Guide to Delightful surprises Here’s our list of the Top 5 unexpected Manitoba gems
1 RIDING MOUNTAIN GLAMPING Hikers, kayakers and mountain bikers will find lots to explore in Riding Mountain National Park, where complex ecosystems–including prairie grasslands, deep aspen forests, wetlands and the shores of Clear Lake–are home to elk, moose, bison, bears and lynx.
If you want this kind of immersive wilderness experience with some of the rough edges smoothed off, consider glamping. The park’s “oTENTik” are roomy A-frame structures that blend the under-the-stars feel of a tent with the comforts of a cabin.
The amenities continue in the townsite of Wasagaming. Here you can pick up legendary cinnamon buns at the White House Bakery. Or take in a film at the Park Theatre, built in 1937 and still the largest log-cabin movie-house in North America.
2 Assiniboine Park
At Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo, the irresistible polar bears of The Journey to Churchill exhibit and their innovative, award-winning environment get a lot of (well-deserved) attention.
In addition, the park offers an expansive urban retreat, its 450 hectares combining quiet natural beauty with recreation. You can stroll through the English Garden, feed the birds at the duck pond, or take in a leisurely cricket match. Summer outdoor entertainment events include jazz in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, movies at the Lyric Theatre bandshell and unforgettable open-air performances by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
3 winnipeg eats
With super-trendy Segovia and deer + almond recently making the 100 Best Restaurants list, Canadians are starting to find out about Winnipeg’s under-theradar food scene.
The Common, located in the city’s popular Forks Market, sets a new standard for food halls, with a cool design that references the building’s industrial roots and an edgy, ambitious wine and beer list overseen by internationally lauded sommelier Véronique Rivest.
For cheap-and-cheerful options, Winnipeg’s thriving food culture also includes hole-in-the-wall ethnic joints, classic drive-ins serving up messy hamburgers and old favourites like the BDI, an ice cream stand that’s had fans happily lining up for over 60 summers.
4 FLIN FLON
Founded in 1927 as a mining centre, the northern Manitoba city of Flin Flon has an unexpected back story. Legend has it that prospector Tom Creighton came across a copy of a 1905 dime-store sci-fi novel on the trail. He later named the town after its central character, Josiah Flintabattey Flonatin, an adventurer who stubles onto a city where all the usual norms are upside-down.
With its rich mix of history, culture and nature, Flin Flon still takes you by surprise. Head to the Northern Visual Arts Centre, where you can take in an exhibition or find your inner artist with a sunset paint party. Or follow a wooden boardwalk to view the city’s spectacular setting of volcanic rocks, boreal forest and clear, deep waters.
5 FLY-IN FISHING
Whether you’re a master angler or a keen novice, Manitoba’s vast northern region has an exclusive f ly-in fishing adventure crafted just for you.
Forget the GPS. You’ll get a guide whose deep-down knowledge of these remote lakes will help you land some impressive trophy fish, from combative pike to elusive trout.
These lodges specialize in personalized service, combining rustic atmosphere and modern comforts, which might include a massage, Finnish saunas or just reliable Internet. You’ll enjoy delicious dawn breakfasts and elegant three-course dinners.
Even better, though, is the simple satisfaction of a shore lunch, with fish just pulled from the lake fried up in a cast-iron pan.
Expect the unexpected in Manitoba, from Winnipeg’s unpretentious but adventurous food scene to the rustic-luxe hospitality of northern fly-in fishing lodges.