Northern Vigour and Winnipeg

Over the last two days we have continued travelling on the flat black soils of the Prairies towards Winnipeg. We continue to be staggered at the rate of growth of the crops, known as “northern vigour”. So much growth in the space of 4 months to mature before the cold weather returns. I have included a picture of a canola crop soon to be in full flower (in the distance) which was planted in the first week of May.







By and large the roads haven’t been too bad but the most uncomfortable experienced to date would be a 50km section of Lord Selkirk (Highway 75) from Saint Jean Baptiste almost all the way into Winnipeg. H’way 75 is the major link between Winnipeg heading South to the US. A number of major floods and frost heave have caused a lot of damage over recent years. There were plenty of holes far worse than the one in the photo, and in other concrete slab sections small steps had formed making for a very bumpy ride.


We were lead into Winnipeg by Paul Guise which was a relief for us. It is always good to have a local to help us navigate through the cities. (Winnipeg’s metro population is around 730,000. It is also the coldest big city over 600,000 in the world. In mid winter the average ranges from minus 21.7 to minus 13.9, and in mid summer the average is around 18-21 deg C). Paul and his wife Jan and their son Felix have been very kind in hosting us for the night and spoiling us with a wonderful dinner. Paul has also provided us with some really good knowledge and advice about our journey ahead.


As we got into Winnipeg (also known as “the Peg”) reasonably early we had time to look around The Folks in downtown Winnipeg. The Forks is a historic site and meeting place in located at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River. For at least 6000 years, the Forks has been the meeting place for early Aboriginal peoples, and since colonization has also been a meeting place for European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants. (Wikipedia).

We had a quick look through the market place but the one thing I can highly recommend is the cinnamon buns from the Tall Grass Prairies. The best I have tasted. I have included a few photos taken from The Forks area.






Our host, Paul Guise pictured at the fruit market.




The building under construction is the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (The first national museum outside of Ottawa)


NO BLOG FOR A WEEK:(: Our hosts in Winnipeg have advised we will have very little to no telephone reception as we head into Southern Ontario over the next few days. Therefore, unfortunately I won’t be able to post a blog for about a week, nor be able to respond to emails and comments etc.

5 thoughts on “Northern Vigour and Winnipeg

  1. The pictures are lovely and we are very proud of you. Please try to get in touch with us as soon as you can have access to phone. Lots of Love!

  2. Hi there Alistair and John,
    I’ve enjoyed your blog very much not only as a Canadian seeing my country through someone elses eyes but also as a cross-Canada cyclist from last year.
    My main purpose for this communication is to inform you that you actually loose cell phone coverage from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie (about a week). Thunder Bay Tel, or whatever they call themselves, have a bit of a monopoly in the area. Some cell phones do work in this area but not many.
    If you plan on stopping in Sault Ste. Marie there is a campground right in the city in the back of a bike shop. Camping is free as are the hot showers and wi-fi. The guys there are great and have information on getting Eastward through the city while avoiding the highway. The shop’s name is
    ” Velorution” . Right on the route through the city. You can’t miss the giant bicycle in the front of the shop.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for that. Paul from Winnipeg has also told us about “Velorution” and we will definitely be checking this out. It will be about time for a good bike service by then. At this stage we won’t be going though Toronto, but keeping to the north a bit. Heading for Ontario today. Regards, Alistair

  3. Thanks, Alistair, John, & Annie for a great visit! Jan and Felix keep mentioning how much fun that was. I had a great spin home after our departing ride, and managed to dodge most of the thunderstorms (although the bike’s a mess). May our paths cross again.

    Good news on the mobile coverage front – the new TBayTel/Rogers network covers most of Superior! See for the details. Now we’ll be expecting more blogging, of course… 😉

    • Thanks Paul, we really enjoyed staying with you all and sincerely do hope we meet again. Good to hear you got back safely. We are currently in Sioux Narrows having some lunch and thought I would check emails etc. We got some very nice photos of Canadian Geese with goslings in tow today, and a photo of a fox. Good news about the mobile coverage. Regards Alistair

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