Manitoba: A Rich History

Situated between Saskatchewan on the west and Ontario on the east, Manitoba lies in the middle of Canada and is the eastern-most prairie province.

The name “Manitoba” is thought to have come from the Native Cree word "manito-wapow," meaning "strait of the spirit." The pounding of waves and pebbles on the shores of Lake Manitoba was the source of an Indian superstition that a “manito" or spirit was beating a drum. Manitoba is still home to many Metis and native peoples who have shaped the history of this vast province.

"Glorious and Free," Manitoba is renowned for dramatic landscapes, diversity of wild-life, and warm, friendly people. Drawn by more than 100,000 lakes and countless rivers and marshes, two-thirds of Canada's 500-plus species of birds have made Manitoba their home. This province is also known as one of the most exciting wildlife-watching destinations in the world, featuring one of the highest densities of moose, elk and black bear in North America.

Visitors flock to the city of Churchill in Northern Manitoba to see the polar bears lounge in their frigid playgrounds. Others seek the beauty and tranquility of Riding Mountain National Park in Western Manitoba, and the secluded beaches of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg.

But Manitoba is more than just rural landscape. Considered the “Gem of the Prairies,” Winnipeg is a city that combines astonishing natural beauty with a high level of ethnic diversity.

With a population of over 685, 000, Winnipeg is the largest city in Manitoba, and is home to over 43 different nationalities. The British, Asian and European roots are revealed in the many restaurants and cafes that line the city’s streets and offer incredible hand made cuisine. The numerous museums, galleries, and historic sites stand as a testament to the fascinating history of this province.

Whether you have come to mountain bike, snowshoe, ice-fish, or witness the northern lights, Manitoba will find a way into your heart.



  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • April 9: Good Friday
  • April 11: Easter Sunday
  • May 24 (or closest prior Mon.): Victoria Day
  • July 1: Canada Day
  • Sept. (1 st Mon.): Labour Day
  • Oct. (2 nd Mon.): Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 11: Remembrance Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day
  • Dec. 26: Boxing Day
Fast Facts
Population: 1,119,583
Size: 647,797 sq. km. (250,114 sq. mil.); ranks 6th
Capital City: Winnipeg
Time Zone(s): Mountain, DST
Minimum Age for Unrestricted Driver’s License: 17 years, 6 months
Minimum Age for Gambling: 18
Alcohol Consumption: Legal age is 18
Taxes: In addition to Manitoba’s provincial sales tax of 7 percent, there is a national 7 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST.)
Highest Point: 831 m/2,727 ft., Baldy Mountain
Lowest Point: Sea level, Churchill
  External links
Dept. CU8, 7-155 Carlton Street, Winnipeg,
Manitoba, Canada R3C 3H8

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