Hey Everyone, Let’s Go Snorkeling…In Manitoba?

Snorkel with the Belugas in ManitobaYep, those crazy Manitobans have lost it. The cold has finally gotten to their brains. They must figure they’re part of the tropics or something. Apparently, when you visit Churchill, known for its polar bears, you can toss on your snorkeling gear, dive into the Hudson Bay, and swim with the belugas.

Oooo Dive into the Hudson Bay? Must be cold enough to freeze your knickers to your backside right? Well, it isn’t warm like it would be in the Caribbean, but it’s certainly warm enough to enjoy.

The whole activity starts every July by the arrival of an estimated 3,000 belugas to the warmer waters of the Bay and nearby rivers. They’ll stay here in order to give birth to their young, feed, frolic, and sing until the middle of August, when they return to their northern home.

If you’d like to witness this for yourself and listen to the beautiful songs of the belugas and their calves, you’ll want to visit Sea North Tours, who offers tours ranging from two to three hours long. A little scared about getting in the water with these graceful animals? Don’t worry. Wildlife and tour experts assure the public that these animals are not dangerous in any way.

The adventure starts out with everyone in wet or dry suits taking a relaxing boat ride out to the whale’s favorite spots. Once there, you’ll be instructed to put on the rest of your gear and hang onto a rope that will allow you to drift along or be pulled gently behind the boat, in the crystal clear water. (You don’t have to worry if you don’t have any gear with you. All of it is available for rent!) This method also makes it possible for non-swimmers to have the same experiences.

The mammal music is stunning, but as remarkable as that is, it isn’t what most people seem to remark about first. One trait that makes these animals so popular to swim with is their level of humanity and interaction.

When they swim upside down and cock their necks to look at you, you can see that they are as interested in you as you are in them. They look at you and communicate so much with their eyes. As Doreen Macri of Sea North Tours says, ‘They are almost speechless when they get back to shore.”

This activity is ideal for almost anyone’s vacation since there’s no age or size limit. You’ll also find this adventure is extremely affordable. If you’d like more information, visit the Sea North Tours website or Travel Manitoba.

Just a few quick notes:

Just because Saturday is 40th Anniversary of 7-11’s Slurpees in Canada, a useless fact for you: Winnipeg consumes more Slurpees per capita than any other city in Canada.

A big thank you to Cathy, Manager of Media Relations at Travel Manitoba for diligently sending info and keeping me up to date on what’s going on in the province. It’s greatly appreciated. You’re a real gem!

(This post can also be found at Travel the Prairies at http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/snorkeling-manitoba/)

Eat Manitoban Style: The Top 3 of the Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

©2008AngieHaggstrom

The multiculturalism in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba make it one of the best places in the Canada to eat and enjoy foods from around the globe. It doesn’t matter what your personal tastes are, there is a restaurant, cafe, or bistro with an atmosphere and price range you will love. Here are three top spots to eat in Winnipeg to include in your next Manitoba travel plans. (In no particular order, you just simply have go there! You’ll be addicted!)

1. Stella’s Cafe and Bakery

Anyone in the city looking to enjoy a quiet lunch, relax with a book, or spend breakfast with a loved one has to try Stella’s Cafe and Bakery. That is what this place is known for – desserts, breakfasts, and lunches. Found on both Kenaston and Osborne, the desserts are all made right there. The meals look fantastic and taste even better than they look. Portions are not too small and not too big and the prices are really quite reasonable. Inexpensive when you consider the care and effort put into each menu item. The service is efficient and knowledgeable while still creating the comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Be warned, however, both locations can get extremely busy!

2. Amici Restaurant and Bombolini Wine Bar

If you want to dine like a rock star, the Italian restaurant Amici’s on Broadway is sure to please — even Mick Jagger was impressed. This place is even a member of Canada’s Top 40. This is not the typical family restaurant. Fine dining combines with an elite ambiance for a high-class and romantic evening meal. Some of Canada’s top chefs carefully scrutinize every fine detail of the meal and the service is the finest in the city. You and your guests will truly be treated like royalty. The pastry chefs are not to be left out of the equation either. Good thing the meal is delicious. Otherwise, it would be difficult to concentrate with the dessert cart going by. You will definitely pay for your meal, but it is worth every succulent morsel. For a more affordable alternative, Bombolini’s is right there and it is run by the same kitchen.

