For more than six millennia, the Forks area of downtown Winnipeg has been the most popular meeting and shopping area not only in Manitoba’s capital, but the entire province. Today, the Red and Assiniboine river intersection where fur traders once swapped wares with Manitoba’s First Nations has become a bustling market whose 50 shops now attract over four million visitors per year.
However, the Forks is no longer Winnipeg’s only shopping site. Osbourne Street, Academy Road, Corydon Avenue, and the Exchange District all offer their own unique boutiques, antique shops, and gourmet food offerings. Downtown Winnipeg has the Skywalk Walkway to protect shoppers from the city’s frigid winters and free Winnipeg Transit Downtown Spirit transportation throughout the year to entice commercialism.
Portage Avenue’s Polo Park Shopping Centre may be Winnipeg’s biggest shopping mall, but St. Vital Center and Kildonan Place Shopping Center aren’t very far behind. The Corral Center and Brandon Shopper’s Mall are the two biggest malls in Manitoba’s second largest city, Brandon.
All of the above contain many of the same big box chains and anchor department stores found throughout Canada, but some of Manitoba’s most unique shopping opportunities outside Winnipeg are situated in much smaller communities. Visitors can receive permits to collect their own rocks from a Souris quarry before getting one-of-a-kind costume jewelry made from those treasures at the Rock Shop. A handicraft shop near the northern community of The Pas enables visitors to watch First Nations women sew native clothing and make handmade jewelry.