Music, Festivals and Museums in Winnipeg
Located at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in Canada’s Manitoba province, the city of Winnipeg is home to more than half of the province's population. Aboriginal people gathered in this area to trade long before the arrival of Europeans, and the first fort built at Winnipeg was by French traders in 1738. A lot has changed since then and Winnipeg is Canada’s seventh largest municipality with a world-class infrastructure and diversified economy. The citizens of Winnipeg also have a keen interest in cultural activities as can be seen by the number of cultural organizations in the city.
Founded in 1969, the Manitoba Opera company in Winnipeg staged its first production in 1972 – Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore. Internationally celebrated opera director Irving Guttman was the driving force behind the development of the Manitoba Opera, which staged its first original production Transit of Venus in November 2007. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra provides the music for the Manitoba Opera. With its main concert venue being the city's Centennial Concert Hall, the orchestra also travels around the province of Manitoba giving performances. Considered to be one of the world’s best dance companies, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was founded in 1939 and is the oldest ballet company in Canada.
Popular annual festivals in Winnipeg include the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Folklorama, Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. Running for two weeks each August, Folklorama gives visitors the opportunity to experience the cultural and ethnic heritage of the dozens of countries that the citizens of Winnipeg originated from. The festival attracts thousands of tourists every year, as each country presents various aspects – song, dance, food, drink, arts and crafts - of their country of origin in separate venues throughout the city. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival presents alternative theatre, while the Jazz Winnipeg Festival provides a gathering place for Jazz musicians and music lovers from around the world.
Focusing on human and natural heritage, the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg features a planetarium, Science Gallery hall, and interpretive galleries detailing Earth History, Boreal Forests, Grasslands, Parklands and Urban environments. A fascinating attraction at the museum is the full-sized replica of the ship Nonsuch, the vessel that made the 1668 voyage leading to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company – one of the oldest commercial corporations in the world. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is also an integral part of the cultural scene in the city. The gallery's permanent collection includes around 24,000 pieces, ranging from the 16th century through to modern times. Certainly, the vibrant city of Winnipeg is a cultural treasure trove of note.