This past weekend was ‘Doors Open Winnipeg’. For those not familiar with the concept, it was an opportunity to take short (sometimes guided) tours of some of the most interesting buildings around Winnipeg.

My brother and I head over to a downtown Tim’s (oddly enough not on the tour) and then tried out a couple. We first headed over to the MB Hydro building on Portage Avenue. Unfortunately, there was a limit of 25 people per tour and it booked up fast (note to self for next year – CALL AHEAD). The other place I wanted to check out was the MTS Centre. I wanted to see the parts that you typically don’t see at a regular Moose game.

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Tepid coffees in hand, we walk over to the MTS Centre. The entire lobby was empty with the exception of the few people waiting for a bus in the warmth of the lobby (or rather just wanting to be shielded from the crazy winds). There was one other man. He looked like he knew what was going on (which is exactly what my brother said to him). This got us off on the right foot I suppose as he radioed up to the person giving the tour who came down the elevator to get us. This was going to be great.

[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:4662990585[/flickr]Our guide turned the key in the elevator and next thing we knew, we were on the press box level. I enjoy watching the Moose play from my regular seats in the Labatt Lounge however there’s something incredible about watching and seeing everything from so high up. If you’re afraid of heights, stay on the main level. We went through some of the press boxes and then down the hall to a hi-fi heaven! There were sound and lighting boards (automation rules!), computers to control the massive ring of graphics around the outside of the rink and so much more. I was so tempted to touch!

Down the hall and around the corner came a few stairs (oddly no elevator when there are 20 people involved). Next on the tour is the 300 level. Not much of a ‘behind the scenes’ thing but for anyone who usually watches games/concerts from this level, there are some changes coming. First, the beer carts are being pushed back 6ft or so to give more walking space. Secondly, a Timmy’s. I’m not sure if Timmy’s was there last season but it wasn’t the last time I was up there.

[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px; float:left; margin-right:5px;”]photo:4663611718[/flickr]We head down to the next level and check out some of the suites (namely the RBC private suite). This one goes for $70K per year – and that only includes your Moose tickets. You still need to buy tickets for concerts, however you can stock your own booze! The rest of the group started walking away. I never wanted to leave. I’ve watched a few games from these boxes and it’s great. Your own washrooms, server, etc. If you’ve got the money, check it out.



[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px; float:left; margin-right:5px;”]photo:4662990753[/flickr]Down another flight of stairs brings you to the main concourse level but we were going once more. Ice level. This is where the action is. Fancy lights, private rooms, Timmy’s. Those aren’t anything without the action on the ice. On this level, we saw the ‘Director’s Lounge’ (exclusive to a select few) which looked like the ultimate ‘Guy’s Room’. Trophy’s on the back shelf, big comfy couches and of course beer. The cool thing about this room was the middle of the room. If you stood on this one black circle (about 6 inches in diameter) it sounded like the entire arena was echoing back at you. If you’re ever in this room, give it a try.

[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:4662991067[/flickr]We walked out and around the corner and headed over to where the players typically would be. At this point, shoes come off. You can’t risk bringing gravel or rocks from your shoes in and damaging the players’ skates. We walked through and saw the Moose’s lounge, their breakfast room (or at least what it appeared to be). On the wall was a list of their phone numbers. I’m surprised that wasn’t moved for the tour. In the room adjoining this was where the broken become new. There was a doctor’s bed and a dentist chair. Funny thing about this was that the doctor doesn’t do the stitching. The dentist does. Good to know.

[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px;”]photo:4662990971[/flickr]

[flickr style=”border: 1px solid #BDBDBD; padding: 4px; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:4662990687[/flickr]Next was the gym and attached recovery room. Hot tub, ice tank, 20-something stationary bikes, etc. Anything a gym rat could want, was here. And trust me, judging by the smell, this place was used.

We headed back to grab our shoes and finished off in the loading dock. It’s pretty much what you would expect it to be.

I believe this will allow me to appreciate everything that goes on at the next Moose game even more. And to the staff who gave the tour (and to Doors Open Winnipeg) – THANKS! I had fun!

Image dontwalkonthecarpet Originally uploaded by AccessWinnipeg