Manitoba is one of Canada’s best kept secrets and one that is frequently overlooked by visitors, tourists and residents alike. The area spans sprawling prairies and the Arctic tundra. It also has a very classy capital and more wilderness than you could ever wish to see in a lifetime, filled with fascinating wildlife, including polar bears.
Manitoba – A Place of Extremes
At Hudson Bay’s Churchill, you can experience the extreme of the sub-Arctic coastline. Here, you will be able to spot beluga whales in the summer, playing around and generally frolicking. If you go in the autumn, for instance with an organized Tauck Tours trip, you will be able to watch polar bears, the most magnificent of all bears.
But then there is the other extreme. Visit Winnipeg, for instance, which is a true cosmopolitan city. It has stunning historic districts and thrilling museums. You simply cannot spend a minute feeling bored in this area.
In between Winnipeg and Churchill is a vast area of sweeping farmlands, phenomenal landscapes and flowering prairies. Additionally, there are around 100,000 lakes. Where there are lakes, there is wildlife and you can spot black bears, elk, muskox, wolves and moose, as well as a range of migratory birds. It is said to be a bird watcher’s heaven, but there is clearly more to it than birds alone.
One thing that Manitoba is not in short supply of is outdoor adventure options. You can paddle the Hayes River, which is very historically significant. Or you can camp at Paint Lake Provincial Park for some good family time. Or why not take a hike to Kwasitchewan Falls, which are about as impressive as the Niagara Falls?
Alternatively, if you are not one to spend too much time in a lot of open space, you can go to the city. Winnipeg is either bitingly cold or blisteringly hot, another place of extremes. However, you can dress yourself for any weather, so this shouldn’t be a problem. You could spend some time at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, or enjoy the oldest public gallery in the country. Interestingly, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which has only been open for around a year, was the first national museum that has been constructed in Canada in around half a century.
Winnipeg is an odd city, being surrounded by all these rural prairies. However, it seems to have a strong focus on culture and you can enjoy a symphony orchestra, a professional ballet, the opera and theatres. Additionally, if you have ever held a Canadian coin, it will have been minted in Winnipeg as well.
Manitoba is far larger a province than most people realize, probably because so few people live here. However, those who do are hospitable and friendly and they celebrate diversity. This is why the Folklorama, a world famous cultural festival, is held in Winnipeg as well. The festival celebrates the many communities and ethnic diversity of Canada itself. Indeed, when looking into the ethnic background of Manitobans, you will find Japanese, Icelandic and Italian ancestry.