By Stuart Walter
So you’re coming to Thompson for the 2018 Manitoba Winter Games. Let me introduce you to Thompson. Before I start I want to let you know that I’m not writing this as a long-time resident who moved here 30 years ago. I’m a 20-something who moved out here for my first full-time job at the local radio station and dragged my wife along with me.
Thompson is about 760km north of Winnipeg straight up Highway Six. That sounds like it’ll be a long drive to get here, and it is. It is worth the drive. I know when I moved here about a year ago I was cautious and was worried that I’d come to a small town with nothing, but that isn’t the case at all. While it does have the feel of a small town, it has the amenities of a city.
Thompson, known as the hub of the north, is a city of about 13,000 that serves much more than that. As the hub of the north, people come here from outlying communities when they need to do things that they can’t necessary do at home; like shopping for groceries or see a doctor or get their teeth cleaned.
Like I mentioned earlier, Thompson has all the amenities of a city. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, there’s a Tim Horton’s, two McDonald’s, Boston Pizza, Chicken Chef, Robin’s Donut’s, KFC, Subway, and Quizno’s. That’s just listing the big name chain restaurants. There’s countless local places to grab some food, like The Hub, Tom’s or Riverview. During your down time you’ll have the chance to do some shopping. Like with restaurants, there’s plenty of stores to chose from. Whether it’s Walmart, Giant Tiger, Shoppers Drug Mart, the City Centre Mall or the Plaza, you’ll have options. If you’re looking to kill some time without spending a lot of money, there is a movie theatre (Called The Strand), the Thompson Public Library and a bowling alley. I could go on for a LONG time talking about everything we have, but I think you get the picture now.
I mentioned earlier that Thompson has the feel of a small town. One of the ways you’ll notice that is travel time from event to event. Most things will be taking place in the general area around the TRCC, our rec centre. The farthest you’ll have to go is to Mystery Mountain Winter Park, which is a short drive away. That’s only for the Apline Skiing. It’s a five minute drive to get anywhere around Thompson, even from one side to the other. If you’re walking? It maybe takes 20 minutes.
The other way that Thompson feels more like a small town than a city is the people. Thompson is the kind of place where strangers will offer you a ride so you don’t have to walk in the cold in the winter. Thompson is the kind of place where the person standing behind you in line will help you out if you’re short a few bucks or where the person ahead of you in the Timmie’s line will pay for your morning coffee.
Thompson is a great place, and you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re here for the games. Whether you’re here as an athlete, parent, coach or supporter, there’s something here for you to do outside of the events. The entire city is looking forward to having you here in March.