Bordered by Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Hudson Bay and the United States, Manitoba is one of the three Prairie provinces and is located in the centre of Canada. Manitoba is known as the “land of 100,000 lakes.” The major rivers of western Canada give Manitoba 90 percent of the hydro-electric potential of the Prairie region. The northern topography is heavily glaciated and covered in forest, dominated by pine, hemlock and birch.
Manitoba is distinguished principally by its parks, thousands of acres of wilderness, lakes, rivers and forests that boast wonderful scenery, great hikes and hundreds of kilometres of canoe routes. Manitoba’s provincial parks include the dramatic landscapes and difficult whitewater canoe routes of the remote Atikaki Wilderness Park, the lakeside marshes and forests of Hecla Park, and yet more canoe routes in Duck Mountain Park, which is also noted for its fishing.
Manitoba is one of the sunniest provinces. It features a continental climate, so the temperature varies wildly. Typical of southern Manitoba, the mean January temperature in Winnipeg is about -20C; the July average is about 19C. In Thompson, in the centre of northern Manitoba, the averages for the same months are about -27C and 15C.
About 60 percent of Manitoba’s 1.1 million people live in metropolitan Winnipeg, the provincial capital. The second-largest city is Brandon, in southwestern Manitoba.
The untouched wilderness of Manitoba guarantees the nature lover a spectacle of organic life. Visitors can traverse the unique prairie desert of Spirits Sand or head to the sandy shores of Hecla Provincial Park. In Autumn, head to Churchill and witness the migration of polar bears in Wapusk National Park, one of the largest polar bear denning areas in the world. At night, watch spectacular sunsets and the magical Northern Lights. Winnipeg is a must-see for such urban performing arts spectacles as ballet, symphony and theatre.
The early provincial economy was based on agriculture, with manufacturing and transportation later becoming vital sectors. Manitoba is a base for a wide variety of services, notably in transportation and wholesale distribution. Food and transportation equipment are the top manufacturing industries. Primary and fabricated metals, electrical goods, clothing and textiles, and printing and publishing all feature in the production landscape of Manitoba. Agriculture remains the backbone of rural Manitoba.