Manitoba, a Canadian province located between Saskatchewan and Ontario, has earned the Latin nickname Gloriosus et Liber, meaning “glorious and free.” Much of its 250,000 square miles remain rugged and wild, creating many opportunities for a vacation in the great outdoors. It became a province in July of 1870 after fur traders gave the land of the Hudson Bay Company to Canada. The capital city, Winnipeg, is known as the “Gateway to the West” for its transportation and many festivals. Manitoba is thought to be Canada’s heartbeat, allowing travelers to have an authentic Canadian experience.
The abundant natural beauty of Manitoba allows visitors to experience Canada’s rugged wilderness. Churchill, known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” showcases these majestic creatures on the rocky shore of the Hudson Bay. Travelers in this area can also see Beluga whales from a boat—or, for a more personal experience, by scuba diving. In the winter, the Northern Lights put on a spectacular show and can be seen from the northern parts of the province. There are several interesting museums throughout the state, such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. Manitoba is also known for its fun festivals, including the Festival du Voyageur and the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.
Winnipeg, the capital city, is a center for arts and culture. Catch a movie or ballet performance at the Lyric Park Theatre, visit one of the many museums, or see where Canadian money is made at the Royal Canadian Mint. The second-largest city is called Brandon. Its charming downtown area is full of restaurants and shops, while areas just outside of the city are perfect for bird watching and golf.
Flin Flon is a small mining town known for the Hudson Bay smokestack, which is the tallest freestanding structure in Western Canada. Watch the Flin Flon Bombers hockey team play a game, or visit during July to participate in the Trout Festival. Winkler is an artistic city in the Pembina Valley, and its ceramics studio and concert hall make it a great destination for artistic types. Additionally, Gimli is an Icelandic small town, known for its Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, or Islendingadagurnn. Visitors can also explore Gimli Park and Gimli Harbor, or learn more about the city’s culture at the New Iceland Heritage Museum.
Grand Beach features white sandy beaches and an abundance of activities in the surrounding area, called the East Beaches. Try biking and bird watching in the warmer months, or duck into the casino to avoid the winter cold. However, if you enjoy winter recreation, there are many opportunities for ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and other cold weather fun. Falcon Lake Main Beach has a boardwalk and pier for tranquil walks. Minnedosa Beach, near Brandon, features picnic areas and a nice sandy beach.
Riding Mountain National Park is a rugged and beautiful area. Wildlife is abundant here, and you may see black bears, elk, moose, and lynx. There are several trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as opportunities for water recreation. Wapusk National Park is located on the shore of the Hudson Bay. Its nearly 3 million acres of land are made up of subarctic forest, tundra, and peat bog. Here, visitors can see Polar Bears, wolves, arctic foxes, and wolverines. It is important to note that visitors are required to go with a guide, so early research and planning is imperative.
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