This year marks Manitoba’s 150th birthday and what a year it has been! With international travel being taken off the table, many are starting to explore closer to home. There are so many amazing spots that I have discovered in the province and would like to share these with you. I have put together 15 locations for Manitoba’s 150th. Hope this inspires you to get out and explore closer to home.
1. St. Boniface Cathedral
If these walls could talk. This church which was originally built in 1818 and burned down twice. Once in 1860 and again in 1968. All that remains today are the stone walls and facade of the church.
2. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The architecture alone makes this a worthwhile place to visit. The exhibitions serve as a reminder as how far we have come and how far we have to go with inequities and social injustice.
3. Hecla Island
Along the shores of Lake Winnipeg you will find the iconic Hecla Island lighthouse, which just received a new coat of paint. There is a small hike to the lighthouse through the woods and along the shore. A great weekend getaway if you stay at the lovely Lakeview Hecla Resort.
4. McGillvary Falls
One of the more accessible waterfalls in Manitoba, which is just off of Highway 44 close to Caddy Lake. You can take a quick walk to the falls or enjoy the 4.6km loop hike that takes you to the serene McGillvary Lake.
5. Manitoba Legislative Building
This beauty was built in 1920 with Tyndall stone from Garson, Manitoba. Next to the Carrara grand staircase sits two enormous solid bronze bison. Rumour has it that they flooded the entrance and let it freeze to safely slide the bison across the marble floors.
6. Pine Point Rapids
If you are a waterfall lover, then this is the hike for you. It is an 8.2km hike in the Whiteshell just north of Betula Lake. There are two smaller waterfalls and a set of rapids. In the summer you can tube down the rapids if you are a brave soul.
7. Spirit Sands
Welcome to Mars, Manitoba! This is the most unexpected place I have visited in this province. Located in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, these sand dunes are a must see. It is a 1.5km hike to the dunes, but you can spend an entire day hiking the 10km of trail in the area. I recommend going on a cooler day as it can get very hot.
8. Steep Rock
Just more evidence that Manitoba has so much beauty in it’s landscapes. Steep Rock is located on the east shore of Lake Manitoba and has the most breathtaking limestone cliffs that took thousands of years to form. You can rent a kayak and paddle across to Goat Island. No guarantee that goats will be there, but it is a possibility.
9. Immaculate Conception Church
This elaborate piece of architecture sits in the middle of the prairies in Cooks Creek, Manitoba. Construction started in 1930 and took twenty years to complete. Every summer there is a Medieval Festival that is hosted in the impressive grotto.
10. The Fort Garry Hotel
The Fort Garry Hotel is a National Historical site which opened in 1913. There are rumours that the hotel is haunted, more specifically room 202. If you want to test this theory I dare you to book this room!
11. Pinawa Dam
Pinawa Dam was the first Hydro-electric power station in Manitoba. It was built in 1906 and decommissioned in 1951. The military used it for a short while as an ariel bombing site. Today people enjoy tubing down the river and rapids here in the summer months.
12. The Half Moon Diner
No Sunday cruise is complete without a drive out to The Half Moon in Lockport. This diner was built in 1938 and still has the retro charm of that era. I recommend the Lunar Burger, poutine and a chocolate dip cone for dessert. Yum!
13. Marine Museum of Manitoba
Located in Selkirk, Manitoba the museum houses a collection of boats that helped shape settlement along the Red River. The most impressive of the boats is the MS Keenora which was built in 1897. During Halloween season they host a haunted boat tour, which is terrifyingly fun.
14. The Whiteshell
Find a lake in the Whiteshell area and you will likely find a cliff to jump off of. This cliff is found on Nutimik Lake and can be accessed by the public beach. Always check your depths before jumping.
15. Lower Fort Garry
This national historic site was established in 1830 by the Hudson’s Bay Company and was the place where Treaty 1 was signed in 1871. The buildings are not open due to Covid and renovations, but you can take a walk around the grounds and imagine what life was like 150 years ago.
I hope this list has given you some ideas for your own adventures. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments below.
Take care and stay safe,