Fun and Interesting Facts About Manitoba
Manitoba is a wonderful province located in the center of Canada. Filled with plenty of interesting history, rich culture, and varied landscapes, there is so much to explore. Of course, if you are planning to visit, learning all the fun and interesting facts about Manitoba before you head there, will definitely give you some direction when putting together an itinerary.
We have decided to break down our awesome list of fun facts about Manitoba into smaller categories, just to keep things a bit more manageable. Skip to your favourite category, or read them all, you will be an expert on Canada’s friendliest province in no time!
Official Fun Facts About Manitoba
From population to the capital city to our official tree, many of these fun facts about Manitoba really surprised us!
1. Manitoba is one of the most sparsely populated provinces in Canada
Manitoba has a population density of just 2.2 people per square kilometre. This makes it one of the lowest-populated provinces in Canada.
Just for comparison’s sake, Ontario’s population density is 14.1 people per square kilometre.
2. The name “Manitoba” comes from either the Cree or Ojibwe People
The name Manitoba comes from either Cree ‘manitou-wapow‘ or Ojibwe ‘manidoobaa‘, both meaning “the narrows of the Great Spirit Manitou.” This describes Lake Manitoba and its narrowness.
However, others believe the name is derived from the Assiniboine ‘minnetoba,’ meaning “Lake of the Prairie.”
3. What do you call people who are from Manitoba?
People from Manitoba are Manitobans. And if you live in the capital city of Winnipeg, then you are considered a Winnipegger.
4. Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital and largest city
Winnipeg is the largest city in Manitoba, and by population, Canada’s 7th largest. In 2022, the population of Winnipeg rose to 833,000 people, accounting for nearly half of Manitoba’s population.
5. Manitoba’s Official Motto
Manitoba’s provincial motto is Gloriosus et liber, meaning Glorious and free. It was taken from the 8th line of ‘O Canada,’ the Canadian National Anthem.
6. The Official Provincial Bird of Manitoba
The official bird of Manitoba is the Great Grey Owl, which was adopted in 2014.
7. The Official Mammal of Manitoba
Adopted in 2014, the official mammal of Manitoba is the Plains Bison.
8. The Official Flower of Manitoba
The official flower of Manitoba is the Prairie Crocus, which was adopted in 1906.
9. The Official Tree of Manitoba
The official tree of Manitoba is the White Spruce.
10. Manitoba’s Official Flag
Adopted on June 12, 1961, Manitoba’s flag is a Red Ensign, featuring the Union Jack and the Coat of Arms on a red background.
11. Manitoba is a bilingual province
Manitoba was officially established as a bilingual province in 1870. The four main languages spoken in Manitoba are English, French, Cree, and Ojibwe (Anishinaabe).
Interesting and Fun Facts About Manitoba Geography
Manitoba really has a rich and varied landscape. From prairies to sand dunes, and everything in between, visitors are often surprised by how incredible Manitoba’s geography really is.
12. Manitoba is Geographically the Centre of Canada
Located in the geographic centre of Canada, is Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg. In fact, one of the most unique things to do in Winnipeg is to head over to the Centre of Canada Park.
There, you will find a large sign where you can stop and snap that perfect Instagrammable photo.
13. Manitoba is a keystone province
Because of its shape and its location in the centre of Canada, Manitoba is considered a “keystone” province.
14. Manitoba is one of Canada’s prairie provinces
Manitoba is one of the three Prairie provinces in Canada (with the other two being Saskatchewan and Alberta). The word prairie, which roughly translates to “plains” in French, refers to the fact that most of the province is flat with very few trees or hills.
15. Manitoba is home to many National and provincial parks
Manitoba is home to 92 provincial parks and 2 Canadian national parks. Riding Mountain National Park is located in the southern part of the province closest to Dauphin, whereas Wapusk National Park is located in the north, close to Churchill.
16. Churchill is Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port
The Port of Churchill is Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port. It is also the shortest shipping route between North America and Asia.
Interesting and Fun Facts About Manitoba History
Manitoba has a rich history steeped in culture. From Indigenous beginnings to European settlement, Manitoba’s museums and cultural centres have incredible exhibitions filled with our storied past.
17. Manitoba joined the Canadian Confederation in 1870
The province entered the Canadian Confederation in 1870 following the Manitoba Act. On July 15, 1870, Manitoba officially became Canada’s fifth province.
18. There are 5 First Nations linguistic groups in Manitoba
Manitoba is located in the traditional territories of the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Ojibway and Oji-Cree First Nations, as well as the Metis nation. The 5 First Nations linguistic groups in Manitoba are Cree, Ojibway, Dakota, Ojibway-Cree and Dene.