3. Muddy Waters Smokehouse BBQ and Blues

Western Canadian cuisine is the feature of this unforgettable steakhouse. Not far from The Forks and other popular Winnipeg attractions, Muddy Waters has the best ribs you will ever taste in your entire life. This is a place of fun, partying and great food albeit a little unusual. When you order the ribs, the entire thing comes with a galvanized pail. Now you’re asking why…For the bones! This is definitely not a suit and tie affair. You might want to consider a bib though. There are two large patios at Muddy Waters so you can enjoy looking at the historic Forks historical site while you enjoy your meal. The food is reasonably priced and the service is excellent.

These are just a few of the great places to eat in Winnipeg. For more information, visit World 66 and enjoy your trip!

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(This post can now be seen here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/eat-manitoban-style-best-places-eat-winnipeg/)

Sasquatch Expeditions: Travel to Manitoba to See Big Foot!

©2008AngieHaggstrom

The legendary Sasquatch has been frequently spotted in the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada as well as Northern Ontario. On July 22, 2008, a group of women had gone berry picking out in the forested region when a giant furry creature started to approach the two. The ladies were used to being out in the area and were completely certain it wasn’t a bear or a moose. They were frightened and immediately returned back to Grassy Narrows. When they returned to the site a short time later, they found a massive footprint that closely resembled a human foot!

This makes the Interlake region ideal for an outdoor travel destination; you can hike, boat, fish, camp and see if you can get proof that Sasquatch really does exist! The area is relatively unsettled leaving you with a peaceful and serene setting to enjoy the great outdoors. Several small towns in Manitoba that border the region can provide you with all the amenities while areas such as Black Island, on the other hand, are virtually uninhabited.

The area is filled with a variety of wildlife including bears, moose, and elk. Unique plants and other fauna create a fairytale-like scene. The many lakes that give the area its name are ideal for canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or simply laying back and enjoying the lazy summer afternoon. In the winter, this region has some of the best dog sledding conditions in the country. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are also spectacular.

Lac du Bonnet and other communities in and around the region have some stunningly picturesque golfing opportunities. Community events such as ice fishing derbies, spring flings, and celebrations are held throughout the year.

A little farther south, the community of Rennie, MB is best known as the gateway to Whiteshell Provincial Park. You name an outdoor activity and they have it! This history in the area is truly fascinating and exciting to explore. The Trappers Museum teaches visitors all about the trapping of animals from its early beginnings through to the present day. There is also a geological history museum and the natural history museum are also a favorite stop.

Rainbow Falls and the famous Alf Hole Goose Sanctuary are two popular stops for tourists and locals alike. The falls most interest photographers and sightseers. Started in 1939 with only four goslings, the goose sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers with more than 200 birds nesting in the area in May and June.

When you arrive, there are several places to stay in Manitoba‘s Interlake region. Campsites, resorts, cabin rentals, lodges, cottages, and B&Bs are great options for those looking to get away from the typical hotel stays.

Find a guide tour or take a self-guided tour through Manitoba’s wilderness and see if you can find a Sasquatch. Don’t forget your camera!

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UPDATE: In an interesting turn of events, two American hunters claim they have found the corpse of a sasquatch. Although the experts can’t seem to agree, you can see pictures and read the story at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4531119.ece

(This post can now be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/sasquatch-expeditions-travel-manitoba-big-foot/)

Three Romantic Manitoba Getaways on a Budget

Dog Sledding in Manitoba

Dog Sledding in Manitoba

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Just because gas prices are rocketing doesn’t mean you have to turn your romantic getaway or honeymoon into a staycation. Manitoba has some fantastic spots to get an unforgettable vacation at prices you can handle. Budget vacations means thinking outside the box and a taste for trying new things!

Northern Manitoba – “Bluesky Bed & Sled”

Dog sledding anyone? Believe it or not, this remarkable vacation is affordable for even the tightest of budgets. Once you arrive at the fantastic bed and breakfast you will immediately fall in love with the local area. The quaint B&B is beautifully decorated giving you the feel of luxury and comfort in one space. You almost seem to travel back in time as you open the door.

