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Manitoba is a central province located in Canada. It is flanked by Saskatchewan to the west, Ontario to the east, and Nunavut to the north. South of Manitoba are the US states of North Dakota and Minnesota. The capital of the province is the city of Winnipeg, which is found near its southern border. Winnipeg itself offers a wide variety of attractions, including places like Assiniboine Park Zoo, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Royal Canadian Mint, and more. There are also several annual festivals that are held throughout the year. In February, for about two weeks, the Festival du Voyageur takes place, while in the summer, for the last few days of July and the first few days of August, the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba takes place in the city of Gimli. The province has cooler temperatures in the north and warmer temperatures in the south, but the average temperature for the province is typically about 70 degrees in the summer months, or 21.1 degrees Celsius, and around 8 degrees Fahrenheit, or -13.3 Celsius during the winter.
Manitoba's name is said to have come from an Indian word that means "the God who speaks." It is also noted that the name was likely influenced by a word that comes from the Cree, who are among the First Nation Indians. The Cree word is "Man-into-wahpaow," which means "the narrows of the Great Spirit." There are an estimated 13.8 million residents living in Manitoba. The majority of those living in the region are of European descent. Indigenous descent is the next largest majority, followed by Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Latin, Central American, and South American descent.
Manitoba has a number of unique wonders within its territorial limits. Firstly, Manitoba is estimated to have more than 100,000 lakes. Lake Winnipeg, found a short distance north of the city Winnipeg, is one of the largest inland freshwater lakes in the world. The city of Winnipeg is not only the provincial capital, but it is also the largest city in Manitoba. Winnipeg has a variety of establishments that offer entertainment and attractions year-round, such as The Assiniboine Park and Zoo, Grand Beach Provincial Park, and The Royal Canadian Mint. There are also large festivals held annually throughout the year that attract visitors. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba and Festival du Voyageur are celebrations that take place during specific times of the year in Winnipeg.
The Assiniboine Park and Zoo is an expansive zoo that houses many animals. They house a number of animals found in Canada, in addition to more exotic species found in other places of the world, like Siberian tigers and red kangaroos. The park is one of the oldest parks in Winnipeg and encompasses around 445 hectares (nearly 1,100 acres). Also located inside the zoo is Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. In the garden, there are a number of brass pieces of artwork that were made by Leo Mol.
The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is another well-known attraction in Manitoba. The museum is a unique building located in the city of Winnipeg. There are both temporary and permanent exhibits that give perspective on human rights throughout history and in many different parts of the world. Artwork and displays feature depictions of events in the past and offer information regarding what transpired. Updates and new artwork are set to be added in the following years. The Royal Canadian Mint is a historical attraction that is responsible for producing coins, not only for Canada but for other countries as well. Tours are available where guides provide a history of the location and take them through the facility. An on-site boutique sells specialty coins and other souvenirs.
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is a celebration that takes place in a small town that is north of Winnipeg called Gimli. About an hour away by car, visitors can find this festival near the edge of Lake Winnipeg. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba typically starts near the end of July and goes on into the first few days of August. At the Icelandic Festival, various food vendors are available, and there are a number of Icelandic activities and traditions available for the duration. One highlight of the festival is the Islendingadagurinn, which takes place at the beginning of August on the first weekend. This is a tradition of selecting a woman to be the Fjallkona, which translates to "Maid of the Mountain." According to the festival's website at icelandicfestival.com, "The Fjallkona (Maid of the Mountain) is Iceland, and the Icelanders are her children."
Manitoba has a portion of its southern region within the Great Prairies, making it the first "prairie province," with the other prairie provinces being Saskatchewan and Alberta. Lake Winnipeg takes up the central part of Manitoba and stretches down to near the south. In the southern regions of the province, there are many open areas and plains. To the north, there are more dense forests and many lakes of varying sizes. Nelson River runs from the northeastern part of the province, starting at the Hudson Bay, and travels down the central area of Manitoba until it reaches Lake Winnipeg.
