Things To Do In Manitoba
Manitoba, generally referred to as ‘keystone’ because of its shape, is located in the heart of Canada. The name Manitoba is thought to have come from the Native Cree Word ‘mantio-wapow’ and this word means ‘strait of the spirit’. The ideal destination for an adventure lover no matter what time of year it is, Winnipeg and Churchill are the main places in Manitoba where one can find every type of activity. Along with English, French is the most spoken language of this province. Bear watching, fishing, festivals, beaches, sledding and other winter activities make the tourists visit here every year. Whether you are visiting for a day or a week, this place will deliver the experiences expected from the heart of Canada.
Adventure lovers come here to experience some unique activities, let it be watching polar bears from so close or being a part of colorful winter festivals celebrating the French Canadian History. Every type of cultural and historical sight is present in this Winnipeg and visitors flock to the city of Churchill just to enjoy the unusual site of polar bears coming out of their dens. Considered as the ‘Gem of the Prairies’, Manitoba combines natural beauty with high level of ethnic diversity. Thus it should not be considered as a rural landscape. If you love Motor Biking, snowshoe, ice-fish or polar bears; Manitoba will find a special place in your heart.
When to Go:
The best time to visit Manitoba depends upon your personal choice. Are you a natural enthusiast and would like to watch birds? Or would you rather spend some time watching the famous polar bears? This is completely up to you and this making up your mind beforehand will be the most important step when planning your trip to Manitoba. October and November is when the temperature ranges from minus 12 to 1 degree, they are considered as the ideal months if your prime reason to come to Manitoba is to watch the polar bears. Moreover, this is the best time to see the Northern lights and enjoy good sledding. Make sure to pack your warmest clothes, waterproof jackets, and insulated boots.
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If you are not a great fan of winters, then you can plan your trip in months of June to September. These months are probably the best for bird watching and summer dog sledding. Moreover, tourists can even get a closer look of wildlife by watching fox, moose, and wolves in this season. It is considered as the best time for fishing, walking, canoeing, and hunting in this region. Despite the warm and sunny days, the temperature can drop to 6 degrees at night so make sure to pack some warm stuff. Winters generally last from November to March in Manitoba and tourists can make the most of their trips by going to National Parks enjoying the sight of female polar bears along with their young cubs emerging from their dens. Basically, the bear season depends upon ice and is at its best from October to November.
Cast a look at the top things to do while visiting Manitoba:
Polar Bears of Churchill
A town in far-northern Manitoba, Churchill, has been given the name ‘polar bear capital of the world’. The main reason, a large number of tourists visit Manitoba from every corner of the world just to enjoy the sight of these pretty amazing creatures. Churchill lies on the rocky coast of Hudson Bay and the polar bears gather to wait for this bay to freeze. Once the bay freezes completely, these hungry bears move out of their dens to hunt seals. This sight is especially loved by photographers and animal lovers as it is a rare opportunity to view the bears up close. Some bears are aggressive, playful, grouchy, and shy depending upon their unique personalities.
The unusual yet exciting activity is to watch big white bears in snow presenting an awe-aspiring sight. Most of the tourists visit these bears via a tundra buggy containing 20-30 people at a time and a typical trip lasts up to six hours. Make sure to find good tour operators otherwise you may be disappointed to miss the sight of bears. One must also visit The Eskimo Museum where you can find excellent work of art dating back to 1700 BC. Photography is allowed over here and one can enjoy looking at the high quality artifacts by Inuit Artists.
The Forks – National Historic Site
The Forks, located near Winnipeg’s downtown core, is a restored historical building dating back 6000 years. Tourists visit this place in summer as well as winter. It is a significant historic site that was once used for trade purposes. It now houses a market area with lovely shops, food stalls, and unique restaurants. The interesting thing about restaurants is that some of these feature outdoor patios overlook the river. There is an outdoor skating rink which becomes extremely popular with families in winters. This can get very crowded at the time of special events.
