An adventure at Winnipeg’s crossroads

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If your tastes are a little more exotic, step on the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge and visit Mon Ami Louis. It’s believed to be the only restaurant located midriver along a suspension bridge.

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This is also the starting place for the Winnipeg Trolley Company tour, which weaves in and out of the neighboring communities, showing how they are all tied to the city center.

Our favorite part of the tour was learning all about the city’s infamous first mayor, Francis Evans Cornish. Let’s just say that his methods of getting elected and maintaining law and order were dubious at best. The tales we heard were legendary, if perhaps not all true.

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If the Forks is the historic center of commerce, then the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the moral core of Winnipeg, if not the whole country. The striking building is as provocative on the outside as it is on the inside.

Dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights, the museum aims to not only raise awareness of issues and inspire individuals to make personal changes, but also give visitors the tools to make a meaningful difference wherever they live.

At its core is the idea that all human beings have the right to freedom, equality and respect in their lives and in their government. Most permanent exhibits put you in the shoes of those discriminated against and the people who have made it their mission to help.

The building itself was designed to simulate the journey toward human rights. The base is considered the root, where your path to understanding begins. From here, it is an uphill climb along an 800-meter ramp through floors dedicated to important moments in human rights history. Not all of them are shining moments.

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The Canadian Journeys gallery reflects the continuing efforts to achieve human rights for all in the great, white north, outlining the steps and missteps taken along the way. Facing past mistakes head-on gives us hope that today’s issues can also be resolved.

As you continue up the ramp toward the Tower of Hope, light fills the passageways through glass windows that, from the outside, look like a crystal cloud or doves’ wings wrapping the body of the building. The overall impression is that of the healing and transformation of humanity as you make your way to the observation deck, a beacon of light 100 meters in the sky.

From this vantage point, you can better understand why Winnipeg is such an important city to Canada. It is a place where understanding the rights of man and the conservation of nature hold equal importance in the minds of its citizens.

After all, in this spot, where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet, nature has supported humans for more than 6,000 years.