Near the southern side of Manitoba, in the lower elevations and prairies, summers tend to be longer and much warmer than in the northern areas of the province. During the hottest month of the year, for Winnipeg, that would be July, the average temperature tends to be between 61 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, about 16.1 and 26.1 degrees Celsius. In the winter, the coldest month is typically January, which sees an average low and high of -1 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit, about -18.3 and -10 degrees Celsius. One of the furthest cities to the north, called Churchill Airport, shares the same hottest and coldest month as Winnipeg. In July, the average tends to be between 47 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, about 8.3 and 17.7 degrees Celsius, while January's averages tend to be -20 to -6 degrees Fahrenheit, about -28.8 to -21.1 degrees Celsius. While winters in both the north and south sides of the province tend to be very cold, snowy, and windy, the summers are different. The south has overall warmer and more extended periods of good weather while the north has cooler temperatures and more cloud coverage.
A variety of deciduous and coniferous forests can be found across the province. Many of the coniferous forests and trees are located in the northern parts and higher elevations of Manitoba. Eastern white cedars, red pine, and more tend to be the more common kinds of trees in these forests. In the regions where there are warmer temperatures during the year, deciduous forests become more common. In these forests, one can find tree species like cottonwood, green ash, Manitoba maple, and others. There are also a wide variety of flowers and shrubs that can be found across the land. Bearberry is a shrub that produces a berry similar to cranberries, and it is an especially popular food for bears, hence the name. One flower that is explicitly found in and near the prairies is called prairie crocus. Prairie crocus, which is also the provincial flower, ranges in color, often having pale blue or purple petals. One feature about the prairie crocus is that it opens its petals during the day and closes them when the sun goes down.
A significant number of animals live in Manitoba, some living in the colder regions and others only being found in the low elevations and prairies where the temperatures are not as drastic. In the prairies, where it tends to be warmer during the year, gophers, marmots, and cottontail rabbits are commonly found. Red foxes can be found in the lower elevations, but they also can be seen in the northern and mountainous places of the province as well. In the coniferous forests and higher elevations, bears become much more of a common sight. Black bears tend to appear more often in areas where there is less snow, while polar bears are more easily found in the arctic and tundra regions. Arctic foxes, lynxes, moose, gray wolves, elk, caribou, snowshoe hares, river otters, and more live in these kinds of biomes. There are also a number of aquatic animals that can be found in Manitoba. Ringed seals inhabit cold icy areas such as the Hudson Bay, and are an essential food source for polar bears. Another creature that lives in the water is the beluga. Belugas are also known as white whales and sometimes occupy the entrances of rivers to feed and deliver their offspring.
Indians, also called First Nations, and other Aboriginal peoples had lived in the region that is now known as Manitoba for thousands of years. Their first encounter with the Europeans occurred through the fur trade that was established in the early 1600s. An explorer named Henry Hudson navigated around the eastern side of the bay, which became known as Hudson Bay, in 1610. More adventurers followed soon after his initial navigation over the next 30 years, including Luke Fox, Thomas James, Thomas Button, and others.
During this time of exploration and sailing, the fur trade became one of the most popular exports of the area. Hudson's Bay Company was the first company incorporated in England specifically regarding the fur trade. They were rivaled with a company that was called North West Company that was originated by the French. There were many years where these two fur-trading companies fought for dominance in the land to the point where violence increasingly became an issue, especially as profits began to decline. A violent outbreak known as the Seven Oaks Massacre of 1816 was one of the more violent battles that occurred. About five years later, the two companies were forced to merge into the Hudson's Bay Company due to the declining profits and aggression between the two factions.
Manitoba is the fifth province to be admitted into the Canadian confederation. In 1870, the region that had been previously known as the Red River Settlement was given ownership to Canada. Other areas in Canada, specifically in the west, have experienced explosions of both economic success and failure over the years, but Manitoba has maintained a slower and steadier pace in comparison. The same tends to be true in cultural and political life, as extremes on either side are, overall, fewer in number in the province.
There are a number of successful businesses that have their headquarters based in Manitoba, and many of them are based in Winnipeg. J-CON Civil is a civil construction company that produces services for sewer and water projects. Over the course of time between 2012 - 2017, this company saw a growth increase of 1,034% and made it to the 81st position of the Growth 500. Neovation Learning Solutions is another company that made it into the Growth 500, taking the 132nd position. The business specializes in online learning services and software. The growth for Neovation Learning Solutions between 2012 and 2017 was about 668%. Manitoba has a number of economic contributors, but some of the more significant economies include agriculture, electricity, forestry, tourism, oil, and mining. One industry that is becoming larger in the province is manufacturing.
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