Introducing “Why our heart beats for Manitoba,” a new series where we feature some of our friendly staff’s favourite stories and travel adventures. For the first edition, Cathy takes us to the edge of the arctic while Brett shows off his love for the Whiteshell, Breanne rediscovers nature in the city, while Maureen spends three relaxing days off. These are just a few of the reasons why our hearts beat loud and proud here…

On the Edge of the Arctic

Submitted by Cathy Senecal

I love northern Manitoba and wish more Manitobans could experience the soul-filling nature of the ocean coastline, the lichen-laden tundra, wild Hudson Bay and massive rivers. In July, I experienced Parks Canada’s Edge of the Arctic trip to York Factory National Historic Site, Wapusk National Park and an overnight at Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site.

From the research station where we stayed in Wapusk, our final approach to the Hudson Bay took us through waving sea lime grass to the ocean. Except for our fleece vests, bug jackets, and backpacks, oh, and the whimbrels and caribou checking us out, we could have been walking up to a beach in Cuba.

York Factory, the now isolated former Hudson’s Bay Company outpost, has endured for more than three centuries, and sustained communities from 1684 to 1957. With 200,000 artifacts, the depot is filled with copper kettles, firearms, cannon balls, perfume bottles, a fur press and much more. The shiny hand-worn balustrade going up to the third floor is shiner than Mr. Magoo’s pate, what with 180 years of use. Tent rings and stone caches are all delicately surrounded in common butterwort, piles of saxifrage, wintergreen, and gorgeous northern bog orchid on the hike from Prince of Wales Fort to Sloop Cove. Tundra stuff. Polar bears circle the Fort and belugas feed in the Churchill River.

Wild in the Whiteshell

Submitted by Brett Calsbeck

Working in Whiteshell Provincial Park gives me many opportunities to see and interact with nature! Love my Job!

Rediscovering FortWhyte Alive

FortWhyte Alive. Photo by Breanne Sewards

Submitted by Breanne Sewards

I hadn’t been to FortWhyte Alive since elementary school and decided it was about time to revisit the nature site. It was completely refreshing to get out of the house and, without having to drive far, end up surrounded by the quiet sounds of nature for a few hours. The trails and floating boardwalks were a treat, and we spent at least 20 minutes watching squirrels and birds fight over the feeding station. Next time, we’ll rent a canoe and paddle along the surrounding lakes.


Three days off in Manitoba

Three days in Manitoba. Photo by Maureen Carlson.

Submitted by Maureen Carlson

Having three days off this week I decided to go to the Prairie Oak campground in Emerson. As soon as I was settled in at the campground I drove 82 km west to Morden to the CFDC to visit “Bruce and Suzy” the stars of the fossil exhibit. It was very enlightening to learn about mosasaurs, which are reptiles; not dinosaurs. Bruce is the largest mosasaur in Canada and is approximately 13 m long. It’s very hard to imagine him swimming around Manitoba!

On the way back to Emerson I was intrigued by the diversity of the crops along Highway 14; beans, potatoes, corn, wheat, canola and of course sunflowers. They are all looking very lush and healthy. Fort Dufferin is located about 2 km from the campground so I went and explored the grounds the next day. It was used as a staging point for the North American Boundary Commission for mapping out the Canada/U.S. Border. Later it was used by the North-West Mounted Police for their March West and as a police post.

Last day of my adventure I decided to go to the Tall Grass Prairie Reserve near Tolstoi which is about 50 km east of Emerson. The change in the terrain is incredible. The land is very rocky and treed. There aren’t many crops but lots of cattle grazed the fields. I arrived at the Reserve but had not taken the proper clothing. You really need long pants and good walking shoes to go through the grasses. It was still an interesting adventure just to observe the ever changing landscape.

It was a wonderful adventure and certainly made me realize how diverse Manitoba is and this is just a small corner of it!!