St. Vital was established by francophone settlers in 1822
and was named by Archbishop Taché in 1860, in honour of his colleague, Father Vital-Justin Grandin.
This beautiful, historic area has undergone a wonderful transformation in recent years. Storefronts throughout the area boast window boxes full of flowers and a beautiful new archway provides access to the river walk and park. Stately elms line walking tour routes and informative plaques provide information about area attractions.
Riel House National Historic Site was Louis Riel’s family home, where his descendants continued to live until 1969. It is here, in the living room of his mother’s house, that Riel’s body laid in state for two days in December 1885. The house itself, a Red River frame building (a style of construction popular for this region) has been restored to reflect the spring of 1886.
Location: The approximate boundaries are the Red River to the west, the Seine River to the east, Carriere Avenue to the north and the Rural Municipality of Ritchot to the south. Located 9.8 km from downtown and 17.6 km from the airport.
How to get there: From the airport, turn onto Wellington Avenue and turn right onto King Edward Street (Route 90). Keep left and take the ramp to Portage Avenue. Turn left onto Portage Avenue. After 3.2 km, turn right on Broadway. After 2.2 km, turn right on Main Street. Continue over the Norwood Bridge onto St. Mary’s into St. Vital.
Where to eat
One of the hardest reservations to get in St. Vital is at Santa Ana, a small Italian bistro with big heart. Their loyal following of customers is due to thin, crispy wood-fired pizzas and fluffier stone-baked versions. House-made pastas are also finished with a blast of heat in the wood oven, as are the majority of the items on the menu. Best of all at Santa Ana for the often-frugal Winnipeg crowds is the prices, which are incredibly cheap, including a wine list where there barely appears to be a markup at all (… a bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio for $25, get out of here, I’ll take three please).
When Winnipeg heats up locals flock to Licks Ice Cream Patio, a hidden gem of sorts that closes in the winter. New menu items include a Belgium chocolate sundae with Amarena cherries, butter finger and nerd flurries, and bubble gum milkshakes. Cold treats and warm eats are both on the menu at Dairy Delight. Their chili fries are a fan favourite throughout the year (people swear they have the best fries every) while in the fall, their pumpkin spice soft serve warms the soul.
Go for baroque (get it?) at Maxime’s, which easily has to be one of the most uniquely styled restaurants in all of Winnipeg. An institution in St. Vital since 1984, this place continues to serve up continental classics with an expansive menu that includes everything from baked French onion soup, to veal cordon blue, to Greek style lamb chops.
If it’s a game night you had better get to Tapp’s Neighbourhood Bar and Grill early, or you won’t get a seat. This recently renovated lounge is famous for its wings, countless televisions and friendly service. Another causal joint of note is Van Goes Pizza and Chicken, where thin pies, chicken wings and fried chicken are the name of the game
The polished dining room of Siam Thai—with its dark wood seating and ornate wall hangings from Thailand—virtually whisks diners away to Southeast Asia. Authentic dishes are exceptionally well prepared, from creamy chicken galangal soup to sweet and spicy yellow curry.
Places to shop
Winnipeg’s second largest mall, St. Vital Centre, houses more than 160 shops and services (including Sears, Wal-Mart, Chapters and London Drugs) a state-of-the-art movie theatre, dining hall, several casual restaurants and a warm atmosphere.
Browse through more than 3,000 types of wine, gifts and gourmet products with the help of certified sommeliers inside Banville & Jones Wine Co.’s gorgeous Tuscan-inspired boutique. Of particular note is their room of exceptional vintages, where rare, specialty wines are shelved in temperature- and humidity-controlled environments.
Jardins St-Léon Gardens is Winnipeg’s only Francophone outdoor market. Locals seeking seasonally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, breads and baguettes baked daily, cheeses, home-made jams, and flowers and bedding plants visit this seasonal shop.
If you want to hook one worth bragging about, grab your gear at The Tackle Box. This fisherman’s dream carries everything from jiggers to pop up ice fishing tents.
Say Aloha to board shorts, bikinis and cover-ups at The Hula Hut before hitting up the numerous gorgeous beaches that surround Winnipeg. Polar opposite to Hula is Tamarack Casual and Outdoor Clothing, a store renowned for keeping you warm in winter with brands like Canada Goose, The North Face and Icebreaker.
Ce Soir Fine Lingerie’s feminine space showcases exquisite undergarments, bras and shape wear. They also do free fittings and alterations done within 24 hours on site.
Find classic and contemporary pieces for the home at Interior Touches. The well-laid-out showroom is full of inspiration and pretty objects, like accent rugs, furniture and sculpture.
Sofia’s Boutique is packed with a sophisticated selection of casual, formal and business fashions in sizes 4-24. Some purses, shoes, accessories and undergarments are also carried.
Mike’s General Store is an antique lover’s paradise where you can track down elusive collectibles, including coins, tins and toys.
Things to See and Do
Located along the Red River, St. Vital Park’s hiking and cycling trails provide picturesque views of the water. Barbecue pits, athletic fields, toboggan slides, cross-country ski trails and a play structure make this a great spot for family gatherings and recreation.
Community gardens, three retention ponds and other serene green spaces are found along the Bishop Grandin Greenway. This network of multi-use paths connects communities living along this busy boulevard in southeast Winnipeg. The greenway trail runs along Bishop Grandin Boulevard at River Road west to St. Anne’s Road.
If you’ve got Fido in tow, then head to off-leash dog park Maple Grove Park. This large urban green space is a popular spot for dogs and owners to socialize and features a fenced-in area for puppies.
Riel House National Historic Site is closely linked with Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, Louis Riel. This site was the home of the Riel family, where descendants lived until 1969. The Red River Frame house has been restored to typify the late 19th century.
Housed in the former St. Vital police station, the St. Vital Museum showcases artifacts relating to the history of the area dating back to 1820. Archives, decorative arts, fine arts, and several books are displayed on a rotating basis.
Let your rug rats run wild at My Gym Children’s Fitness Centre. Trained instructors help little ones of all ages with gymnastic basics, while providing lots of time to play, run, climb and just be kids.