When you add polar bears, eco-tours, bird-banding and world-class museums to your business meeting, you can be sure it’s going to be a hit.
Here in Winnipeg we’re all about sustainable travel — particularly when it comes to hosting huge events. Given our central location at the centre of the continent, you are looking at short flight times too, which is also a bonus.
Huge parts of our city are covered by a verdant elm canopy, inviting you to stroll underneath green archways in most of the neighbourhoods that surround downtown. These century-old trees provide plenty of shade from the summer heat and are homes for countless bird species – from hawks to jays and all kinds of song birds.
Plus, we have so many attractions that put the focus on sustainability… while always offering so much fun! And let's not forget our state-of-the-art convention centre ensures all your onsite needs are ecologically sound.
Here are just some of the ways you can be green in Winnipeg.
RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg
Not only is the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg Canada’s fourth-largest convention centre, it’s also one of the greenest!
After receiving more than $180 million in upgrades and expansions, our convention centre received its LEED® Silver Certification. The certification looks at a number of elements, from water usage, to energy efficiency, materials used, design innovation and air quality. Within its 260,000 square feet rentable space–including a 131,000-square-foot pillar-less exhibition hall with floor-to-ceiling looking out onto downtown Winnipeg—you’ll find countless sustainable initiatives. But what you won’t find are plastic water bottles!
The RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg hits such sustainable standards because of a hybrid heating system that tracks and manages demand in real time, increasing efficiencies while decreasing emissions; composting and recycling; digital signage to deter printed materials; energy efficient lighting and plenty of water stations.
The Centre is also BOMA BEST certified, ensuring it’s a building that leads the way in energy and water conservation, indoor air quality and waste reduction. Plus, it’s the first convention centre in Canada to support the Fair-Trade Town global initiative, and hybrid meetings are of course no problem too.
Outside of your conference proper, Winnipeg has so many eco-tainment options.
For starters, there’s the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo, the world’s foremost Arctic species exhibit. Here, along with holding a cocktail party under an audience of swimming polar bears, you can take your team next door to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. The scientists and researchers here study polar bear denning, diets and behaviours, all while alerting the public to the climate issues that the bears and other Arctic species face in the ever-heating wild. Its team are such experts that they’ve gone on to star in two seasons of Arctic Vets on CBC Television, and you can often learn in-person from some of them at this state-of-the-art research facility on northern animals and ecosystems.
FortWhyte Alive is all about 'connecting humans with nature.' Located right in the south end of the city, this gorgeous area is home to lakes you can traverse on canoe or sail boat; aspen forests brimming with trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and birding; North America’s largest urban bison herd; a farm that specializes in teaching inner city kids about agriculture and countless programs that promote a sustainable future for the region.
Group eco tours at this award-winning facility include the Canadian Signature Experience tour, A Prairie Legacy: The Bison and its People, where you’ll get up close to the bison herd, hear historical anecdotes in a Plains Cree Tipi, explore the wetlands on a massive Voyageur canoe, cook bannock over a fire, and so much more. Other eco tours include the new Farm and Bee Tour–where you’ll don a beekeeper suit and collect honey before visiting the pigs, chickens and rabbits that are raised on its sustainable urban farm.
Plus, FortWhyte Alive only practices what it preaches. Its Richardson Interpretive Centre recently was completely remodelled, reducing its electricity consumption by 36 per cent with fossil fuel-free geothermal systems that run under the forest, using the land to heat and cool the building. An Energy Recovery Ventilator pulls heat from recycled air to reduce energy consumption.
Just north of the city sits Oak Hammock Marsh, a vast wetland filled with sounds from up to 300 species of birds, countless amphibians, and dozens of mammal species who call this place home.
This globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) was designed to be a key migratory habitat and waterfowl-breeding centre. On its Bird in the Hand Canadian Signature Experience you’ll discover why. During this interactive tour, groups literally get to feel tiny feathers flutter in the palm of their hands before releasing a newly banded songbird into the wild (it’s all part of important migratory research) before heading out into the wetlands on canoes where the smell of blooming wildflowers and close encounters with colourful birds perched atop cattails are on the agenda. It’s a great spot for a team-building exercise, as nothing says synergy like paddling a canoe together or helping each other through two-foot-deep wetlands while wearing hip waders.
For something less woodsy, check out the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the world’s only museum dedicated to human rights education and awareness. The museum contains numerous exhibits that illuminate the connection between human rights and sustainability, posing questions like “how does a healthy environment contribute to human rights?”
The building itself is an architectural marvel and a green one at that! On an architecture tour you’ll not only learn about design elements like the one-kilometre-long alabaster ramps that form a labyrinth, along with its famed 'glass cloud' design, but also all the elements that make it LEED certified—from how it captures rainwater for air conditioning and toilets, to how its side roof is seeded with prairie grasses and plants that are indigenous to Manitoba. Its Boutique contains only fair-trade, ethically sourced and eco-conscious items.