There’s no mistaking you’re in Canada when you set foot in Manitoba, yet this fascinating province has its own unique charm. Home to vast, untouched wilderness alongside cosmopolitan towns and cities, it goes without saying that this is one of Canada’s most exciting and diverse hotspots. What’s more, there’s an eclectic events calendar to match. All year round you’ll find cultural events occurring throughout the province, be it out in the countryside or right in the city center. We’ve spotlighted a few of our favorites, so take a look. You never know, you might just be inspired to plan your trip around one of these captivating events.
Festival du Voyageur – February
Step back in time to the Voyageur era at this annual celebration of the rich history and culture of Franco-Manitoban fur traders. The strap line ‘find your place in history’ sums it up nicely; hosted within the historical grounds of Fort Gibraltar in Winnipeg, Western Canada’s largest winter festival aims to revive the traditional culture and craft of local traders. Try your hand at Métis beading, flint knapping or coopering at the array of workstores led by artisans, while you enjoy live music, DJs and the amazing variety of food on offer.
Winnipeg Comedy Festival – April
Winnipeg, the cultural hub of the province, hosts some of Manitoba’s best events, one being the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. It’s a relatively new festival, with the first event taking place back in 2002, but each year it’s gone from strength to strength. You can expect performances from some of the best comedians on the circuit, as well as a variety of workstores and television broadcasts. The idea behind the 2014 show is ‘laugh yourself to death’, of course, don’t take this metaphor literally, but there’s no doubting this is one event that will keep you amused throughout.
International Jazz Festival – June
Local and international artists alike perform at this incredible festival each year in a variety of venues throughout the city of Winnipeg. For as little as thirty dollars you can spend the day watching your favorite artists, with 2014 seeing the likes of John Legend and Gregory Porter gracing the city’s stages. What’s more, all of the venues chosen to host these fantastic artists are within walking distance, so you can spend a whole day venue hopping to the sound of jazz. A day well spent, don’t you think?
Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration – June
They say the best things in life are free, so if you find yourself in or around Winnipeg on 21st June then it’s well worth popping along to Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration. The festival, set on summer solstice, is a tribute to the unique history and culture of some of the first settlers in the area and offers a cacophony of traditional food, art, music, dance and activities. It’s an enormously vibrant celebration with something for everyone.
Winnipeg Folk Festival – July
Making the most of Manitoba’s beautiful countryside, the Winnipeg Folk Festival has ten stages set up in picture perfect settings, from woodland clearings to prairie fields. You’ll get to see all your favorite folk artists in a truly Canadian setting, what could be better? You can choose between camping for the duration of the festival or you can just come along for the day. With children up to 12 getting in free, it’s clear that this is a family focussed event that will see you enjoying intimate performances in pop up tents, magical woodland concerts and a variety of hands-on activities.
Canada Day –July
A National Holiday will always put the masses in a good mood, so jump on board the excitement as locals celebrate Canada Day on 1st July. We’d recommend heading out to one of the beautiful Manitoban National Parks where you’ll find all sorts of different activities taking place. Listen to live music at Riding Mountain, or for the more adventurous types amongst you, head to Churchill for the Hudson Bay Dip, which sees hundreds leap into the (often icey) waters of the bay.
Manito Ahbee – September
A five day celebration in the name of aboriginal art, music and culture, dive head first into the festivities this September and see what Manitoba’s most authentic festival is all about. Listen to traditional music, sample local cuisine and browse through striking artwork. Ending with the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, this festival draws people from across the globe. The spectacular, spinning dancers are enough to leave you awe-struck, not to mention the cacophony of the Indigenous Marketplace. Our tip: when you’re feeling hungry after all that dancing and singing, be sure to try Bannock. It’s a type of pan fried bread that goes great with honey or jam. Pure indigenous deliciousness.