Once you have settled in, a tour of the area is a great place to get started. The B&B work in conjunction with Bluesky Expedition gives you the perfect opportunity to see and learn about this amazing ecosystem. The sledding tours are led by Manitoba native and resident expert Gerald Azure and his amazing four-legged friends. Best of all, there are opportunities for guests to see the area and get to know the team all year round. Definitely worth the trip!

City Vacation – Bob and Margret’s Place

If it sounds like you are stopping in to stay with a friend, you are exactly right. Located next to the river, this stunning and historic house is a home away from home. You get the benefits of living in your own home with the added benefits of staying in a hotel at reasonable rates! From here, you can spend afternoon sightseeing at the many local attractions and beautiful scenes in historic Winnipeg. The city often hosts a variety of events and festivals all year round, so it is always a good idea to check around. The B&B is the perfect opportunity to take a lunch for a picnic. Head down to the river or to the nearby Vimy Ridge Memorial Park or Munson Park across the river.

Winnipeg has some great places to see during you stay. With a donation, the Grant’s Old Mill is a great opportunity to see a real working mill from the 1800s. The Living Prairie Museum and the Manitoba Crafts Museum are fantastic as well. The Manitoba Museum, the Children’s Museum, and the Forks National Historic Site do charge an admission, but it is definitely worth the small charge.

These are just two great romantic honeymoon vacations available in Manitoba. When you are looking to travel to the area, keep your eye out for deals. Many places like the Manitoba Tourism website has many great deals. You can get passes that get you into the best of Winnipeg’s sites or deals on accommodations and adventures for Churchill and the rest of Manitoba. Whether you would like to see polar bears or city sites, you are sure to find it here at a price you can afford!

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(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/romantic-manitoba-budget-getaways/)

Three Top Spots For A Honeymoon Or Romantic Getaway In The Canadian Prairies

The Best Honeymoons And Romantic Getaways In Western Canada

The Best Honeymoons And Romantic Getaways In Western Canada

©2008Angie Haggstrom

When it comes to planning a honeymoon in Western Canada, it is all about where to stay, since that is where you will be spending most of your time. The variety of great places to stay in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta let you truly enjoy any honeymoon you can dream up. Here are three unforgettable favorite that easily fit into your wedding budget.

3. The Romantic Getaway Retreat In Manitoba

Not far from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the town of Beausejour, is a small couples-only spot called ‘Romantic Getaway Retreat.’ They offer lovebirds a quiet luxury cabin with a Jacuzzi and steam shower as well as a kitchen, sunroom, fireplace, and many other lavish features. The lodgings are nestled along the water front on more than 100 acres of private forest.

What really sets this little place apart from others is the high attention to fine details. The chocolates, rose petals, and candles are just the start. There are heart stickers on the paper towel and even the toilet paper. If you are looking to include some memorable activities on your romantic retreat, there are great skiing and snowshoeing tours available. With the retreat only a short distance from the city, you can spend the afternoon shopping and sightseeing or you can sample a taste of the local nightlife. The cabins start at $199 a night during the off-season and there are only two of them available, so you’ll want to be sure to book early.

2. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort

At the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort, it is all about relaxation. Found in the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, the resort offers guests full spa treatments and a rooftop geo-thermal mineral water pool. They have a beautiful honeymoon suite, which runs around $400 per night, as well as an anniversary suite and many other luxury rooms to choose from.

There is fine dining, a lounge, spa shop, casino, and fitness room directly on site, but because of its great location in the city, your options are certainly not limited. That is, if you can convince yourself to leave the resort. The city has all different kinds of things to do and see. Theater productions, trolley tours, museums, and galleries can easily fill an afternoon. There are interesting attractions like Al Capone’s Tunnels of Moose Jaw and tons of shopping opportunities.

1. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is truly the ultimate in luxury stays. You can choose from lavish suites to large 7 000+ square foot cabins complete with private garages, pools, and fireplaces. With prices ranging from around $100 to $700+ per night, everyone can enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains on their honeymoon or romantic getaway.

