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Sand Lakes Provincial Park is named for Big Sand Lake, which stretches 113 kilometers (70.2 miles) across Northern Manitoba. Known for its proximity to spectacular natural water features, the park also surrounds the South Seal River. Its landscape moves between forest, tundra, and savannah, and the area protects a number of endangered species. Home to such fish species as northern pike, walleye, trout, and Arctic grayling, Sand Lakes Provincial Park is a popular destination among anglers. Visitors can enjoy fishing, as well as hunting and canoeing, year round but should plan to visit in July for the warmest temperatures.
Situated at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of the Canadian Province of Manitoba. Known as the "Gateway to the West," the city is a destination in its own right, a metropolis, and transportation hub that has been shaped by years of isolation into a bustling city with much to offer. Tour the French Quarter, stroll along the Riverwalk and marvel at the 20th-century architecture. While the sleek facade of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights may be its most striking modern masterpiece, Winnipeg is brimming with cultural and historic sites. The Forks National Historic Site, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and the Manitoba Legislative Building top the list, alongside the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint. The ever-enticing Assiniboine Park is the city's green lung, its zoo the top-billed attraction for families with kids. A multicultural city, Winnipeg is best known for its annual celebrations, including one of the world's biggest Fringe Festivals, as well as several folk and music fests. Backed by a diverse dining scene, and a populace that's fun-loving enough to not care about being the butt of a Simpson's joke, Winnipeg is a confidently riveting surprise amid the prairie.
Named after Dr. Curtis Park, the Birds Hill Provincial Park was opened to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday, and features an unusual collection of diverse landscapes. From windswept prairies and rolling green meadows, to forests dominated by oak and aspen trees, the park covers nearly 3358 hectares (8300 acres) of land near Winnipeg. This massive park runs thick with kilometers of walking and cycling trails flanked by fields of wildflowers, inviting outdoor enthusiasts all year round. Its wooded depths are also home to a preserved historic homestead and a riding stable. At the heart of the park lies the sparkling Kingfisher Lake that is skirted by endless sandy stretches of the shore. Throughout the year, Birds Hill brims with a flurry of activities and events, including the Winnipeg Folk Festival, one of the largest of its kind in North America. Scores of visitors also stop by the park to watch engaging equestrian shows and polo tournaments.
Assiniboine Park is a sprawling green oasis amid the urban landscape of Winnipeg, heartily speckled with enchanting visions of natural beauty, cultural venues, and works of art. The riverfront park's expansive reach stretches across an area of over 1,100 acres (445 hectares), encompassing a host of intriguing sights, scenes and experiences. From the exotic fauna of the Zoo and the diverse flora of the Conservatory, to the artistic enclaves of the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, the park is an all-season wonderland of family-friendly delights. Other popular attractions include the Pavilion, the Lyric Theatre, the Pavilion Gallery Museum and the spectacular English Gardens.
Renowned for its nearby arctic wildlife, this far northern town on the Hudson Bay is accessible only by rail and plane. During the summers, many tourists arrive to see beluga whales swim in the Churchill river. Safaris on raised tundra vehicles organized by several outfitters take visitors on wild encounters with polar bears. Though isolated and rugged, the town also hosts seasonal birdwatchers and hunters of the northern lights during winter. A burgeoning nightlife scene helps liven things up.
This small prairie town curls around Crescent Lake and the Assiniboine River. Charming and serene, the town is a popular destination for day-trippers from Winnipeg and travelers in search of a rugged but comfortable stop on their way to Lake Manitoba’s southern beaches. Portage Ex, one of Western Canada’s oldest-running fairs, is held annually in Portage la Prairie, showcasing the regions rich cultural heritage by promoting the livestock industry, local handicrafts and artisans, and other cultural pursuits. The town has one of the most aggressive municipal tree planting programs in Canada, and has an urban forest collection of some of the largest cottonwood trees in the country.
Russian Mennonites settled Steinbach in the late 19th century, and their influence is evident today. The rugged, workman-like attitude is still the order of the day here, especially at the heritage village, where descendants of early blacksmiths and millers give visitors a chance to see how they lived and worked. It’s a pleasure to watch them work, and explore pioneer buildings and historical exhibits. The town also draws foodies for its first-rate German and Russian food, from spaetzle to orscht and vereniki.
This sprawling Riding Mountain National Park sits atop the Manitoba Escarpment, and stands in sharp contrast with surrounding prairie and farmland. Home to wolves, elk, moose, a captive bison herd, and three unique ecosystems, the park is also a designated a biosphere reserve. Indulge in a rejuvenating hike along the scenic pathways, cycle through boreal forests, and fish or boat in one of many lakes. During winter the park provides perfect landscapes for snowmobiling and skiing. The park also hosts various events like tours, concerts and festivals.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, named after painted turtles found in the area, is one of the most popular provincial parks in Manitoba, especially among families and campers. The park is full of rolling hills and has miles of horse riding trails, hiking trails, canoe routes, mountain biking trails, and campgrounds. Fishing and boating are top activities in the park, and William Lake is also very popular for windsurfing. During the summer, the turtles can be seen sunbathing in ponds, and during the late spring females can be seen laying eggs.
Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park spans 398,100 hectares (983,727 acres) of southeastern Manitoba. It shares its eastern border with Ontario's Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. As the name suggests, the park is a wilderness area offering those seeking adventure a range of activities. Visitors can canoe down gushing waters or hike through rough terrain. Campsites are available within the park. While camping, explore the area and discover traces left by the natives who once lived here. There is no direct road access into the park; the most popular access routes are by water.
Sitting at the northern edge of Manitoba’s central lakes, Clearwater is exactly what it sounds like; a lake that is so clear its bottom is visible past depth of 10 meters (30 feet). Resident northern pike, large trout, and whitefish call the lake home. The surrounding park offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, boating, camping, and hiking. A self-guided trail takes hikers to the “caves,” where huge sections of rock have broken off of dolomite cliffs.
In the Anishinabe language, Nopiming means “Entrance to the Wilderness,” and entering this provincial park leads to miles of shield country spruce, birch, and poplar forests and hundreds of pretty lakes. The area was once home to miners looking to strike it rich during the Manitoba gold rush, and is scattered with abandoned mine shafts, trapper’s cabins, and mining equipment. Especially popular among anglers for the variety of fish living in the lakes, the park also offers opportunities to camp, hike, and canoe down waterways once traveled on by indigenous people.