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Places to spend time outside while social distancing

With the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), many of Winnipeg's local businesses are closed to the public until further notice. But practising social distancing doesn't mean having to stay inside all day. Here are some spots to take a walk, get some fresh air, and get centered.

Assiniboine Forest

The peaceful and secluded Assiniboine Forest spans 700 acres and contains 3 km of nature trails. Shady wood chip paths connect to the Harte Trail portion of the Trans-Canada Trail in the forest’s southwestern corner. See if you can spot one of the 39 species of mammals and 80 species of birds that live in the forest while on your morning jog.

Assiniboine Park

While all attractions and events within the park are closed for the time being, the gates to this colossal urban park remain open. Walk, run or bike on the many paths and trails of this 153-hectare park along the Assiniboine River.

The Forks Trails

While the weather stays chilly, on-land skating trails around The Forks and the rink under the canopy remain open. There are also plenty of routes to take a stroll at this landmark site where the Assiniboine River and Red River meet. Stroll along the riverwalk, the Assiniboine River Historic Railbridge, or up to the Esplanade Riel for a view of the city skyline. Note that the Forks Market is closed until further notice.

Harte Trail

Part of the longest recreational trail in the world, the Trans-Canada trail, this trail stretches for 6.5 km. The heavily treed path with a crushed limestone base is perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. The secluded trail is constructed along an old railway line, the first section of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built in western Canada in 1894.

Kildonan Park

Park amenities are closed, but the gates are open at this beautiful park in the North end of the city. The 29-hectare park has plenty of trails for walking and biking, including a 1.9 km path that runs the perimeter of the park. There is also a duck pond, soccer field, and picnic area.

St. Vital Park

This lush South end park is known for its large duck pond that becomes a skating rink in the winter months. Park amenities are closed, but take a stroll beneath the trees in this 100-acre green space nestled into a bend of the Red River.

Fort Whyte Alive

An oasis of nature inside city limits, Fort Whyte is home to lakes, gardens, marshes, bison prairie and all the creatures who live within. While the on-site interpretive centre is closed and activities suspended, visitors are welcome to come wander the trails for free. 7 km of woodchip and limestone trails wind through the forest, connecting at various points to South Winnipeg neighbourhoods.

Oak Hammock Marsh

A 30-minute jaunt north of downtown, Oak Hammock Marsh lets kids get up close to marsh wildlife. The on-site interpretive centre is closed and events cancelled, but nature trails are accessible. More than 30 km of trails criss-cross the marsh land, varying from wooden boardwalks to gravel gravel paths and grass trails. Note that trails will not be groomed while the interpretive centre is closed.