If you have been a follower of mine for awhile, you’ll know that I travel with my dog often.
My dog, Ziggy, a standard American Eskimo dog, is my everything. He’s my best friend, my soulmate, and my favourite travel buddy. Travelling with your dog is a really special experience. It allows you to really see your destination and explore areas that you maybe wouldn’t have. It also gets you out and about more often, since you need to take your dog for a walk and although some Ubers and cabs allow dogs, it’s easier to just walk them to and fro.
Ziggy and I have travelled to New York City and Montreal numerous times, and he’s also accompanied me to Quebec City, Toronto, Mont Tremblant, the Eastern Townships, and Ottawa. I feel like, in general, a lot of places are getting more dog friendly and embracing pet tourism more. Lots of hotels allow dogs now and it’s getting easier to travel with your pets to these destinations.
Now as a Winnipegger, travelling to all these places, which are extremely dog friendly, always made me have a longing for dog-friendly places here at home. I do have to say though that in the last few years lots of local businesses have been embracing our furry besties and allowing them to come inside (or outside) and enjoy their time with their owners.
This past weekend I actually got to do a little staycation with Ziggy in Winnipeg’s Exchange District and visit places in the surrounding areas that allow dogs.
Where to stay
Winnipeg has a ton of pet-friendly hotels but the one we stayed at is the Mere Hotel, located at 333 Waterfront Drive in the city’s Exchange District. The Mere is the perfect location for partaking in various dog-friendly activities, such as green spaces, tourism destinations, and food and beverage.
The Mere Hotel is a boutique hotel home to guest rooms, a fitness centre, and conference rooms. The two-storey hotel offers complimentary WiFi, a walk-in rain shower, Nespresso premium coffee machines, plush bathrobes, and more. We stayed in a king-size bed room (there are also double queen options available), and since I had Zig with me, I got a room on the main floor with a river view.
The hotel itself is incredibly beautiful and modern and is a beautiful addition to the neighbourhood thanks to its aesthetic look of vertical coloured pipes that is a combination of both style and personality.
After we checked in at the Mere, we wanted to go out and explore the area. We walked through Stephen Juba Park, which is directly beside the hotel and leads into The Forks. Since we were hungry, we crossed over the Esplanade Riel Footbridge into St. Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quartier and the largest Franco-Canadian community west of Quebec. We walked for about 40 minutes to Dug & Betty’s Ice Creamery & Cafe, which has a pet-friendly patio and pet-friendly treats for dogs.
Dug & Betty’s (309 Des Meurons Street) was actually named after the founder, Fern Kirouac’s two dogs, includes delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, hot dogs, and more, but the real treat is the ice-cream selection. Go to the walk-up window and take a look at their small-batch ice-cream, as well as delicious sundaes, milkshakes, soft serve, and other treats. Make sure to get your dog a pup cone, which comes in a mini cone with vanilla ice-cream and a dog treat on top.
After Dug & Betty’s we walked back to The Forks to hop on the Splash Dash River Boat Tour. The Splash Dash Tour at The Forks has been a mainstay in the area since 1992 and gives visitors scenic and historically-informative 30-minute tours on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Best part is that dogs an also join you on the boat for the tour, which shows you many Winnipeg landmarks all on the city’s famous waterways. Admission is only $12.50 for adults (dogs ride free), with seniors and youth $10.50.
Once the boat tour was over we walked back to the Mere Hotel to rest up a bit before the evening, which was much needed since we had done a ton of walking in the day. I instantly changed into my pjs and just chilled on the bed with Ziggy and watched tv in the room. It was really nice to be able to do some fun downtown activities and then have somewhere to rest before our evening started.
Around 5:30 pm Ziggy and I went to Patent 5 Distillery and Tasting Room, which is steps away from the hotel at 108 Alexander Avenue. Patent 5 distills small-batch premium spirits, which are also used in delicious cocktails in their tasting room. During the summer they have a pet-friendly patio which you can enjoy with your dog.
After cocktails, I dropped Ziggy back in the room and then went to Cibo Waterfront Cafe with some friends, which is located right behind the Mere Hotel in a repurposed pump house on the Red River. The Mediterranean-inspired cafe has a delicious menu of pizzas, sandwiches and burgers (their fries are delicious), salads, pastas, and more. Complete your meal with a cocktail or some wine for a delicious experience.
Once we were done at Cibo, I went back to the room to grab Ziggy and walk to ManyFest, which is an annual festival that takes place every year in September and is downtown Winnipeg’s biggest street festival. The festival is filled with food trucks, carnival rides, an artisan market, live music, and much more. Located at Memorial Blvd and Broadway, near the Legislative Building, it was about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
This year, ManyFest featured a Pup Patio, which was an off-leash area for dogs, so my friends and I got to take in some rides, walk around, and Ziggy got to play and make some new friends as well.
It was a pretty long day, so after about two hours at ManyFest we walked back to the hotel and went to bed (Ziggy was beyond tired and happy to pass out on the king-size bed).
The next morning we woke up around 8:30 a.m. and went for a nice walk in Stephen Juba Park to Harrisons Coffee Co., which is a local chain with a few locations around the city. The specialty coffee shop is named after the owners’ late dog and allows dogs in all their locations. I grabbed a pumpkin latte and then we walked back to the hotel making a pit stop first on the docks on the river to take in the beautiful morning.
Once we got back we packed up our bags and then checked out and headed home.
It was such a nice little staycation for Ziggy and I and truthfully I never realized how many fun things there were to do with your dog in the area. I would say that if you are staying with your dog in Winnipeg, I would recommend the Mere Hotel since it’s located in the Exchange District and a stone’s throw from The Forks and St. Boniface, which are all filled with pet-friendly activities.
Makes sure to check out the Mere Hotel online to book your stay and let me know what your favourite pet-friendly activity is in Winnipeg!
Special thanks to Travel Manitoba and the Mere Hotel for this fun staycation. All opinions are my own.
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