Spring time in Manitoba is jam-packed with maple delights, outdoor pursuits and urban adventures that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s the season for festivities as the whole province warms up its party-engine in preparation for a wild summer. Check out our top picks for spring activities in Manitoba.
It’s maple season!
Even the biggest sweet-tooth cravings are satiated at McCreary’s Manitoba Maple Syrup Festival in April, near the town of Wasagaming, about three hours from Winnipeg. Have a go at maple tapping and get to know the friendly producers who live on the land. The local culture comes alive with horse and wagon rides, live music, and, of course, the sugary treats. We’re talking mouth-watering bannock on a stick and maple taffy on the snow.
For something closer to Winnipeg, visit Saint Pierre Jolys Museum, less than an hour from the city. Explore the ‘Cabane à Sucre’, tour the museum where you’ll learn all about the history and production of maple syrup, and when the sugar high hits, join the sing-a-long in celebration of this delicious season.
For bird lovers, it doesn’t get better than this. The spring migration of thousands of Canada’s most amazing birds is celebrated at the La Riviere Raptor Festival at Blair Morrison Hall. Have the binoculars ready to witness majestic birds of prey, including vultures, hawkes and eagles swooping through Manitoba’s beautiful Pembina Valley, south of Winnipeg.
Can’t get enough of these feathered friends? FortWhyte Alive hosts Birding and Breakfast during April and May, featuring a guided spring migration hike at sunrise. Compare photos afterwards over a delicious breakfast in the Buffalo Stone Café.
A spot of glamping
For a full nature immersion, rent an oTENTik in Riding Mountain National Park. A cross between a cabin and a tent, these canvas A-frames sleep six people with inclusions such as an electric heater, wood stove, electricity, USB plug ins and all the firewood you could need. Spend your days hiking the trails, explore the nearby picturesque town of Wasagaming and stop at The Lakehouse for excellent coffee and home-style food.
Day trip to Morden
An hour and a half south of Winnipeg, Morden serves up the ultimate spring day trip packed with family-friendly activities. The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre is the only place you can come eye-to-eye with a record-breaking mosasaur, affectionately named Bruce. Bruce lived during the Cretaceous period, around 80 million years ago. He was a deep-sea dweller and a fierce predator, the largest of his kind at the time, at more than 13 metres long. An encounter with Bruce is enough to work up an appetite. Stop for lunch at Bella’s Castle, perfect for little princes and princesses, and take a stroll down the quaint main street, with its locally made arts and crafts, including quilts and natural soaps. Spend the afternoon at Morden Park, the ideal spot for soaking up the mild spring sunshine.
Crack the code
One of Winnipeg’s architectural wonders, the Manitoba Legislative Building, houses mystery and intrigue worthy of The Da Vinci Code. Join Dr. Frank Albo on the Hermetic Code Tour, a journey like no other where you’ll discover the secrets of the building’s hieroglyphic inscriptions, numerological codes and secret teachings inscribed in a Mosanic language. The mysterious symbols hark back to Solomon’s Temple and have eluded experts for a hundred years… until now.
Lazy lake time
East of Winnipeg, the lakes region of Whiteshell makes for an unforgettable spring time escape. Book well in advance to stay at the popular Falcon Trails Resort, a launch pad for outdoor adventures at Falcon Beach Ranch, where you can enjoy trail rides and hikes (or cross-country skiing if the snow persists) around the area's many groomed trails. Alternatively, grab a poolside room at Pinewood Lodge and take a walk to the bridge that spans the Whiteshell River at Nutimik Campground for Insta-worthy photos of the spring ice breaking up.
Check out Brandon, the second-largest city in Manitoba, for some serious spring time festivities. The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair ironically takes place in spring, at the end of March – a favourite for locals and visitors alike. We’re talking world class horse shows, agriculture exhibits, the traditional Royal Fiddle Contest and endless kids’ entertainment. While you’re in town, don’t miss the excellent craft brews at Fraser Sneath, and savour a taste of country Manitoba at restaurants like The Prairie Firehouse and Lady of the Lake.
If your travel plans have you staying in Winnipeg, make a beeline for the Winnipeg Wine Festival at the RBC Convention Centre in late April, where you’ll sample quality drops from all over the world at this renowned public wine tasting.