Geographical Location: One of the three prairie provinces in Canada, Manitoba is bordered by Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. Its landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies...stretching from the northern Arctic tundra to Hudson Bay in the east and southern farmland. Much wilderness is protected in more than 80 Provincial Parks...where biking, hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing are all popular. Located in southern Manitoba, The University of Manitoba, located in Winnipeg, the capital city, is a research-intensive post-secondary educational institution. Founded in 1877, it was Western Canada's first university.
Nunavut and Hudson Bay are north and the United States are south.
“Manitoba” may come from the Cree words 'manitou bou' meaning “Strait of the Great Spirit”. It may also come from the Assiniboine words 'mini' and 'tobow' meaning “Lake of the Prairie.” About 60 percent of the Manitoba's people live in the capital city, Winnipeg, and its suburbs.
The People: Home to 1.2 million people in 2010, Manitoba is home to many native peoples: including Metis, Assinboine, Saulteaux, Northern, Woodland, Swampy Cree, Chipewyan and Inuit. Ethnic backgrounds include Scottish, English, German, Ukranian, French, Aboriginal, Dutch and Poles.
Climate: In the winter, there are often blizzards with strong winds and extreme cold temperatures. Polar air masses bring very cold air from the Arctic Ocean. Winnipeg has the coldest winters of any major city in Canada.
History: The first native peoples to live in Manitoba followed herds of bison and caribou.
Early explorers arrived through Hudson Bay in norther Manitoba.
Hudson Bay Company (created in 1670) set up fur-trading posts along the rivers.
The first settlers (British and French) homed along the Red River.
Louis Riel (1844-1885) was an influential Metis leader.
Riel and his Metis were concerned about the settlers taking over their land.
Manitoba became Canada's fifth province in 1870.
Red River cart trails were the first roads.
The railway brought thousands of settlers from eastern Canada and from all over the world.
Many setttlers came from Ukraine and Iceland.
Land and Water: Manitoba is known as the land of 100,000 lakes
Lake Winnipeg (the 3rd largest in Canada), Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba are 3 large lakes.
The Churchill River, Nelson River and Red Rivers in southern Manitoba drain into Lake Winnipeg.
Forests of pine...hemlock...and birch cover northern Manitoba.
The Prairie Region is in the southern part of the province.
Resources and Industries: Manitoba lies in the area of Canada known as the Canadian Shield
Minerals and metals are found in the Canadian Shield...nickel, gold, copper, zinc, cobalt, gypsum)
Manitoba is a world leader in the production of nickel
The large lakes are home to many species of fresh water fish.
Fivty-seven percent of Manitoba is covered with forest and wooded areas.
Hydro-electric power is a very important industry...selling to other provinces and to U.S.
One-third of the farmland is used for growing wheat...also canola, sunflowers, oats, buckwheat, rye, flax and field peas.
Industries include manufacturing (farm equipment, buses, clothing, furniture), food processing, aerospace and transportation.
Places and People: The Royal Canadian Mint (where coins are made) is in Winnipeg.
The 'Viking' at Gimli is a giant statue honouring the ancestors of the Icelandic people.
Many festivals are held in Manitoba, including the Ukrainian Festival and Icelandic Festival in Gimli.
Churchill, in northern Manitoba is 'The Polar Bear capital of the world'.
Here they make dens near the town.
Wapusk National Park (Wapusk, meaning 'white bear') located in northern Manitoba,
protects one of the world's largest known polar bear denning areas.
Persons of Significance: Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence (novelists)
Nellie McClung fought for the rights of women.
Jackson Beardy was a Cree artist.
Louis Riel, the Founding Father of Manitoba and leader of the Metis rebellions.
Bachaman-Turner Overdrive and the Guess Who...Canadian rock bands from Winnipeg.
Fred Penner...musician and children's entertainer.
Manitoba's Flag: Looks like Canada's former flag ~ the Canadian Red Ensign.
The Union Jack is in the upper left corner on a red background.
The Province's Shield is on the right side of the flag.
It became the official flag in 1966.
At the top of the Shield is the English Cross of St. George.
The lower part has a bison; there were thousands of bison roaming the prairies before settlers.
The Shield is at the centre of the 'coat of arms'.
Above its a gold helmet with a beaver holding a crocus (the Provincial Flower).
At the top is a crown...a unicorn and white horse on either side.
The Aboriginal 'Circle of Life' is on the horse's collar.
The bottom has grain fields...water...the provincial flower and tree.
The motto: Gloriosus liber ~ “Glorious and Free”.
Emblems: The Provincial Flower is the crocus...in various shades of purple, it is often the first flower appearing in early spring. School children in Manitoba chose it for the floral emblem in 1906. To protect it from the cold, the crocus has a furry covering.
The Provincial Bird is the Great Grey Owl...living year round in the forests of Manitoba...and is the largest owl in North America.
Manitoba's animal is the Bison...and Provincial tree is the White Spruce.
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One summer, during my teaching days, Joyce (a high school teacher) and I drove to Winnipeg to visit her sister....then travelled 740 km north to visit her parents living in Flin Flon...a mining town of 5,592 population as stated in 2011. The Hudson Bay and Smelting Company (now known as Hud Bay Minerals Inc.) is still the major employer in the area. Flin Flon is located north of the 55th parallel...and even has a Walmart Store!
Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled June 24, 2016