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Fun Facts and superlatives from Manitoba

Updated: May 24


Pine Point Rapids at Whiteshell Provincial Park - Credit: May Contain Studios via Travel Manitoba

Most of what the world knows about Manitoba is based on movie mentions, Winnipeg’s reigning title of Slurpee Capital of the World, or the fact that the Canadian province has been colder than Mars. NASA has even named a plot of land on the red planet after Manitoba’s capital city. But beyond these intergalactic accolades, Manitoba is actually a pretty nifty place here on Earth, with contributions to the world’s wildlife wonders, outdoor phenomenons, first-class festivals and yes, even Hollywood. Here are some fun facts about Manitoba that will blow your mind….

 

Meet Manitoba’s wildlife wonders


Manitoba has the biggest mating dens anywhere in the world – that is, for red-sided garter snakes. They come out in the thousands in early May to the Narcisse Dens to mix, mingle and mate. Writhing balls of snakes make for great viewing right around Mother’s Day, so be sure to bring Mom!


Narcisse Snake Dens - Credit: Travel Manitoba

The Hudson Bay has over 50,000 beluga whales, 4,000 of which visit the Churchill area every year in July and August. And visitors can kayak with them!


Kayaking with beluga whales in Churchill - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba is the world’s largest denning site for polar bears.


Polar bear family at Wapusk National Park - Credit: Dennis Fast (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Manitoba has over 100,000 lakes and waterways, the perfect lure for anglers seeking some of the continent’s largest fish.

 

Venture into the great outdoors


Manitoba’s Little Limestone Lake is the finest and largest example of a marl lake in the world, meaning it changes colour with fluctuations in temperature.


Little Limestone Lake - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Winnipeg has the largest mature elm tree urban forest in North America with approximately 160,000 elms.


Churchill is one of the top 3 places in the world to observe Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.


Aurora Borealis in Churchill - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Winnipeg has the sunniest winter season in Canada with 358 hours of sunshine.


Manitoba’s highest point is Baldy Moutain at 831 metres, located in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.


Give into festival fever


Manitoba’s Festival du Voyageur is Western Canada’s largest winter festival.


Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg - Credit: Dan Harper

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is one of the oldest and largest folk festivals in the world.


Folklorama, held in Winnipeg each August, is the world’s largest and longest running multicultural festival featuring over 44 cultural pavilions.


Folklorama - Credit: Travel Manitoba

The Pas is home to the Northern Manitoba Trapper’s Festival which happens to be Manitoba’s oldest winter festival, established in 1916.


Manito Ahbee is the largest Pow Wow gathering in Canada, and the second largest in North America.


Manito Ahbee - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Take a glimpse into yesteryear


The earliest inhabitants of the area were Indigenous peoples from two nations: the Ne-hiyawak (Cree) and the Nakotas (Assiniboin). They were later joined by the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) and the Dakota (Sioux). Winnipeg is the Cree word for Muddy Waters.


The Exchange District is a National Historic Site spanning 30 blocks in Winnipeg’s downtown, showcasing turn-of-the-twentieth-century architecture that is unrivaled in Canada.


Historic Exchange District in Winnipeg - Credit: Salvador Maniquiz via Tourism Winnipeg

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden has the largest collection of prehistoric marine fossils in North America, including the world’s largest publicly displayed Mosasaur. We call him Bruce!


Bruce at Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre - Credit: Travel Manitoba

The world’s largest trilobite known as Isotelus rex was discovered in northern Manitoba can be seen at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.


Lower Fort Garry was the first training base for the North West Mounted Police.


Journey to exciting landmarks


Churchill, Manitoba, is Canada’s most northerly port. It's nicknamed the “Polar Bear Capital of the World" for playing host to polar bears on their way to the adjacent Hudson Bay.


Churchill is "Polar Bear Capital of the World" - Credit: Travel Manitoba

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first national museum to be built outside of Canada's capital region.


Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg - Credit: Bill Bennett (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

The town of Gimli, on the west shores of Lake Winnipeg, is the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland. The community hosts an Icelandic Festival known as Islendingadagurinn every summer.


Islendingadagurinn in Gimli - Credit: Robyn Hanson

The International Peace Garden is devoted to world peace along the world’s longest unfortified border and lies on the U.S. and Canada border as a symbol of friendship.


Université de Saint-Boniface is the very first educational institution in Western Canada (dating back to 1818) and helped to found the University of Manitoba in 1877.


The Royal Canadian Mint produces all of Canada’s circulation coins and currency for 60 governments around the globe.


The Royal Canadian Mint - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Experience Manitoba’s vibrant art scene


The Winnipeg Art Gallery has the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art.


Qaumajuq is part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery - Credit: JP Media Works (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest dance company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.


Royal Winnipeg Ballet - Credit: Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Winnipeg’s French theatre company Le Cercle Moliere is Canada’s oldest continuously operating French theatre.


Rainbow Stage is Canada’s oldest outdoor theatre, providing Broadway musicals in the heart of Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park since 1955.


Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers is Canada’s oldest contemporary dance company, founded by Rachel Browne in 1964.


Skate and slide your heart out


Manitoba has more curling clubs than Ontario and Québec combined and it is often referred to as the Curling Capital of the World.


The world’s largest curling rock resides in Arborg, located outside of the Arborg-Bifrost Curling Club. The rock measures 4.2 metres.


Curling rock in Arborg - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Winnipeg boasts one of the longest skating trails in the world. Starting downtown at The Forks, the trail leads skaters down the Red and Assiniboine Rivers over a length of between 6 and 9 km and features warming huts designed by architects from all over the world.


Skating trail on the Red River - Credit: Travel Manitoba

Meet the characters of Manitoba


Manitoba has produced famous musicians such as Neil Young, Burton Cummings/The Guess Who, Randy Bachman/Bachman Turner Overdrive, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Weakerthans, Crash Test Dummies, Tom Cochrane, Bif Naked, Fred Penner, Bob Rock and Al Simmons.


The big screen has been graced by Manitoba-born actors such as Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers, Suicide Squad) and Anna Paquin (X-Men, True Blood). Guy Maddin is arguably our most famous contribution to the directing/producing realm.


Olympians? Yep, we have them. The world knows Susan Auch (speed skater), Clara Hughes (cyclist and speed skater), Cindy Klassen (speed skater), Jennifer Jones (curling) and many more – all from Manitoba.


We have literary talent too. Manitoba boasts authors Carol Shields, Margaret Laurence, Miriam Toews, Patrick Friesen and Gabrielle Roy.


The inspiration for James Bond was famous WWII spymaster Sir William Stephenson, who happened to be born and raised in Winnipeg.


Credit: Travel Manitoba

Bobby Hull of the Winnipeg Jets was hockey’s first million-dollar player.


St. Laurent has the largest concentration of Métis people in North America.


The character of Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by a black bear named Winnie, who was named after Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg.


Winnie-the-Pooh at Assiniboine Park - Credit: JP Media Works (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Paul Faraci invented Pizza Pops in Winnipeg in 1964.


Snow White illustrator Charles Thorson grew up in Gimli. It is widely believed that the Snow White character created for Disney Studios was based on a waitress Thorson met at a diner in the West End of Winnipeg.

 

Further information on Manitoba can be found at www.travelmanitoba.com.

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