Winnipeg has been called the Gateway to the West, but it is also your gateway to the rest of Manitoba, especially if you are flying in.
Don't miss the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which has the largest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. For families there's Assiniboine Park, where you'll find a statue (in the park's zoo) of the original bear that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
And if your interests are more rural than urban, Manitoba is the place for you. Do you like birding? Manitoba attracts more than two-thirds of Canada's bird species, and the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre is a world-renowned birding hotspot. Like fishing? More than 10,000 fish are plucked from Manitoba waters every year, including Arctic grayling, brook trout, lake trout, northern pike and walleye. Check out the Red River, in particular.
Like polar bears? Every autumn, they head for the northern community of Churchill, Canada's only Arctic port, which has turned bear-watching into a major tourism industry. You can enjoy the massive mammals from the safety of modified buses called tundra buggies. If you come ahead of time, in the summer, you might see beluga whales in Hudson Bay. You can even snorkel among them. And if you're in Churchill in the dead of winter, you can catch a spectacular display of the aurora borealis, better known as the Northern Lights. And don't worry about the cold. Churchill has built a see-through dome where you watch the show in relative warmth and comfort.
You'll find gorgeous wilderness all over Manitoba. Whether you are photographing moose, elk, beaver, black bear, fox—or, if you're very lucky, lynx or wolf in Riding Mountain National Park—or relaxing with a glass of wine at a rented cottage with a lakefront view, Manitoba offers a trip to remember.