How one of Canada’s most popular sites is handling the season without the trail.

By Becca Myskiw

Visitors are finding ways to keep busy at The Forks this winter. /BRIANNE FIEBELKORN

Attendance at The Forks has gone down from last winter due to the closed River Trail.

Spokesperson for The Forks Larissa Peck said the decrease in people visiting Winnipeg’s hot spot is a confirmation the River Trail is a major attraction.

“It’s certainly concerning for us. The River Trail is a huge draw for us,” said Peck.

Peck said along with the closed River Trail, the weather has affected attendance. The warmer winter has tricked Winnipeggers into thinking cooler days are freezing, which results in fewer trips to The Forks.

Peck said it’s still a little early to determine the effects the drop in numbers will have on The Forks. The trail typically would have opened in January, so she said it’s difficult to get hard numbers right now.

It’s been 20 years since the last time the weather prevented the River Trail from opening. Peck said that’s when The Forks created the on-land skating trails and they seem to be getting a lot of use this year becauseskate rentals have not gone down.

With or without The River Trail, skating is still an option at The Forks. /BRIANNE FIEBELKORN

Peck said though the market is less active this year, the regulars still come enjoy the site.

Warming Huts Continue to impress

Kai Toney and his mom are among those regulars. They come to The Forks once a month for breakfast then spend their day walking around and taking in the sights, like the warming huts.

Toney said the warming huts are perfect for him to work on his photography. The “Shelterbelt” is his favourite of all the huts at The Forks.

Made in Lincoln, Nebraska, this warming hut resemble the barren trees that provide shelter and protection for animals in the long winter.

“If you take the right angle, it’s a great picture,” said Toney.

Toney said with the Shelterbelt warming hut, he takes pictures looking up on the posts, using leading lines to make the photo interesting.

The warming huts competition at The Forks had 177 entries from 32 countries this year. The Shelterbelt was not a winner but is still on display for the cold season.

The musical ice instruments have been a huge hit at The Forks this year. /BRIANNE FIEBELKORN

Musical ice instruments are a brand new attraction for The Forks, which were used for an outdoor Royal Canoe concert on Jan. 31 that drew hundreds of fans.

Trail or no trail, there’s plenty of winter activities to enjoy at The Forks, and many Winnipeggers still make it down to the historic meeting place.