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Warm weather forcing adaptations in Winnipeg’s winter tourism

Unexpected warmer weather this winter has delayed the opening of Winnipeg’s iconic river trail, which forced  winter tourism adaptations in the city.

The Nestaweya River trail did not open until last Thursday making it the latest opening date ever.

“We had a cold snap, the river froze, we had an influx of precipitation from the south of us which really should be snow this time of year, but it came as rain, which increased the water level across the board,” said Larissa Peck from the Forks.

The Forks is one of the city’s most popular stops for tourists and many people go there just to skate on the river.

“I think people are looking for anything to do at this time of year. And people really do value that wintertime recreation piece,” said Peck.

She says businesses in the market are looking forward to an influx of people while the icy conditions last. But with warmer winters becoming the norm, Natalie Thiesen from Economic Development Winnipeg says winter attractions all over the country are having to adapt.

“Some are going to be more dependent on snow and cold temperatures, and they’re going to have to develop mitigation plans.”

Thisen says demand for winter tourism is still high and people will still head to the Forks whether the river tail is open or not but offering a wide range of activities will sustain that demand to give people a uniquely Winnipeg experience.

–– With files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

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