Located smack in the middle of this sweeping country, Winnipeg is often overlooked as a travel destination. Known primarily for its intense and long winters, there is little talk of the sorts of warm-weather activities and attractions that the city offers when the mercury rises. So much more than flatlands and blowing snow, Winnipeg is home to a host of museums, an expansive river valley that snakes throughout the city, historical architecture, and an arts scene that's birthed some of Canada's most beloved acts and creators.
*Writer's note: I traveled to Winnipeg last Summer and completely fell in love with the city. Great food, kind people, and so much stuff to do and see. I also award bonus points for the cuteness of the red pandas at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
On top of all of that, Winnipeg is filled with great independent businesses along with a diverse and impressive food scene. At the centre point of the Venn diagram of business acumen and tasty treats lies Jenna Rae Cakes. Known for their stunning sugary concoctions, the twin sister duo of Jenna Rae and Ashley Nicole has amassed a social media following in the hundreds of thousands (175,000 on Instagram alone) thanks to their impeccably styled photos, awe-inspiring cake creations, and warm and inviting personalities. As the well-coifed ambassadors of the younger, more hip Winnipeg, we reached out to the sisters about the best-of-the-best places to eat, shop, and visit in their hometown.
About Our Travel Guides:Brittany Mahood Photography
Jenna Rae - Wearing the Niagara Cross Mule in Black
Jenna is a self-taught baker and cake designer who found a passion for creating custom cakes in 2010. Her classic, feminine approach to cake design, partnered with her eye for detail and on-trend aesthetic, has led Jenna to the forefront of the wedding industry–setting the trends with flawless execution of intricate designs. She founded the Jenna Rae Cakes in March of 2014, setting the course for the success of the business.
Ashley Nicole - Wearing the Niagara Cross Mule in Red
Ashley Nicole is a graphic designer and photo stylist who has been working in the wedding industry since 2010. Her start in the wedding industry as Creative Director for a local wedding magazine made her the perfect designer for the Jenna Rae Cakes brand from its humble beginnings. Her expertise in photo styling and curating the company’s brand and social media presence has played a major role in the worldwide success of the business.
Ashley: My favourite place to eat in Winnipeg is Sukothai. I love Thai food and they have some of the best I’ve ever had! Kang Karee, Level 10, is my go to. If I feel like Italian, Pizzeria Gusto is one of my favourites. Maque is an amazing date night place, with smaller plates and a good atmosphere.
@pizzeriagustoJenna: Ashley stole all of my answers! Haha! I also love Sukhothai and Pizzeria Gusto (their patio is amazing in the summer!). My fiancé and I go to Maque the most often, and absolutely love it there!
Margot + Maude
Ashley: Margot + Maude (conveniently located in the same strip mall as our bakery!) always has a great collection of clothing and accessories. Grace + Co. is close to our shop as well, and they have a beautiful collection of homeware. I especially love their marble and natural stone collections.
@margotandmaudeJenna: Margot + Maude is amazing! We both shop there a lot! They have such a unique selection and a lot of their designers are Canadian, which I love.
Jenna Rae Cakes at The Forks (opened June 1, 2018)
Ashley: My husband, son and I love The Forks! We just opened our second store there and we’re located on the second floor. It’s an amazing market on the river that houses incredible local companies, delicious restaurants and “The Common” which is an open food market hall with a bar. We love taking long walks along the river trail in the summer.
@jennaraecakesJenna: Agreed, The Forks is the perfect place if you’re looking for something to do in Winnipeg! It’s right on the river, so you can walk along it in the summer, and skate on it in the winter. The Common has an amazing beer and wine selection, and there are a lot of great food vendors as well (including JennaRae Cakes ;) ). My other favorite place in Winnipeg is Thermea. It is an outdoor Nordik spa and is a great place to relax in the summer and winter.