The Performing Arts
Winnipeg's most important performing arts venue is the Centennial Concert Hall (555 Main St.; tel. 204/956-1360; www.centennialconcerthall.com), which is home to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Manitoba Opera. The world-renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet (380 Graham Ave., at Edmonton St.; tel. 204/956-2792 for the box office; www.rwb.org) was founded in 1939 by two British immigrant ballet teachers, making it North America's oldest continuously operating ballet company. By 1949, it was a professional troupe, and in 1953, it was granted a royal charter. Today, its repertoire includes both contemporary and classical works, such as Ashton's Thais, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty. The company performs at the Centennial Concert Hall, usually for a week in each October, November, December, March, and May. Tickets are C$28 to C$84, with discounts for students, seniors, and children.
Established in 1947, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (555 Main St.; tel. 204/949-3950, or 204/949-3999 for the box office; www.wso.ca) performs at the Centennial Concert Hall. The orchestra's prestige has attracted guest artists such as Manitoba's own James Ehnes, as well as Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Tracy Dahl, and Maureen Forrester. The season usually runs September to mid-May, and tickets are C$28 to C$55.
The Manitoba Opera (555 Main St.; tel. 204/942-7479, or 204/944-8824 for the box office; www.manitobaopera.mb.ca), features a season of two or three operas each year at the Centennial Concert Hall, with performances throughout the winter months. Tickets range from C$35 to C$129.
Theater -- You can enjoy theater in the park at the Rainbow Stage, in Kildonan Park at 2021 Main St. (tel. 204/989-5261, or 204/989-0888 for tickets; www.rainbowstage.net), Canada's largest and oldest continuously operating outdoor theater. The theater group actually presents two musical classics, running about 3 weeks each, one in the summer at Kildonan and one in mid-winter at the Pantages Playhouse (180 Market St.). On the banks of the Red River, the outdoor Rainbow Stage is easily accessible by public transport.
The Manitoba Theatre Centre (140 Rupert Ave., at Lily St.; tel. 204/956-1340, or 204/942-6537 for the box office; www.mtc.mb.ca) presents more cutting-edge, controversial plays in an intimate 300-seat theater. Its four-play season generally runs mid-October to mid-May, and tickets are C$15 to C$65.
The Prairie Theatre Exchange (Portage Place, 393 Portage Ave.; tel. 204/942-7291, or 204/942-5483 for the box office; www.pte.mb.ca) offers about six productions from October to April and provides the most serious alternative to MTC shows. Standard ticket prices are C$32 to C$42 adults, C$25 to C$32 seniors and students. Some less-expensive shows run on Wednesdays.
The tropical-themed Club Regent Casino (1425 Regent Ave. W.; tel. 800/265-3912 or 204/957-2500; www.clubregent.com) offers slots, electronic blackjack, bingo, poker, and keno, plus traditional bingo and the Fountain of Fortune, a series of progressive slot machines. Huge, walk-through aquariums and two live music stages add to the diversions. The club is open Monday through Saturday 9:30am to 3am and Sunday 11:30am to 3am.
The Grand Railway Hotel-themed McPhillips Station Casino (484 McPhillips St.; tel. 800/265-3912 or 204/957-2500; www.mcphillipsstation.com) is your other major casino option in town, featuring many of the same gaming choices as at the Club Regent (both are operated and regulated by the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation). The side show here is the indoor re-creation of an historic railway village, taking you back into Manitoba's past. McPhillips Station operates during the same hours as its sister casino, and both have restaurants and gift shops.
Country-western dance bars used to be a large part of the nightlife in Winnipeg, but the scene is rapidly changing. Even the Palomino Club (1133 Portage Ave.; tel. 204/722-0454), once the best place to sample line dancing, mostly features classic rock. Silverado's (2100 McPhillips St., in the Canad Inn Destination Centre Garden City; tel. 204/633-0024) has three floors of dancing to country bands and rock acts, plus DJ-spun dance-floor hits.
Winnipeg's dance club scene mirrors that of similar-sized cities across Canada. The Empire, at 436 Main St., near Portage Avenue (tel. 204/943-3979), features a Roman-themed dance floor in an historic bank building. In the Exchange District, Alive (140 Bannatyne Ave.; tel. 204/989-8080) has both DJs and live bands, and attracts an older crowd -- it allows entry only to those over 21. As dance clubs can be ephemeral, you may want to check out the latest news when you visit town; visit Uptown Magazine's website at www.uptownmag.com to search the latest club information and listings.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.