Story by Jody Robbins
Vacay.ca Family Columnist
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — We’ve seen him eat whale blubber in Iqaluit and line dance in Calgary, but what does Amazing Race Canada winner Tim Hague Sr. get up to in his hometown of Winnipeg? Hague, who teamed with his son, Tim Hague Jr., to win the inaugural season of the show’s Canadian edition in 2013, has become an ambassador for his city. He shares his local favourites and how he’d like to see contestants challenged in the Manitoba capital on the show’s next season.
Vacay.ca: When you bring visitors to town, where do you usually take them?
Tim Hague Sr.: For sure The Forks. We’ll often end up at Assiniboine Park at the Zoo, and the Exchange. Those are our major sites. The Exchange District has done such a good job with the new Red River College culinary campus downtown and the whole environment is really positive. Assiniboine Park is a really lovely outdoor attraction. The Forks is all of those things — and now with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opening soon — it’s just stunning.
Vacay.ca: What is your favourite local restaurant? What do you normally order there?
Hague: We have always loved Niko’s restaurant on Corydon Avenue. I always order the traditional gyro with lamb and a massive mound of fries. I’m not into Greek salad — my wife is — but I always go for the house salad. That’s one of our favourite places we tend to take people.
Vacay.ca: What’s your favourite place to shop? What do you buy there?
Hague: One of my favourite places to shop is Alter Ego Sports — it’s a bike store. I just bought a brand new Trek Cyclocross. I didn’t bike last winter, but plan to this winter — it’s my favourite way of getting to work.
Vacay.ca: What’s your favourite Winnipeg neighbourhood and why?
Hague: Fort Garry. It’s a nice, older community with lots of big trees. My wife and I went for a walk there last night through Crescent Park. It’s quiet, peaceful and friendly. I guess it helps when half of Manitoba knows who you are — I got stopped half of the time, which is a very different experience. It’s very fun.
Vacay.ca: Where do you like to go unwind and relax in Winnipeg?
Hague: One of my favourite things to do, and we don’t get to do often, is theatre. I love going to the movies and the theatre. I haven’t done a lot of running because of Parkinson’s, but I’m trying to get back into running, as I love running and cycling in our beautiful parks. [Editor’s Note: Hague Sr. has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and has become an inspirational figure for those coping with the condition.]
MORE VACAY.CA STORIES ABOUT WINNIPEG
Vacay.ca: If Amazing Race Canada comes to Winnipeg next year, what would you like to see featured on the show?
Hague Sr: Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet — I see tutus and tights. Absolutely. We are world-renowned. What a cool challenge that would be to see them learn a ballet sequence. If the contestants weren’t that brave, they could go up to Gimli for a Vikings sequence.
Vacay.ca: What’s your favourite thing about Winnipeg?
Hague: The people. Hands down. We’ve got the nicest people out of all the places I’ve visited or lived. People are so outgoing, friendly, helpful and positive. We may not be super flashy and splashy in lots of ways, but we’re a very, very nice town. And there’s a lot to be said for that.
Vacay.ca: Where would you recommend visitors stay in Winnipeg?
Hague: After doing the Amazing Race, I have to say The Fairmont experience is phenomenal. The Fairmont Winnipeg is one of the buildings you have to wonder why they built the exterior the way that they did. Also, The Fort Garry is one of my favourite hotels. My wife and I had our honeymoon there and it remains a beautiful historic building with great service.
Vacay.ca: What time of year should tourists visit Winnipeg?
Hague: For the non-hardy, come in the summer. Winnipeg is the winter capital of Canada and we’ve got it all if you enjoy outdoor winter sports. We battle with Ottawa for our skating rink and The Forks is beautiful in the winter with funky, artsy shelters for folks to warm up in. Just don’t ever say Winter-peg.
Vacay.ca: Oh! Does that annoys the locals?
Hague: No, that annoys Tim. It’s Winner-peg!
Vacay.ca: Besides Winnipeg, are there other Manitoba attractions you recommend visitors get to?
Hague: You can’t not see Churchill for the history of the Hudson Bay company and to see polar bears in winter, belugas in summer.
Vacay.ca: Where do you like to visit in Canada?
Vacay.ca: What was your favourite destination on Amazing Race Canada?
Hague: The Yukon was astoundingly beautiful. We were on a frozen lake and drove into the smallest desert in the world. I had no idea we had a desert in Canada! The sand was so beautiful, you wouldn’t believe it. Quebec City was also stunning — all the history that’s played out there. They’ve done a magnificent job of maintaining the heritage of the place. I’m definitely taking my wife there. As Canadians we tend to go everywhere else, but we need to make travelling in Canada a priority.
Vacay.ca: What do visitors need to know before coming to Winnipeg?
Hague: People should know Manitoba is more than its reputation. We’re a fabulous little big city. There’s lots to be found in the way of culture, we’re just not big. We have the most sunlight of any Canadian cities, and we have beautiful summers. There’s just so much hiking, camping, lakes and outdoors to explore.
For more about Winnipeg, visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com.