Welcome to Manitoba, where culture meets wilderness. The province – 1,225 km (761 mi) from top to bottom – features everything from northern tundra blanketed in blooms to meandering rivers in the south. Between these two extremes, you’ll find regions rich in activity and opportunity. Manitoba, northwest of Chicago, allows you to indulge in your kind of fun – from cultural exploration to adventure. The vibrant capital of Winnipeg and its surrounding area presents superb arts and entertainment options as well as a broad range of historic attractions, cultural encounters and dozens of festivals throughout the year. Manitobans invite you to soak up the opportunities offered in one of the sunniest places in Canada.
Manitoba’s capital is a true prairie gem. There are enough attractions and experiences to please culture-seekers, families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Get a sense of the province’s past and present at The Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District or at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada. Find out more about Manitoba’s vibrant Francophone heritage by touring Gabrielle Roy House and the St. Boniface neighborhood. But don’t stop there – there are at least 35 other museums and historical sites to check out.
Take walking and river tours to learn about the province’s geography and culture. Make your way to the urban parks and green spaces for soul-soothing experiences, garden walks and birdwatching. Visit the Royal Canadian Mint, which produces coins for more than 60 countries.
For some kids’ play, run amok at Assiniboine Park, steal home base at the CanWest Global Park or join the fun at the Manitoba Children’s Museum.
Shopping and Dining
Savor regional and ethnic cuisine at over 300 restaurants in the province. Manitoba’s fantastic chefs are pleased to share their delectable concoctions, so finish off a day of golf, sightseeing or fishing with treats like bison carpaccio and perfect perogies.
Manitoba is a feast for shoppers. Winnipeg’s Corydon Avenue is lined with boutiques offering fashion, home decor and giftware. Osborne Village caters to a young hip crowd with several shops to choose from while Polo Park Shopping Centre and St. Vital Centre serve up 360 stores. Manitoba is also a collector’s paradise. Shop around for an amazing variety of antiques and collectibles including items like William Morris carpets and 17th-century candlesticks.
Part of the fun of this incredible four-season destination on the shores of Hudson Bay is getting there: Churchill is accessible by plane and train. Crisp nights in January, February and March ensure optimal northern lights viewing and May and June provide excellent bird-watching opportunities for sub-arctic species. In July and August, beluga whales travel the waterways while boat tours visit the Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site of Canada in Canada’s most northerly seaport.
October and November signal the arrival of hundreds of polar bears; these spectacular creatures gather on the capes to wait for the bay to freeze over. For a souvenir of Manitoba, pick up Inuit and aboriginal arts and crafts at the shops and boutiques in Churchill.
In Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, bugle for elk or watch for cinnamon-colored black bear. Near Inwood, spot thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerging from limestone caves. Walk, snowshoe, paddle or drive to gain access to some of the most interesting flora and fauna in North America. And no matter where you are, look up and delight in the shifting curtains of northern lights.
Travel east to the Canadian Shield, where boreal forests teem with deer and warblers, or west to lush prairie mountains. If you head north to the Hudson Bay area, check out the polar bears and caribou and take in the starkly beautiful coastline. Finally, don’t miss the postcard-perfect agricultural lands and grasslands in the south.
Oak Hammock Marsh is among dozens of birding hotspots in Manitoba. Located near Winnipeg, the protected area features more than 300 bird species. In the peak migration seasons of spring and fall, thousands of Canada geese and other waterfowl stage a natural pageant of sight and sound. The staff at the interpretive center offer marsh walkabouts, special tours for birders and more.
Manitoba has some of the best fishing and hunting in North America. Fly-in lodges are the crème de la crème for fishing adventures. Many are located on remote lakes; some also offer plush accommodations and high-end cuisine. An incredible population of channel catfish lives in the Red River that flows through Winnipeg – “cats” often weigh in at over 10 kg (22 lbs). Some anglers argue that the best fishing is found in Manitoba’s Shield Country, where northern pike, walleye and lake trout thrive. Further north, lake trout and grayling are the most sought-after species. Cast your line and participate in Manitoba’s Master Angler Program, North America’s oldest fishing awards program.
The southern part of the province is widely recognized for its prairie farmland, which offers prime autumn waterfowl and whitetail deer hunting. Travelling north or west through the Parkland region will bring you to the home of the mighty moose, black bear and barren ground caribou.
All over Manitoba, festivals celebrating the province’s unique culture take place throughout the year. Birds Hill Provincial Park hosts the annual Winnipeg Folk Festival in July. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, also in July, holds the title of North America’s second largest celebration of fringe arts and entertainment.
Islendingadagurinn, in August, honors the province’s large Icelandic community. Every August, Folklorama celebrates world cultures with over 40 pavilions in Winnipeg. In winter, make your way to the Centara Corporation International New Music Festival. To celebrate Canada’s fur trading era, come to Western Canada’s largest winter festival, Festival du Voyageur, every February. Don’t miss the equestrian events and agricultural exhibits at Brandon’s Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in March.
Bed down at one of our country vacation farms or B&Bs; and take in the rural charm. Sweeten your grand fishing adventures with a stay at a remote lodge, accessible by road and air. Or have the sleep of a lifetime in the middle of polar bear country, thanks to tundra vehicle “trains.” In Winnipeg, the historic Fort Garry Hotel features Ten Spa. The Fairmont Winnipeg, among other hotels in the area, affords easy access to attractions, shopping and The Forks, the city’s favorite indoor and outdoor gathering place. Inn at the Forks and Riverstone Spa is conveniently located on site. When love is in the air, sign up for one of our romance packages – you can enjoy stays in Riding Mountain National Park of Canada and resorts in Whiteshell.
Major Airport: Winnipeg International Airport (YWG)
Flying Time: 5 h from L.A.; 2 h from Denver; 2 h from Chicago; 3 h 30 min from New York; 1 h from Minneapolis
Driving Distance: Winnipeg is 1 h from the U.S. border
Produced in association with Travel Manitoba