Summer in Manitoba
This is sponsored content for Keep Exploring Canada.
There's a golden rule that applies to destinations that experience all four seasons: the colder the winter, the bigger the celebrations during the summer. Manitoba gets pretty chilly around the beginning of the year – this is, after all, one of the world's best places to spot polar bears in their natural habitat – and so the rule holds that the province will truly come to life during the long, warm days of summer.
And indeed it does. Manitoba's capital, Winnipeg, hosts a huge variety of festivals and events during the warmer months, and the province's citizens also take advantage of the spectacular weather from June to August to explore this natural wonderland. It's the perfect time to visit.
Churchill: Manitoba's Wild North
Attend Winnipeg Folk Festival
Since its inception in 1974, this famed musical event has grown into one of the world's most important folk festivals, attracting over 70,000 fans every year. Winnipeg Folk Festival features multiple stages showcasing local and international talent playing blues, roots, folk, alt-folk, gospel, bluegrass and more, and has featured acts as disparate as Ryan Adams, Don McLean and Arrested Development. The four-day festival marks a great time to be in the area, as Manitoba's second-largest city pops up at Birds Hills Park – where the festival is held – and party mode takes hold.
Canoe Provincial Parks
Manitoba has no shortage of waterways that are ideal for exploration by canoe: myriad rivers and lakes that provide gentle, family-friendly enjoyment of the great outdoors. Bird River, in Nopiming Provincial Park, north-east of Winnipeg, is a popular spot for beginner canoe enthusiasts, who can take to the calm waters for guided multi-day trips organised by Twin River Travel. All gear, food and expertise is provided on a trip like this, which means all you have to do is dip your paddles in and make it to the next rest spot, and enjoy the spectacular scenery along the way.
Check out Fringe Fest
Performers from around the world flock to Winnipeg each July for the annual Fringe Fest, a 12-day showcase of alternative theatre that's a riot to witness. There are more than 100,000 tickets sold each year for Fringe shows, which feature a variety of comedy, improv, drama, and even circus-style performances. This is an eminently affordable festival too, given you can go to as many or as few shows as you please, and once again, it captures Winnipeg's arts scene at its best.
Go walking with locals
One of the best ways to enjoy the warmth of summer, plus experience the breadth of Manitoba's natural attractions, is by taking a hike. There are plenty of world-class trails to explore within the province, and one of the most spectacular is the Pisew Falls to Kwasitchenwan Falls trail. As the name suggests, this 22km track in the province's central north takes in two amazing sets of waterfalls (one of which is Manitoba's highest), as well as plenty of provincial parkland filled with spruce, pine and poplar trees, and native wildlife. Be sure to bring your camera.
Feast at Folklorama
Picture a World Expo – and now picture it happening every year, in the same place, celebrating the multiple cultures of the people who live in the immediate area. That's Folklorama, now the world's largest and longest-running multicultural festival, a celebration of the people and the customs that have influenced the Winnipeg of today. Those customs are expressed through a variety of mediums, including food and drink, song and dance, and other visual arts during a two-week-long celebration that is a highlight of the summer calendar.
Go on a summer safari
There is a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime animal encounters available during summer in the north of Manitoba. It's wild country up here on the shores of Hudson Bay, and the opportunities for adventure reflect that remoteness. Take a hike on the sub-Arctic tundra and see polar bears in their natural habitat. Join a kayak trip and marvel at the sight of Beluga whales. Later, relax at a pub in Churchill and share tales of close calls with the locals. This is a summer experience you'll never forget.
Enjoy Pride Winnipeg
Pride Winnipeg began as a simple parade through the city to recognise and celebrate LGBTI rights. However, in true Manitoba style, what was once a small event has morphed into something much grander, and these days Pride Winnipeg is a 10-day festival that includes sporting events, cook-outs, a march, a rally, and the main parade. Once again, Winnipeg goes into party mode during Pride, which is held in early June, and heralds the beginning of the much-awaited summer.
Cycle and snack in Winnipeg
How do you justify five meals in one evening? Easy: by cycling between courses. In Winnipeg in summer it's possible to explore the city's downtown dining scene on two wheels, joining a "Moveable Feast" bike tour to take in the diverse flavours in a unique manner. Your tour will run the full gastronomic gamut of the Winnipeg scene, from pizza to curry, coffee to beer, street food to something a little fancier. You'll see plenty of the city, get a little exercise, catch some sunshine, and sample extremely good food.
Experience Canada's culture for yourself here thanks to our friends at Adventure World.