like indulgent pulled pork poutine, makes Le Garage the place to lounge. Consistent live shows range from local legends to open mics. 166 Provencher Blvd, 204‑237‑0737, garagecafe.ca
Expert musicians tickle the ivories at swanky Palm Lounge inside the Fort Garry Hotel while the kitchen plays with on seasonal, scratch-made fare. Jazz and classical piano is de-rigeur, often with a talented vocalist joining in. 222 Broadway, 204‑942‑8251, fortgarryhotel.com/dining
Winnipeg’s stellar jazz scene can be found at Nicolino’s every week at the Wednesday Night Hang. Budding musicians and seasoned pros share the stage, while diners sample rustic Italian cuisine. 2077 Pembina Hwy, 204‑269‑5004, nicolinosrestaurant.com
These Manitoba makers craft artisanal items that spark conversation and make a statement.
Erin Kembel of EMK Clothing designs with style and comfort in mind. Her studio boutique boasts vibrant printed dresses, bags and tops all made in-store by hand. 143 Sherbrook St, 204‑691‑4414, Map 1: R-2
The spacious loft at The Forks Trading Company showcases the work of more than 250 local makers, including plant-based lip balm from Hogwash Bath & Body. 1 Forks Market Rd, 204‑949‑1785, Map 1: Q-5
Fitness fanatics love the versatile workout gear by LBS Yoga & Athletic Wear. Make each sun salutation a style statement in the breathable and stretchy galaxy printed Trixie legging. Home Run Sports, 20 De La Seigneurie Blvd, 204‑255‑7687, Map 2: E-4
Keepsakes Gallery is stocked with the work of Manitoba artists, including floral greeting cards and acrylic paintings by artist Joy Winter-Schmidt. 626.5 West Broadway, 204-295-9257, Map 1: Q-3
An eclectic mix of Canadian-made wares line the shelves at The Gallery Shop. Glitzy earrings by CJ Tennant (pictured) get their shine from a combination of sterling silver and semi-precious stones. 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-786-6641, Map 1: P-3
Starts sep 15
Creative Quandary at cre8ery showcases a collection of work by local artists: Naomi Gerrard, Jayne Nixon, Deb Schmid and Kathleen Black. The exhibit focuses on the exploration of the creative and emotional processes an artist goes through when creating a work. Through a variety of mediums, each piece shows a moment significant to its artist. The collection includes lush landscape paintings illustrating the English countryside, intricate glass sculptures, glass mosaics (pictured), grain and seed works inspired by prairie land and colourful mixed media work influenced by travels to Asia. 2nd floor, 125 Adelaide St, 204‑944-0809
After a personal health scare, owner Sherry Sobey made it her mission to promote a healthy lifestyle. This conviction led her to open Generation Green, an eco-friendly shop stocked with all-natural products. Since opening in 2012, the store has added more than 60 locally produced items for health-conscious foodies, alongside toxin-free cosmetics and a re-fill station for detergent and shampoo. An organic non-GMO bulk food section was added this year, with customers encouraged to bring their own containers to reduce waste. The store’s success lies in providing Mother-Nature- approved healthy alternatives for a variety of dietary and lifestyle needs, while supporting the Manitoba market. Unit 155-1 Forks Market Road, 204-808-9848
The eagerly awaited renovations to the Forks Market Food Hall have transformed the space into a sleek and modern dining hall complete with communal tables, attention-grabbing light fixtures, and black accents. Anchoring the room is The Common, a craft beer and wine station offering local pours in flights presented on a board shaped like our province. Other new venues include Fusian Sushi and Argentinean spot Simon’s Cuisine, as well as a new rotating food stall, NEXT, which acts as a permanent pop-up, showcasing a different local chef or restaurant every month. A few remaining expectant stalls guarantee that more good eats are in the works. 1 Forks Market Rd, theforks.com
SEP 2-OCT 1 Neil Farber presents the first Canadian solo show of his work in more than a decade at Lisa Kehler Art + Projects. The Braided Stream includes a new series of colourful and textured paintings that feature his collages sealed between layers of clear acrylic paint. 171 McDermot Ave, 204‑510‑0099
By Janice Tober
In a city home to the country’s oldest English regional theatre, as well as Canada’s longest-running French company, theatre is ingrained in the hearts of Winnipeggers who grow up experiencing thought-provoking plays produced by these venerated institutions. It is these early companies that have emboldened aspiring artists to create theatre groups of their own, in all shapes and sizes. WHERE Winnipeg offers a sneak peek of the plays that promise to be the most talked-about dramas, inspiring stories and laugh-out-loud comedies of the 2016/17 season.
