The long weekend is here and I know a lot of people who are ‘going to the lake’. We’re Manitobans, that’s what we do. This long weekend I’d like to tip my hat off to Manitoba and it’s people. Here are some interesting facts about our fair province!
- Manitoba basks in more than 2,300 hours of bright sunshine each year.
- Winnipeg has held the “Slurpee Capital of the World” title for six years in a row, gulping 400,000 of the semi-frozen soft drinks per month.
- The Golden Boy, gilded in 24 carat gold, towers 77 m (255 ft) atop the Manitoba Legislative Building. Sculpted and cast in France, the statute spent the First World War in the hold of a ship, crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean after the ship was commandeered for troop transport.
- The Manitoba Legislative Building is a stunning example of Beaux-Arts Classic architecture completed in 1920 out of unique Tyndall limestone quarried in Garson, Manitoba.
- The name Manitoba is believed to come from the words “manitowapow” (Cree) or “manito bau” (Ojibway), which mean “straight of the spirit” and refer to an island in Lake Manitoba Narrows where a “manitou” or “great spirit” beat his drums.
- The beaver is the world’s largest rodent and its luxurious pelt fuelled the 19th century fur trade, leading to the exploration and eventual settlement of Manitoba by Europeans.
- At one point in geological history, Manitoba was an alpine province with huge mountain ranges.
- Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba are all that is left of glacial Lake Agassiz that once covered most of the province.
- Churchill, Manitoba, is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” for being the most accessible place to view polar bears in the wild.
- There are more than 120 public and private golf courses in Manitoba, with some of the most scenic found in Hecla, the Whiteshell and Riding Mountain National Park.
- Comedian Bob Hope played his first game of golf in Winnipeg.
- Winnipeg was the first city in Canada to establish a United Way charity.
- The Harlequin Romance publishing empire began in Winnipeg.
- Winnipeg was the first city in the world to develop the 911 emergency phone number.
- Souris, Manitoba, is famous for its 177 m (582 ft) free-suspension footbridge over the Souris River – more than 40 metres longer and reportedly bouncier than the West Coast’s famous Capilano Swinging Bridge.
- With its century-old banks and warehouse buildings, Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District boasts the best-preserved, largest collection of terra cotta and cut-stone architecture in North America. Hollywood filmmakers love the area as a location setting for period-piece movies, such as “Jesse James” featuring Brad Pitt.
- Winnipeg’s Union Station was designed by the same architects responsible for New York’s Grand Central Station.
- The Winnipeg Folk Festival, one of North America’s largest outdoor folk music festivals, turns Birds Hill Provincial Park into Manitoba’s third largest population centre every July. Over 55,000 music lovers from across the continent come together for this four-day celebration.
- As North America’s second largest alternative theatre festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival draws more than 130 performing companies into the historic Exchange District each summer for 12 jam-packed days of edgy and comic performances. Theatre companies come from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, France, Scotland and New York.
- Manitoba produces more than 25,000 pounds of gold medal, award-winning golden caviar from Whitefish roe and exports it worldwide.
- The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest and North America’s second oldest dance company.
- The Winnipeg Art Gallery has the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art, including over 9,000 works from sculpture, prints and textiles to paintings.
- The first million-dollar hockey player was Bobby Hull, the “Golden Jet”. He played for the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association in 1972 and received his cheque at a public celebration at the famous Winnipeg intersection of Portage and Main.
- In addition to producing coins for Canada, Winnipeg’s Royal Canadian Mint has minted currency for 60 countries around the globe.
- The international polling company Angus Reid began in Winnipeg.
- Assiniboine Forest in Winnipeg is the largest urban nature park in Canada and home to 80 species of birds.
- Spruce Woods Provincial Park is home to an ecological rarity in Manitoba – a desert-like area known as Spirit Sands featuring 30 m sand dunes.
- People have been meeting at The Forks in Winnipeg for thousands of years. The famous junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, once a gathering place for Manitoba’s first peoples and later a bustling fur trading post, is now a popular 21st century attraction.
Have a great long weekend even if you’re not ‘going to the lake’… That’s the fresh perspective…
***I took this info from here.