Spirit Way is a two kilometre walking and biking pathway with points of interest that highlight Thompson’s art, heritage, culture, industry, geology, scenery and industry. These sites are tied in amazing ways to Thompson people and the natural environment. During your stay, please enjoy our small city in the heart of the wilderness. Learn about its short past. Admire the vistas and views. Soak in our fresh air, blue sky, northern lights, pristine lakes and rivers, and most importantly, our great Northern hospitality! You are in a special place at the right time.
ACCOLADES. Spirit Way has received several awards recently for partnership, product development, architecture, and environmental awareness and Aboriginal participation. We expect others! Spirit Way is now listed as one of the “Top 20 Places to Visit in Manitoba” – www.travelmanitoba.com
Welcome and Ekosi.
- Spirit Way has 16 points of interest and one more in the planning stages.
- The 2 km Spirit Way partially overlaps the 15 km Millennium Trail that circles the outskirts of the city.
- It takes at least two hours to walk Spirit Way and see the sites from the Museum to the
Burntwood River. Go for it!
- The GPS Wolf Hunt covers 49 Spirit Way wolf statues in Winnipeg, Thompson, & Churchill. Get a Passport booklet, track them all down, and become a MASTER GPS Wolf Tracker!
- Thompson as Wolf Capital of Canada is the gateway to Churchill, Polar Bear and Beluga Whale Capital of the World. If you visit us, considering heading further north to see the whales and polar bears next at the right time of the year!
The Story Continues…
The Thompson Chamber of Commerce started it with a simple goal to create some bragging rights in Thompson. A Thompson Spirit Committee was established in 2001. Some small murals were painted. Ideas mushroomed. A Spirit Way Master Plan was developed by Design North to showcase distinctive assets of Thompson.
In May 2004, four people – Volker Beckmann, Tamy Burton, Alain Huberdeau, and Dave Moore formed a non-profit volunteer Board of Directors to implement the Master Plan. Key partners were sought, community support was solicited, unbelievable fund raising occurred, and a bold new vision began to take reality.
Along the way key turning points happened. Milestones were reached. Resistance was overcome. Eventually accolades and awards were received. And the Wow! and Cool! quotient shot off the scale. Community support has been overwhelming as the public took ownership.
Spirit Way is not complete. Sixteen Points of Interest in the Master Plan have been fully or partially completed. One more is still in the works.
Thompson is finally being recognized for more than a “tough northern mining town”. It’s a dynamic wilderness city that is prosperous and growing. Spirit Way’s distinctive features have visitors coming to see and photograph and journalists coming to write about. Many positive articles have already been written, and a half hour TV program on Spirit Way and the wolves was aired on CTV.
Spirit Way’s stunning wolf mural, beautiful wolf statues, and the amazing start of a wolf rockface sculpture are being used as a theme to attract tourists. Live wolves at the zoo and wild ones that roam in the area heighten the wilderness aspect of a small city in Northern Manitoba.
The Norseman float plane generates awe in its picture perfect setting. The scenic views and vistas along Spirit Way reflect the urban/wilderness image that is so Thompson.
The Heritage North Museum is the must-see anchor at the southern end of the pathway. Another significant anchor, a Centre of Aboriginal Art, is being planning for the northern end. Enjoy Spirit Way, Thompson, and the North during your stay.
The volunteer Board met weekly for over 3 years to plan, develop, and fund raise. Over $1.25 million was raised from all sources! The focus has now shifted to promotion and marketing.
During the development of the walkway, something unforeseen happened! A gigantic wolf mural was painted that opened the flood gates to to wolf admirers that we did not expect. Media wrote articles about the mural. Visitors took photographs, and many expressed their love of wolves. We began to realize there was a world wide infatuation. As human/wolf conflicts are rare in this wilderness part of Canada, we began to learn and appreciate wolves for their ecological and economic benefit. The idea of becoming a Wolf Capital in research, science, conservation, education, tourism and events has unfolded. Thompson has all the raw resources – amazing wolf art, captive wolves, unknown numbers of wild wolves, Aboriginal traditional knowledge, and a link to Churchill to the Polar Bear and Beluga Whale Capital – to attract researchers and tourists. We now continue to grow a “wolf economy” in a controlled and respectful manner.