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The two prominent stars of Manitoba are Winnipeg, with its big-city sophistication, and Churchill, with its profusion of natural wonders. But it's what lies between that truly defines this often misunderstood prairie province. Open spaces seem to stretch forever – gently rolling fields of grain punctuated by silos reach all the way north to the boreal forest and the Arctic tundra beyond.

The magnitude of this land can only be fully appreciated while standing on the edge of a vivid yellow canola field, watching a lightning storm on the horizon, or on the edge of Hudson Bay's rugged coastline counting polar bears while belugas play in the water. Drive its empty roads, stop in its evocative little towns, find the subtle dramas in the land and expect surprises, whether it's a moose looming in front of you on the road or a local blues legend performing in a characterful Winnipeg joint.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Manitoba.

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Searching for polar bears in Manitoba