celebrating Manitoba Day

This blog usually takes us to exotic locales in search of chocolate and other delectables. But this post, I’d like to salute my own home turf in honour of Manitoba Day. I was born and raised here. It is my home, and I’m proud of its many attributes.

Last summer my husband and I toured our area, taking in many exciting festivals and events. I wrote about them previously, but will recap the highlights here for those of you who may be curious about what there is to do in Manitoba’s Interlake region.

the beautiful beach at Camp Morton

In the Aug 23/10 post, I took you to Camp Morton, a stunning beach on Lake Winnipeg just north of Gimli. This beautiful picture of the beach inspires me on days (like today) when my energy level is on the low side and the air pressure is correspondingly low because of the dreadful weather we’ve been having this month. I know it will soon pass and we’ll once again be strolling along the shores of Lake Winnipeg talking to the shore birds and feeling the misted breeze on our faces.

In the Aug 9/10 post, I introduced you to the re-enactors who live like Vikings for the first week of August each year as part of Gimli’s Icelandic Festival. Who wouldn’t be smitten by a smile from this face?

the blacksmith in the Viking Village

In the July 22/10 post, we visited Hecla Island and the Gimli Film Festival. Hecla is a terrific place to explore nature, and although the Hecla Oasis Resort has come into financial difficulties and suspended operations, the campground and golf course are open for your pleasure. And be sure to mark your calendars and take in the Gimli Film Fest which runs July 22-26 in 2015.

In a previous post, we also visited Chatfield, Manitoba, a rather out-of-the-way community in Manitoba’s Interlake region that surprisingly came up in conversation at a function I attended this week. Out of 4 people in the discussion, 2 had a connection with Chatfield! They certainly have a terrific museum for anyone interested in country memorabilia.

And with Winnipeg being my hometown, we can’t talk about Manitoba without tipping our hats to the province’s capital city. Winnipeg really has come a long way in the past 10 years in adding new top-notch sports and entertainment facilities, as well as a new airport terminal.

A shocking survey by Peak of the Market suggested that most Manitobans don’t even know that May 12th is Manitoba Day. I hope this post will help change that, and that many of us will plan to discover or revisit some special places in this province over the summer to remind us just how lucky we are to live here – despite the challenges of the crazy spring weather.

My heart goes out to our fellow Manitobans in the Westman region who are facing a breach of the dike today. A crisis which do doubt has literally put a damper on any celebrations in the western part of the province.

But we look forward with hope. Please share your thoughts on a Manitoba gem you enjoy, or what you like best about Manitoba.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

32 Responses

  1. I’ve travelled a bit through Manitoba, and it is indeed a beautiful province. Thanks for showing us what is special to you.
    I didn’t know May 12 was Manitoba Day–so happy day!

    • Thanks very much, Christine!

      Yes, sometimes I think it’s important to reflect on the beauty and significance of what is right under our own feet. I have a deep desire to see the world and share my stories, but Manitoba is the place my ancestors chose to come. It is the place they toiled and broke the land so that they could farm and raise their families. And it is the place I call home.

    I agree with Doreen about the wonderful things to see and do in Manitoba but also at home in the Interlake. With numerous festivals to attend that celebrate our unique culture and heritage, culinary treats to tempt your taste buds, and the vast and ever changing landscape of nature in all its glory.
    With our sandy beaches and rocky cliffs, waving wheat fields and boreal forest there is always something new to discover just down the road.

    Lets hope it dries up this spring and we have some glorious sunny weather soon so we can all go exploring soon.

  3. Thanks for logging in, Gail.

    I should mention that Gail is the executive director for the Interlake Tourism Assn. They have an amazing website at: http://www.interlaketourism.com.

    Check it out, and come see us in Manitoba’s Interlake.

  4. Dorothea Belanger says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Manitoba! What I like about the 2.5 hour drive from Kenora to Winnipeg is the geographical change from the rocky Canadian Shield to the grassy, open prairie. I always feel that the change gives more “bang for my travelling buck”.

  5. Thanks for joining in, Dorothea.

    Yes, isn’t it amazing how much change you can see in the topography from one place to another? Canada is such a huge and varying country, each place with its own attributes.

    Not many people realize how huge Manitoba is! It takes the same amount of time for us to fly from Wpg to Churchill as it does from Wpg to Toronto! Granted, the smaller planes don’t fly quite as fast, but it’s still quite the amazing journey!

    Hope to see you the next time you’re out this way.

  6. Thanks Doreen for sharing our Manitoba. I have lived in 12 cities in 4 provinces and have been lucky to have travelled to many countries around the world. I’m from Toronto but Manitoba is my home in my head and in my heart. I’ve visited dozens of communities in our province and without exception every one of them had something different, unique and memorable about it. I’m consider myself lucky to live in Manitoba and I never want to take what we have for granted. Happy Manitoba Day!

