Manitoba Travel Guide
World Wrestling Entertainment fans might head for Manitoba in a bid to pay homage to the home of their beefy hero Chris Jericho, while the rest of us are more likely to go in search of the magnificent lakes, desert dunes, mighty rivers and chances to spot Canadian wildlife such as elk, moose and black bears.
Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital and its largest city, packs in as much in the way of modern amenities and attractions as its does historical and cultural attractions. Grab a map and your camera and set off on the city’s sightseeing trail to see the likes of the Manitoba Museum, St Boniface Cathedral and the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.
When you’re ready for big thrills, hit the city’s exchange district, an area covering 20 blocks and housing over 150 period buildings from the turn of the 20th century, presenting some good eye candy and photo album material. It’s here too that you’ll find the best of the city’s cultural institutions, including a variety of galleries, art-houses and theatres.
Brandon is the province’s second largest city, skipped by most visitors. Aside from a few galleries and the odd museum, the city has a pleasant and intimate ambience. You can expect the locals to remember your name if you stick around for more than a day or two.
Festival enthusiasts will find Manitoba a good place to get their kicks, especially if bizarrely-themed float their boat. Morden is famous for its Corn and Apple Festival, while Portage la Prairie celebrates the humble spud in its annual Potato Festival.
Portage la Prairie is worth a visit at any time of the year if you are impressed by its claims of being the ‘strawberry capital of the world’ and the owner of the largest Coca-Cola can on the planet. For more unusual claims, Winnipeg boasts being the ‘slurpee capital of the world’ on account of its residents’ penchant for the popular icy treat.
Getting back to nature requires little effort on a Manitoba holiday, with the provincial parks of Whiteshell, Nopiming and Atikaki luring visitors with abundant flora and fauna. The area covered by the parks has been dubbed the Canadian Shield and is famous for its collection of sacred historical sites and aboriginal paintings, among which are examples that date back more than 1,500 years.
To combine picturesque nature with the opportunity to chill out on powdery white sands, head for Grand Beach, situated on Lake Winnipeg’s eastern shores. Here you can stick your head into a good book or close your eyes and get lost in your favorite iPod playlist, but the preferred activity is to enjoy the scenes of lofty sand dunes and lagoons in which a wealth of ocean birds are resident.