If you’re a city dweller, you may or not may have the occasional day dream about moving to the countryside; perhaps to run a petting farm or to simply take time to breathe in the fresh air. Whether or not this dream will come to fruition, there are plenty of towns right here in Manitoba that might spark your interest. And while we aren’t in any position to declare these towns as the province’s cutest, they are certainly contenders. Here are 5 charming towns in Manitoba that you’ll definitely want to move to…
Nicknamed King Spud Country by locals, there’s a lot more to this small town than just potatoes. Located in southwestern Manitoba, Carberry is the largest town in the rural municipality of North Cypress, with a population of about 1700. Settled between 1878 and 1890, this farming community boasts not only favourable soil conditions but also a rather charming main street with heritage buildings like Old City Hall and the Carberry Telephone Exchange Building. Visit Carberry in the summertime to visit the Daylily Garden for a picnic, or head to the Seton Centre for a small museum and gift shop dedicated to the life of its namesake, world-renowned artist and naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton. Other gems to check out within the town include the abandoned Lyon’s House and the quaint, municipally designated historic site known as the White House or Gingerbread House.
Outside of town, nearby attractions include Camp Hughes, Manitoba’s only national site dedicated to WW1, Spruce Woods Provincial Park and Sand Hills Casino.
Located 50 km north of Brandon, Minnedosa is known as Manitoba’s Valley Paradise – and a visit to the town will show you why! Set among rolling hills, Minnedosa means “flowing water” in the Dakota language, named by Metis settler John Tanner who ran the ferry service across Little Saskatchewan River. A dam was proposed and built on the river in 1907, resulting in the creation of Minnedosa Lake; a body of water still enjoyed today by residents and visitors to this small town. There are plenty of ways to spend the day in Minnedosa; from walking the flag trail between the Heritage Village and the spillway to see flags from various countries around the world to taking a self guided tour of the stone buildings located within the town.
In the summer months, take a dip in the lake, cycle on trails or plan to visit for the very awesome Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa music festival. The Minnedosa Museum and Heritage Village, a pioneer village featuring 9 restored heritage buildings, also opens during the summer. Other must sees includes the Rotary Suspension Bridge, the Historic Train Engine & Caboose and the Ishii Japanese Garden.
In true summer town style, Winnipeg Beach is at its best in the warm months, when sunseekers flock to its shores for a dip in Lake Winnipeg. The town dates back to 1900, when the Canadian Pacific Railway commenced construction in hopes of building a resort town with a dance hall, hotels, parks and a carnival. Each weekend, citygoers flocked to the town with 13 trains running the line between Winnipeg and the beach. This was the time of the famous Moonlight Special, that returned to the city at midnight every Saturday at the cost of 50 cents for a round trip. This was a much loved tradition that endured for 50 years.
Although there are no trains to catch to the beach today, the town retains much of its charm and appeal. Hit the boardwalk for a cold treat from Breakwater Ice Cream and Coffee Bar or settle in for a meal at Casa Bianca Cafe & Deli. The Boardwalk Station Arcade and the historic Playland building will take you back in time with old school arcades.
Souris is a wee bit famous in Manitoba, namely for being home to Canada’s longest historic cable-stayed swinging bridge. The 177 m bridge was destroyed in both the 1976 flood and the 2011 flood, but the community endured and a new bridge opened in 2013.
The bridge isn’t the only thing that Souris is famous for. The Souris Agate Pits are North America’s largest deposit of semi-precious gems, yielding agates, petrified wood, jasper and epidote.
The beautiful Victoria Park is where you’ll find the Look Out Tower and the best view of the town and surrounding landscape. Don’t leave the park without finding the mystical Old Oak Tree, which is estimated to date back to 1497 A.D; much older than the artifacts and period displays located within the Hillcrest Museum.
It will come as no surprise for anyone who has visited that the town of Neepawa has been named “Manitoba’s Most Beautiful Town” more than any other. Located in the Manitoba Escarpment, Neepawa comes from the Cree word of “Land of Plenty”, only joining the province of Manitoba when the borders expanded in 1881.
Aside from its beauty, the town is likely most known for being where author Margaret Laurence grew up. The Margaret Laurence Home is now a designated Provincial Heritage Site, serving as a living memorial to one of Manitoba’s most successful authors. The Neepawa cemetery is of equal historic interest, home to the Davidson Memorial that was the signature of Laurence’s book, The Stone Angel. Interestingly enough, the cemetery is also the furthest west in which any Titanic passenger was buried; four men from the village of Fritham in Hampshire, England.
This historical town is also home to the Roxy Theatre, an eye-catching, community run theatre that was built in 1906 and continues to host live arts and movies. And you won’t want to leave without a visit to the Farmery Estate Brewery to see some behind-the-scenes action of one of Manitoba’s most popular beers!
Did we miss your favourite town? Tell us about it in the comments!