Facts about Manitoba

Manitoba is the central province of Canada. It is located between Saskatchewan and Ontario. Manitoba is large, over 649,947 square miles and it has over 110, 000 lakes. It is twice the size of the United Kingdom.  The population is 1.2 million and its capital city is Winnipeg. 

The word ‘Manitoba’ comes from the Cree word “manito-wapow” which means “the strait of the spirit”. The word ‘manitou’ means ‘spirit’ and the word is meant to echo the sound of the Creator or spirit banging a drum which is echoed in waves crashing ashore on Manitoba’s many lakes. 

First Nations Peoples of Manitoba 

The earliest First Nations peoples living in Manitoba can be dated as far back as 10 000 – 13 000 BC.  

The linguistic differentiations of Manitoba First Nations are:  Algonquian (Cree and Ojibway-Cree), Siouan (Dakota) and Athapaskan (Chipewyan or Dene) and Michif (Métis). 

In ancient times First Nations Peoples relied on the grasslands and the massive buffalo herds for food, clothing and tools. Tribes in the wooded areas ate berries, moose caribou and used the timber to make shelters. It is amazing they were able to live so well off the land using only what nature had available. They were completely self-sufficient. 

They are deeply connected to Mother Nature or The Great Creator and this is evident in their lifestyle and in the art that they make. 

 
For more information on Manitoba go to: 
http://www.gov.mb.ca/tourism/index.html 

History of Manitoba 

Historians can trace inhabitants in Manitoba as far back as the 13,000 BC. The first inhabitants were nomadic hunters that moved north from the area that is now Montana. The large grassland area provided ample hunting and trade developed rapidly as communities were settled- around 500 BC. Early trade items included copper, flint, fur timber, pipestone, and glass. 

The first Europeans came to Manitoba in 1612. By 1670 King Charles II granted a large part of the province as “the Governor &CO. of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson’s Bay”.  In 1811 the first agricultural center was established by Lord Selkirk. The founder of the province was Louis Riel who is also known as ‘the father of Manitoba”. He led the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870 and was head of the provisional government. Louis Riel decided the terms by which Manitoba would join the rest of Canada. Louis Riel remains a controversial figure: an execution during the rebellion led him to live in exile in Montana. When he returned to Saskatchewan to represent the Métis in the House of Commons he was arrested and eventually he was tried and executed for High Treason. Manitoba’s land was bought by the Canadian government from the Hudson’s Bay Company and Manitoba finally joined Canada in 1912. 

Manitoba is a business-oriented prairie province with and emerging high-technology industry. Manitoba is the most eastern of the three prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Its main natural resource is wheat, as it is an ideal province for farming. Enjoy the beaches and grass capped sand dunes of Manitoba, where you have over 100,000 lakes to choose from! There are many places to visit in Manitoba. Summers in this province are sunny and hot, whereas winters are bright but bitterly cold.  

Don’t miss out on festivals such as Folklorama, and Festival du Voyageur, which celebrates Manitoba’s French-Canadian history. If you love to golf, there are over 120 public and private golf courses to choose from including the Miniota Golf Course and Camp Site, the Sandhills Golf and Country Club, and the Restin Golf Course. Enjoy exhilarating adventure tours at Manitoba’s resorts including J.D’s Hunting and Fishing Lodge, or Jimmy Robinson’s Famous Sports Afield Duck Club. Relax at the end of the day in Manitoba’s capital city, Winnepeg, at the 5-star Fairmont Winnepeg, which is one of the top places to visit in Manitoba as well as stay. 

Go BIG: Go to Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is smack dab in the middle of central Canada.  Despite its reputation for being mostly farming country, Saskatchewan has a wide range of attractions, places to go and things to do. Saskatchewan has an area of 566, 276 square kilometers and a population of just over one million. The major cities are Prince Albert, Regina (the capital), North Battleford, Moosejaw, Yorkton, and Swift Current. Saskatchewan got its name from the Cree word for its biggest river, the Saskatchewan River, which means ‘swift flowing river’. 

Saskatchewan History 

The province was first discovered by Europeans in 1690. Henry Kelsey travelled up the Saskatchewan River to trade furs with the First Nation peoples. There were many different tribes at that time including Algonquin, Athabaskan, Sioux, Cree, Atsina and Salteaux.  The first settlement was not established until almost one hundred years later, in 1774, when the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a trading post in the northeast called Cumberland House. In 1803 part of the land was given to the United States by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and in 1818 it was given to the United Kingdom, but Saskatchewan did not join the Dominion of Canada officially until 1905. 

