Just north of the famous corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street is the historic Exchange District, the best-preserved turn-of-the-20th-century district in North America. Now protected from development as a National Historic Site, the area encompasses 20 city blocks and 150 heritage buildings, featuring unparalleled examples of terra-cotta and cut-stone architecture. In recent years, the area has been in great demand as a backdrop for movie production by filmmakers from across the continent. The Exchange District is also home to many of Winnipeg's best art galleries. Check out the Artspace Inc. (425-100 Arthur St.; tel. 204/947-0984), a six-story building housing numerous arts organizations, including several galleries, publishers, and art studios. For a unique gift, stop by Botanical Paperworks (111 Pacific Ave.; tel. 204/956-7393), where you can pick up "seed paper" cards that can be planted to grow wildflowers. For more information on things to do and places to go in the Exchange District, pick up the widely available and free Exchange District visitors guide from any tourist office.
The Exchange District Business Improvement Zone or BIZ offers guided walking tours of historic sites in the Exchange District -- including the interiors of some buildings -- from June to Labour Day, weather permitting. Tours begin at the Exchange District Info Centre in Old Market Square (King St. and Bannatyne Ave.), daily at 10am and 2pm, lasting roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours each. The cost is C$7 adults, C$6 seniors and students.