MYRNA DRIEDGER, MLA for Charleswood, Lifestyles55
Photo by BRIAN GOLDSCHMEID

MYRNA DRIEDGER

MYRNA DRIEDGER

Its name itself is lovely; taken from the First Nations word Manitou, it describes the distinctive sound of waves hitting the rocky limestone lakeshore.

First of all I love the sound of the name Manitoba. The word, derived from the First Nations people who travelled throughout the lake area, described the distinctive sound of the waves hitting the rocky limestone lakeshore as the Manitou, or Great Spirit.

Some Manitobans complain about the mosquitoes, the cold in winter, the heat in summer, or the “there’s nothing to do here” feel of the place. When people travel to see other countries they come back and talk about the beautiful landscape, the architecture, the food, the friendly people. Well, Manitoba has all those things, too.

More research needed

Other countries have poisonous snakes, spiders and the rest, yet we come back and tell our friends what a fabulous place we visited without even mentioning these dangerous critters. Why not take a moment to imagine Manitoba as a vacation destination and remind ourselves of the great place it is?

Perhaps we should pretend we are tourists in our great province. How about a “staycation” instead of “vacation”? Research Manitoba the same way we plan a trip to another country. Check out things to do, places to see and culinary must-do’s. I believe if more Manitobans learned about and visited places in Manitoba we would naturally become better at advertising Manitoba as a place on one’s bucket list.

The first thing you notice about Manitoba is the vast blue sky with the smogless clean air. We have a diverse landscape with over 100,000 lakes along with rocky hills, cliffs, forests and sand dunes. Our diverse landscape and cultures lend themselves to a variety of activities and food experiences. If you like to hike, cycle, swim, canoe or walk, there are beautiful parks and trails to explore.

If you are really adventurous you can take an Arctic safari in Churchill. Most people have heard about the polar bears, but did you know you could see the great Beluga whales?

There is a beauty in the brightness of the sunny yellow canola against the blue of the sky and the green-to-gold of the wheat fields. It is a tapestry of colours resembling a patchwork quilt.

If you like to fish or hunt you don’t have to go far to find great fly-in fishing and hunting lodges. If you like golf you could spend the whole summer visiting the multiple golf courses in Manitoba. You can scuba dive, water ski, sail at various lakes or have a picnic on a powdery sandy beach. There are town festivals, fairs, the Manitoba Stampede, fowl suppers, market gardens. With so many different ethnic citizens in Manitoba, the Folklorama Festival covers the gamut with entertainment and sampling of traditional food.

A big serving of culture

Music covering country, jazz, rock, folk and ethnic can be heard on any given day somewhere in Manitoba. There is the internationally acclaimed Winnipeg Folk Festival, which offers a variety of music to listen and dance to. Many world-renowned musicians and writers learned their craft in Manitoba. Assiniboine Park offers free music concerts at the Lyric Theatre and jazz entertainment in the Leo Mol garden.

We have a rich heritage here with a lot of historical sites and architecture to see. A tour of the Exchange district, the French quarter in St. Boniface, our own legislative building, offers a fascinating insight into the settlement of Winnipeg and its influence in Canada. When the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opens at the Forks it will offer a detailed insight into the suffering of people and the resilience of the human spirit. It will serve as a reminder of how grateful we should be to have freedom and live in this beautiful country and specifically in Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery was the first civic art gallery in Canada and has an international reputation. Their Live on the Rooftop music series is entertaining. The cultural scene is immense here with the Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Rainbow Stage. There is talent in the rural areas as well, with live theatre, bands, dances, artwork and museums. How about a nice leisurely country drive?

I know I have not been able to list all the great things about Manitoba, but I hope it will get you thinking about exploring our province. I love this province. The thing I love most of all is the people. Our diverse weather, landscape, heritage, multicultural influences, have made us a resilient people. We understand the value of hard work, freedom, friendship, family and survival, and we make sure we balance it with fun.

Enjoy the summer!

— Visit Lifestyles55