Manitoba is situated in Canada’s middle, and is actually the prairie province of Canada that lies on the eastern-most part. “Manitoba” is a word that is supposed to be derived from “manito – wapow” – the Native Cree term which means “strait of the spirit”. The pounding waves as well as pebbles on Lake Manitoba’s shores gave birth to an Indian form of superstition. According to the superstition, a spirit or “manito” was engaged in beating the drum. Manitoba is considered one of the greatest destinations for viewing wildlife.

Ontario is located on the eastern border of Manitoba and on the west is Saskatchewan. Nunavut and Northwest territories lie on the north, while North Dakota and Minnesota are situated in the south. Manitoba province consists of the biggest saltwater coastline that borders Hudson Bay. It has one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the whole world, called Lake Winnipeg. The other two large lakes are Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis. In fact over 110,000 lakes are scattered across the entire province. Manitoba’s lakes extend to about 39,225 square miles of the total surface area. Main watercourses include the Red, Assiniboine, Hayes, Nelson, Winnipeg and Churchill Rivers. Major Manitoba’s inhabitants reside in the Red River Valley. The tallest point in Manitoba is the Baldy Mountain at 832 meters.

Since Manitoba lies in the center of North America, it experiences extreme climate. The southern areas experience quite a number of tornadoes every year. Manitoba is regarded as the sunniest of all provinces in Canada in spring and winter. There are three primary climatic zones:

• Subarctic climate in the north
• Steppe climate (semi – arid) in the southwestern areas
• Continental humid climate in the remaining southern areas including Winnipeg.

The aboriginals Ojibwa, Cree, Assiniboine and Dene settled in this area. It was in 1611, that the earliest Europeans sailed into this area led by Henry Hudson. Other explorers and traders from Europe came gradually to the shores of Hudson Bay, and moved south, going past the rivers of Northern Manitoba. The province of Manitoba was created as a result of negotiation between the provisional government created by the Metis and the Canadian government in 1870.

Manitoba’s biggest ethnic group, according to the Canadian census of 2006 is the English. The German, Scottish, Ukrainian, Irish, French and other groups follow in that order. Majority of the population of Manitoba are Christians.

Manitoba’s economy is based on energy, tourism, agriculture, minerals, oil, forestry, mining and several others. Manitoba is a leading sunflower seed and potato producer of Canada.

A few of the important cities of Manitoba include:

• Winnipeg (capital city)
• Brandon
• Thompson
• Portage La Prairie
• Steinbach

Famous people
Some of the famous personalities of Manitoba include:

• Louis Reil – social activist
• Doug Henning – magician
• Jackson Beardy - artist