MAN­I­TOBA PARKS

Canadian Geographic - - NEWS -

1. RID­ING MOUN­TAIN NATIONAL PARK

Start Canada’s 150 cel­e­bra­tions in one of the most Cana­dian ways pos­si­ble — at an out­door win­ter fes­ti­val in Rid­ing Moun­tain National Park, the 3,000 square-kilo­me­tre pro­tected area of boreal for­est, aspen park­land and fes­cue prairie atop the Man­i­toba Es­carp­ment. Dur­ing the Win­ter Ad­ven­ture Week­end (Feb. 11-12, 2017), hon­our Canada and its beloved win­ters by par­tic­i­pat­ing in a plethora of cold-weather ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing boot hockey, cross­coun­try ski­ing, quinzhee-build­ing and even the park’s own ver­sion of the Win­ter Olympics. The park also of­fers plenty of show­shoe trails, wildlife view­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, skat­ing, ice fish­ing and, new for 2017, fat bike rentals through­out the win­ter. After a day of fun, snug­gle up in an OTENTIK, one of Park’s Canada’s com­fort­able win­ter shel­ters, the log Cairns Cabin on the Ochre River Trail, or pick a spot in the back­coun­try and camp out un­der the north­ern lights. pc.gc.ca

2. ASSINI­BOINE PARK

A nearly 450-hectare, year-round ur­ban oa­sis in the heart of Win­nipeg, Assini­boine Park boasts a zoo, con­ser­va­tory, Art in the Park pro­gram, for­est, trails and much more. The Assini­boine Park Zoo at the park’s west end was Canada’s first, es­tab­lished in 1904. It con­tin­ues to draw crowds look­ing for a glimpse of the nearly 200 an­i­mal species, in­clud­ing two new res­cued po­lar bear cubs from Churchill housed at the zoo’s Leatherdal­e In­ter­na­tional Po­lar Bear Con­ser­va­tion Cen­tre in the award-win­ning Jour­ney to Churchill ex­hibit. On Feb. 26, 2017, bun­dle up and hit the pave­ment for the sec­ond an­nual Po­lar Bear Run, a fam­ily-friendly race through the park, with all pro­ceeds sup­port­ing the Assini­boine Park Con­ser­vancy’s Po­lar Bear Res­cue Team. assini­boinepark.ca

3. WHITESHELL PRO­VIN­CIAL PARK

French ex­plorer La Vérendrye was the first Euro­pean to stum­ble on this pic­turesque patch of Cana­dian Shield near the present-day Man­i­toba-on­tario bor­der in 1733, though In­dige­nous Peo­ples had in­hab­ited the re­gion for thou­sands of years. Their pres­ence can still be seen through­out the park, in­clud­ing in petro­forms, or rock ar­range­ments, in the shapes of an­i­mals at Ban­nock Point east of Nu­timik Lake. Out­door ad­ven­ture seek­ers will love the hun­dreds of lakes in the park, which make for ex­cel­lent ice fish­ing for wall­eye, trout and north­ern pike. Vis­i­tors can also whisk along the cross-coun­try ski trails near Fal­con Lake, watch for chick­adees and other wildlife while hik­ing or snow­shoe­ing the trails at Jessica Lake, or ex­plore more than 200 kilo­me­tres of snow­mo­bile routes through the rugged wilder­ness. Park in­ter­preters lead walks, snow­shoe ex­pe­di­tions, camp­fire talks and more through­out the win­ter. gov.mb.ca

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