Rural Manitoba, Winnipeg
Approximately 45 minutes from downtown Winnipeg you will find Birds Hill Provincial Park. This is a multi-use park which Winnipeggers use as a day trip destination.
We have hiked or skied most of the park's trails -- my favourite is the Cedar bog hike in winter. Besides the many trails (for hiking, skiing, bicycle riding, horseback riding, etc.), the park has swimming ponds and camping. In fact for the past 30 years, it has been the site of the Birds Hill Folk Festival each summer. I checked out the swimming area in the summer of 2005 for the first time in 20 years, and it is a great place to go swimming.
Bird's Hill Park has quite a history -- it became a park in 1967 (Canada's Centennial). The park area was referred to as "Pine Ridge", and was farmed unsuccessfully in the late 1800's. The park area was used by families to camp during the great Red River floods. You can still find signs of homesteading on some of the trails, but it feels pretty wild in most of it now.
Lower Fort Garry (about 3/4 hour north of Winnipeg) is worth spending a day at during tourist season (mid May til Labour Day). Its is a historic site run by Parcs Canada. Lower Fort Garry has been refurbished back to the late 1800's, complete with Governor Simpson, his fur-traders, the blacksmith, even the First Nations people outside the fort. You may even get a little food from the governor's kitchen, or get to discuss canoeing/portaging techniques with the Voyaguers
Lower Fort Garry web site: http://parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/parks/manitoba/multi_e.htm
1/2 hour north of the city is River Road -- about as historic as Manitoba gets. The Red River in the late 1800's was a fur trading centre (that's all it was - no cities yet).
Along River road, you get to see four or five typical houses from that period, St. Andrew's Church (the oldest church in Western Canada I believe), a school for proper young ladies, Kennedy House (where you can stop for a spot of tea), and land up at the Marine Museum of Manitoba in Selkirk.
This Dam was one of the first built in Manitoba. It was used to supply power for electric trolleys in Winnipeg.
The dam is located just off a gravel road between the towns of Pinawa and Lac du Bonnet. It is about 1 1/2 hours north east of winnipeg
The dam has picnic spots and a play ground. There are spots to go swimming.
When we were walking back to the playground from the dam, we came upon a garter snake. It just happened that we had the snake surronded. This snake was about 12 inches long. It moved towards my 3 yr old son. Being his first time seeing a snake, he ran backwards VERY fast, never taking his eyes off the snake. He screamed louder then I thought possible. Next time he talked to grampa and gramma, he told them about how a snake chased him and tried to kill him....
Camping is very popular around the Winnipeg area & all over the province of Manitoba. You can choose many type of different locations to go camping in seeing as Manitoba has many lakes, forests & even a desert at Carberry. You can also find many secluded areas the further north you go.
Churchill, way up in Northern Manitoba, is famous for its polar bears. I believe you can fly up there from the airport if you're interested in seeing the critters. Your best bet for finding some will probably be at the town dump.
Manitoba has several fine parks, including Riding Mountain National Parks, which is about 3 hours NW of Winnipeg, and Whiteshell Provincial Park, which is on the border of Manitoba and Ontario to the East. Both offer hotels and camping.
Spruce Woods provincial park is a great place to do some biking or hiking. The place also has mini golf and amenities. Nearby are the Spirit Sands, a large area of sand dunes created by glaciers. Just don't wander too far off the trails, or you might get hit by a missile from the Shilo army base. If you are bored by the sands, check out dismal and ugly GLENBORO where you can see the huge Sara the Camel next to a bunch of dilapidated farm machinery!!! OR, also nearby is Souris, which sports a nifty rope bridge over the river.
If you are bored out of your skull in Winnipeg, why not take a drive down some of our EXCITING rural roads, where you can glimpse wheat, wheat, and more wheat. (& maybe some canola or flax, if you're lucky)
One thing you don't want to miss in Winnipeg is pay a visit to Lower Fort Garry. It is very unique place to explore piece of Manitoba history. You will have an opportunity to step back into 19th century and see how people lived when fur trading was the main type of business. Costumed interpreters/actors (by the way it is very difficult to confuse them) re-enact events that happened in mid 1800-s. I got to talk to the woman whose husband went beaver hunting, and she is making him lunch (play-lunch nothing was really cooking...). We also discussed the news from 19th century. Also you can get into the local store and negotiate exchanging your rolex watch to a piece of very nice bear fur - lots of fun!
It is easy to get there by car - it is just a half an hour drive north from downtown Winnipeg and a few minutes south of Selkirk on Highway #9 (Main Street).
Dauphin CountryFest, usually the 1st weekend of July, is held in Dauphin (about 3 or 4 hours away from Winnipeg).
This country music festival draws in big names and is a great time. There is camping onsite. If you have kids try to book the family/quiet camping area. If you want to party book the other camping area.
Phone: 1-800-361-7300 or www.countryfest.mb.ca
Manitoba is a prairie province and I have always loved this summer sight. Cheerful yellow kanola fields, stretching as far as the eye can see. This particular field is also dotted with honey bee boxes.
You simply can't miss Manitoba's best tourist attraction: the world's largest Coke can in Portage La Prairie.
Which begs me to ask the question...Who in the hell would portage a canoe across the prairie..you have any idea how far that is?
East of Winnipeg starts the Canadian prairies - flat farming land from Winnipeg to Calgary. Although, it is interesting for a while, the prairies get boring fast.
Here is my friend Kris, displaying for you another pretty field. Agriculture is Manitoba's top industry.