There is The Edith Cavell for some of the best fine dining in Canada. The Emerald has fantastic food and a breathtaking view of the mountains. You can enjoy the scene from inside the beautifully decorated restaurant, or you can have your meal on the patio while you watch the fantastic sunsets and scenes. There is a health club, spa, and world famous golfing here as well. Because it is situated right in the Great Canadian Rockies, there are an unlimited number of things to do and see.

The Canadian Prairies have many great honeymoon destinations, but these three are definitely at the top of the list. Whether you prefer the ultimate in luxury, the quiet hideaway, or the urban retreat, you won’t be disappointed. The worst part of the entire thing? Having to go home!

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(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/top-spots-honeymoon-romantic-getaway-canadian-prairies/)

Polar Bears, Beluga Whales, And Black Island: Outdoor Adventures In Manitoba

Travel to Churchill and Northern Manitoba, Canada

Travel to Churchill and Northern Manitoba, Canada

©2008AngieHaggstrom

Canada only has one place in the entire country that allows you to see uninhabited islands, beluga whales, and polar bears all in one trip. This place is also the only sub-Arctic seaport in the country. You can enjoy the Arctic tundra and tour the Eskimo Museum here before settling in for an amazing nighttime show staring Aurora Borealis. Do you know where you are?

If you guessed Northern Manitoba, Canada and the town of Churchill, you are right! This expansive region of Manitoba has a low population making it one of the wildest areas in the country that shows very little evidence of civilization outside of the small towns and villages.

Outdoor enthusiasts looking for adventure flock to Churchill, Manitoba for its rugged terrain and unusual wildlife. During the months of October and November, travel tours in a specialized tundra vehicle give visitors the chance to watch polar bears on their way back to Hudson Bay for the winter. Travelers can also get a closer look at the incoming floe ice and beluga whales by renting a see through kayak or going snorkeling.

The beautiful Wapusk National Park of Canada is also nearby. The park is certainly beautiful, but it is also the largest polar bear maternity den sites in the world. This being said, it’s not the best place to hike through, but if you would like to see the park, Hudson Bay Helicopters are a fun way to enjoy the park at a safe distance.

The little village of Hecla Island and Grindstone National Park is a haven for travelers looking for a taste of the true Canadian wild. Walking and bike trails are available for those looking for a more structured tour of the area, but for more grass roots hikers, the uninhabited Black Island is fantastic. You can wander through the area for days and not see another human being. Golfing and world-class fishing is also available in the area. Before you leave the island, be sure to ask the locals about the many mystical stories involving subjects such as sunken ship that give an entertaining history of the area.

If you would like more information on travel in the area or any other location in Manitoba, visit Travel Manitoba at http://www.travelmanitoba.com/.

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(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/churchill-black-island-outdoor-adventures-northern-manitoba/)

Giant 28-Foot Turtle Takes Over Southwestern Manitoba

International Peace Gardens

©2008Angie Haggstrom

The first thing you notice when you arrive at Boissevain, Manitoba is Tommy. The giant turtle stands on his hind legs holding a Canadian flag in one ‘hand’ and an American flag in the other welcoming travelers to this picturesque little town. If you happen to travel into town, Boissevain displays its true colors, literally.

Many of the town’s shops and businesses have giant murals painted on the side of them. Each one of the twenty plus murals tell a segment of the region’s rich history. They are truly breath taking to look at and really enhance the appeal of the town. (Not to mention it is a great way to see artwork when you have a spouse or kids with that don’t particular enjoy that sort of activity!)

Close by, Deloraine is another great place to stop when traveling in Manitoba. Besides being one of the friendliest towns in Canada, the town has 193 flags from different countries around the world as well as the flags of the 13 provinces and territories.

While you are here, travel a short distance south to the International Peace Gardens. These extensive gardens are absolutely stunning! The gardens use more than 150 000 flowers to express a different idea surrounding world peace. The moment you arrive here, a quiet feeling of peace just seems to overtake you.

They also play host to the best summer music institution in the world. The International Music Camp gathers various music and dance groups hold a concert each week that is available to the public. The students and staff come from all over the world including world famous conductors and instructors. Traveling to the International Peace Gardens is one of the best cultural hubs in North America. ©2008 Angie Haggstrom

Welcome to Manitoba!

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(This post can now be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/southwestern-manitoba-boissevain-deloraine-international-peace-gardens/)