locations in Winnipeg and around Manitoba
This list was compiled and is updated by Dan of DanHarperPhoto.com
Last update: November 29, 2009
I get asked quite often "what are the best places to shoot landscapes and
portraits around Winnipeg and Manitoba?" So, I've finally taken the time
to compile a list for anyone local who hasn't yet explored the city or province
as well as for those from outside of Manitoba who are planning a visit. Although
in some cases I've added a link, in most cases I've simply listed the name of
the area with some information about it so, if you are looking for specific directions
or more information simply do a search for that area and you will find them very
*Please see the bottom of this page for information on photo friendly events
that happen throughout Winnipeg and Manitoba
Landscape & wildlife
photography in Winnipeg and Manitoba:
Here is a list of some of the best locations around Winnipeg
and throughout Manitoba to shoot landscapes and wildlife.
-The Forks: Just minutes from downtown this market area attracts thousands of
people a day and is a beautiful waterfront area of Winnipeg. It's also a great
place to grab lunch and a central hub for the rest of the city. (Note: For those
who know it, this area has a similar look and feel to Granville Island in Vancouver)
-The Canadian Museum for Human Rights: To open in 2011, this will be a spectacular
architectural structure on Winnipeg's skyline.
-Manitoba Legislative Building: The MB Legislature or "The Ledge" as
locals call it is free to walk around and shoot in and you can even bring a tripod.
You will have to sign in at security and wear a pass but they are very welcoming
and is architecturally spectacular.
-All of Winnipeg's parks are great locations for photos particularly during summer
as many of them are used for festivals.
Assiniboine Park also includes the Winnipeg Zoo (entrance fee) which is a great
spot for animal lovers. It also has a duck pond and many flower gardens as well
as a large indoor and outdoor sculpture area. It also connects to Assiniboine
Forest where you can see even more wildlife.
St. Vital Park has an unfenced duck pond and also many smaller flower gardens
Kildonan Park includes "Rainbow Stage" Canada's longest surviving outdoor
King's Park has some smaller Asian themed areas
-Winnipeg has three primary Universities which all have interesting buildings
architecturally: The University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Collège
Universitaire de Saint-Boniface. All are worth a visit!
-Fort Whyte Alive: An amazing wildlife preserve just inside the Winnipeg Perimeter,
this area is a bird watchers dream with multiple species living or migrating
throughout all year.
-Fort Gibraltar: Fort Gibraltar is a voyageur themed park where throughout the
year there are reenactors. Check schedule for details. It's very photo friendly
and also very entertaining. During the Winter this location is host to the largest
winter festival in the province: Festival du Voyageur.
-Westview Park aka "Garbage hill" to locals, was created out of just
that...not locals: garbage! It's one of the only high points in the city, and
by high it's still not over 100m tall.
The entrance located at approximately 1470 Wellington Ave. will take you up a
short road to the parking lot where you can get out and go slightly higher to
look East into the downtown area (still far away at 300mm) or West to watch airplanes
-Aviation museum: A collection of planes and aviation history awaits you indoors
-Assiniboia Downs horse racing: Located just outside the perimeter of Winnipeg,
this area allows for some great fast passed action photography of horse races.
-High up locations: unfortunately there are no public viewing stations which
are high up in Winnipeg. All of the access points require accredited professional
photographer status and even then can normally only be used for assignment shoots.
However, there is an observation tower at the Forks which allows a good view
of both the Forks and downtown Winnipeg. Also, around downtown Winnipeg there
are several parking locations which are normally 5-8 stories high and give a
great view of the city.
-Oak Hammock Marsh: A wildlife preserve this is a huge area with multiple varieties
of wildlife from birds to mammals of all kinds. Located about 20 minutes from
the Winnipeg Perimeter it's also easy to access.
-Birds Hill Provincial Park: Just minutes outside Winnipeg is BHPP where you'll
find both wildlife and wild life with it's man made beaches and camp grounds.
Lots of wildlife here with deer being prominent.
-Lower Fort Garry: A national historic site, LFG is the oldest stone fur trading
post still intact in North America. The have multiple interpreters/reenactors
to tell/show you what it was like in the mid 1800s.
