Treaty 1 Territory
Just an hour's drive west of Winnipeg, the welcoming city of Portage la Prairie offers up fun and adventure for the perfect weekend getaway. Explore the past, woosh down a water slide, dine around town and then stroll along scenic pathways. Here are ten things to do in Portage la Prairie, the Island on the Prairies.
1. Splash Island Park
Situated in the heart of Island Park, this outdoor pool with its distinctive purple water slide is the place to be come summer. Come and splash the day away under the prairie sun. Reservations are required. Check their website for details.
2. Stride Place
Just because summer is over, nothing says you can't still get in some water park fun. Stride Place, located on island park, features a can't-miss aquatic centre. This indoor water park features a wave pool, water slide, lazy river, splashing water feature and a soft and squishy floor, so that sitting and standing in the pool is super comfy.
Formed by an oxbow lake that was once part of the Assiniboine River, the almost island forms a 'P' and gives this park its name. This picturesque recreation area features tennis courts, a disc golf course, a playground, and outdoor bandstand. The park also offers sheltered and open picnic areas and public art, along with miles of walking and bike trails to explore.
4. Farm Away Retreat
Located just outside city limits, book a room at this charming farm stay. The sprawling farm house boasts five spacious rooms, a huge kitchen, enormous living area and views of the verdant back garden that is bursting with hidden treasures. Families will love the Prairie Oasis Room with its big bay window and adjoining room perfect for the kids to have their own little space, complete with kid-sized beds, activity books and puzzles as welcome gifts.
5. Fort la Reine Museum
This collection of 25 historic buildings is the perfect place for some exploration and education. The recreated buildings not only honour the history of the area, but aim to show what life was like on the prairies 'once upon a time'. Visit a school house, trapper's cabin, doctor's office, dentist's office (complete with a creepy and uncomfortable looking dentist's chair), law office, general store, printing press, firehouse and more. Ahead of your visit, check out Fort La Reine's website for hours of operation.
6. Central Plains Rec Plex
Make your way to Southport (about a 10 min drive) to the recplex. Here you'll find a complete gym, in case you're the kind of person who exercises on vacation. There's also a rock climbing wall, perfect for the whole family. Kids need to be 35 lbs to join in--kid harnesses are available--and once you've received your orientation, you're free to make your way up and then safely hurl yourself off the wall. After you're done, bring your competitive spirit and head downstairs for a few rounds of 5-pin bowling.
7. Dine Out
A weekend away wouldn't be complete without some nosh to go with it. Head to Bill's Sticky Fingers for their famous ribs or a heaping plate of souvlaki. Nearby, Over the Coals is known for their giant, melty subs if you're in the mood for some serious carbs. Kids and train buffs will marvel at Lita's Station where the interior is made for train lovers of all kinds. Hundreds of model train cars decorate the space while a train track along the ceiling boasts a moving train to go with your burgers. Be sure to try the crispy homemade fries.
8. World's Largest Coca-Cola Can
You can't leave Portage la Prairie without a photo with the World's Largest Coca-Cola Can. Located in the CanadInns hotel 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.
9. Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival
This annual music festival is doing things a little differently this summer with their socially distance, drive-in edition. Register your vehicle to secure a spot and then sit back and enjoy the soothing sounds of Spirit Horse Singers, Monika Wall, Justin Lacroix and more.
10. Delta Marsh & Beach
Take a day tip out to Delta Marsh, one of the largest and most important marshes on the Canadian prairies. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba, explore 18,000 hectares where furred friends like white-tailed deer are common. Keep an eye out for gray partridge, sharp tailed grouse, coyote, beavers and muskrats. Delta Marsh is a critical spot for migrating song birds and is home to western grebes, pelicans and cormorants.
Post marsh exploration, head to Delta Beach for sun and sand on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba. Enjoy the sprawling farmland that stretches in every direction along the province's second big lake.