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Magical Manitoba

Canada's heart is calling

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7 November 2023 by Ben Harding

Stretching from the US border to the beautiful, wildlife-rich shores of Hudson Bay, the province of Manitoba - a vast central expanse of prairieland and arctic tundra measuring just under 650,000 square kilometres - is a year-round destination in the truest sense. Here you'll find some of Canada's most spectacular natural attractions and breathtaking wildlife encounters, from dazzling displays of the Northern Lights and the chance to get up-close and personal with polar bears during winter, to swimming with beluga whales and hiking and biking Manitoba's rugged back-country in summer.

Here we take a look at some of Manitoba's must-do highlights and let you know what to expect from a holiday in this rugged, wild, and immensely beautiful Canadian province.

Travel to Manitoba during the months of July and August, when the weather is at its warmest and the tundra is alive with flora and fauna, and you'll be able to enjoy one of the most unique wildlife experiences anywhere on earth as you don a dry suit, snorkel and mask and take to the water for a once-in-a-lifetime swim alongside dozens of friendly beluga whales. And for those who don't fancy getting wet, there's still the chance to enjoy watching these incredible mammals from the comfort of the boat.

Find our more about our Birds, bears and Belugas escorted tour

Go in search of polar bears

A polar bear enjoys the summertime in Manitoba
Polar bears are year-round residents in Churchill

While we're used to seeing images of polar bears against a winter backdrop of snow and ice, viewing these majestic creatures during the warm summer months is equally rewarding. Watch them play amongst the bright flowers and verdant grasslands of Hudson Bay as they hunt belugas, waiting for the winter ice to return so they can return to their winter hunting grounds.

Take a walk on the wild side

Manitoba is blessed with an abundance of walking trails, from gentle lakeshore strolls to more rigorous hikes through the rocky sub-arctic tundra. Explore the beautiful rolling hills of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park; trek the trails of picturesque Whiteshell where you'll discover rushing rivers, crystal clear lakes and secluded sandy beaches; or take a walk on the wild side with a hike along the shores of Hudson Bay in search of polar bears, caribou, beluga whales and an incredible array of birdlife.

Enjoy a unique Tundra Buggy tour

There are very few places on earth where you can guarantee sightings of the world's largest bear in its natural environment, but the small town of Churchill on Manitoba's Hudson Bay coast is certainly one of them. During the months of October and November the polar bears move back from the wide expanses of the open tundra to their seal-hunting territories on the Hudson Bay as it begins to freeze over, passing by Churchill on their annual migratory trail. A stay in Churchill usually includes a trip to fascinating Eskimo Museum and a visit to the Polar Bear Jail, where bears that persistently stray into the town in search of food are temporarily held under lock and key, before you venture out onto the tundra aboard specially designed Tundra Buggies, in search of the bears themselves.

Experience a Tundra Buggy tour on our Polar Bears of Churchill tailor-made tour

In between searching for polar bears and hunting the Northern Lights, wintertime in Manitoba offers a myriad of opportunities for snow-related fun. Dog sledding, which is ingrained in culture and tradition of the local Inuit people, is one of the best ways, and most fun to experience the scale and beauty of the Manitoba wilderness and as far as adventures go, tearing across the tundra in the company of your very own team of huskies takes some beating. Further thrills can be found on a snowmobile safari, as you travel along some of the 12,000 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails, hurtling at full throttle across wide-open prairie, through picturesque snow-covered forests and across vast, frozen lakes.

Tundra Buggy tours bring you right up close to Churchill's polar bears
Tundra Buggy tours bring you right up close to the Churchill's polar

Explore the south of Manitoba

Simply, this is your chance to head off Canada’s beaten track. Scenic drives through Manitoba's Provincial, National Parks and lakelands, rolling hills will see you between pioneer towns from Icelandic settlers and a pre-history that spans from the dinosaurs to First-Nations tribes. Visit Riding Mountain National Park, situated amidst a sea of agricultural land, Riding Mountain rises dramatically from the prairie landscape. Forming part of the Manitoba Escarpment, this 'island' reserve is best known for its black bear sightings but also protects a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation areas. The eastern perimeter is formed by a high ridge studded with dense evergreen forests of spruce, pine, balsam fir and tamarack and is the best place to spot black bears. This gives way to a highland plateau of mixed forests and lakes while elsewhere open meadows and grasslands provide perfect habitats for moose, elk and a herd of plains bison. This vast expanse of wilderness has some of Manitoba’s most beautiful scenery as well as its finest walking and biking trails.

Spend time in "the Peg"

Set at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, Winnipeg's attractions include the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Exchange District with its examples of early 20th century architecture and the historic districts of The Forks and Lower Fort Garry. The city is very multicultural and has large Ukrainian, Chinese and Italian communities, resulting in a very diverse and interesting cultural blend. There is no shortage of entertainment options with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, Royal Winnipeg Ballet as well as a variety of summer festivals. No visit is complete without a trip along the Red River to Lake Winnipeg, where you’ll find some of Manitoba’s finest sandy beaches.

Related offers

Polar Bears, Churchill, Canada

Polar bears of Churchill

7-day tailor-made holiday from £6,040 pp incl. flights

Head deep into Arctic Canada by tundra buggy, seeking out the Northern Lights and exploring the wild coasts of Hudson Bay, known as 'the polar bear capital of the world'.

Churchill Polar Bear

Birds, Bears & Belugas of Churchill

9-day escorted tour from £11,030 pp incl. flights

Head out into the Arctic wilderness around Churchill, Manitoba to spot polar bears and beluga whales on a programme of expert-led tours. Then, in the evenings, return to your cosy lodge for roaring fires and gourmet food from renowned Canadian chefs.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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