Saskatchewan or “the land of living skies” as it is called by locals, offers both rural and urban choices for tourists.  Saskatchewan has an astonishing 100, 000 lakes and rivers and that means there is an abundance of fishing and water sports! Swimming, boating, white water fishing, and rafting are just some of the things you can do. Little Manitou Lake offers unique briny waters that have therapeutic qualities. The combination of minerals gives the water a specific gravity that allows the human body to be buoyant, which helps those with joint problems find relief. Little Manitou Lake is one of three such lakes in the world. 

Saskatchewan is at the center of the three prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) and is distinguished by the fact that it produces over 54% of the wheat grown in all of Canada. In addition, Regina, Saskatchewan’s capital city, is home to Canada’s only training academy for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Saskatchewan also includes the sunshine capital of Canada – the city of Estevan! 

Saskatchewan Tourist Attractions 

Saskatchewan has casinos galore if you like to gamble! In Regina, there is the Casino Regina:  Historic Union Station that has been transformed into a full-service casino. The Dakota Dunes Casino just south of Saskatoon opened in 2007. In Central Saskatchewan there is the Painted Hand Casino (in Yorkton) and in the north be sure and check out Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert. 

If hunting is your game choose from one of the 200 outfitters who supply and accompany hunters for their excursions. Saskatchewan has a wide range of wild life and some of the best hunting you’ll find anywhere. 

Go big- Go to Saskatchewan! Any time of the year is a good time to go! http://www.sasktourism.com/ 

Things to Do in Saskatchewan 

Saskatchewan offers a variety of family attractions, romantic getaways, golf tours, adventure tours, and art exhibits and excursions. Enjoy Saskatchewan’s wilderness by trying a Fishing/Hunting package; Discover the heritage of Saskatchewan with a guided Heritage Regina Tour; Visit The Hepburn Museum of Wheat located within a refurbished Pool Elevator; Relax at the Pavelich Farm Bed and Breakfast; Check out the bird watcher’s paradise – Luck Lake Heritage Marsh; or enjoy good food, and small-town fun at the Meath Park Polka Festival 

Rosy Alberta

Its emblem is the wild rose: known for its rolling foothills, resorts, fishing and North America’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, West Edmonton Mall, Alberta is the fastest growing of Canada’s Prairie Provinces.  Alberta has vast oil reserves, dinosaur fossils and some of the best skiing in the world. Take your pick of activity: winter, spring, summer or fall, indoors or out of doors. Alberta has it all. 

Jasper, Alberta Tourism Information 

Jasper, Alberta is home to the Athabasca River or ‘where weeds grow’, as the First Nations people call it. Flowing out of the Rocky Mountains near the Columbian Ice Shield, it is 7000 feet above sea level. It plunges downward as it winds its way through the Grand Rapids and flows into Lake Athabasca. Fort McMurray is the main urban center and its town. The area is also rich in oil and gold. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Fort McMurray was important trading center as well as a shipping route. The Athabasca River is one of the most pristine rives in North America and is very popular with both anglers and fishers. 

Jasper National Park is like being in the wild. This is one of the top places to visit in Alberta. Animals wander around freely and mountain sheep will come right up to your vehicle and try and steal your sandwiches! There is skiing galore as well as kayaking and multiple hiking trails.  

Banff, Alberta Tourism Information 

Banff is another world class resort town nearby and Canada’s first national park. Railway workers came across the natural hot springs in 1883 and decided to make to area a park for the public to enjoy. The park is an enormous 6641 kilometers in area and is one of the world’s premier destinations. Glaciers, rivers, forests, meadows as well as the Banff National Arts Centre are what Banff is famous for. Both Jasper and Banff are connected by the Icefields Parkway. 

Things to Do in Alberta 

Five of Canada’s fourteen UNESCO heritage sites are located in Alberta: Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park, and Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. 

West Edmonton Mall is located in the province’s capital city. If you’re in Edmonton, plan to spend at least one day there. There are hundreds of shops, an indoor amusement park, a water park, an indoor ice rink, and tons of free parking! West Edmonton has it all. Other tourist attractions in Edmonton include: The Fringe Festival, The Works Art and Design Festival, Fort Edmonton Park, The John Walter Museum, The Prince of Wales Museum and the Provincial Legislative Buildings. 