Royalty Lives Here
Winnipeggers often look to the city’s most prominent stage, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, to keep them entertained. It is the only theatre in Canada to receive royal designation, and is housed in a stunning Brutalist-style building in the Exchange District that commands respect. With a 58-year history, the company has a record of producing plays that hit the mark with audiences.
Steven Schipper, the company’s Artistic Director, states, “planning seasons is the only thing that I don’t delegate,” as he works to find plays that appeal to Winnipeg’s sophisticated artistic palate.
RMTC’s season opener, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (adapted by Simon Stephens), is a co-production with Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. This Tony Award-winner, based on Mark Haddon’s bestseller of the same name, begins when fifteen-year-old Christopher is accused of killing his neighbour’s dog. The story follows Christopher, diagnosed with autism, as he works to clear his name and solve the mystery on his own. A strong and stimulating choice, this coming-of-age tale exposes Christopher’s vulnerabilities as well as his strengths with insight and humour. The show runs from Oct 20 to Nov 12.
Just down the street from RMTC is its second stage, the Tom Hendry Warehouse. With its own full season curated by Schipper, the Warehouse focuses on works that are more provocative and controversial than those seen on the mainstage.
The season begins with another play based on a novel: My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok. Running Oct 13-29, Aaron Posner’s stage adaptation is a thoughtful meditation on how an artist and his or her work can be driven by a compulsion that threatens both family and tenets once held dear. This co-production with Montreal’s Segal Centre is well-suited to the Warehouse’s smaller space where theatregoers are close to the drama unfolding in front of them. “It’s a perfect play for our intimate Hendry Theatre,” says Schipper. “Audiences embrace work that touches, challenges, and entertains, while asking important questions about how we may best live our lives.”
Winnipeg’s multicultural makeup is mirrored in the city’s arts groups. In St Boniface, signs and snippets of conversation en français are reminders that French voyageurs settled here, and it is Théâtre Cercle Molière—the oldest French theatre in Canada—that best reflects this distinct Francophone community.
Geneviève Pelletier, Cercle Molière’s Artistic and General Director, chose to open the season with Et que ça saute!, an original piece by Winnipeg playwright, Danielle Séguin-Tétreault. Pelletier says she wanted to “kick off the season with a real side splitter,” and, with a title that translates to mean, “And make it snappy!” expect fast-paced dialogue and quick comedic timing. Centred around five people in an apartment building who are all searching for something in their lives, the play takes the audience through what Pelletier calls “the twists and turns of a day gone wrong.” The play opens on Oct 13 and runs until Oct 29 with simultaneous translation on certain dates.
In the late 19th- and early-20th centuries Winnipeg welcomed many Jewish immigrants and settlers to the city, many of whom helped create its arts institutions. The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre had its inaugural season in 1987 and has a history of showcasing original plays by some of Canada’s top playwrights—such as work by Winnipeg-born Vern Thiessen, recipient of the Governor General’s award for his moving drama, Einstein’s Gift—that highlight and lay bare the Jewish experience with emotion, comedy and accrued insight.