19. Winnie the Pooh is named after Manitoba’s Capital
Many people don’t realize that Disney’s loveable little bear, Winnie the Pooh, was actually named after Winnipeg! During the first World War, Harry Colebourn, a Lieutenant from Winnipeg, became attached to a baby black bear.
He ended up purchasing the bear and nicknamed him “Winnie.” If you happen to visit Assiniboine Park, you can check out his commemorative statue.
20. The Exchange District spans 30 blocks in downtown Winnipeg
The Exchange District is a National Historic Site located in downtown Winnipeg. Home to many local restaurants and shops, the area showcases turn-of-the-twentieth-century architecture that you will not find anywhere else in Canada.
21. Manitoba is home to the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in Canada
The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, Manitoba, is where you will find the largest collection of prehistoric marine reptile fossils in Canada. The centre is also home to the world’s largest publicly displayed Mosasaur, who is affectionately nicknamed Bruce by the locals!
22. Manitoba is home to the world’s largest trilobite
Known as Isotelus rex, the trilobite was discovered in northern Manitoba and can be seen at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.
23. Université de Saint-Boniface is the very first educational institution in Western Canada
Dating back to 1818, the Université de Saint-Boniface was also instrumental in helping to found the University of Manitoba in 1877.
24. The Forks is an important historical site
Located in downtown Winnipeg, The Forks is an important historical site, meeting place, and green space. It is located where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet.
Historians believe that Indigenous Peoples lived and occupied the Forks for at least 6,000 years after archeologists discovered remains indicating that bison hunters were at the site around 4,000 BCE.
And aside from its historical value, over 4 million people visit The Forks every year, making it one of Winnipeg’s most popular tourist attractions.
Fun Facts About Manitoba Cities and Towns
Manitoba is filled with incredible cities and towns that are picturesque and fun to explore. But some of them really stand out for their unique reputations! While some places have fun attributes, others are just plain weird to think about!
25. Winnipeg means “muddy waters” in Cree.
The capital city, just like the province, derives its name from a Cree word. And although Winnipeg was named after nearby Lake Winnipeg, its name roughly translates to muddy or murky waters.
26. Winnipeg has the largest Indigenous population of any city in Canada
With a population of over 100,000, Winnipeg, per capita, has more Indigenous residents (11.1%) than any other major Canadian city.
27. Winnipeg is one of the coldest cities in the world.
Winnipeg has been named one of the five coldest cities in the world. Joining the ranks alongside cities like Yellowknife, Duninka and Yakutsk (both in Russia) and Harbin, China, Winnipeg has definitely earned the nickname ‘Winterpeg!”
28. There are a ton of murals in Winnipeg.
Not only is Winnipeg home to some incredible street art, but you can also find over 600 murals located throughout the city.
29. Winnipeg has a French Quarter
Located on the east side of the Red River right across from The Forks, you will find St. Boniface, the French Quarter of Winnipeg. As the heart of Manitoba’s Francophone community, this bustling Winnipeg neighbourhood is filled with charm and character that is rooted in its Francophone and Métis traditions.
30. Lower Fort Garry was the first training base for the North West Mounted Police
Today, this National Historic Site can be toured by visitors interested in Canada’s oldest collection of stone fur trade buildings, and perhaps wanting to learn about the life of the trappers and traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the 1850s.
31. Churchill, Manitoba, is Canada’s most northerly port
Nicknamed the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” Churchill plays host to the annual polar bear migration. The bears can be spotted in and around town as they make their way to Hudson Bay and the polar ice.
32. Gimli, Manitoba is home to the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland
The town of Gimli, on the west shores of Lake Winnipeg, also hosts an Icelandic Festival known as Islendingadagurinn every summer.
Interesting Facts About Manitoba Lakes
Manitobans are blessed with an abundance of gorgeous lakes and rivers. Not only do we have fresh, reliable drinking water, but also have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of water-related pastimes. We found some of these fun facts about Manitoba lakes to be quite astounding!
33. Manitoba is home to over 110,000 lakes
Manitoba has over 110,000 beautiful lakes, which cover roughly 16% of the province’s surface area. Many of these lakes are perfect for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and swimming during the summertime.
What many people don’t realize, is the vast majority of these lakes actually do not have names!
34. Manitoba’s Little Limestone Lake is an example of a marl lake
Little Limestone Lake is one of the world’s largest examples of a marl lake, meaning it changes colour with fluctuations in temperature.
35. Along with the many lakes, Manitoba also has a saltwater coastline
Manitoba actually has 650 kilometres of sub-arctic saltwater coastline along Hudson Bay.
36. There are 3 major lakes in Manitoba
Three of the 15 largest lakes in Canada are in Manitoba – Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis, and Lake Winnipeg. With a 24,000 square kilometre surface area, Lake Winnipeg is also the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world.
