Summer here in Manitoba, Canada, has turned out to be a glorious one despite the occasional thunderstorms so I decided to take advantage of the incredible weather and explore some of the beautiful sights of my home province.
Manitoba's staggering size of 647,797 sq.km (101,593 sq. km of that is water) and relatively small population of 1.38 million people makes it easy to find remote, unspoiled areas by driving only a short distance. With a widely varying landscape from arctic tundra and the Hudson Bay coastline in the north, to dense boreal forest, prairie farmland, and white sandy lakeside beaches in the central and south regions, you can take your pick of amazing sights and experiences for even a short day trip.
Here's a few highlights of some of our day trips:
BANNOCK POINT PETROFORMS
Located in the Northern Whiteshell, this mystical site goes back 1500 years and is a physical reminder of instructions given to First Nations people by the spirits. Anishinabe, also known as Ojibway or Saulteaux, regard these petroform sites as places of special teaching and healing, still sacred and revered today.
This area is completely open to any visitors and is accessible by taking a short hike through the forest. The area must be treated with great respect as a sacred and mystical place. Offerings such as cloth bundles, tobacco or coins can be left on a rock at the beginning of the unmarked trail.
Only two other people were there the day we visited. They soon disappeared into the forest, so we found ourselves alone in this haunting and serene landscape. Surrounded by trees at the perimeter, we walked onto the stark rocks of the Canadian Shield, and wound our way through the endless trail of petroforms, stones intricately placed in the shape of snakes, turtles, humans and other forms. The sun beat down on us from a cloudless sky, but we took the time to stop and wonder at the mystery of the place and the people who had first come together here over 1500 years ago to carefully construct this amazing ceremonial place.
About 30 mins from the petroforms we stumbled on a perfect sandy beach on the shore of Margaret Lake. We parked the car for a picnic. It was a sweltering day at 30C so I took a welcome swim in the pristine waters. With only four or five other people on the beach it was like a little slice of heaven.
RIVER ROAD, ST. ANDREWS
The original Selkirk settlers put down roots in this area. A beautiful road runs along the Red River. Many sections are completely untouched so it's possible to imagine the famous Hudson Bay Company York Boats making their way along the river on their journey to the Hudson Bay.
|A beautiful picnic spot on the Red River|
LOWER FORT GARRY
The Hudson Bay Company's first major fort along the Red River has been lovingly preserved so that visitors can see how the company men and women lived during the height of the fur trade. Buildings range from workers' cottages, the company store, fur storage warehouse, a working blacksmith's shop and the Big House complete with working kitchen and elegant reception rooms.
I'll feature more of our travels in the next blog, but in keeping with the Canadian content of the blog, I'd like to share some memorable performances by Canadian artists and musicians. Click on the title to get to the video. Here goes:
LEONARD COHEN: ANTHEM
The master of cool gives a heartfelt performance of one of his best known songs.
K.D. LANG: HALLELUJAH
K.D. LANG dazzled audiences at the Vancouver Winter Olympics opening show, with this brilliant rendition of a classic song.
JONI MITCHELL: CHELSEA MORNING
This beautiful song is filled with incredibly poetic images, written and performed by the sublime Joni Mitchell.
Check out the new cover for my novel A CREATURE OF FANCY. If you haven't read this one, you can get it on Amazon in Canada, the UK and the US.
Also my popular romantic suspense, LILAH, has a gorgeous new cover. Check this one out: