This is so thrilling, I am properly making plans for several small trips for May, June, and July and I am so excited. Pre-pandemic and pre-Sioux Lookout they probably wouldn’t have been high on my list, but without any travel since January 2020, just going somewhere I don’t live nor my parents live is thrilling. Especially since my Guelph and Toronto trips at the holidays were such duds thanks to Omicron this is even more exciting.
May: Weekend in Winnipeg
Listen, I am gagging for a city weekend, eating in a restaurant, sushi, going to a museum, and maybe going dancing? I don’t know if I’d actually do it if I’m going on my own, but it sounds fun in theory.
I’ll share where I’m staying after, but in terms of activities, I’m planning on making a drive out to Steinbach to try and found the farm where my parents first immigrated to when they left Ireland and where they lived when I was born. I’ve always wanted to see it, we moved to the States before I turned 3 so I don’t remember living in Manitoba at all. They don’t remember their actual address anymore, they had a PO Box for a mailing address so that’s not helpful, but my Dad’s going to draw me a map.
Next is some in person shopping, I’ve been told that Polo Park is great shopping, my mum says it was the best back in the early 90s and it appears to still be true today. There’s an Apple store, Anthropologie, Aritzia, Lululemon, Nespresso, Sephora, and so much more, but that’s all pretty thrilling. And way better than the mall in Thunder Bay. It also has a movie theatre, so I will probably try and time it so that Multiverse of Madness is in theatres and I can catch the latest Marvel movie. My Mom also talks about Academy Road? Avenue Road? she doesn’t remember which (google just taught me it’s Academy Road, still looks cute), but I’m going to take a drive and see what it’s like. All the recommendations online are for a neighborhood called the Exchange District that seems really cool.
I also want to go to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and apparently the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Quamajug, it holds the world’s largest collection of Inuit art, which seems cool. There actually seems to be way more cultural stuff than I was expecting in Winnipeg, a ballet company, a couple theatres, a couple concert halls. There doesn’t seem to be much happening in May, but still, go Winnipeg. I am also hoping to go to the Farmers Market.
I am also super excited for food, I’m hoping for sushi (although I do wonder about sushi so far into the middle of a country???) I’m definitely going to pull a restaurant from this list and a couple coffee shops from this one, some of them look so amazing. There’s also a bunch of Thai restaurants (love), and there’s a big Ukrainian immigrant population so I’ll probably hit up a Ukrainian restaurant to support.
There is also… a needlepoint store!!! I am uncertain about the thread selection and the style of canvases, but it’s a real life actual brick and mortar needlepoint store. Actually, I take that back because I was just googling it again and found another store and it has a great thread selection! I will 120% be hitting up both of them.
June: Concert and Weekend in Minneapolis
This one I’m really excited about because it does involve Leaving The Country, which I have not done since January 2020, and Minneapolis seems like a cooler city than I ever thought it might be? Lizzo is from there so I guess that does make sense. It also is more expensive than I was expecting. But I’m super excited about it. I’m most excited for the concert, I’m going to see Aly and AJ, one of my lifetime favourite groups and sister acts, and their last album was so unbelievably good. It’s been over a year now since it came out and it still doesn’t have a single skip on it. It’s incredible. And then there’s the classics of our youth, Potential Break Up Song and Like Whoa, which they just re-released as a new single and just like Taylor Swift’s re-releases sound even better now.
It’s a longer drive and I’m only going for the weekend, so I’ll really only have Friday night, Saturday (and the night will be the concert), and Sunday morning, and I know I want to go to Target and Trader Joes, and I also want to try and snag some Lover Boy and maybe also Faux Pas (Betches brand just released a canned cocktail).
The Minneapolis city website also has some itineraries (like this, and this) on it that I’ll pick and choose from and I have a friend (a sorority sister I met at an international event, actually the last time I was in the USA) who lives in St. Paul and I plan on asking her for some recs as well. I intend to do a full review/travel guide when I get back.
I am a bit nervous about the drive, it’s 8 hours, which I’ve done longer, much longer, but I’ve never driven across international boarders alone before, only flown, and there’s still some COVID protocols at the land boarder. I should have no problem with them, I’ve done all vaccine doses and boosters and at the moment there isn’t a testing requirement so it should be fine, but I’m still a little nervous.
July: Calgary Stampede
This one I’m actually starting to be a bit unsure of, it’s startlingly difficult to find people who want to go to the Stampede here. Which as someone who grew up among people who all wanted to go to rodeos, and then when we moved to Canada everyone wanted to go to the Stampede. Maybe this is a lingering horse girl thing, but I have always wanted to go to the Stampede.
Edit: After starting to properly do the research for this, I don’t think I can pull off going to the Stampede this year. It’s about a $3000 trip and as much as I want to go, it’s not worth $3000 to me, for that amount of money I would rather go to Europe, or home more than I want to go to a rodeo (a really big, really cool rodeo) at this point in my life. So I think I would either need a decent sized group to split accommodation costs with (that’s where the big expense is, the actual Stampede isn’t that expensive) or a friend in Calgary who is willing and able to host me, or a job in Calgary (but Alberta isn’t high on my list of places I want to live or work in healthcare in) so, this may be a future me trip someday!
Other tentative plans
And now it’s back to brainstorming because now I need something else as a summer vacation-type trip. I am going to try and get tickets to Harry Styles either in Toronto or New York (it costs approximately the same for me to get to either city, and both are expensive cities to visit), depending on ticket availability. I don’t really care which, but there’s 2 dates in Toronto and 10 in NYC, so it is a bit of a numbers game. The appeal of Toronto is that all my close friends are there and the appeal of New York, is, well, New York. Which would put me in Toronto in mid-August or New York in early September. I am slightly leaning towards Toronto as one of my friends and I had talked about New York in October.
Winnipeg and Minneapolis are set in stone, I’ve already booked my hotels and I have concert tickets for Minneapolis, excuse the yelling, BUT HOW EXCITING IS THIS! We have all had the same long two years, and believe you me I know the pandemic is far from over, but this really does feel like my life is finally restarting.
There is something happening that I’m not talking about yet that could potentially impact any planning beyond June, but I’m also going to tentatively plan so that if it doesn’t happen I still have stuff to look forward to.