-Brokenhead Indian reserve: Just an hour outside of Winnipeg the Brokenhead community
has just recently opened an aboriginal themed tour complete with traditional
meal. There is a price attached to the tour.
-Grand Beach: named one of the top 10 beaches in the world by Playboy magazine,
it has kilometers of sandy beach front area and is a very popular weekend destination
for Winnipegers and tourists alike
-The Delta area has a huge marshland and bird habitat at Delta Marsh
-Gimli, Manitoba: Approximately one hour from Winnipeg this small lakeside town has
some serious charm as well as a marina area and nordic theme. They also host one of Manitoba's premier events, the Gimli Icelandic Festival in the summer.
Sands: A beautiful sand dune like area, this park has several self-guiding
trails from .3k to 1.9.
-Hecla: Golfers and photographers alike love this area. Located in the Southern
portion of Lake Winnipeg, the rock formations look more like they are from the
East coast of Canada.
-Riding Mountain National Park: A huge national park located about 2.5 to 3 hours
from Winnipeg, this park has many cabins and other amenities for longer stays.
-Manitoba wind farm/wind turbines: Manitoba has a large wind farm around the
area of the town of St. Leon. St. Leon is about 2 hours South-West of Winnipeg.
-Duck Mountain Provincial Park
-Narcisse snake pits: Located approximately six kilometers north of the town
of Narcisse, Manitoba this area, in late April to early May, is home to thousands
coming out of hibernation and mating. A very unique experience!
-Churchill: Renowned for it's Tundra Buggy Tours and Polar bears, check out frontiersnorth.com for
more information on tour packages
-Thompson: there are several waterfalls within an hour of the town including
the two largest in Manitoba one of them being very accessible: Pisew Falls.
-Pembina Valley: The Pembina Valley stretches over a large area of rural Manitoba
but includes terrain not seen in other parts of the province. Small points of
elevation allow one to photograph the vastness of the prairies from a slight
high, providing a different perspective on a familiar landscape.
Also be sure to check out the Pembina Valley Provincial Park where you'll need
your walking/hiking shoes as it includes several well groomed trails.
-Whiteshell provincial park: This vast area includes both dams and cottage country.
-Seven sisters rapids & Seven Sisters Dam: This location located approximately
1.5 hours outside of WInnipeg is home to large groups of Pelicans as well as
a short rapids area. The dam itself being a couple of kilometers from the falls
is a spectacular sight in the winter or summer.
-Pinawa Dam Provincial Park: A spectacular location approximately 1.5 hours outside
of Winnipeg, this is a defunct dam, no longer in use which is popular for it's
decrepit look and rushing water that many people swim around.
Manitoba is one of the best more Southerly places in Canada to check out this
As long as you're as far as Birds Hill Park you can see them on an active night
but it's best to be as far as Grand Beach or further to get the best photographic
Although there are several abandoned houses across the province, only a few of
them are within a shorter drive of Winnipeg. *Take caution at any abandoned area
as there may be falling debris or unsafe conditions and you may be trespassing.
-There is a very popular abandoned farm house visible from Beausejour, Manitoba,
which is at the corner of highway 11 and 44. Approximately a 40 minute drive
the Winnipeg perimeter.
-There is another abandoned area by St Elizabeth, Manitoba, just behind the town's
-There is an abandoned farmhouse where the farmer is friendly on the way to Carman
on highway #2 near Culross, Manitoba. This is about 30 minutes from the WPG perimeter.
If you're looking right near Culross you can't miss it.
Portrait locations around
For those of you looking for locations to shoot anything from a portrait session
to engagements or weddings, here are some of the most picturesque parts of
Many of these are the same locations as above but but with added information
about pricing etc.
-If you are looking for an indoor studio: Level3 Studios has a very nice and
large space to shoot in. It boasts six different themes in the same area which
include everything from a standard white BG/cove area all the way to several
old building/decrepit looking areas including old style wood floor. They also
have many props and as part of the rental fee include studio lights.
-Fort Gibraltar: A very special location within Winnipeg, this is a huge historic
wood fort/park. They also include re-enactors on demand as well as outdoor
event tents. Booking and fees mandatory.
