Voyageur Highway to the North
The widest of the four urban rivers, the Red shares its waters with paddlers, rowers, water taxis, tour boats, river cruises, power boats and water skiers along with shoreline anglers. Paddling close to the riverbank reveals the most interesting views while steering clear of traffic on this wet highway. Homegrown paddlers who think they know Winnipeg will be surprised at the different perspective the Red offers.
Landmarks along the route create aha! moments as you realize ‘that’s where we are!’ The Bridge Drive-in, a.k.a. BDI to locals, where the hordes wait patiently for a ‘Goog Special’ or other ice cream treat, the historic St. Vital Fire Hall that pokes through the treetops, the marina and river walkway that invite you to The Forks, the impressive ruins of the St. Boniface Cathedral standing proud, or the onion bulb towers of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Fort Gibralter, a Northwest Company post from the early 1800s in St. Boniface’s Whittier Park reveals a taste of the fur trade era. Paddle further north on the Red, just beyond the city’s edge, to fully return to the life of the voyageur. Pull out at the Captain Kennedy House and Tearoom for lunch or portage around the locks at Lockport, which control the summer levels of the Red, to explore Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.
Beneath your boat, the waters of the Red are a mix of all four rivers. As it flows north, the Red River collects first the La Salle, then the Assiniboine and finally the Seine until it eventually spills into the massive Lake Winnipeg. A steady current pulls you along, increasing in strength during high waters, carrying you through history.
Take a tour
Launch at Kildonan Park and paddle upstream (southbound) to the junction with the Assiniboine. Do all your work on the way there and earn a hearty lunch at The Forks. Stretch your legs with a stroll along the riverwalk and cross the Esplanade Riel pedestrian/cyclist bridge. The current will ensure a speedy return trip to Kildonan Park, likely less than half the time. Take in an evening production at Rainbow Stage in the park.
Not ready for a full day adventure? Find a variety of self-guided itineraries along the Red River at Routes on the Red.