I was born and raised in Winnipeg in the 90s— a time when the city was small but growing, quiet but starting to flourish. I catch myself all-too-often making references that anyone who wasn't raised in our 'One Great City' just won't understand—things like KUB Bakery, the now-demolished CanadInns Stadium, Darkzone.
If you, too, grew up in Winnipeg in the 90s, anywhere from Whyte Ridge to East Kildonan, chances are you experienced some of the things on this list. And I think we can all agree, it was a pretty sweet place to grow up.
You walked to Pick-A-Flick, Video World, Movie Village, or Viewer's Choice to rent VHS tapes.
Your parents took you to your first concert at either the Winnipeg Arena or the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
My mom swears her ears are still ringing from the Backstreet Boys show from '97 (but she admits Nick looks even cuter IRL.)
You froze your ass off in winter as a school safety patrol.
But you proudly and single-handedly kept the streets of Winnipeg safe (and also had a lot of fun doing those cool fancy flag twirls.)
St. Vital felt like the ACTUAL other side of the world from Maples.
Esp. from the backseat of your parents '96 Pontiac Trans Sport with your discman blasting tunes.
You went to a kid's birthday party in the McDonalds' caboose.
20 screaming kids hyped up on Fanta and french fries gifting each other Tamagotchis and Furbies sounds like the dream.
You went on field trips at Oak Hammock Marsh, FortWhyte Alive, Lower Fort Garry, and the Museum of Man and Nature.
They should make field trips for grown-ups. Preferably involving wine.
Indoor recess was a real thing.
But grounders, marbles, and wallball made up for it in the summer.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo had way more monkeys—and no Journey to Churchill exhibit or butterfly garden.
Kids nowadays are spoiled with polar bears swimming right over their heads. We made do with the crappy zoom on our clunky film camera.
Brandon felt like an entirely different continent.
We figured anything that took the equivalent of 6 episodes of Full House to get to must be really, really exotic.
You learned about your country's history through Heritage Minutes in school.
And what a stressful, action-packed minute it was.
Grocery shopping meant getting loaves of KUB cinnamon bread.
And a free cookie just for being a kid at IGA (looking back, this is totally unfair. Everyone knows an adult who could use a free cookie.)
You went on weekend trips to Grand Forks and Fargo.
Cause you just HAD to get a new Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie or Green Day tee from Hot Topic.
You went to your first Bombers game at the old stadium.
And somehow, giant pretzels and mini donuts tasted way better back then.
You legitimately thought you were leaving home and setting off for an adventure on the train at the Children's Museum.
"Smell ya later, Mom and Dad. I never liked you anyway!"
You struggled through the Terry Fox Run and Jump Rope for Heart.
And you raised a ton of money even though you sucked at both.
Curling clubs were a form of free babysitting for your parents.
You ran around wild for three hours getting free refills on popcorn and coke while they participated in possibly the most boring sport for an 8-year-old to watch.
You faced The Dragon at Fun Mountain.
But no shame if you chickened out. That thing had like a double black diamond rating and still scares me to this day.
You grew up without the Winnipeg Jets.
And had to choose another city to call your team, watching every game from your black box television set.
The best birthday parties were at Dark Zone, Ruckers, Adventure City, and Fuddruckers.
Although looking back, those play structures and ball pits were just one big germfest.
Teddy Bears' Picnic was lit.
Shawn Desman actually performed there in 2003. Never forget.
Your Halloween costumes always had to be designed to fit a parka underneath.
That's why I was a slice of pizza 12 years in a row. Thanks, mom and dad.
Chuck E Cheese's was the thrill of a lifetime.
Did our parents not see anything remotely concerning about the furry, life-size talking creatures on stage? No wonder no business can last in the same Pembina building where it once was—it's probably haunted with the screams of young children (and definitely still filled with mice.)
There was no Louis Riel Day.
The third Monday in February was just another tough day on the playground for us 90s kids. I stand by my earlier statement that kids nowadays are spoiled.
You went crazy over maple syrup on a stick at Festival Du Voyageur.
Now you go crazy over Caribou, which is slightly more dangerous. Although the syrupy stick is still unreal.
You had the time of your life at Tinkertown.
And graduating from the children's boat ride to Spin the Apple was EXHILARATING.