-Fort Whyte Alive: Although renowned for it's nature this location is also
spectacular to book for weddings and portrait shoots.
-Manitoba Legislature & grounds: You have to book in advance but it is
free as long as the time slot is open. You can shoot outside for free but if
you don't have a booking those who do take precedence.
-The Forks: There are several areas around the Forks which are popular and
very visually appealing to shoot: The Aboriginal sharing circle, the pedestrian
bridges, directly in the market area and all along the waterfront are just
some of the nicer locations.
-The Exchange district: Part of downtown, this area has a 1920's Chicago look
to it and has actually doubled as Chicago in several movies. It is also located
around "Old Market Square" which hosts daily lunch concerts during
the summer. The most popular areas to shoot in are near Albert Street but you
will also find many great locations on the East side of Main St as well as
down by the waterfront.
-Red River College, downtown campus: There is a price attached to shoot there
but it's reasonable and also a really modern/architectural location.
-Assiniboine park: The park also includes indoor locations which can be booked
at a price to ensure a location in case of bad weather. The indoor locations
are the conservatory and the Leo Mol garden (indoor sculpture area)
-Provencher bridge/Esplanade Riel: This bridge, creating a link between St
Boniface (French area) and downtown is one of the most photographed landmarks
in Winnipeg. The whole area around it is public so no reservation needed to
shoot on it unless you want to have a nip at Salsbury House and shoot in the
-St Boniface dock: A small dock used for water taxis this is one of the best
locations to shoot the Provencher Bridge/Esplanade Riel from at any time of
the night or day. This area is located on Taché avenue, just in front
of the St Boniface Cathedral.
-St Boniface Cathedral: In walking distance of the Provencher bridge, this
century old church burnt down in the 50s, leaving a beautiful shell with a
completely nonexistent roof. You need to book to shoot inside our out and there
is also a cost to shoot both. (Aprox $75)
-Forks and St Boniface river walk: This area, stretching from the Legislature
all the way down to the Forks and over the Provencher Bridge and into St Boniface
provides a huge length of waterfront area to shoot in. All of this is on or
by the river and is perfect for engagement or portraiture.
List of other general portrait locations:
-Most of the golf courses and country clubs especially those just out of town
host weddings and allow for photos to be taken. Some of these include: Bel
Acres Golf and Country Club, Breezy Bend Country Club, Bridges Golf Course,
-Festival du Voyageur: This is a French based (but very English friendly) annual
multi day event that happens in the heart of the French area of Winnipeg: St.
Boniface. More specifically around Fort Gibraltar, a rebuilt fort with multiple
buildings within it. There are dozens of re-enactors from the Manitoba Living
History Society always dressed in period garb and happy to talk about the history
and times of the area.
Visit: http://www.festivalvoyageur.mb.ca for more details
-Folklorama: Held for two weeks in August, Folklorama brings the world to Winnipeg
by using both local and international groups to host culturally based pavilions.
Within these pavilions you will experience the unique cuisine, dance and other
performances by over 40 different cultures (African, Ukrainian, Chinese etc).
Web site: Folklorama.ca
-Winnipeg International Children's
Festival: Held annually in early June this is a weekend full of events
-Winnipeg Folk Festival: AKA "Winnipeg's Woodstock", held for over
35 years in July, just outside of Winnipeg, this internationally acclaimed
event hosts over 70 acts over five days. There is a camping area, family activities
and as always, the music!
Web site: winnipegfolkfestival.ca
-Teddy bear's picnic: A children's based event, there are over 50 tens and
entertainment of all kind for kids including a "teddy bear hospital" where
kids can bring in their stuffed animals to get patched up.
Web site: goodbear.mb.ca
-Winnipeg Fringe Theatre
Festival: A huge local multi-day theatre festival, there are a handful
of outdoor events that are photo friendly but the indoor events do not allow
-Gimli Icelandic festival
-Canad Inns Winter Wonderland: This is an annual event held in the Winter which
allows you to view over 20 animated holiday light displays with over 250000
-Santa Claus Parade: Held in November this is a float based parade ending with
the man in red himself: Santa Claus
There are many other festivals and events throughout
the year, for more details check both: