Most Manitoba attractions can be divided into two categories: those located within its capital, Winnipeg, and those situated within the province’s extensive wilderness areas. Riding Mountain National Park, one of two in Manitoba, is a forested oasis surrounded by flat prairie in the province’s southwest Parkland region. Manitoba’s other national park, Wapusk, is situated 28 miles south of Churchill and named after the Cree word for the polar bears who frequently roam around Cape Churchill. However, even Winnipeg boasts its fair share of green spaces, which has earned Manitoba’s capital its ‘city of parks’ nickname.
A statue of Winnie, the black bear who inspired the Winnie the Pooh series and her owner, Harry Colebourn, stand at the Assiniboine Park Zoo entrance. However, the monument and conservatory aren’t the only worthwhile attractions here. English and French gardens grow along the park trails, while Duck Pond freezes into a popular skating rink in the winter. The outdoor Lyric Theatre hosts ballet, opera, jazz, and classical symphony performances in summer, while the Pavilion Gallery Museum includes a restaurant and exhibits by many of Manitoba’s most famous artists. Address: 55 Pavilion Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N6 Phone: +1-204-927-6000 Website: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca
The Assiniboine and Red rivers intersect at the Forks in downtown Winnipeg, a popular meeting place and trading post for more than six millennia. Each year, over four million people browse the Forks Market’s 50 shops and sample the exotic dishes served at the food court. Toys, jewelry, clothing, and crafts are sold inside a former hayloft, while Red River skating is a popular winter activity. Address: 200-350 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0C3 Phone: +1-204-983-6757 Website: http://www.theforks.com/
Royal Canadian Mint
Not only does Winnipeg’s Royal Canadian Mint building produce billions of Canadian coins, but currencies from more than 60 other countries around the globe are also manufactured within this modern building. Visitors can watch a brief five-minute video on the minting process, take a 40-minute walking tour of the facility, hold a CDN $200,000 bar of nearly 100 percent gold or make their own souvenir coins at the interactive coin museum situated next door. Clothing and collector coins are sold at the mint boutique. Address: 520 Lagimodiere Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB R2J 4J3 Phone: +1-204-983-6429 Website: http://www.mint.ca/
International Peace Garden
Every year more than 150,000 flowers are planted at this peaceful garden straddling Manitoba’s border with the American state of North Dakota. Although visitors entering the park can bypass customs, they must pass through border patrol upon exiting. The peaceful area includes relaxing fountains, an impressive floral clock, and World Trade Center remains. Well-known quotes are inscribed on the twin concrete towers surrounding the peace chapel between the American and Canadian borders. Address: Box 419, Boissevain, MB R0K 0E0 Phone: +1-204-534-2510 Website: http://www.peacegarden.com/
Grand Beach Provincial Park
The beaches on Lake Winnipeg’s eastern shores were created shortly after the last ice age. This popular provincial park less than a 90-minute car ride from Winnipeg contains about 350 wooded campsites, while the beach itself ranks among North America’s finest. The area also features a boardwalk with shops and food vendors, a fishing dock, hiking trails, and a sanctuary for endangered bird species that is especially popular among Winnipeg residents. Address: Manitoba Conservation, Box 220, Grand Beach, Manitoba R0E 0T0 Phone: +1-204-754-5040 Website: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_pa...
Riding Mountain National Park
This park which briefly served as a WWII war prisoner camp became a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1986. Today, situated between Dauphin and Brandon in North America’s geographic middle, it is the meeting place of several unique biospheres. The most imposing of this area’s several wildlife species include one of the continent’s biggest black bear populations and a wild bison range around Lake Audy. Loon’s Island is among the park’s most popular hiking trails and illustrations depicting the unemployed Great Depression workers who helped establish Manitoba’s first and oldest national park still remain in memory. Address: Wasagaming, Manitoba R0J 2H0 Phone: +1-204-848-7275 Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/mb/riding/index.aspx
Souris River Suspension Bridge
Canada’s longest suspension foot bridge is the main attraction in the western Manitoba community of Souris, situated southwest of Brandon about a 10-minute drive south of the Trans Canada Highway. The 582-foot Souris River Suspension Bridge has spanned its namesake river for over a century and has even been commemorated on a Canadian postage stamp. Address: Western Manitoba Phone: n/a Website: n/a