Manitoba's north is home to countless hidden gems. A smaller population and wide open spaces mean that sometimes anything north of Lake Winnipeg flies under the radar. And while the drive may be a bit longer, trust us when we say, the extra tank of gas is well worth it.
With its huge lakes (and we're talking huge), miles of untouched wildlife, and local charm, The Pas and the area around it are just waiting to be discovered. Here are 10 reasons why you absolutely must visit The Pas.
1. Visit the Sam Waller Museum
This mainstay in The Pas' downtown district was once the court house. Today it houses a wide collection of artifacts, knick knacks and curiosities curated from town, its people and the surrounding area. You'll see an extensive taxidermy collection, traditional Indigenous dress and some things verging on the downright curious like a family of dressed up fleas. It's almost impossible to take a photo of these teeny tiny creatures, so you've got to see it to believe it.
The museum also offers historic walking tours that will take you into the town's past. Learn about Millionaire's Row and the stories behind these character homes, hear about how the railway transformed this former boomtown and how religion helped shaped the people and the culture. The tour runs about 90 mins. Check the website for times and dates.
2. Visit Clearwater Lake Provincial Park
It would be no exaggeration to say that this is truly one of Manitoba's gems. The crystal clear waters and its turquoise hue are as good as any tropical ocean you might find. It is vast, and huge and incredibly stunning. Stocked with fish like lake trout, you can try for a Master Angler on a fishing tour with Evergreen Resort. Stay at a lodge, campground or yurt and be sure to do The Caves hike for some of the best lake views (pick up a guide and map in the park office). To visit the park, you've got to head about 15 minutes out of town by car.
3. Devour delicious delights
There are no shortage of great restaurants to try in The Pas. For chic and sophisticated, head to Good Thymes with its newly updated decor and crowd-pleasers like gourmet style pizzas, burgers and appies. Miss The Pas is most noteworthy for its funky interior and decor--spend some time peering at all the variety and then order up a hearty breakfast. If it's down and comforting you want then check out Fat Boy or Dutch Drive Inn for classics like poutine, fish and chips and other diner favourites.
4. Spend a little cash
The main street of The Pas is home to a few places to do some shopping. Head into Lyets Cafe – the town's indie coffee and tea spot – for a hit of caffeine. While there, browse the merchandise like trendy jewellery, fancy teas and coffees and cute and colourful soaps. Berna Dean Flowers & Gifts, located down the street houses cute decor items, fun knick knacks and treasures that will make the perfect gift. For the fashionista, head to May Twenty7 boutique for an array of adorable clothes including designer denim and dresses for special occasions.
5. Hit the links
Just a short drive out of town sits Halcrow Lake Golf & Country Club. This is the perfect place to spend a few hours working on your swing. The lush greens and surrounding wildflowers make this course a little different than your regular city tee box. Stop in for lunch at the cafe while you're there.
7. Get a custom pair of moccasins at White Feather Cree Ations
Located on the main street in town, this is a must-visit spot. Inside you'll find handcrafted Indigenous items like regalia, moccasions, mukluks, knives and jewllery. Robert Nabess is the man behind everything and he can make anything for you custom. Treat yourself to a pair of moccassins as you pick out your beading, leather colour and fur for a truly authentic and one-of-a-kind treasure. Shop hours vary, so pay attention when you're in town to see if it's open.
8. Visit Rocky Lake Resort
Some might call Rocky Lake 'the forgotten lake' in The Pas due to its big sister Clearwater Lake, but a visit out here is well worth it, too. About a 30 minute drive from town, Rocky Lake Resort operates 8 cozy cabins and full campsite for your sleeping needs. Sign up for a day of fishing with owners Dale and Theresa and get so much more with a muddy trail ride on an ATV or all terrain vehicle before arriving at a completely undeveloped lake for a day of fishing complete with shore lunch. The resort also has a restaurant famous for their wild rice dish.
9. Get in some playtime
Back in town, if you're looking for some other things to do you can walk the path starting at Sunset Park on the shore of the Saskatchewan River on the north side of town. This path will take you all around The Pas. As you wander through, be sure to note the murals and public art along the way. If you're in the mood for a flick, head to the Lido Theatre. This historic building still maintains its early 1900s look and the inside is designed to look like a Spanish street scape. And finally, if you're feeling lucky, head to the slots at the Aseneksak Casino.
10. Check out OID
If you happen to be in town in mid-August, then be sure to take in some of the festivities around Opaskwayak Indian Days. It's clear this is a rite of passage for The Pas with the town in full swing for a parade, jigging contests, canoe races and more.
To get there:
The Pas is a 6.5 hour drive from Winnipeg heading up HWY 6 north of the city. Calm Air also operates 1.5 hour regular and direct flights from Winnipeg.