  7. Thanks so much, Larry. That means a lot to me, coming from a Manitoba advocate like you. With all the pride you show in/for Manitoba, I never would have known that you were not born here. Thanks for continuing to show such pride in what we have to offer.

  8. satinka says:

    Born and raised in Gimli, Manitoba…I did not know May 12 was Manitoba Day *blush*… I have fond memories of Grand Beach. The sand is great and the beach goes on forever. At least that’s how I remember it as a teenager. I haven’t been there lately. I remember Chatfield, too. I had an uncle who lived in Inwood. Now he lives in Petersfield. Thanks for this blog…it made me look at the map again! 🙂

  9. Manny says:

    I was born in Portugal, but call Manitoba my home. I’ve traveled a bit and never thought of living anywhere elese. I always appreciate it so much more when I come back from a week long trip. Ahhh, Manitoba!

  10. Thanks, Esther and Manny, for your comments.

    Esther as a native Manitoban who now lives in BC and still feels the strong family ties of MB, and Manny as someone who was born elsewhere but now feels a strong bond to Manitoba.

    I’m caught in the middle: born and raised here, but well-travelled and wondering if I’ll ever get away from winter for good. I love the people and the pride we share for MB, but long to live in a climate where I’m not looking at 2 degrees Celsius as a night-time low for May 12-13. What’s up with that???

  11. Hilda Young says:

    I enjoyed living in Manitoba for 21 years and celebrating Manitoba day. Also enjoyed visiting Gimli and Hecla island. I do not know the other places you mentioned.

  12. Hilda Young says:

    Doreen:As you know I lived in Manitoba for 21 years. I remember going to the Icelandic festival in Gimli and camping on Hecla Island. Also ate at the resort. Manitoba is a unique province. I am thinking of all my friends there during the flooding.

    • Thanks for dropping into the blog, Hilda. We miss you here in Manitoba!

      And thanks for your kind thoughts re the flooding situation. We shall see what happens tomorrow morning, when they cut open the dike!

  13. Irene Gordon says:

    I’ve lived in Manitoba since 1970 and travelled over quite a bit of it during that time. Just a sampling: I’ve skiied at Duck Mountain, Turtle Mountain, and Riding Mountain; canoed the Manigatogan and Grass Rivers; sailed on Lake Winnipeg out of Gimli, Silver Harbour and Hecla Island; visited museums at Cook’s Creek, Dauphin, Winnipeg, Gimli, St. Boniface,and Lower Fort Garry.

    • Way to go, Irene. That’s the way to truly enjoy all we have to offer in MB. It’s not all just flat wheat fields as some people like to generalize. I once had an editor from California refuse a story as he had it embedded in his head that there was nothing worth seeing between the Rockies and the larger cities out east. He doesn’t know shat he’s missing and didn’t seem interested in finding out.

  14. Manitoba is one of Canada’s tourism gems — history, culture, beaches, great restaurants and attractions. I’ve visited many times over the years and always find something new to explore and discover. It wasn’t until I visited Gimli that I found out that for a time there was a Republic of Iceland with Canadian government approval — cool. I often write about Winnipeg and other points in Manitoba — but I didn’t know there was a Manitoba Day on May 12. Learned something new again.

  15. Hi Elle. Thanks for joining the conversation. and being a MB enthusiast. Manitoba Day was launched a few years ago. It’s not a holiday, but is a day of tribute and recognition nonetheless. It’s unfortunate that this year it was overshadowed by the horrific flooding thru parts of the province.

    Hope to see you in the Interlake this summer!

  16. Barbara Edie says:

    I love Manitoba’s lakes, provincial and national parks, and its vast prairies and big skies. I love Winnipeg for its fabulous arts and culture scene. And, I love Manitobans, who are truly some of the most down-to-earth, friendly people in the country. Manitoba is also truly the centre of Canada, and links both east and west. Yay, for the Keystone province!

    • Thanks for your comments, Barb. I know that you are someone who has travelled extensively and lived abroad, so your reflections are especially meaningful to those of us who have never lived anywhere but here.

      Manitoba may not be perfect, but it does have many wonderful attributes that keep us here and make us strong.

  17. Hilda Young says:

    I agree Doreen. There is something about Manitoba that gives strength and substance to life.

  18. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and moved to Manitoba 4 years ago. The best part of Manitoba is exploring! Most of my exploring has been in southwestern Manitoba. My fav attractions are Spirit Sands Desert near Glenboro (I just recently did a blog on this), hiking the Turtle’s Back near William Lake (definitely worth the hike for the view!), the swinging bridge in Souris, Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park (keep your eyes open for moose!), and recently I discovered camping in a yurt on Rossman Lake (just did another blog on this too).

