9 awesome roadside attractions in western Manitoba

Posted May 26, 2020 | Author Breanne Sewards

Where else in the world can you see a windmill, a larger than life soda beverage and a giant grey owl all in one day? No place but Manitoba, of course.

Hit the road and explore more of Manitoba's awesome roadside attractions with this loop through Gladstone, Brandon, Austin and more.

Gladstone: Happy Rock

Don't worry, be happy. Happy Rock is one of the most photogenic roadside attractions in the province - and chances are if you're driving west of Winnipeg down the #16, you'll see at least one car pulled over in Gladstone for a quick snap at this punny statue.

Arden: Prairie Crocus

Next, take a short detour to the (unofficial) Prairie Crocus Capital of Canada, marked accordingly with the world's largest crocus monument. Arden celebrates Manitoba's official floral emblem each and every year with an annual photography contest.

Neepawa: Purple Martin Colony

While Neepawa is more commonly known for attractions like Farmery Brewery and the Margaret Laurence House, keep your eyes peeled as you enter from the east side of town and you might just spot the World's Tallest Purple Martin Colony.

Minnedosa: Canvasback Duck

Continue through to Minnedosa, where you can explore one of the cutest towns in the province while also ticking the Canvasback Duck off your roadside attractions list. The 16-foot-tall duck is a nod to the area's summer breeding ground of the Canvasback.

Brandon: Wayside Chapel

This tiny chapel is an unexpected sight just off of the TransCanada Highway at the edge of the city of Brandon. Situated between a busy truck service station and a coffee store, the Wayside Chapel is still operational as a stop for any travellers in need of prayer.

Austin: Antique Tractor

When you consider that Austin is home to the Manitoba Threshermen's Reunion & Stampede (July 29 – August 1, 2021) AND the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, it's no surprise that this small town's roadside attraction is the Antique Tractor.

Portage la Prairie: World’s Largest Coca-Cola Can

If you venture to Portage la Prairie, you can't leave without a photo with the World's Largest Coca-Cola Can. Located in the CanadInns parking lot, the former water tower was transformed into a Coca-Cola can by the company itself as a branding tool and remains one of the city's strangest attractions today.

Portage la Prairie: Canada's Largest Great Grey Owl

That's right - this route contains two roadside attractions that celebrate Manitoba's official emblems. Portage la Prairie is home to a monument of Manitoba's official bird - the Great Grey Owl - which is also Canada's largest statue of the species. Located at 27 Pine Crescent, the 13-foot-high piece was created by local artist Jake Goertzen and owl enthusiast Bryan Mitchell.

Portage la Prairie: Windmill

Wait, three roadside attractions in one city!? Yep - Portage la Prairie is a more than worthy spot on your roadside attraction adventure. Finish off your visit with a trip to the Dutch-style Windmill in Island Park. Built in the 1950's the windmill is a stunning feature along the crescent-shaped lake, and is especially striking in the fall when the colours of the season come out.

About The Author

Hey! I'm Breanne, Editorial Content Specialist for Travel Manitoba. First to jump in the lake and last to make it down the River Trail. Lover of croissants, cats, and croissant-shaped cats. Got a story idea? Email me at bsewards@travelmanitoba.com.

Editorial Content Specialist