Calgary, a great tourist place to visit, is on the Bow River close to Banff and is known for its yearly Stampede. Other attractions include the Calgary Tower, The Pengrowth Saddledome, the Glenbow Museum, the Expo Latino Festival, Butterfield Acres Children’s Park, the Eau Claire Market, and the Arrata Opera Centre.  For more ideas on places to go in Alberta go to these sites: 
http://www.edmonton.ca/ 
http://www.visitcalgary.com/ 

Beautiful British Columbia

It’s written on every license plate in BC: Beautiful British Columbia. And it’s true. The gem of Canada’s west coast has much to offer. Its gorgeous mountains, pristine waters and deep forests attract tourists from all over the world. Canadians flock to live on its coast in order to escape the frigid winters in the east. 

If you like the outdoors, BC is for you. If you are urbane at heart, Vancouver or Victoria is for you. 

BC was host to the 2010 Olympics and took the opportunity to welcome the world. Over 10 years were spent updating and upgrading amenities and transit, so that Vancouver could compete globally. Now that the games are over, Vancouver has the benefit of those amenities. 

British Columbia Regions: 

Northern BC is vast, covering almost 500, 000 square miles. It is rough and wild with rivers, roads, lakes and coast lands and ancient archipelagos. Glaciers covered this area millions of years ago. Much of this area is protected. Many areas are protected by charter planes or on foot or horseback. Outdoor activities to do include fishing kayaking powder skiing, snowmobiling and camping. There are many provincial parks as well as well as amenities such as cabins and rustic loges if you prefer to sleep indoors. 

The Queen Charlotte Islands or the Haida Gwaii as they are named by First Nations, mean the ‘Islands of the people’. They are situated on the northwest coast of BC and are comprised of 150 islands. The Queen Charlottes are spectacular spot for whale watching and exploring the indigenous culture of BC. Queen Charlotte City offers bed and breakfasts, restaurants shops and galleries. The Islands are accessible by boat or plane so plan your trip accordingly. Local tours offer fishing diving, float plant tours, whale watching and beach combing. 

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is bordered by the Cariboo Mountains in the east and the Fraser River in the west. The biggest towns are Clinton and Lillooet.  You can drive the original Cariboo Wagon Road and walk along the Gold Rush Trail. Canoe in the Bowren Lake Provincial Park. The Cariboo Coast features fjords, islands accessible by boat or ferry, as well as many ancient First Nations communities. 

Vancouver Island is a short ferry ride from Vancouver and has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Beaches, old growth forests, mountains, oceans and rivers as well as BC’s capital city, Victoria, make it easy for any visitor to enjoy. 

The Thompson Okanagan region is known as mainly as wine and fruit country. Located in BC’s south interior, it is also home to amazing golf courses and ski resorts. Thousands of visitors every year enjoy the combination of skiing, wine tours, kayaking, camping and observing wildlife in their natural habitat. 

The Kootenay Rockies are home to four of BC’s provincial parks. Home to a bevy of waterfalls, rivers, lakes mineral hot springs and alpine meadows- it’s an interior region that is also a rain forest.  

Beautiful BC- it is full of natural wonders as well as a lively urban scene. If you want more options to help you decide where to go and what to do, go to: 

http://www.hellobc.com/  
http://www.gov.bc.ca/tca/ 
http://www.bcferries.com/ 

Whistler—For the Winter Sport Enthusiast

Ski enthusiasts will find slopes and skiable terrain across North America, but nothing compares to the beauty of Whistler. Blackcomb and Whistler mountains comprise the largest and most famous alpine ski destination in North America. It sits in the Coast Mountains of western Canada’s British Columbia—a two-hour trip from Vancouver, prepare to experience the country’s most scenic drive en route to your ski playground.

 

With gushing waterfalls and sparkling lakes, challenging hiking trails and steep ski chutes, Whistler is a perfect destination regardless of the season. Whistler Blackcomb, however, is the most popular attraction. Each year, its 8,100 acres of land sees nearly 40 feet of snowfall, creating one of the most active and sough-after après ski destinations in North America.

 

After a day of alpine fun, visitors can ride the Peak 2 Peak gondola back to one of the three villages at the mountains’ bases: Whistler Village, Creekside, and Upper Village. Accommodations are available to suit your need and speed, too; Whistler boasts a Four Seasons Resort, but families can also find affordable condo rentals, hotel rooms, or choose to camp just outside the villages.

 

Ski enthusiasts will find slopes and skiable terrain across North America, but nothing compares to the beauty of Whistler. Blackcomb and Whistler mountains comprise the largest and most famous alpine ski destination in North America. It sits in the Coast Mountains of western Canada’s British Columbia—a two-hour trip from Vancouver, prepare to experience the country’s most scenic drive en route to your ski playground.

 

With gushing waterfalls and sparkling lakes, challenging hiking trails and steep ski chutes, Whistler is a perfect destination regardless of the season. Whistler Blackcomb, however, is the most popular attraction. Each year, its 8,100 acres of land sees nearly 40 feet of snowfall, creating one of the most active and sough-after après ski destinations in North America.

