As a Canadian, I understand that I feel more warmth and appreciation for Canada than most people in the world, and that makes complete sense to me. People do seem to love visiting Canada, and that makes me so happy to see and hear- to know that other people want to appreciate this lovely country of mine. However, something that I have sadly noticed is that the world seems to think that Canada is made up of Alberta and British Columbia, aka. the Rocky Mountains. It’s actually quite disappointing to see that people are seeing maybe 10% of the country when the rest of our provinces have so much to offer- there is more to Canada than just the Rockies, and I will make the case.
I have heard countless people from Europe say something along the lines of, “You can’t say you’ve truly been to the UK if you’ve only seen London/ been to France if you’ve only seen Paris/ been to Germany if you’ve only seen Berlin”, and I can completely agree with that sentiment. That same sentiment applies to Canada; the Rockies /= Canada as a whole, and you are missing a whole lot of country. Yes, I completely understand that the Rockies are beautiful, I’ve been there many times. However, you have mountains in Europe, it’s not like the Rockies are the only mountains in the world. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, we all have things to offer and that seems to be ignored by the rest of the world largely.
I’ll be entirely frank here- it sucks to hear over and over again two provinces are gorgeous and breathtaking and amazing, and never hear another province mentioned. Canadians tend not to have an obnoxious and loud pride about their own country and province, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want people to experience everything we have to offer. No, Manitoba might not have Rockies but we have our own beauty that can hold it’s own. We have one of the largest lakes in Canada’s southern borders, covering almost 25,000 square kilometres. To put that into perspective, that is 10% of the United Kingdom’s size in a single lake (Lake Winnipeg). And it’s a gorgeous lake- it goes on for days and days, can be calm enough to look like a picture, or stormy and wild enough to make you think you might be on an ocean.
We have some absolutely gorgeous buildings that I would argue those found around the world- although we are younger than many other places, it gives us the advantage that we have other cultures and styles to draw on and use as inspiration. Our Legislative building is one of the most beautiful on the continent, and you will be hard pressed to find a provincial level building with the same amount of detail and grandeur found there. (Also, a lot of buildings world wide have been destroyed by fires/wars/calamities, and aren’t that much older than our buildings, anyways.) There will be a post this week about the Manitoba Legislative Building and how gorgeous it truly is!
If you know anything at all about Canada, you will know that hockey is our game. (And no, it’s not ice hockey, it’s just hockey.) In case you didn’t keep up with the NHL playoffs this year, the Winnipeg Jets were actually the only Canadian team to make it past the first round, and actually made it to the conference finals. (Next year, the finals!) Our arena is known for being loud, proud, and a whole lot of fun- more fun than most sporting events, dare I say, as they have the excitement of larger events like football (both soccer and American) or baseball, but without the fan on fan violence that seems to tarnish so many sporting events.
And while we are on hockey, a winter sport, yes, it’s cold here. But we do cold well. Anyone can wander through Banff in the spring or summer, but can you actually skate 5km down a river in -30 weather? THAT is an accomplishment, and one that can’t be done in many places. Ever wanted to try curling? You can do that for free at the Forks with your friends. Snowshoeing? Fort Whyte offers lessons in it! We have an entire two week festival (Festival du Voyager) dedicated to celebrating winter, including ice sculpture carving contests, rolled snow taffy, maple syrup sampling, and more. There is even a restaurant on the ice. Did anyone ever go to a moderate climate and boast about it? No, no they did not. And heat can be found almost everywhere (including here, with our 35 + summers), but cold cannot- try something different and embrace the cold! (Buck up, folks. If we can last through 5 months of it, you can take a week.)
There is something pretty amazing about never-ending fields of golden wheat with a beautiful prairie sky, and it is just as beautiful as the mountains. I don’t think a lot of places in the world have actually prairies left, and a lot of places don’t have farms and fields on the scale that we do. We are actually fairly breathtaking if you give us the chance to be, but you actually need to give us a chance.
In case you are still really resistant to the whole “the rest of Canada is worthwhile” concept, let me present a few other fun tidbits about Manitoba. We are a fairly cheap city to visit- life is comparatively inexpensive with the rest of Canada, so you don’t need a huge budget to see a lot. We have an amazing arts and culture scene, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Manitoba Theatre Company, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, and much more! There are countless gorgeous neighbourhoods that are entirely free to wander about and simply lovely to look at for an hour or five.
So, tell me why where you live should be visited- what makes your village /town /city /space what it is, and what do you wish people would know about it?