WELCOME TO MANITOBA
Written by Wendy Williams (a.k.a. Mom)
Manitoba joined Confederation in 1870. The capitol city, Winnipeg, was known as “The Gateway to the West”. It soon became an economic and transportation hub of Western Canada.
The province was founded by treaties on the traditional lands of the: Assiniboine, Dakota, Cree, Dene, Anishinaabeg, Oji-Cree and Metis Nation Homeland. The Metis of the Red River District formed a distinctive culture which was a blend of Indigenous, French, English and Scottish influences. Manitoba has a troubled and stormy history (along with what was then North West Territories) regarding the settlement of lands with the Metis people. The home of one of the Metis Rebellion leaders, Louis Riel, still stands today in Winnipeg.
Manitoba was once covered by Lake Agassiz and many fossils can still be found in the remaining limestone sediment. Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba are two large lakes remaining from Lake Agassiz. Very fertile soils can be found in the Swan and Assiniboine Valley areas where river silt was generously deposited. The Northern half of the province is largely lakes and boreal forest.
Churchill was originally a fort and was an important seaport for many years. It is still famous for tours highlighting the polar bear population. Be sure to visit the legend of statue, Flintabatty Flonitan, in Flin Flon. The town flag, designed by Peter Oshust, still flies. Hydroelectric power and mining (nickel, copper, silver, gold), lumber and pulp and paper industries are some of the industries from Northern Manitoba.
The Southern half of Manitoba has a variety of beautiful scenic landscapes existing of lakes, small mountain ranges and plains. Many industries proliferate: agriculture wheat (wheat, oats, barley, peas, canola, sunflowers, potatoes), livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep, dairy, poultry), commercial fishing, and crude oil.
Several ethnic peoples who live in Manitoba are: First Nations, Metis, English, French. Scottish, German, Ukrainian, Chinese and Filipino.
Suffragette and author, Nellie McClung led Manitoba women to be the first to be allowed to vote. Some other noted individuals are: author Gabrielle Roy (The Tin Flute) , Olympic speed skater- Cindy Klassen, Olympic curler- Jennifer Jones, Red River Floodway project- Duff Roblin, and gifted filmmaker-Guy Madden.
Winnipeg is home to the renowned Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Ballet Company and an outdoor drama setting called Rainbow stage. Many communities throughout the province celebrate their areas through local talent events and festivals. A revival of Metis old time fiddling, such as The Frontier Fiddlers, provides toe tapping music and step dance.
Tourists are encouraged to check out the large black bears, wild animals and natural flora and fauna of beautiful Riding Mountain Provincial Park. Other provincial parks are: Whiteshell, Wapusk, Turtle Mountain and Grass River. At the top of the list would also be the variety of ethnic foods to savour. Visit Manitoba Tourism for places to go and things to see in Manitoba.