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Manitoba City Hotels

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2: Searching for hotels in Manitoba, a state of Canada. Manitoba is separated into 13 regions - from Brandon to Winnipeg. To locate your hotel, click on one of the text links below.

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Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, a vast tract bounded by the Ontario border to the east and the Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the west, together comprise a region commonly called "the prairies". In fact, flat treeless plains are confined to the southern part of central Canada and even then they are broken up by the occasional river valley and range of low-lying hills, which gradually raise the elevation from sea level at Hudson Bay to nearly 1200m near the Rockies. Furthermore, the plains themselves are divided into two broad geographical areas: the semi-arid short grasslands that border the United States in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the wheat-growing belt, a crescent-shaped expanse to the north of the grasslands. In turn, this wheat belt borders the low hills, mixed farms and sporadic forests of the aspen parkland, a transitional zone between the plains and the boreal forest, whose trees, rocky outcrops, rivers and myriad lakes cover well over half of the entire central region, stretching to the Northwest Territories in Saskatchewan and Alberta and as far as the treeless tundra beside Hudson Bay in Manitoba, and in the new territory of Nunavut.

If you're here in the winter, when the temperature can fall to between –30°C and –40°C, and the wind rips down from the Arctic, it's hard to imagine how the European pioneers managed to survive, huddled together in remote log cabins or even sod huts. Yet survive they did, and they went on to cultivate, between about 1895 and 1914, the great swath of land that makes up the wheat belt and the aspen parkland, turning it into one of the most productive wheat-producing areas in the world. By any standards, the development of this farmland was a remarkable achievement, but the price was high: the nomadic culture of the Plains Indians was almost entirely destroyed and the disease-ravaged, half-starved survivors were dumped in a string of meagre reservations. Similarly, the Métis, descendants of white fur traders and native women who for more than two centuries had acted as intermediaries between the two cultures, found themselves overwhelmed, their desperate attempts to maintain their independence leading to a brace of futile rebellions under the leadership of Louis Riel in 1869–70 and 1885.

With the Métis and the Indians out of the way, thousands of European immigrants concentrated on their wheat yields, but they were the victims of a one-crop economy, their prosperity dependent on the market price of grain and the freight charges imposed by the railroad. Throughout the twentieth century, the region's farmers experienced alarming changes in their fortunes as bust alternated with boom, a situation that continues to dominate the economies of Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta today.

Central Canada is not the most popular tourist destination in the country, its main cities caricatured as dull and unattractive, its scenery considered monotonous. To some extent, these prejudices stem from the route of the Trans-Canada Highway, which contrives to avoid nearly everything of interest on its way from Winnipeg to Calgary, a generally boring and long drive that many Canadians prefer to do at night when, they say, the views are better. However, on the Trans-Canada itself, busy Winnipeg – easily the largest city in central Canada – is well worth a visit for its museums, restaurants and nightlife, while, just to the south of the highway on the Saskatchewan–Alberta border, there are the delightful wooded ridges of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, which includes the restored Mountie outpost of Fort Walsh. It has to be said, though, that the Yellowhead Route from Winnipeg – Hwy 16 – makes a far more agreeable journey, with pleasant stops at Saskatoon and the Battlefords. This road is also within easy reach of central Canada's two outstanding parks, Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba and Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan, both renowned for their lakes, forest-hiking and canoeing routes.

Most of central Canada's boreal forest is inaccessible except by private float plane, but all the major cities and the region's tourist offices have lists of tour operators and suppliers who run or equip a whole variety of trips into the more remote regions – from white-water rafting and canoeing, through to hunting, fishing and bird-watching. It's also possible to fly or travel by train to Churchill, a remote and desolate settlement on the southern shore of Hudson Bay that's one of the world's best places to see polar bears. One word of warning: the boreal forests swarm with voracious insects such as black flies and mosquitoes, so don't forget your insect repellent.

 

 

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