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Combine a quaint prairie town with settler history in this trip that takes you from Altona to the historic Neubergthal site. Set amongst vast fields and long dirt roads, experience a slice of prairie life as you travel through Manitoba’s Pembina Valley Central Plains region.
From a National Historic Site to a small town bursting with artful touches, this road trip focuses on The Sunflower Capital of Manitoba (also known as Altona) and the nearby (and quite fascinating) Russian Mennonite settlement of Neubergthal.
Choose to stay overnight at a hotel or at a unique bed and breakfast, or simply visit on a day trip – both options are suitable for this excursion in southern Manitoba. You can also tack this itinerary onto a trip to the nearby cities of Winkler and Morden, located just 25 minutes west of Altona.
Altona isn’t known as the Sunflower Capital of Manitoba for nothing. Plan a visit in August and you’ll see the fields surrounding the town come to life with the bright, golden sunflowers. As always, please respect the farmers’ property and only view sunflowers from the road. For those who want photos in the flowers, head to Altona’s very own sunflower selfie patch; a plot of land open to photographers and flower frolickers, located south of the Access Field ballpark.
Once in town, you can’t miss the landmark replica of the famous Van Gogh Sunflowers painting. The attraction stands tall against the blue sky and is a symbol of the community’s appreciation for the arts – and of course, their love for sunflowers.
But that isn’t the only sunflower to snap a photo with in town -- make a quick stop at Janzen Centennial Park to find yet another sunflower statue.
Next, spend some time at Altona’s greatest and most beautiful attraction. Located in the restored Schwartz Heritage Home, Gallery in the Park houses remarkable work created by artists from Manitoba and beyond. Walk the grounds to see a collection of awe-inspiring and thought-provoking statues, or head inside for a more traditional gallery space.
Next, drive just seven minutes outside of Altona to find a fascinating piece of Manitoba’s settler history. Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, Neubergthal is considered to be the best-preserved, single-street Mennonite village in North America. The community was settled in 1876 by a group of Russian Mennonite families and was developed in a mismatch of Dutch, German, and Russian architectural styles.
Choose from a self-guided walk or a guided tour through the village to see a variety of yard layouts and architecture. The settlement is most known for its housebarn, a building that allowed farming families to live in close quarters with their livestock.
Hosted every summer since 1964, the Manitoba Sunflower Festival is a community celebration that features the crowning of a Sunflower Queen as well as a Farmers’ Market, live music and more. Visitors can even take a backyard tour of some of the most creative landscapes in town.
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