Fun Facts About Manitoba Nature
Manitoba is a gorgeous province filled with a multitude of varied landscapes, vistas, and nature. So we would be remiss if we did not have a section of our fun facts about Manitoba dedicated to nature.
37. Elm trees are popular in Winnipeg
With approximately 160,000 elms, Winnipeg has the largest mature elm tree urban forest in North America.
38. Winnipeg has the sunniest winter season in Canada
With 358 hours of sunshine, Winnipeg can brag that they have the sunniest winter in Canada.
39. Cold days in Manitoba are pretty brutal
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Manitoba was − 47.8°C (−54 °F). This was recorded in Winnipeg on December 24, 1879.
40. Manitoba isn’t always cold
The warmest temperature ever recorded in Manitoba was 44.4 °C (112 °F). This temperature was actually recorded on back-to-back dates on July 11 and 12, 1936.
41. Manitoba’s highest point is 831 meters
Located in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Baldy Mountain is Manitoba’s highest point.
42. Manitoba is home to 2 National Parks
Manitoba is home to two national parks – Riding Mountain National Park and Wapusk National Park. Although Wapusk is pretty remote and difficult to access, Riding Mountain is perfect for those looking to go camping, hiking, boating, or paddling.
43. There is incredible wildlife to see in Churchill
The town of Churchill is definitely the place to experience nature. Depending on the time of year that you are visiting, you can take a guided polar bear or beluga tour, explore the tundra on a dog sled and spot a variety of birds, arctic fox, and other wildlife around town.
44. Chase the northern lights in Manitoba
Churchill is one of the top 3 places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are usually visible between November and April in the northern parts of Manitoba.
45. Hike the sand dunes in Spruce Woods Provincial Park
Did you know that Manitoba was home to 30-meter-high sand dunes? Head to Brandon, Manitoba where you can hike the sand dunes in the Spirit Sands and Devil’s Punch Bowl trail.
46. Wapusk National Park is important to the polar bear population in Canada
Located just outside Churchill in northern Manitoba, Wapusk National Park is the world’s largest denning site for polar bears. In the spring, people come from all over the world to watch the mother bears and cubs emerge from their dens.
47. Manitoba has the largest Narcisse Snake Dens in the world
The Narcisse Snake Dens are a major mating ground for garter snakes. During peak mating season in May, you can see thousands of snakes in the pits. If you like snakes, visiting the world’s largest mating dens would make for an interesting day trip.
More Fun, Interesting or Just Plain Weird Facts About Manitoba
This is one of my favourite categories in our list of fun facts about Manitoba! It’s a mash-up of miscellaneous tidbits of cool and sometimes weird information we gathered while researching Manitoba.
48. Slurpee capital of the world is a thing
For the last 20 consecutive years, Winnipeg has been voted the Slurpee Capital of the World. A Slurpee is a frozen, sugary slushie drink that Manitobans apparently enjoy all year long – winters included!
49. Winnipeg was the first city in North America to create and use a central emergency system
In 1959, Winnipeg became the first city in North America to create and use a central emergency system. Although the original emergency number was “999,” it was soon changed to “911” and the number has been used ever since.
50. By area, Manitoba is bigger than the U.K.
Covering about 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 square miles), Manitoba is actually a pretty big province! From vast northern arctic tundra and the Hudson Bay coast to farmland, dense boreal forest, and lakes in the centre and south, this prairie province is larger than the United Kingdom’s combined 242,495 km² (93,628 square miles).
51. Manitobans are Canada’s friendliest people
The slogan “Friendly Manitoba” has been used on the province’s license plates since 1976. However, “Sunny Manitoba,” along with “100,000 Lakes” was actually the first slogan used from 1971 to 1975.
52. The largest winter festival is in Manitoba
Western Canada’s largest winter festival, Festival du Voyageur, takes place in Winnipeg every year. The festivities are held in February in the French quarter of Winnipeg and in Voyageur Park.
53. The Curling Capital of the World
Manitoba is home to more curling rinks and clubs than Ontario and Quebec combined. No wonder it is often referred to as the “Curling Capital of the World”!
54. The world’s largest curling rock can be found in Arborg, Manitoba
Just outside of the Arborg-Bifrost Curling Club, is where you will find the largest curling rock in the world. It measures 4.2 metres.
55. Manitoba is home to the oldest curling club in western Canada
The Granite Curling Club in Winnipeg is the oldest curling club in western Canada.
56. Winnipeg is home to the oldest dance company in Canada
Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet is the oldest dance company in Canada and the longest continuously-operating ballet company in North America.
57. Canada’s oldest outdoor theatre is in Manitoba
Showcasing Broadway musicals since 1955, the Rainbow Stage is Canada’s oldest outdoor theatre. During the summer, you can catch a sunset show under the canopy.
58. The oldest folk festival is in Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Folk Festival is one of the oldest and largest folk festivals in the world. The early July festival usually draws in over 60,000 annual visitors.
