Manitoba Mukluks

It's time to start that holiday shopping. Consider these gift ideas that have proud Manitoba origins, yet are recognized on the world's stage.

For the fashionista on your list, Manitobah Mukluks is Canada’s fastest growing footwear company. Headquartered in Winnipeg, the Aboriginal-owned company makes moccasins and mukluks in traditional style, with intricate beadwork and supple leathers. They’ve caught the eye of Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox and Kate Moss, and these celebrity endorsements have helped vault Manitobah to stardom. Not only do people look great wearing them, they can feel great about it, too. The company is fiercely committed to raising the profile of Aboriginal communities.

An elegant cut-glass bottle of Crown Royal makes the ultimate party host/hostess gift. It may be Manitoba’s best-kept secret: the quintessential Canadian whisky is exclusively distilled in Gimli, a resort town on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. The Diageo distillery has an impressive 1.4 million barrels of ageing amber liquid stored in 46 warehouses. Grain fields galore and massive lakes of fresh water make Manitoba a no-brainer home-base for the premium rye.  

Books are an easy choice, but unwrapping Manitoba’s most successful publication may cause your loved one to blush. The romance novel is synonymous with the Harlequin brand. The company publishes more than 110 titles a month in 34 languages, and operates in 102 international markets on six continents. Those are impressive stats for a company that got its start in Winnipeg in 1949 as a side-line project. Mary Bonnycastle—socialite wife of one of the owners—urged the paperback reprinting company to focus on romantic fiction. Hail Mary!

Need post-Christmas dinner family fun? Consider this: you’re stopped at a red light at 4:00 a.m. There isn’t another car in sight. Do you start driving? Moral dilemmas are the crux of the board game A Question of Scruples, designed to make players sweat as they face life’s toughest questions. In 1984, Winnipegger Henry Makow, PhD, designed Scruples, and thanks to a brilliant marketing strategy by the licensing agent, talk show host Johnny Carson played the game twice on The Tonight Show. Afterward sales skyrocketed and more than seven million copies, in five languages, have been sold worldwide.