Manitoba travel guide

Overlooked by many, Manitoba could be Canada’s best-kept secret, spanning Arctic tundra and sprawling prairies, a classy capital and vast swathes of wildlife-packed wilderness.

At one extreme, there’s the sub-Arctic coastline at Churchill on Hudson Bay where you can spy frolicking beluga whales in summer or roaming polar bears in the autumn. At the other, there’s cosmopolitan Winnipeg, crammed with thrilling museums and fascinating historic districts.

In between, there’s not much at all other than a phenomenal landscape of sweeping farmland, flowering prairies and some 100,000 lakes, which support a range of wildlife including elk, black bears, wolves, muskox, moose and various migratory birds.

No wonder outdoor adventurers are in heaven, paddling the historic Hayes River, or camping at spots like Paint Lake Provincial Park for a hike to Kwasitchewan Falls.

If all that open space overwhelms you, head for the city. Winnipeg is usually either blisteringly hot or bitingly cold, but don’t let the weather put you off. The city boasts Canada’s oldest public gallery as well as the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, opened in 2014 and the first national museum built for nearly 50 years.

For a city plonk in the middle of the prairies, Winnipeg boasts a seriously impressive cultural line-up, including a professional ballet, symphony orchestra, theatre and opera. And who’d have thought it? Every single Canadian coin in your pocket was minted in Winnipeg.

Manitoba is a huge province with comparably few residents, but the people that do live there are renowned for their friendly, hospitable natures and embrace of diversity. Winnipeg is the centre of the cultural festival Folklarama, a celebration of Canada's ethnic communities. Manitobans themselves are a vibrant international mix, and include Icelandic, Japanese and Italian.