Floridians arrive in Winnipeg for winter hockey getaway

While some dream of heading south in January, others who live much closer to the equator are eager to experience a Winnipeg winter in all its glory.

More than 1,300 Floridians signed up for a social media contest in 2019 with the hopes of winning a Winnipeg hockey weekend getaway in the middle of January. Through a partnership between Winnipeg Airports Authority, Tampa International Airport and Swoop, this promotion was offered for the first time to celebrate Winnipeg as a growing travel destination, fit for providing an authentic winter experience.

Contest winners Mike O’Soro and his wife, Jessica, who reside in Dunedin, Florida, arrived the weekend of January 16, just in time to experience a full-blown winter snowstorm.

“The whole trip was great,” said Jessica. “It is just a different experience to be in Canada and the cold weather is a nice change for us. When we left it was 80°F so we were eager to break out the clothes we don’t wear a lot and also I love hockey.”

As a big hockey fan, Mike said he enjoyed seeing the Tampa Bay Lightning win on Friday night at Bell MTS Centre and got a great overall first impression of Winnipeg.

“I would tell everybody to come here for a visit, it is very nice, very lovely and the people are amazing,” said Mike.

During their stay, the two enjoyed spending quality time at The Forks, exploring the Manitoba Museum, venturing down to the river on a blustery day, touring the Hargrave St. Market and going out for brunch in the Exchange District. While they had both seen snow before since Mike is originally from Massachusetts and Jessica is from Upstate New York, they had only been to Canada once before on separate occasions. Jessica came to visit Niagara Falls when she was eight years old and Mike had been to Montreal for a trip in his early 20s.

As the two raved about the drinks, food and hospitality they received, they thanked every partner who made them feel like “VIPs” on their trip, especially the Delta Hotel and Tourism Winnipeg, who provided them with helpful tips and warm parkas.

Mike initially didn’t believe he had won this contest but was thrilled when Tampa International Airport reached out to him on Twitter to confirm it was true. He says he isn’t a lucky person and didn’t think it was reality when he first received the email.

Both Jessica and Mike left Winnipeg on January 19 smiling and suggesting they would like to come back to experience Winnipeg when it is a little warmer.

Thank you for coming and an extended thank to all of our partners who helped us make this opportunity possible. The direct route between Winnipeg to Tampa is one of seven new destinations being offered by Swoop at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, opening the door for more great travel experiences.


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