Published Oct 10, 2018Winnipeg-based indie rockers Royal Canoe, formed from the ashes of other prairie stalwarts, have been active since 2010. They were nominated for a Juno in 2014, and recently hid a copy of their new album, Waver, in a buried boombox as part of a local treasure hunt. The album comes out January 25, 2019 on Paper Bag, but in the meantime, frontman Matt Peters shared some other favourite Winnipeg hot spots. Location photos by Greg Gallinger.
Parlour Coffee (468 Main St.)
In the beginning there was a darkness hanging over the coffee-drinkers of Winnipeg — or more accurately, a double-double infused beigeness. Seven years ago, a tiny coffee shop called Parlour threw open its doors on Main St and the coffee drinkers had cortados and they lived happily ever after. Parlour and owner Nils Vik have been at the front end of a wave of a changing mentality here in the city. Maybe we can have nice things too?
Good Will Social Club (625 Portage Ave.)
Our studio space has been located on the second floor of 625 Portage for 12 years. Good Will moved into the space a few years back and I've probably spent $5,000 on coffees, beers and tacos since. I arrive in the morning, get a coffee, go up and work, come down to grab lunch, go work some more, drink a beer on the patio, head up more because I think I have a good idea that is actually shit, then back down to watch a show.
Clementine (123 Princess St.)
I could eat breakfast for every meal. I also happen to live in the same block as the best breakfast/brunch spot on Earth. I guess life ain't so bad. Whenever I travel and go out for breakfast, I'm usually just disappointed that I'm not at Clementine.
Khanh Hoa (834 Notre Dame Ave.)
When you order by phone (orders take 20 minutes, so call first) don't expect small talk, just silence until you tell them what you want, followed by "Spicy?" After your response, the line will go dead. How long will it take? Did they get my order? It's always about 20 minutes, and of course they got your order. The proprietors are the sweetest elderly couple you could imagine and they make perfect gourmet Bahn Mis that cost about $7.
Hackers and Smackers (921 Elmhurst Rd.)
I enjoy golf. I know, it's weird. I get all of the arguments against it, but I can't help myself. Sometimes I like to drive to the southwest corner of the city and hit balls for an hour. Hackers and Smackers is a family-run driving range where idiots like me can swing a metal stick at a little ball and watch it fly this way and that.
Yellow Dog Tavern (386 Donald St.)
This is my neighbourhood watering hole. They have a great selection of local beers, and an unpretentious, inclusive vibe. Greg, the bartender, and the rest of staff put up with my hollering when I post up at the bar during Jets games.
BONUS: The Hunt (www.royalcanoe.com/hunt)
A few months ago, Royal Canoe organized a scavenger hunt that led participants around the city to solve a series of puzzles. The first team who completed the hunt dug up a boom box with the only copy of our upcoming album. We're going to keep the Hunt website online for the foreseeable future so people can continue to take part. I might be biased, but I think it's a pretty fun way to see downtown Winnipeg.