One of Manitoba’s true destination gems is Morden and its sister city of Winkler. Snuggled in the Pembina Valley in south central Manitoba and loaded with things to see and do, Morden-Winkler is the perfect weekend outing from Winnipeg.
We booked ourselves into the stunning Bella’s Castle Bed and Breakfast, an iconic stone mansion in Morden that has become the area’s go-to destination for lavish getaways, idyllic weddings, and great food and drinks.
Even better, we stayed in the third floor suite, which meant the whole top of the castle was ours. The expansive space has multiple beds – including one in the turret! – a sitting area with cool vintage pieces and a clawfoot bathtub to luxuriate in. For many that plan their wedding here, this is the bridal suite. For us, it was a luxury apartment to pretend we were king and queen of Morden for a couple of days!
Looking to book at Bella's Castle? Check here for great rates!
The drive from Winnipeg is about 90 minutes, whisking you through some classic Manitoban prairie scenery and some lovely character towns like Carmen.
As always, we have to give a shout-out to our favourite car share company, Peg City Car Co-op. We don't own a car so we use Peg City cars to get around, including for weekend getaways like this one!
Morden’s charming heart is Stephen Street, a vintage small-town main street with up-and-coming boutique shops, hip restaurants, cafes and galleries.
We strolled the character street several times during our weekend in Morden, dropping into Pure Anada for some locally-made beauty products, the Pembina Hills Arts Centre to see some local art, cappuccinos at Coffee Culture, and pizza and microbrew beers at Rendezvous Brewery and Taproom.
Rendezvous was truly fantastic, especially if you’re a fan of microbrews. Though we lean more towards wine and cocktails, that didn’t stop us from diving right into a flight of lovingly crafted brews made in-house by brewmaster Mark Von Riesen. Brilliant!
One of Morden’s biggest attractions – literally! – is Bruce, the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s most famous resident. You can’t go to Morden and not pop in to say hello to the 13 meter long mosasaur on display at the museum. Of course, there is so much more to see in the cool fossil museum that sits in the lower level of the event centre. But Bruce – who used to terrorize the area 80 million years ago – is worth the price of admission.
Ziplining over Pembina Valley
If you’ve ever been to Pembina Valley in autumn when the colours are breathtakingly vivid, you’ll know why we couldn’t wait to get to Hyline Zipwire, 30 minutes west of Morden. After all, what could be better than ziplining above the crisp reds and yellows of Pembina Valley’s fall colours. Unfortunately, due to high wind, the 8-cable tour was unavailable during our visit so we weren't able to zipline off the tower.
No matter, 5 cables was plenty. And honestly, we couldn’t have picked a better day to zoom above the trees!
Not to be outdone, Winkler gave us some great outings as well. For food we went Mexican-Mennonite at the very popular Del Rios – the place was humming with barely a table available – and had a scrumptious late-night Smokey and the Bandit burger and poutine at Charley-B’s with its awesome vibe that blends vintage and modern. For example, they focus on local farms to supply the ingredients for their recipes. Locals helping locals!
Of course we couldn’t miss seeing the 500-pound Monarch butterfly that floats above the butterfly garden outside the Winkler Arts and Culture Centre. Nor could we miss going into the renovated old water treatment plant to enjoy local art.
But the most surprising and awesome Winkler highlight was the stunning Bethel Heritage Park and its glorious European fountain. It felt like being back in Madrid or Lisbon! We spent more time lounging in the park than we first planned, exploring it corner to corner. Can’t wait to get back!
We ended our weekend outing by taking a little stroll on the boardwalk of Lake Minnewasta, just outside Morden. The sun. The breeze. The rustling leaves. The colours. The perfect ending to a perfect weekend.
Watch our visit to Morden-Winkler
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