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Welcome to Manitoba

Heart of the West

by Terri Mason

Marsh boardwalk
Photo: Travel Manitoba
Grand Beach, near Winnipeg
Photo: Travel Manitoba
The Exchange District National Historic Site, Winnipeg
Photo: Travel Manitoba
Aboriginal dancer
Photo: Travel Manitoba
Downtown Winnipeg; Riel Esplanade on the left
Photo: Travel Manitoba

This has been a peopled land for centuries. Rich in resources and central in Canada's history, today Manitoba flows seamlessly from waves of cropland to lively cities and towns. The rolling prairies are home to internationally-acclaimed wetlands, each vital to the survival of millions of birds. Throughout the province are thousands of sparkling clean lakes ringed by gleaming sandy beaches.

The province is steeped in history, and diverse museums dot the prairie. Enjoy the old-time demonstrations at Gladstone's Museum Threshing Days; enjoy walking tours in towns including Neepawa and Russell. Winnipeg features some 25 museums, including the Manitoba Museum and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, opening in 2014. Portage la Prairie offers Fort La Reine Museum; Shoal Lake has the Police & Pioneer Museum and Inglis' Grain Elevators National Historic Site is highly regarded.

Manitoba's warm summer nights encourage bountiful crops; some must-see gardens include Neepawa, the World Lily Capital, the Legislature Building gardens in Winnipeg and the English Gardens in the capital's Assiniboine Park.

If you love bird watching, the Central Plains is home to critical staging and nesting havens. Here you can experience millions taking flight at many of the massive 38 Important Bird Areas; including the Delta Marsh on Lake Manitoba, Big Grass Marsh, Portia Marsh, St. Ambroise Provincial Beach Recreation Park and the multi-award-winning Oak Hammock Marsh. As well, each offers a variety of programs and activities.

Experience Riding Mountain National Park, set on an oasis high on the Manitoba Escarpment. From birds to bison, there's plenty of wildlife, trails to explore and places to camp.

There are endless destinations for fisher folk! Shoal Lake is well regarded; the town of Russell hosts top fly-fishing lakes and Asessippi Provincial Park is celebrated for its walleye fishing. Minnedosa, known for its annual rock concert, boasts Lake Minnedosa.

The eastern Mile 0 of the Yellowhead Highway is the capital city of Winnipeg. The city hosts historic sites, festivals and some of the finest cultural and performing arts groups in Canada, including Le Cercle Moliere, Canada's oldest active theatre and an internationally acclaimed ballet company.

Province Statistics

Manitoba Motto: Gloriosus et Liber «Glorious and free»

Manitoba probably comes from either the Ojibwa word "manito-bah" or the Cree "manito-wapow," meaning "strait of the spirit" in reference to The Narrows of Lake Manitoba.

Provincial Flower: Prairie Crocus

Provincial Mammal: Bison

Provincial Tree: White Spruce

Area: 647,797 km2 (250,116 sq mi) (Natural Resources Canada, 2001)

Population: 1,270,646 (Statistics Canada, 2012 Census)

Capital City: Winnipeg

Largest City: Winnipeg

Date Manitoba Entered Confederation: July 15, 1870