Discovering Manitoba

These are a Few of my Favourite Things

As my friends know, I am a woman of many passions: trees turn me on, the symphony sends me into raptures, gardening gives me great pleasure. But what friends may not know about is my love for Manitoba.

Ever since I was a young girl and had to leave my birth province for a few years, I have known that this is where I belong, under the vast blue prairie sky, thrilling to the brilliant sunshine and the freedom of open spaces. So that is why we are publishing Great Manitoba Getaways. It gives me a chance to tell our stories, to share the wonder and beauty of this province with visitors and residents alike. I am not new to this game of tourism promotion. Years ago, when I was Executive Vice President of Naylor Communications, we published something called the Manitoba Hotelman. I was bitten by the tourism bug then and became an active volunteer for the cause – so much so that Muriel Smith, then Minister of Tourism, recently told me that she thought I worked in her department!

Great Manitoba Getaways is designed to let you in on some of the secrets that local people take for granted. We are still finding our exact voice, but we know we want to hear from you about what these secrets are so we can share them with others and encourage folks – both those who live here full time and visitors to the province – to go out and explore them in person.

There are so many wonderful stories to tell. Every year, we go out across the province in search of rural gardens for my magazine, Manitoba Gardener Living, and each time we do, we find something new. Have you been to McGregor, where the ladies of the town have made a wonderful teahouse and museum from the former home of a beloved resident? The town of McGregor is almost a garden in itself.

Have you been to Churchill where the treeline of ever-diminishing trees with their southward-pointing branches snakes across the tundra just below the town? You can watch the harp seals play on the harbour ice in springtime or see a whale in summer. You can appreciate the self deprecating humour of the townspeople and buy genuine mukluks at the local gift shop.

Have you been to the Whiteshell and felt that you were at the dawn of a new world, so ancient and primitive is the feel of the swamps and rocks of the region? Have you seen the cranes there or wandered off on a berry picking trek and stumbled upon a sacred aboriginal site of stones carefully arranged in the shape of a turtle? Have you heard the loons or seen them doing a mating dance?

Have you been to Twin Beaches on Lake Manitoba on a hot summer’s day and waded out half a mile in the shallow waters to watch the pelicans fly by? Have you crossed the Narrows and had the sensation of being suspended between earth and sky? Have you walked through the ancient river bottom forest of Beaudry Park in the silence of winter and exchanged glances with a shy doe as she waited patiently for you to pass so she could take her twins across the frozen river to feed?

Just thinking of these things makes me long to get back out and explore Manitoba, revisitng favourite spots and discovering new ones.

In publishing this magazine, we are delighted to work in co- operation with the Manitoba Regional Tourism Network, made up of Tourism North, Parkland Tourism, Interlake Tourism, Central Plains Tourism, Eastern Manitoba Tourism, CDEM – the association of bilingual communities, and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Manitoba. Our goal is to explore and expose every nook and cranny of Manitoba and to share it with you and with visitors to the province.

We publish four times a year. You can pick us up at grocery stores, tourism outlets and other places people gather. If you enjoy what you read but think we’ve missed your favourite spot, drop me a line at ddobbie@pegasuspublications.net. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

- Dorothy Dobbie

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