7 Best Things to See and Do in Manitoba

Manitoba is often overlooked as a tourist destination, although no one can quite say why, and frankly it shouldn’t be. This province is absolutely loaded with awesome things to see and do, including one of the top places to view the incredible Northern Lights. Along with outdoor adventures such as polar bear viewing and hiking through national parks, Manitoba offers its fair share of festivals, museums, markets and more. Discover the best 7 things to see and do in this highly underrated province.

7. Play at Whiteshell Provincial Park

Just an hour or so away from Winnipeg is the Whiteshell Provincial Park, loaded with hills, lakes, valleys, forests, and rivers. Inhabitants of the park include deer, moose and black bears with much of the wilderness here being undisturbed. In the summertime go swimming at one the beaches, scuba dive in the clear waters, or hike along one of the scenic trails, ranging from 3km-60km.

Wintertime brings ice-fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing. There are 200 lakes here, a range of accommodations, a golf course, museums and even a goose sanctuary. Soak up the scenery here, doing whatever activity you desire, just make sure to take plenty of pictures.

Via Flickr.com

6. Attend the Icelandic Festival

The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is also known as Islendingadagurinn and takes place in the small town of Gimli. It is the largest Icelandic gathering outside of Iceland itself and the second oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America. The province itself has strong historical connections to Iceland and spends a weekend each summer celebrating the culture.

Over the weekend numerous events take place such as beach volleyball, pancake breakfast, music and poetry, midways rides and games and more. Daily demonstrations of Viking age warfare, tactics, skills, entertainment, and fashion take place, sure to enthrall people of all ages. Eat Icelandic food, join in on traditions, introduce the kids to culture and spend the weekend in one surreal Canadian landscape.

Via Icelandic Festival

5. Visit the Forks

The Forks is Winnipeg’s meeting place, nestled in the heart of downtown and is one of the most beloved places in the city. For over 6,000 years The Forks has been a meeting place, from the time when Aboriginal peoples traded here to buffalo hunters to tens of thousands of immigrants. Today it is home to more than 4 million visitors annually, who come to discover the wide range of shopping, dining, entertainment, and attractions.

Many visitors flock to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights which is an awesome addition to the city of Winnipeg. The Forks is also home to the Manitoba’s Children Museum, Arctic Glacier Winter Park which features skating trails and toboggan runs, and the Boardwalk Promenade. Don’t miss out on The Forks Market with its impressive six storey tower with a viewing platform.

Via Winnipeg Free Press

4. See the Polar Bears

Churchill is one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild and if you have ever dreamed of seeing these magnificent creatures in their homes, Manitoba is the perfect province to do so. October and November are the prime viewing times when the bears begin their move from their summer habitat on the tundra back to the ice that forms every winter over Hudson Bay. There are a few different ways to view the bears, and it is highly recommended joining a reputable tour guide, as they adhere to strict guidelines in order to protect the bears.

Tundra vehicles can take visitors over the snow and ice and protect visitors from curious bears or guided walks are available to areas where bears frequently stop by. Staying at a wilderness lodge along the bear’s migration route provides an exciting experience for visitors to watch for bears right from the lodge. The spectacular animals can reach up to 1,320lbs and have no natural enemies, making them both fearless and impressive.

Via World Wildlife Fund

3. Visit Riding Mountain National Park

This scenic park can be visited all year round and proves to be the perfect combination of recreation area, and nature reserve. The landscape is a combination of forest, prairie and super clear lakes and rivers. The park is home to a number of species of wildlife including moose, elk, wolves, bison and hundreds of bird species. Hikers will delight in the 400km of hiking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy patrol roads to grassy trails to steep cliffs.

The cold deep lakes here provide excellent fishing lakes and among the most popular are Clear Lake, Deep Lake, and Katherine Lake. Other activities include canoeing, camping, boating, swimming, scuba diving and snowshoeing, snowmobiling and skiing in the wintertime. The park is most easily accessed by Highway 10 which passes through the park and the south entrance is at the townsite of Wasagaming.

Via AD Virdi Photography

2. Explore the Mennonite Heritage Village

The Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach recreates Mennonite life from the 16th century to present day and features more than 20 furnished buildings spread over 40 acres. Wander through the street village, dine at the Livery Barn Restaurant where the traditional Mennonite fare is served, explore a classic Mennonite housebarn and visit the fully operational Dutch windmill during the summer season.

The galleries house historic and heirloom treasures from Poland to Russia to Canada and visitors can find souvenirs at the Visitors Centre which is open all year round. The site is full of volunteers who are descendants of early blacksmiths, millers, and shopkeepers, who love to chat with visitors and answer any questions about the site.

