Save Our Seine offers free guided tours in French and English to interested community groups and students. Please use our contact form if you are interested in a tour.
The picturesque urban Seine River meanders along its 26-kilometre length, passing through St. Vital, Norwood, and St. Boniface and emptying into the Red River near Whittier Park. The upper trail has a gravel surface and is accessible by wheelchair.
The 117-acre Bois-des-Esprits forest includes the largest oak forest in Winnipeg. Majestic cottonwood trees, maple, aspen, elm and basswood are also observed in the forest. The forest is a haven for birdwatchers as numerous species have been observed, including the pileated woodpecker and great horned owl. The Seine River has four oxbows that provide a home for a variety of birds, plants, insects, and deer. It is a magnificent setting that provides a wellness experience for all participants.
There are two main entrances to the Bois-des-Esprits (BDE) to experience an interesting guided tour, where you will learn about numerous aspects of this beautiful forest located in an urban area of St. Vital. Each tour is approximately 90 minutes to return to the starting location.
Due to provincial health regulations, a maximum number of five participants will be accepted until larger groups are permitted.
Guided Tour 1: Entrance to BDE from John Bruce Road off St. Anne’s Rd.
Parking is available on John Bruce Road on the east and west sides of the pedestrian bridge which crosses the Seine. The tour begins in an important historical area of St. Vital, adjacent to Louis-Riel Senior Trail, the location where Louis Riel lived with his family. Walking south, we enter the magnificent Bois-des-Esprits. Signage provides us with directions continuing south towards a famous wood carving: Woody. Here you will learn about Woody’s origins and how BDE got its name.
We will walk the upper trail to reach the southern end of BDE at the Royalwood bridge on Shorehill Drive. After arriving there, participants have the option to return to the start location by the same upper trail or use the lower trail that meanders close to the river. We encourage citizens to use the upper trail as much as possible to avoid disturbing the fragile ecosystem near the river.
Guided Tour 2: Entrance to BDE from the Shorehill Drive, adjacent to Royalwood bridge
Parking is available in the No Frills parking lot at St. Anne’s Rd. and Southglen Blvd. The tour of the forest begins from the south off Shorehill Drive adjacent to Royalwood bridge and walking north.
We usually take the upper trail where we experience a diversity of trees, plants, birds, and also secret tree carvings that surprise us along the path. The carvings were created by Murray Watson, a local wood carver, to honor the name of the forest. There are about 15 carvings, so you have to look for them as you walk along the trail.
Self-Guided Tour: In Search of The Wood Spirits
Searching for the many wood carvings peppering Bois-des-Esprits can make for a fun self-guided adventure. But they can be difficult to find unless you know where to look! The map below shows the locations of all known wood spirits living in the forest. See how many you can find!
Tours are sometimes organized as special events and fundraising events and are advertised to the public on our website, social media channels and electronic newsletter. These tours can be on foot or by bike and include any or all parts of the Seine River Greenway, from the Red River to the floodway. Topics include fauna and flora, history, literature, hydraulics and hydrology of the river, birding, Save Our Seine project sites, and more. We occasionally collaborate with other organizations, such as Jane’s Walk, Maison Gabrielle-Roy and Bike Winnipeg, for some of our public tours.