Tucked between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis at the edge of Riding Mountain National Park, the city of 8,200 is famous for its Countryfest. With three stages and an 11,000-seat amphitheatre at the Selo Ukrainia festival site, the party attracts North America's premiere country music acts each July. Canada's National Ukrainian Festival takes over in August, with Cossacks on horseback, acrobatic dance ensembles and groaning tables of borscht, perogies and cabbage rolls. Get a taste for Ukrainian pioneer life at the Trembowla Cross of Freedom site 20 minutes north of the city and visit the ornate Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection to learn about the volunteers who built it during the Depression. Step a little further back in to time to find thousands of artifacts from the fur-trade era, Aboriginal settlement and archeology digs at the Fort Dauphin Museum. Climb aboard a caboose at the Dauphin Rail Museum in the picturesque red-brick Canadian Northern Railway Station built in 1906. Right next door, take a fragrant breather in The Berry Patch, an inviting garden of perennials and, naturally, berry and fruit trees.
In the market for unique souvenirs? Browse for hand-crafted jewellery, pottery and local artwork at the Watson Arts Centre, housed in the imposing 1905 town hall. Dauphin offers a host of outdoor activities in all seasons, including 100 geocaches that invite exploration within a 15-kilometre radius. Nearby Rainbow Beach Provincial Park offers camping and watersports right next to Dauphin Lake golf course. And there's no shortage of scenic paths within the city. The lighted trails of Vermillion Park Campground are just west of Main Street, and architectural tours highlight Dauphin's heritage sites.
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