Chilly Winnipeg gives ET Canada red-carpet reporter the warm fuzzies

ET Canada’s Erin Cebula, in Winnipeg for her first time to cover the Juno Awards, toured Winnipeg with Morning News co-host Derek Taylor on Friday. She blogged about the experience for Global Winnipeg.

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When a West Coaster thinks of Winnipeg, there’s really only one word that comes to mind. Cold. And when I arrived Thursday, good ol’ “Winterpeg” didn’t disappoint. It was -20, but within minutes this nostril-freezing city actually made feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside. You see, Winnipeggers are genuinely nice. Even their news people are nice, and anyone who’s worked in a newsroom knows that isn’t the norm. Kidding. Kind of …

My first day in the River City began with a visit to Global Winnipeg to chat about our ET Canada Junos coverage with lovely hosts Eva Kovacs and Derek Taylor. We had a great time, but I think my lack of Winnipeg knowledge held me back. So I turned to Derek (who lived for a spell in Kamloops, B.C.) to educate me on all things Winnipeg. He promised me good times, and perogies. I was sold.

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First stop: A local 7-Eleven. Turns out, Winnipeg is the Slurpee capital of the universe and you can literally buy the stuff by the litre. Derek treated me to a sickeningly sweet (and incredibly cumbersome) orange and soda concoction that I carted around for the rest of our initiation. Saves me a trip to the gym I guess.

Then I was forced to swear my allegiance to a hockey team I know absolutely nada about. It was silly, but I got a cute Jets toque out of the deal. Score.

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Derek and I then made our way to the Manitoba Legislature, where we admired the architecture and tested out the building’s killer acoustics with some a cappella Young MC. I wish I knew more news guys as skilled as Derek at ’90s rap.

Up next was a visit to the still-under-construction Canadian Museum for Human Rights. What an impressive example of modern design! I honestly can’t wait to take a tour when it finally opens its doors next September.

It was around this time that the tour’s focus shifted drastically to food. So, we hit up the very charming Forks Market for some fudge and then … we discovered my new happy place. It’s called the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral on Main Street.

Now I’m not a religious person, but there’s something seriously spiritual about 200 folks chowing down on all-you-can eat baba-made perogies. Smiles were as plentiful as the grilled onions, and I think I finally figured out Winnipeg. The colder the town, the warmer the hearts.

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Watch some highlights from Erin Cebula’s Winnipeg tour on the Morning News, 6-9 a.m. Monday on Global, and watch her coverage of the Juno Awards Monday at 7:30 et/pt on Global (11 p.m. on Global Winnipeg).