Interested in learning the history of Winnipeg's downtown and earliest neighbourhoods? Want to know more about the architectural influences that came into play when Winnipeg's oldest buildings were being built? Need to brush up on some local, and sometimes scandoulous, political history? Then the Winnipeg Trolley Company is the tour for you.
The Trolley tours starts The Forks and makes its way over the Provencher Bridge into St. Boniface for the first leg, giving tourists a taste of how Winnipeg's French Quarter came to be. Tour guide and company owner Ben Gillies informs tourists that St. Boniface was once a city all on its own. Tourists will learn about St. B's rich cultural, political and educational history. Did you know that its home to the oldest post-secodary institution in Western Canada? Neither did I.
Gillies has a great deal of experience working in the tourism industry with a resume that includes working as a tour guide on Parliament Hilll in Ottawa and in Vimy Ridge, France. His love for history and knowledge of how Winnipeg came to be the city that it is today is impressive. Ben infuses just the right amount of humour to keep the 90 minute tour fun and upbeat.
Once finished in the Francophone section of the city, the Winnipeg Trolley loops back over to the Excange District for a lesson on some of the city's finest architecture and historical landmarks. Expect to hear about Winnipeg's connection to New York City, some background of the Upper Fort Garry site and a drive down what was formerly known as Bankers' Row.
The tour also takes a ride down one of the city's most affluent streets, Wellington Crescent, before taking a cruise through Assiniboine Park. There are some great tidbits about famous Winnipeggers and where they lived before their big breaks on this portion of the tour (think Neil Young and The Guess Who).
The tour runs this Friday, August 30 at 10:30am and Sunday, September 1 at 10:30am and 1:00pm, which will mark the end of the official summer tours. However, the Winnipeg Trolley Company has been so successful in its inaugural season that they've extended and added tours into September.
Here are the September dates:
Friday September 6th at 10:30am
Sunday September 8th at 1:00pm
Sunday September 15th at 1:00pm
Sunday September 22nd at 1:00pm
Sunday September 28th at 1:00pm
Tours cost $26.25 for adults, students for25.20 and youth for $14.70. You can buy tickets at Two Rivers at The Forks or order online at winnipegtrolleycompany.ca.