Meet Sara Stasiuk, CEO of The Forks North Portage. Sara is a bold and authentic community leader who strives to create an interesting and welcoming destination for all who visit The Forks—and she is a passionate advocate for getting out to explore all that Winnipeg has to offer.

“Sure, we have plenty for you to explore at The Forks site alone, but check out a band at a local venue and dance all night in your winter boots, enjoy some stand-out meals at our awesome restaurants, catch a play at one of the many theatres in the Exchange District or visit a few of the outstanding galleries around the city…and take the river trail home!”

We asked Sara a few questions about winter and her upcoming session. Here’s what she had to say:

What do you love most about living in a winter city?

The thing I love the most is witnessing the transformation every year with the change of season. The physical landscape changes and we gain access to a whole new perspective and way of moving about the city from the rivers. Our collective attitude shifts too—our hardiness becomes palpable. And we all benefit from the richness of the creativity that flourishes here in the winter months. It’s like people from all different industries and crafts say “challenge accepted” to the cold, dark days and the ideas start coming to life, bringing people together in such beautifully unlikely circumstances.

Plus, I love that I can commute to work on skates or skis on the frozen river—how Canadian is that?

Who should attend your session? What should they look forward to hearing about?

If you work in any aspect of community or business development or tourism, there will be takeaways for you in this session. I’ll be talking about how our unique governance structure and business model has propelled the emergence of a beloved wintertime community space and tourism amenity at The Forks, the social and economic returns for our community, environmental stewardship, reconciliation. And, at the end of the day, I’m an accountant, so there will be graphs, and references to income statements too.

Finally, do you have any favourite memories of Manitoba in the winter?

There are so many outstanding winter experiences to be had in this province, but I’m partial to an exceptionally memorable night at The Forks in January 2020, standing in a crowd of a few thousand hardy Winnipeggers watching local indie band Royal Canoe perform an outdoor set, played on a stunningly sculpted ice stage, using instruments painstakingly modelled, carved and tuned using ice harvested directly from the Red River—I literally had shivers, and not from the cold. 

On February 15th, at 9:10 AM, Sara will help us kick things off with her presentation about The Art and Business of Winter, where she will share the story of how a beloved wintertime community and tourism amenity has emerged where art, isolation, The Forks’ governance structure, sustainability efforts and the Red and Assiniboine rivers converge. It’s a story of agility, friction, and discomfort, and sees mini donuts and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand. Most of all, this story leads to remarkable returns for our community—both social and economic.

If you’re interested in what Sara has to say, Register Now!

Find Sara on:
Twitter: @TheForks
Instagram: @TheForksWinnipeg