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MissFenderr (Alayna Fender) is an LGBT+ vlogger and internet personality from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since launching her YouTube channel in 2011, she’s garnered nearly 157,000 subscribers and over 12 million combined views. Whether it’s discussing sexuality or mental health issues, or simply vlogging and doing challenges, no topic is off limits for Alayna. We caught up with Alayna to get the rundown on what’s up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Hey Alayna. We did it. We finally connected.
I know! I’m sorry. It’s been crazy over here. The main thing is that I’m moving to Vancouver! Finding an apartment, renters, still doing work.
Our resident expert on Manitoba is moving to Vancouver!
I know! This interview about Manitoba will be one of the last things I do before leaving Manitoba. It’s really kind of fitting.
So you’re from Winnipeg?
I’m originally from a small town called Steinbach which is about an hour away from Winnipeg, but I’ve lived in Winnipeg for five years.
The Peg! What do you love most about living there?
There is a really amazing cultural scene in Winnipeg. The theatre and performance scene, in particular, is amazing. The Fringe Festival takes place in Winnipeg every year, the Comedy Festival. It’s one of my favourite parts about living there. I love seeing improv and comedy if I’m not doing that I like to do the outdoors thing.
So where do you typically go out in the city?
One of my favourites is The Kingshead. It’s an upstairs pub that has live music, free comedy. The Park Theatre is awesome. It’s just this little theatre on Osborne and they have a little bar and they always have comedy shows and great concerts. Then, with camping and hiking we tend to go more east toward Ontario. We’ll do Falcon Lake or West Hawk.
So if I came to Winnipeg I should definitely make a point of checking out some theatre or improv?
Definitely, if there’s an improv show around, go check it out, no matter where it is. We have a few improv troupe’s in Winnipeg that are so good. Walk around the exchange district and the village. Check out The Forks — there are a bunch of indoor marketplaces in there with cool shops. The river is there and you can go on the riverboat. There’s skating there in the winter where you can ice skate all the way down the river.
What’s one of your better local’s secrets in Winnipeg?
There’s a restaurant called Vera’s Pizzeria. It’s pretty new, I think they just opened last year. It’s on Osborne but not in the village. It’s this tiny pizzeria that makes the most incredible wood fire pizzas. It’s just these five friends who decided to open it up. They’re so kind and so passionate about their food. It’s pretty much just the owners working there and it’s imported Italian flour, fresh sauce, fresh oil, it’s amazing. And, if you can, watch a prairie sunset. They’re so incredibly colourful and like nowhere else.
How about food recommendations?
I’m not a big foodie but there are a lot of really great tapas restaurants opening up. If you’re coming to Winnipeg, check out the Exchange District. It’s so cool. It’s really old looking, there is a bit of a European feel, the architecture is really cool and there are a lot of great restaurants in that zone. Corydon Street also has lots of stuff.
What is it about Winnipeg that makes it unique?
Probably the people. If you’re going to come out, come out in the summer just so you can meet the people. The people of Manitoba are so kind and so friendly. They’ll invite you in and make you dinner kind of people.
Do you have a hometown hero or someone from Winnipeg you look up to?
Isn’t Winnie The Pooh and the creator of Winnie The Pooh from Winnipeg or something? If they are, then it’s them. [laughing]
Are there any activities that always remind you of home?
Totally. Snowmobiling. Manitoba is the full blown prairies. Hills don’t exist here. When I’m back home at my parents place, looking outside the window, it’s just field as far as you can see. The town is sort of in the distance. But when those fields are covered in snow, we go snowmobiling and pull each other around on GT’s and stuff. Anytime I’m on a snowmobile I can’t help but think of home.
I think people from Winnipeg are really resilient and we have really thick skin. Like, literally because of the climate here [laughing].
Has Winnipeg had an influence on who you’ve become?
I would say for sure it has. I think people from Winnipeg are really resilient and we have really thick skin. Like, literally because of the climate here [laughing]. But yeah, I think we’re proud, and we’re tough, and how well we handle the extreme temperatures.