 

After a day of alpine fun, visitors can ride the Peak 2 Peak gondola back to one of the three villages at the mountains’ bases: Whistler Village, Creekside, and Upper Village. Accommodations are available to suit your need and speed, too; Whistler boasts a Four Seasons Resort, but families can also find affordable condo rentals, hotel rooms, or choose to camp just outside the villages.

 

We’ve noticed a lot of Americans like to plan their weeklong ski vacation as a combination of Whistler Blackcomb and Mt Baker. To wit, there are ways to keep a lid on your ski budget, no matter what side of the border you’re on. Here’s one site that offers discounted lift tickets for Washington ski resorts.

 

At the same time, given the size, scale, and sheer thrills offered by Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, you can spend half a season at this one area before you feel a whiff of restless urge to move on and explore something new.

Gros Morne National Park—For the Photographer

Gros Morne National Park is a world heritage site on the west coast of Newfoundland. It is the second-largest national park in Canada (surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park) and takes its name from the province’s second-highest mountain peak, which stands some 2,644 feet tall. Gros Morne, meaning “large mountain standing alone,” is a member of the Long Range Mountains, an outlying range of Appalachian Mountains which stretches the length of the island’s west coast. The mountain range itself formed around 1.2 billion years ago, and the park provides an extremely rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the Earth’s mantle lie exposed.

 

Gros Morne National Park Reserve was established in 1973 and made a national park in 2005. Since its opening, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the pristine piece of Canadian wilderness, taking advantage of its hiking, walking, boating, and camping opportunities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site covering around 1122 square miles, the park is a seemingly never-ending series of stunning vistas. Filled with towering cliffs and thunderous waterfalls, Gros Morne National Park is the perfect backdrop for nearly every type of outdoor activity.

 

With soaring fjords, moody mountains, diverse beaches, and limitless bogs, forests, and cliffs, Gros Morne also offers the unique opportunity to hike into the alpine highlands a spot Arctic hare and ptarmigan in the tundra. The park’s attractions, however, do not begin and end with natural beauty. Nearby seaside communities are proud of their rich, indigenous cultures, providing visitors an opportunity to learn about the region’s native peoples. From theaters and festivals to restaurants and boutiques, the communities surrounding Gros Morne National Park provide a different type of education.

 

Despite its relatively remote location, Gros Morne National Park is surprisingly accessible. Major airlines fly into multiple airports around the area, are regional airlines service smaller, more accessible airports. Flights from Halifax are only around an hour, while flights from Montreal are just around three hours long. If you’re planning to drive, you can take the ferry from Nova Scotia to either Port aux Basques or Argentia, and several ferries travel along routes between the island and Labrador.

 

Prince Edward Island—For the Ocean Lover

Prince Edward Island is a province of Canada consisting of one larger island (the province’s namesake) and several, smaller islands. This is one of the three Maritime Provinces in Canada, and it is the smallest province in both land area and population—with just 142,907 residents, the entire province has fewer people than most cities. Prince Edward Island became a British colony in the 1700s and was federated into Canada as a province in 1873. Known for farming, fishing, and other maritime industries, Prince Edward Island is the perfect escape for any ocean lover.

 

Prince Edward Island has welcomed visitors of all age for hundreds of years, creating authentic northern Island experiences for everyone to enjoy. The coastline offers some of the most stunning views in the world, and further inland, tourists can spy rolling green hills and scenic farmland wherever they go. The island is also home to dozens of world-class golf courses, a diverse culinary scene, and some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever experience.

 

This part of Canada has something to offer every member of the family. If you want to experience some adventure without exerting yourself physically, take a coastal drive around the province. In need of a relaxing vacation? The island is full of stunning beaches ready to help you soak up the sun. There are hundreds of public parks, thousands of outdoor recreation opportunities, excellent museums and theaters, and some of the most picturesque lighthouses in the world.

 

Prince Edward Island is located around 120 miles north of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and around 370 miles east of Quebec City. The entire province consists of the main island and 231 minor islands. Altogether, the entire province has a land area of around 2,195 square miles, but the main island comprises 2,170 of that land. The main island’s transportation network has historically revolved around its seaports (Charlottetown, Summerside, Borden, Georgetown, and Souris), making ferry one of the most popular modes of transport. However, there is a bridge for those who want to drive as well as an airport in Charlottetown and Summerside.