59. Winnipeg has the oldest French theatre company in Canada
Located in Winnipeg, Le Cercle Moliere is Canada’s oldest continuously operating French theatre.
60. Winnipeg is home to Canada’s oldest contemporary dance company
Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers were founded by Rachel Browne in 1964.
61. Home to the Winnipeg Jets and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Manitoba is home to 2 national sports teams. The Winnipeg Jets are the National Hockey League team, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the Canadian Football League.
Fun Facts About Manitoba Landmarks and Attractions
Manitoba is home to several notable landmarks and attractions. There are a ton of fun facts about Manitoba tied to these sites, so we chose some of the best ones for this post.
62. The International Peace Garden is devoted to world peace
Located along the world’s longest unfortified border, the International Peace Garden is located in Manitoba and lies on the U.S. and Canada border as a symbol of friendship.
63. You can find incredible Inuit art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
In fact, the Winnipeg Art Gallery has the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art.
64. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights can be found in Winnipeg
The first national museum located outside Canada’s capital city, Winnipeg is home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This incredible museum was built to illustrate and educate people on human rights issues while, at the same time, being mindful of the building’s impact on the environment.
If you are visiting Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights should definitely be on your things to do in Winnipeg list.
65. The Forks is ACTUALLY the longest skating trail in the world
Starting downtown at The Forks, the frozen trail leads skaters down the Red and Assiniboine Rivers over a length of between 6 and 9 km. The skating trail even features warming huts designed by architects from all over the world.
At its peak use in February, the skating trail stretches 8.45 kilometres (5.25 miles), which easily surpasses the 7.8-kilometre Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa.
66. Assiniboine Park Zoo is also home to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre
The Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre is the first home for rescued polar bears before they are transitioned into the zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit. Opened in 2012, the centre is a hub for wildlife education, research, and conservation.
67. One of the two Royal Canadian Mints is located in Manitoba
Winnipeg is home to one of Canada’s Royal Canadian Mint locations. Not only does this location produce all of Canada’s circulating coins, but it is also responsible for producing the currency for 60 governments around the globe.
Fun Facts About Famous People From Manitoba
Many people just don’t realize how many famous Canadians were actually born and raised in Manitoba! From actors to musicians and sports figures to artists, you would be surprised at some of the famous names that call this prairie province home (or at least did at some point in their life).
68. Many famous musicians were born and raised in Manitoba
Some of the famous musicians that came from Manitoba include Neil Young, Chantal Kreviazuk, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive), The Weakerthans, Crash Test Dummies, Bif Naked, Fred Penner, Bob Rock and Al Simmons.
69. Many famous actors and directors come from Manitoba
A few of the most popular Manitoba-born actors include Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers, Suicide Squad) and Anna Paquin (X-Men, True Blood). Of course, when it comes to directing/producing, Guy Maddin is Manitoba’s most famous contribution.
70. Manitoba is home to many popular authors
Manitoba boasts quite a bit of literary talent as well. Authors such as Carol Shields, Margaret Laurence, Miriam Toews, Patrick Friesen and Gabrielle Roy all come from this incredible province.
71. Many of Canada’s Olympians were born in Manitoba
Some of Manitoba’s most famous Olympians include Susan Auch (speed skater), Clara Hughes (cyclist and speed skater), Cindy Klassen (speed skater), and Jennifer Jones (curling).
72. The original James Bond was born and raised in Winnipeg
Most people don’t know that the inspiration for the James Bond character, was famous WWII spymaster Sir William Stephenson. And furthermore, Sir William Stephenson was not just a spymaster, but he also happened to be born and raised in Winnipeg.
73. A Winnipeg hockey player was the first to earn a million-dollar contract
Bobby Hull of the Winnipeg Jets was hockey’s first player to earn a million-dollar contract.
74. Manitoba is home to a large Métis population
The community of St. Laurent, Manitoba, boasts the largest concentration of Métis people in North America. In fact, St. Laurent is one of the few remaining places in Canada where the Michif language is still spoken.
75. Winnipeg is the birthplace of Pizza Pops
Invented by Paul Faraci in 1964, Winnipeg is actually the birthplace of Pizza Pops.
76. Snow White illustrator Charles Thorson grew up in Gimli
Charles Thorson, the famous children’s illustrator from Winnipeg, created the Snow White character for Disney Studios. But one of the facts about Manitoba that I found to be quite interesting, is that many people believe that the Snow White character was actually based on a waitress that Thorson met in a Winnipeg diner!
Final Thoughts on Our List of Interesting and Fun Facts About Manitoba
We hope that we have entertained you with all of our fun and interesting facts about Manitoba. Perhaps we have even inspired you to put this amazing province on your Canada travel bucket list!