    I’m looking forward to exploring Manitoba even more in the future.

  19. Perhaps that’s why we (Manitobans) have that something special in our characters as Barb mention, Hilda. I have heard from many people who move away that they never develop the kind of strong bonds with others as they had in MB.

    And LGB, thanks for your comment as well. It sounds like you’ve done a tremendous job in your short time here exploring some of our wonders. I agree that Spruce Woods Provincial Park is a marvellous place. We locals have always called it the Carberry Desert. I didn’t even realize the desert had an official name: Spirit Sands. Definitely a place every Manitoban should visit and enjoy.

  20. Bruce says:

    My mother was born in Binscarth, Manitoba, and my parents met in Winnipeg, so could say I have Manitoban roots. We often vacationed in Winnipeg when I was young and I’ll always remember those long trips across the prairies from Vancouver to get there. When I hitchhiked across Canada in my younger years, I got a ride just outside Winnipeg from a fellow who had canoed the river routes of the old Voyageurs. I couldn’t imagine a better thing to do, so one of these days, I hope to do some paddling along those rivers myself.

    My heart goes out to all those folks living in the flood zones. It warms my heart to see them all helping each other. Manitobans have true grit.


  21. Pat Bodman says:

    I went to Camp Morton as a child on a church camping trip. Will have to go and check it out when I come back for a visit – looks great!!!

    Even though I lived in Manitoba for over 30 years I never once celebrated Manitoba Day or even knew there was one!!!! Glad to hear about it and confident that you celebrated on my behalf!!!!

  22. Hi Bruce: One of our PWAC-MB members (RoseAnna) is an avid paddler, so if you decide to make the trip, let me know and I can hook you up with her.

    Yes, we Manitobans certainly have determination & true grit. Thanks for your kind comments re the flood.

    And Pat … nice to have you back. Hope you had a great holiday. Yes, I’ll definitely take you to Camp Morton the next time you visit us. And Manitoba Day was just put into effect in 1986 — the year you left MB! Which is probably why you’d never heard of it previously.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their Manitoba moments and thoughts. Much appreciated!

  23. Laurel says:

    It’s a long time since I left Manitoba but have been thinking a lot about it recently with the devastating flooding. Old friends from the University of Manitoba have been sending me photos. My heart goes out to all affected. My mother kept a folder for a long time with the Free Press cartoons from the 1950 flood. We have not been back since we took Mom’s ashes on a road trip back to her and my roots in 2003 and interred them with my Dad who left us in 1966. I was able to show my 4 kids around the area where I grew up and some of the highlights of Winnipeg and the University. My daughter subsequently made me a collage called “Bloom Where You’re Planted”. That says it for me. Manitoba is a wonderful place with excellent values and Manitobans are the salt of the earth. I moved west following summer jobs in the Rockies and the family that came along has roots elsewhere but they all know from whence we came. Prairie roots endure. Thanks for bringing back the love with your writing Doreen.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Laurel, and for sharing your Manitoba memories with me.

      I know what you mean about the MB roots being firmly implanted. A very dear friend of mine who left MB (physically) in 1986, still has her heart here, and she returns frequently to see family and friends. She said that making friends in BC just isn’t the same. People are too distracted with making a living and dealing with the stress of $$ west coast living to make the kind of connections that last a lifetime. That’s not to say I don’t long for the day when I’ll never see another day of white winter, but I know that MB is in my blood for good — no matter where I’ll be living.

  24. This was an ambitious and expensive 2.6 billion program that would first divert the flow of the Churchill River into the Nelson River. Planning for Development and a Lack of Concern for Native Peoples Culture.The conception of the Churchill River Diversion project as previously discussed was part and parcel of a post World War II vision of economic prosperity through the exploitation of natural resources in northern Manitoba…In criticizing the decision to proceed with development this was best expressed by Doctor Robert Newbury a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba ..Nowhere is the cost of the loss of the Churchill River calculated. Even before these studies could be initiated however this confidential report called for alternatives to the project or at the least a project redesign to minimize the effects of impoundment on Southern Indian Lake and the South Indian Lake community.

  25. Rich says:

    Gotta love good ol’ Manitoba!!!!

  26. Hedy says:

    Good day Doreen Pendgracs I loved your informative blog post on celebrating Manitoba Day. Thank you for the write up!
    Hedy recently posted…Cheapest Insurance for Young DriversMy Profile

  27. nikita yadav says:


    Manitoba is one of Canada’s tourism gems — history, culture, beaches, great restaurants and attractions.
    nikita yadav recently posted…NEWS AND EVENTSMy Profile

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