Running from Oct 27-Nov 6, the 2016 season opener is the Canadian premiere of Another Way Home by Anna Ziegler. Set in the summer during visiting day at Camp Kickapoo, on the surface Another Way Home is simply a witty story that catches parents in the midst of escalating conflict with their son, Joey. But amidst the barbs, the play examines what it means to be a family desperately trying to deal with a troubled son.
Bring the Kids
Manitoba Theatre for Young People evolved from Actor’s Showcase, an amateur theatre group that offered training for local talent, and grew with a new mandate to become one of the most respected stages in Canada for its creative, built-from-scratch productions and innovative children’s programming. Since its beginnings in 1982, the company has never rested on its laurels, winning its first award in 1992—the Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences Award—before earning a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production in the Theatre for Young Audiences category in 2007.
The 2016 season opens with Alligator Pie (running Oct 26-Nov 6), an original Dora Award-winning production by Toronto’s Soulpepper company. “The whole play is built around the beloved poems of Dennis Lee,” comments Pablo Felices-Luna, the company’s new Artistic Director, “so all of our fun is made possible through the work of an outstanding Canadian poet. And that’s how we wanted to launch, [with] all of the wildness you can experience at our theatre.” The play is full of infectious musical numbers and theatrical zaniness, but underlying the high-energy production is a message about the importance of friendship.
Since opening its doors in a ramshackle building in the Exchange District, Prairie Theatre Exchange has always been a small company rooted in the community. The theatre offered its rehearsal space to amateur groups and allowed them to perform on its stage between its own shows. Today, PTE is found in a downtown shopping centre, and it still belongs to Winnipeggers: in 2007 it opened its Playwrights Unit, where experienced and new local playwrights are provided with an office, the resources needed to put on a live reading or workshop, and input from fellow auteurs.
PTE continues its focus on work by Manitoban and Canadian artists with the play The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, penned by Canadian playwright, Beth Graham. Running from Oct 12-30, the play centres on Bernice’s daughter, Iris, as her Mom calls the family together to announce that she has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The emotionally heavy story can be challenging for audiences, but when asked about this selection for the 2016/17 season, Artistic Director Robert Metcalfe explains, “This play was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 2015, and I love it because of its fundamental honesty and heart in addressing some very serious subject matter—including the unique relationship between mothers and daughters—and the choices we make, both in parenting and in life.” Metcalfe has no need to shy away from difficult work, knowing that the city’s erudite audience is up for the challenge.
Oddblock Comedy Festival, a block party styled fest on South Osborne, has the street bustling. Venue-hopping comedians and attendees can grab a bite from nearby restaurants and food trucks or relax on streetside beer gardens. Check out more than 50 comics including podcast favourite Chris Cubas, improvisor Kate Berlant, and experimental comedian Ian Abramson. Various venues, 204‑478‑7275, oddblock.ca
Aug 11-20 The INKubator Showcase at Martha Street Studio features silkscreen, linocut, intaglio and collagraph prints made by inner city youth in the INKubator Program. The program teaches printmaking techniques and offers studio access to aspiring artists. 11 Martha St, 204‑779-6253
After enjoying a successful inaugural fest last summer, Interstellar Rodeo returns with out-of-this-world artists. Big name roots, Americana and indie acts take the stage at this music festival in the centre of the city, where gourmet food and wine pairings go hand in hand with the music. Headliners include Wilco and newly-formed supergroup Case/Lang/Viers, made up of Neko Case, K.D. Lang and Laura Viers. Weekend passes and single day tickets available. The Forks, 1‑855‑465‑2459, interstellarrodeo.com
In his heritage enclave in the city’s theatre district, The Mitchell Block chef/owner Sean McKay is creating incredible culinary concoctions. Beneath a gentle, warm demeanor, rock solid ambition drives this young chef. His considerable kitchen prowess asserts itself in scratch made components: charcuterie boards loaded with meats, mousses, pâtés, terrines and gastronomic touches like shaved preserved egg yolks that add depth to traditional dishes. 173 McDermot Ave, 204‑949‑9032