Probably not the place you’d choose to spend a month’s holiday but there’s definitely more to see of Winnipeg than a 2½hour bus tour can show you. It made a change too to be on a bus and walking around a bit at the halfway point in the epic rail journey.

As with other cities in both the US and Canada, I was surprised at the amount of building works going on in these supposedly dire economic times. The Children’s Museum is getting a controversial extension and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is well on its way to opening in 2012. But it seems Winnipeg has long gone in for impressive buildings. The Manitoba Legislative Building would do credit to any large city.

Pleasing to see was the modest size of St Boniface Catholic cathedral constructed within the remains of a much grander structure that was destroyed by fire in 1968. The stained glass windows, modern in design, are beautiful. Interestingly, this is a French-speaking preserve. There are several of them outside what is commonly thought of as French Canada.

It was wet and the rivers were rising. A canopy support at the Forks Market near the train station has record flood levels marked in bands of tan-coloured tiles. No wonder they have sophisticated dykes and dams in place for Winnipeg and well beyond into Manitoba. These are supposed to be good for two feet higher than the highest recorded flood level. Fingers crossed!

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