One can enjoy the local music played by street musicians inside the market. The park has open green space with enlightening displays, stone photographs and sculptures providing a glimpse of early age. The children’s museum, The Human Rights Museum (Canadian Museum of Human Rights) and Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant are the most loved attraction in this area. The Forks offers a blend of delicious food, cultural shopping and other such things to do for every age group throughout the year as it is home to various festival and celebrations.
The Manitoba Museum
The Manitoba Museum - the largest, not-for-profit and science museum in Winnipeg focuses mainly on human and natural heritage. The best thing about this museum is that it never fails to amaze tourists despite their age groups. It has great collection reflecting the real heritage of Manitoba and other regions of the world. A walk from one corner of museum to another basically means travelling through millions of years.
There is the Urban Gallery which takes the tourists back to 1920’s. After that, there is The Planetarium featuring the multimedia shows, hot topics in anatomy and latest space discoveries. The Science Gallery helps the tourists to explore science and technology. There is a ‘ship’ inside the museum which is loved by kids. There is a lot of information about the history of slavery, various pirates and a short trip to this museum provides an education experience.
The Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint produces the world’s most stunning collectible coins, crafted from original designs by the Canadian artists. This high-tech minting plant produces money from Canada along with 60 other nations like Australia, Cuba and many more. A simple tour to this mint can give you a lot of information about the coin making process.
Even if you don’t collect coins, it will still prove to be an educational yet interesting tour. Seeing large bags of unstamped coins represents an amazing site. The Royal Canadian Mint’s Winnipeg processing plant was completed in 1976. The building itself makes a spectacular site because of its pyramid shaped structure with two sides made up of mirrored windows.
Assiniboine Park is a 4.5 square kilometer urban park equipped with a top-notch zoo with playgrounds, various gardens, art gallery, picnic tables, duck ponds, open fields, and a conservatory. Most of the people think of it as a simple zoo, but with beautiful gardens inside that makes it quite a huge favorite among tourists. It is loved by kids as well as couples the most. The English Garden is the most beautiful amongst all. Local people visit the park to enjoy biking, jogging, walking and kids love to climb and jump in the open playground. The Lyric Theatre offers all kinds of free family entertainment in summers.
However, in winter tourists can enjoy skating over here. Is there any better place to spend some time alone to enjoy the beauty of nature than a park? The wildlife in this park is an absolute heaven for a nature lover. You will even find the local people sitting in the park with books in their hands. Local people visit this park just to relax and take a day off their hectic schedules and to de- stress. The best thing about this park is that it is very well maintained; every year tourists visit here to find something better and new. The staff is very organized and is heading in the right direction to make this park a number one attraction in Manitoba.
Grand Beach Provincial Park
Grand Beach Provincial Park is loved by tourists for the natural beauty, beaches and private campsites. Grand Beach, often known as Grand Marais is one of the nicest beaches in Canada. It is the favorite spot for sun seekers and tourists looking for a tanned body. Being the ideal summer holiday destination, the beach has a wide range of restaurants, bars, and hotels nearby.
The park authority is responsible for the well-maintained and clean beach. With Manitoba’s largest sand dunes located along the shores, many people can be found over here clicking pictures. It can be a good idea to spend the afternoon in the park and then enjoy the great view of sunset on the beach. The water is surprisingly warm and dark despite the city being so cold. However, the sand is not that soft as the area is a bit rocky, so one must take care while walking around the beach.
Riding Mountain National Park
Riding Mountain National Park is accessible throughout the whole year. It is a perfect combination of nature reserve and recreation area. There are cold deep lakes in the Riding Mountain like Deep Lake, Clear Lake and Lake Catherine, which serve as popular fishing spots. The park houses varied landscapes of prairie, forest, and steams. A herd of buffalo can be seen roaming freely in the 550 hectare enclosure near Lake Audy. Nature and wildlife lovers are most excited to see various bear, moose, deer, and wolves in this park.