Via Flickr.com

1. See the Northern Lights

To travel to Manitoba and not catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring, ever-changing phenomenon of the Northern Lights would be a travesty. This province is home to some of the world’s most luminous locales for gazing at the shimmering curtains of multi-colored lights that dance across the night sky. The best viewing times are from January to March and Churchill is one of the top three spots on the planet to witness them.

One of the best ways to see them is to book an overnight adventure that offers sky-gazing access from the deck of a heated tundra vehicle. Or head further south and stay in a lakeside lodge in Flin Fon where it is said they can be seen all year round. Grab your camera and ready for yourself for an absolutely mind-blowing visual experience.

Via Frontiers North Adventures

9 Lesser-Known Canadian Cities Worth Visiting

The second largest country in the world, Canada is a marvel of outstanding natural beauty and lively, gleaming cosmopolitan cities. The major cities are fantastic tourist destinations, and they are justifiably beloved by visitors. Nevertheless, there are some excellent yet lesser-known Canadian cities that are well worth visiting. Each of them is uniquely rewarding for the visitor and, just as importantly, visitors will avoid the crush of the crowd.

The following little-known cities or towns are must-visits for tourists for want to experience the true essence of Canada:

1. Nelson: British Columbia

Nestled within the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is beautiful and full of charm. The city boasts unique and historic architecture, and the chic cafes make it perfect for days of leisure. The city is also famous as an artists’ enclave. In the opinion of John Villani, an art critic, there is no better art town in Canada. The Heritage Walking Tour is particularly popular. In addition, the surrounding cities and villages within driving distance of Nelson are worth a road trip. Of particular note is the beautiful village of Salmo, BC (a 50 kilometre drive from Nelson). Salmo plays host to Shambhala, an annual electronic music festival that attracts over 10,000 visitors every summer.
Nelson British Columbia

2. Churchill: Northern Manitoba

Situated along the Hudson Bay, the city of Churchill may be small but it puts on a spectacular natural show for visitors: Between late-November and late-March, tourists can be delighted and amazed by the Northern Lights. Churchill is also an ideal destination for seeing polar bears and whales: Polar bears can be seen throughout the year, and Beluga whales can be seen during the summer months.
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

3. Kaslo: British Columbia

This friendly town that sits prettily on the lake is wrapped in the embrace of the mountains. Visitors can pay a visit to the SS Moyle. Built in 1867, the boat holds the distinction of being the oldest North American paddle steamer. It is now a museum, but it continues to fascinate. Kaslo is also renowned for the jazz festival that it hosts every summer.
Kaslo British Columbia, Canada

4. Whitehorse: The Yukon

Whitehorse is the capital of The Yukon and it is a bustling and attractive city. There are lovely hotels and pleasant restaurants and cafes in the town, and visitors will be absorbed by the various exhibits in McBride Museum. Whitehorse is an excellent base from which to explore the Klondike and to take trips to Alaska.
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

5. Dawson: The Yukon

Dawson City came to prominence during the gold strikes of the late 1800s, and the city now appears as if it is preserved in amber. Much work has been put into its preservation and visitors will feel as if they have been transported back to the American Wild West. The first port of call in Dawson has got to be its excellent Visitor Reception Centre. Tourists will fall under the charm of the heritage buildings.
Dawson City Yukon Canada

6. Fredericton: New Brunswick

The capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton is known for its stately elm trees. The city has an endearing and cozy feel, yet it is home to a number of world-class institutions. There is plenty to keep visitors occupied: The museums, historical sites and riverside trails are well-loved, and the restaurants offer international cuisine. In addition, Fredericton plays host to many world-famous festivals.
Fredericton Museum, New Brunswick, Canada

7. Halifax: Nova Scotia

Halifax is famous for its harbors, which are regarded as some of the finest in the world. Visitors should not miss the Citadel on the town’s hilltop. The four-sided Town Clock has a fascinating history: The father of Britain’s Queen Victoria commissioned the clock to keep sailors and soldiers from being late for their duties.
Clock Tower Halifax Nova Scotia Canada

8. Charlottetown: Prince Edward Island

This town is full of charm. It is elegant, dignified and classy. Charlottetown is home to Province House, which is considered a national shrine because of its historical significance. The Confederation Centre of the Arts is replete with history.
Charlottetown PEI

9. St. John’s: Newfoundland

St. John’s is famous for many reasons: It has a spectacular natural harbor, the cathedrals are impressive, and its Signal Hill Historic Park brings local history alive. Cape Spear Point affords magnificent views of the surrounding areas.
Signal Hill St. Johns Newfoundland Canada