The regions of Manitoba

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Isn’t it amazing that Manitoba is situated in the very centre of North America? You may have also heard it referred to as the “keystone” province because of its shape and position at the very centre of Canada (and the continent). Our neighbors are Nunavut and Hudson Bay to the north, Ontario to the east, the United States to the south and Saskatchewan to the west.

Our marvelous province has a varied landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies that covers 649,950 square kilometres (that’s twice the size of the United Kingdom!). This vast area is divided into regions based on landforms or by area or census divisions:

Regions by landforms (physiographic regions)

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “the regions of Manitoba are derived chiefly by landforms”. It has four major physiographic (broad land groupings based on the physical features of the landscape, Environmental Engineering dictionary) regions:

  • The Hudson Bay lowland – it has flat sedimentary rocks and the climate is cold. Besides Churchill, this area does not have much development or settlement.
  • Precambrian Upland – composed of hard granite and crystalline rocks. This area is not fit for agriculture but it serves as sites for hydroelectric power, freshwater fishing, metal mines and some forestry.
  • Lake Agassiz Lowland – together with the Western Upland, this area provides Manitoba’s arable land.
  • Western Upland – has low plateaus of variable terrain and arable land.

Regions by area (or census divisions)

These regions may sound more familiar to you as these divisions are used more often:

Pembina Valley Central plains
This is a vast expanse known as Manitoba’s breadbasket. Harvests of golden grain, pumpkins, peas, potatoes, corn, apples and beans abound in this region. This is where many summer festivals, fairs, and other events are held. Go to Pembina Valley Central Plains Tourism to know about upcoming events.

Central Plains

  • Central Manitoba
  • Portage la Prairie area
  • Whitehorse Plains

Pembina Valley

  • Pembina Valley
  • Pilot Mound area

Eastern Winnipeg stretches from Lake Winnipeg to the Ontario border. This is where you will find clear lakes and bountiful streams (great for fishing) and picture-perfect wilderness parks. The region’s biggest city is Steinbach. For more of what Eastern Winnipeg can offer, go to Eastern Manitoba.

  • Beausejour area
  • Eastern Manitoba
  • Steinbach area

This is where you will find vast inland oceans, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. Among its unique and scenic spots are the Lower Fort Garry National Historic site, Narcisse snake dens and Lake Manitoba at St. Laurent. To discover more interesting places in the region, go to: Interlake Tourism.

  • North Interlake
  • Selkirk area
  • South Interlake

Adventure-seekers love this region. It is the home of polar bears, beluga whales, wolves and birds of every description. And if it’s right season, this is also where you will can catch a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights. If you like learning about the history of your new country, you can discover Aboriginal culture and revisit the fur-trade era through tours and its museums in Churchill, The Pas and Thompson. More information can be found at Visit Northern Manitoba.

  • Churchill/Northern Manitoba
  • Flin Flon/North West
  • North East Manitoba
  • Thompson/North Central

“Parkland is a natural paradise of scenic woodlands, picturesque lakes, rushing rivers and dramatic escarpments” (Travel Manitoba). This is where you will find Baldy Mountain, Manitoba’s highest peak (at Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Dauphin); wheat fields and berry farms; and Manitoba’s finest fishing spots. Learn more at Manitoba’s Parkland.

  • Dauphin
  • Roblin/Russell, Rossburn area

The Western region boasts of everything from deserts (Spirit Sands) to woodland trails (Turtle Mountain Provincial Park). Meanwhile, chic shops and historical sites can be seen in Brandon, Manitoba’s second largest city. Learn more about Westman’s attractions at Westman Tourism.

  • Brandon area
  • South West area
  • Virden area
  • Western Manitoba

Winnipeg Capital Region
The province’s capital boasts of ample green spaces, historic sites, shops and restaurants, as well as a lively arts and culture scene. Visit the Exchange District, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Museum or just walk leisurely at The Forks or Assiniboine Park. More to see at Tourism Winnipeg.

  • City of Winnipeg
  • Headingley
  • (and other municipalities that are parts of other regions that border it)

Sources: Canadian Encyclopedia, Travel Manitoba, List of regions of Manitoba (Wikipedia).

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Community Resources

Know more about Manitoba from these articles: Manitoban cities and Top 10 Manitoba facts.

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