The main reason behind visiting this park is to observe the behavior of these animals in a natural environment. There are a number of walking and cycling trails. It has something to offer to every type of tourist. The main tourist’s town within this park has excellent tennis and lawn bowling facilities. This highly protected park area never fails to impress as one can enjoy the spectacular sight of natural beauty at its best over here. It is highly recommended to visit this park in order to experience various thrills and of nature in its own glory.
Lower Fort Garry - National Historic Site
Lower Fort Garry was erected by Hudson’s Bay Company (in 1830’s) as it was becoming an important part of the flourishing fur trade along with serving as a base for exploration of Northern Territories. Later, it was used as a training camp for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a mental institution, a prison and a company headquarters. An excellent history background of this fort is the main reason behind its popularity. It displays furniture and other household items gathered together over a period of years.
Tourists can clear their doubts about the history of the place by talking to the ‘Governor’, his wife, employees and domestic staff. Kids can play 19th century race games, make wax candles from scratch and hear some interesting tales. There are big portraits of Kings Charles || and James ||. This informative site gives a clear idea about the lifestyle of people ages ago. Plenty of information is written there in different languages. This is one of the best preserved sites in Manitoba.
The Mennonite Heritage Village
The Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach recreates Mennonite life from the 16th century in a magical way. There is a lot to see and many interesting facts to learn from the 20 furnished buildings showcasing a time where such villages were found all over Southern Manitoba. There is a large windmill and one can see it even from the highway. There is even a store selling a huge variety of items including some handmade crafts by local people.
After visiting there once, one can actually imagine the amount of efforts taken to run such an incredible place along with the fantastic display of history. The best time to visit this village is from May to September as many Festival Events are organized over here. Stay in this village for about two or three hours and you will feel like spending the whole day over here after interacting with the friendly staff and local people. This place always has something new to offer to the tourists, make sure to enjoy some homemade food by the local village people.
Manitoba Legislative Building
Designed during the early 20th century, the Manitoba Legislative Building impresses the tourists with its neoclassical beaux-arts design, imported marble and limestone construction. Surrounded by various beautiful gardens, it is considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in Canada. What makes this building stand out among other structure is, The Golden Boy Statue on top of the central dome and the giant staircase flanked by two bronze bison’s.
There is no entry fee and free guided tours are also available at regular intervals to tell the tourist the interesting story behind the construction of this building. There are architectural elements with hidden Masonic meanings along with the stone work on walls. A short trip to this beautiful and well-maintained building will reveal an interesting piece on information which no one would like to miss on his/her trip to Manitoba.
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Center
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Center is an award-winning nature interpretation center that serves as the perfect destination for canoeing and bird watching. This center offers a perfect mixture of fun and information as it includes a multimedia theatre, a delicious café overlooking the marsh and a gift shop. This place is mostly visited by families, schools and group tours for an amazing experience through guided programs such as bird walk, canoe excursions and snowshoe walks. 25 species of mammals, 300 species of birds and a whole number of amphibians, reptiles and fish can be found over here. The location is wonderful and the staff is always ready to assist the tourists. Make sure to watch a short film about Canadian geese as it is really interesting. The whole staff is knowledgeable and will not hesitate to recommend you some features that you might enjoy.
If you are taking children less than 4 years of age, make sure to listen to the recommendations of the staff about some particular trails. Your kids will be pleased to see some adorable squirrels. You will not be able to stop yourself from capturing some little creatures in your camera to take the memories home with you. Avoid going to this place if the weather turns cold and windy.
Manitoba is one of the most overlooked tourist destinations in Canada, due to its exciting attractions and unique activities. The province is renowned for diversity of wild life, dramatic landscapes, clean beaches, colorful cities and friendly people. This place is full of surprises, just pick any place to go and everything else will fall in place. Are you into outdoor sports? You can find everything from dog sledding to scuba diving over here. Make sure to visit Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Museum, Prince of Whales Fort, West Hawk Lake, Fort Gibraltar, and Western Canada Aviation Museum.
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