Victoria and Vancouver Island—For the History Lover

Victoria sits just a 90-minute ferry ride away from the bustling metropolis of Vancouver. Though relatively close, the city feels like it’s a world—and century—away. Rather than innovating and modernizing as Vancouver, Victoria relies heavily on its deeply Colonial past, relishing distinctively British traditions like afternoon tea and British-style pubs. Though thousands of miles away from the United Kingdom, Victoria feels like an Anglophile’s dream.

 

Named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, with British settlement beginning in 1843. The city has retained a large number of its historic buildings, the most famous of which are the Parliament Buildings (finished in 1897) and the Empress Hotel (opened in 1908). Nicknamed “The Garden City,” Victoria is stunningly green, boasting a thriving technology industry and a popular tourist destination. It is also in the top twenty of world cities for quality-of-life.

 

Victoria, which sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is not strictly reserved for the British lovers among us. Despite the city’s nostalgic tendencies, it attracts a wide variety of travelers with its excellent museums, charming architecture, and fantastic harbor views. To that end, there’s a lot more to this part of the country than English-style rose gardens and afternoon tea. Vancouver Island is known for its stretching beaches and prolific wineries. In fact, many tourists visit this part of the country to experience wine tours, attend whale watches, and stroll along the pristine beaches. Interestingly enough, Victoria’s Chinatown is the second-oldest in North America (after San Francisco’s).

 

Victoria is easily visited from several locations. Those traveling from Vancouver can easily access this part of the island via ferry, while those traveling from Seattle can take a ferry or the Victoria Clipper, a passenger-only ferry which operates daily and year-round between Seattle and Victoria. The city is also just 25 miles from Port Angeles, Washington

 

Rocky Mountaineer Train—For the Adventurer

The Rocky Mountaineer Train is one of the most unique ways to experience Vancouver and greater British Columbia. The train line extends from Vancouver up to Banff National Park and features world-class service, sweeping panoramic views, and five-star accommodations. Train routes and ocean cruises can be mixed and matched to create wholly unique experiences. With stops in Vancouver, Whistler, Kamloops, Banff, Calgary, Jasper, Lake Louise, Quesnel, and Seattle, Washington, this is one of the best ways to experience Canada’s southwest.

 

The Rocky Mountaineer has four distinct routes. The Coastal Passage brings passengers from Seattle to Vancouver and up into the Canadian Rockies, providing stunning views of water for the duration of the journey. The Rainforest to Gold Rush route will bring you from Vancouver to Whistler, then through Quesnel and Jasper, tracing the area’s interesting history of mining through the rainforest. The Journey through the Clouds route runs from Vancouver through Kamloops to Jasper gaining significant elevation throughout the journey. Finally, the First Passage to the West runs from Vancouver to Banff, passing through Kamloops and Lake Louise.

 

This train is more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. Their onboard gourmet kitchen is fully stocked with exquisite food and B.C. wines to accompany you on the trip, and hosts entertain guests with fun and informative narration. Their open-air vestibule is a great way to experience the mountain air from the comfort of the train.

 

Most Rocky Mountaineer routes bring passengers directly to their hotels. Visitors experience the train by day, then stay in world-class hotels by night. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive and unforgettable way to experience Canada’s west, this is the package for you.

Vancouver—For the Nature-Loving City Dweller

Vancouver, located in British Columbia, is a coastal seaport city in western Canada. It is the most populous city in the province; the 2016 census recoded 631,486 people in the city. The Greater Vancouver area has a population of around 2.5 million, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. The city is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, ranking first among the top ten for five consecutive years.

 

Vancouver is home to hundreds of arts and culture outlets. From the Arts Club Theatre Company to Bard on the Beach, theater-lovers are bound to enjoy this stunning city. Similarly, the Vancouver International Film Center is one of the best in the world. The Vancouver Public Library’s main branch at Library Square was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and holds 1.5 million volumes. The Vancouver Art Gallery has a permanent collection of nearly 10,000 items and is home to a significant number of works by Emily Carr. Additionally, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs year-round, and the city itself is home to a number of famous Canadian composers. Vancouver also has a large LGBTQ+ community, hosting one of the country’s largest annual LGBTQ+ pride parades.

 

In addition to being a thriving metropolis, Vancouver is also meant to be experienced outdoors. The city’s temperate climate and abundance of rain create an incredible abundance of lush, green outdoor spaces. The largest among them is Stanley Park, a 1,001-acre public park that is almost entirely surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbor and English Bay. Adventure lovers will enjoy the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which sits 230 feet above Capilano River.

 

Vancouver is also remarkably accessible to visitors. Their rapid transit network is convenient and inexpensive, and Vancouver International Airport provides a gateway to the greater British Columbia area.