If you love nice patios and al fresco dining, gelato, and an all round jovial atmosphere, then Corydon Avenue is for you. Once known as Winnipeg’s “Little Italy,” Corydon Ave is a destination district, one which is popular with visitors and locals alike for people watching, shopping and dining.
A vast array of cuisines are available – from Japanese ramen, to Korean BBQ, to locally-sourced burgers, to sushi – while classic Italiano institutions serving gelati and strong shots of espresso are evident throughout. It’s also still the neighbourhood to go watch Italy play, should the World Cup or Euros be on.
Corydon is also quite the shopping destination as très chic shops now populate the avenue featuring everything from on-trend clothing stores to jewellery, while it has also become a popular salon and nail bar spot.
The area’s vibe is certainly artsy, as was recently emphasized Corydon Avenue Biz’s “street scaping.” The Colours of Corydon features eight huge abstract metal figures painted by local artists that individually represent the countries of Greece, Japan, Spain, Argentina, France, Italy, Ukraine and Scotland. These colourful 8-foot tall figures stand on the sidewalks of the main blocks that make up the heart of the Avenue. The Colours of Corydon are part of a long-term project to enhance the avenue and will be on display throughout the fall, before being stored for the winter.
Where to eat (a sampling because, as we’ve said, the options are plenty)
For starters, The Frenchway Café makes ridiculously good pastries, including some of the best butter tarts you will ever have (which you must try, given they are a Canadian classic). Chef/owner Olivier Forat is from France, and his team puts out a daily display case of desserts that will have you salivating. They also do a bang-up job on breakfast (which is always busy) or lunch, with sandwiches served on house made bread with simple, delicious side salads.
For Italian, the options are of course vast, with standouts including new kid on the block Teo’s & Mano A Mano, where you can enjoy a really good pizza while sitting on their nice patio (or, come fall/winter, inside their nice lounge); Colosseo Ristorante Italiano, whose rather over the top Rome-inspired room (and outdoor patio) specializes in classic Italian recipes; while Nucci’s, Eva’s and G. G. Gelati, are the big names when it comes to those Italian ices.
A little bit of everything can be found at Café Carlo, an institution that specializes in fresh, house made pasta with a nice selection of appetizers in a wine bar style setting. Daly Burgers is also an institution where Winnipeg’s signature hamburger style of choice – that being the Fat Boy, which is a fantastically sloppy concoction which involves a patty slathered in a runny chilli with all the other fixins’ including mayo and a pickle – is done to perfection.
Sushi lovers unite on Corydon Avenue too. There are numerous options, each with their own special menu. Free edamane beans at Sushi Ya are a favourite with patrons, as is their fried tofu and spicy salmon rolls. For heaping portions, check out Kenko Sushi. Locals love the T.N.T rolls, which are California rolls topped with deep fried shrimp, masago, and sesame seeds drizzled with special sauce.
Burrito del Rio Dos, the second location of this made before your eyes spot has a nice front yard patio and serves burritos nearly the size of CFL footballs.
Finally, for people watching while sipping away Bar Italia, with its large patio and regular DJ sets, is easily one of the most popular spots on the Ave, while the mammoth patio at Saffrons is always near capacity.
Cool dudes in the market for higher priced fashion are fans of Normandy Shoppe, which has been specializing in lux bags, footwear and vintage items to complete their wardrobe. They even have a mini barber shop now where you can get your man bun trimmed for a mere $25 – or better yet, a beard trim for $10 or hot shave $25.
For you gourmands out there, Frescolio features a huge selection of gourmet-quality extra-virgin olive oils and vinegar in a tasting-bar setting.
Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for a lucky lady in your life, Boutique Unique is sure to please. Not only does this shop specialize in handmade jewelry, women’s clothing and accessories, and home décor and gifts, it also hosts onsite beading classes and allows you to special order one-of-a-kind pieces from resident artist, Brenda Weiss.
Things, Antiques and Gifts is a consignment store that supports Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. It is staffed by the RWB’s Women’s Committee and is the longest running continuous fundraiser for the Arts in Canada. The store is full of affordable collectables such as jewellery, fine furniture, art, and antiques.
Old guards on the Avenue include Corydon Hardware Ltd which has been in operation since 1949 and surely must be one of the last neighbourhood hardware stores in Canada. The store is a tinkerer’s dream, with shelves covered with both new tools along with parts and items that could be classified as antiques. Speaking of which Selim’s Antiques has been at its location on Corydon since 1977. Treasure hunters frequent this shop for its constantly changing stock of clocks, lamps, furniture, tableware and more.
For art, Nunavut Gallery is a must with its 2,500 sq. ft. showroom filled with Inuit sculpture, drawings, and prints by world-renowned artists including Kenojuak Ashevak, Sheojuk Etidlooie, Luke Anguhadluq and Jessie Oonark. As well, Stoneware Gallery is one of Canada’s longest-running artist co-operatives where you can meet the talented artists behind the colourful, award-winning ceramics on display as they take turns working at the store.