This tour combines two of Manitoba’s best qualities – its breathtaking wildlife and its lively history – as it takes you to award-winning attractions, with your guide providing plenty of interesting information about the sights and stories of Manitoba along the way.
Your first stop is at Oak Hammock Marsh, a wildlife management and interpretive centre that is home to 25 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, numerous reptiles, amphibians and fish, and countless other creatures. Recognized as one of the best bird viewing wildlife management areas in North America, the marsh features artesian springs, aspen-oak bluff, some of Manitoba’s last remaining patches of tall grass prairie, over 30 kilometres of trails to explore, and waterfowl lure crops which can attract over 400,000 waterfowl daily during migration season. Upon request, other tour activities at the marsh could include a walk-about, rooftop viewings, a tour of the indoor exhibits, snowshoe walks, critter dipping or even canoe excursions!
Your next stop is at Lower Fort Garry, a Parks Canada National Historic Site and North America’s only restored stone fort from the fur trade era. Travel back in time to the days when the Hudson’s Bay Company ruled Rupert’s Land, and witness what life was like in the 1800s at this Red River settlement. Entertaining costumed guides bring this historically significant fort to life as you take an interactive tour of the aboriginal encampment, the blacksmith’s shop and eight other historic buildings within the fort’s palisade-style walls, all while testing your mettle as a blacksmith or fur packer, making fire with flint and steel, spinning wool, and many other memorable activities.
Before leaving the past behind, relax and enjoy a classic lunch with local flair at Fort Bistro in the Visitor Reception Centre and browse the fort’s impressive gift shop.
The trip back to Winnipeg will take you along Red River Drive, also known as Heritage Drive, the road used by the first Red River ox carts and along which you will still find many beautiful historic homes from the early 1800s. The last stop of the tour will take you to St. Andrew’s on the Red Anglican Church, the oldest stone church in continuous use in western Canada. The church was designed by its first rector, the Reverend Archdeacon William Cockran of Northumberland, England, who immigrated to the Red River Settlement in 1825 and is buried in the church cemetery. The Gothic Revival architectural style, which was popular in England at the time of the construction of the church, is unique on our prairie landscape, and the magnificent stained glass and church interior, which has remained mostly untouched since 1849, along with many original artefacts, will make a believer out of anyone.
From wilderness to bewilderment, you will not want to miss this fascinating tour!