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Polar bears, belugas and birds await in Churchill Manitoba

white polar bear on a pack of ice

An ecotourism jewel set firmly in the crown of Manitoba’s far north, Churchill is one of Canada’s leading tourism destinations with visitors coming from around the world. One of the main draws — polar bears.

Residents are used to wayward bears in town, enough so that conservation officers and the Polar Bear Alert System, in place since the early 1980s, help in reducing dangerous human-bear encounters. 

Yet, at a second glance, many opportunities await travelers, including beluga whale excursions, dog sledding, birding tours, fur trade history, the Northern Lights and First Nations culture.

Seeing as it’s incredibly remote, there are two ways to access this community, by train or by plane. Based on the challenging terrain, there are no roads. You’ll have to leave your car behind.

Polar bear tours:

Just prior to the deep cold of winter, polar bears gather in the Churchill area in greater numbers. Why? It won’t be long before the ice sets in on Hudson’s Bay, making it easier for the carnivores to hunt seal.

The best time for onlookers is mid October to mid November. Guests are well protected in the raised, secure all-terrain vehicle, and yes, the bears can and do get up close and curious.

Most tours access the Churchill Wildlife Management Area.

Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site and Cape Merry Battery

If you were in what would become northern Manitoba during the mid to late 18th century, it was a period of heated conflict between English and French forces. An uneasy peace would soon unravel.

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) had a tight hold on the region with its first installation at York Factory. In order to protect English control in the region, the Prince of Wales Fort was constructed by HBC.

This northern protective bastion secured the mouth of the Churchill River, and ultimately, the vital Arctic resource shipping route. Yet, its utility as a fortress waned when it fell to the French in 1782. 

Learn about the history of defensive structures, and cannon batteries, on nearby Cape Merry. The first defensive structure, short lived due to fire, was built soon after John Abraham landed here in 1686. 

Wapusk National Park

A subarctic landscape unlike any other, this is Canada’s most remote national park. In an effort to protect the dens of polar bears and their cubs, access is by way of Churchill-based commercial outfits.

Much like Churchill, the bears come ashore before the ice melts and then travel further out during the winter freeze. Other animals call Wapusk home, such as caribou, lemmings and hundred of bird species.

Northern Lights

Enthusiasts are known to chase the Northern Lights across Canada. Yet, as one of the best places in the world to see them, Churchill boasts over 300 nights a year where the Auroa Borealis dance. Learn more.

Beluga Whale excursions

Everyone heads to warmer waters when the temperatures dip —beluga whales are no different.

Between mid June and mid September, some 3,000 whales enter the Churchill River to mate and feed.

A further 60,000 travel into the Hudson Bay from the Arctic Ocean.

These friendly creatures often come up to the boats and charm tourists, and visitors alike, with their unique vocalizations. Some outfits offer stand up paddleboard or kayak tours with the whales. 

Itsanitaq Museum

History lovers should find time to visit the incredible Itsanitaq Museum in Churchill, Manitoba. Be wowed by some of the world’s oldest Inuit carvings and artifacts, dating back to 1700 BCE. 

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Top five classic campfire snacks you have to try at least once

For many Manitobans, camping is synonymous with summer and with that comes great food. We can almost set the scene for you. The sun’s going down on your favourite lake destination. Your picnic table is laden with supplies for an outdoor feast, maybe some of Winnipeg’s own Old Dutch potato chips.

Are any of our top five classic campfire snacks on your must eat list?


There is nothing more traditional campfire than the s’more. We all know that satisfying feeling as you smoosh a gooey golden roasted marshmallow with chocolate between two graham crackers. It is fun to prepare, even more fun to eat and perfected by great company. We know how to make it, we know how delicious it is, yet where did that name come from? According to National Geographic, a recipe for “some mores” appeared 94 years ago.

“Toast two marshmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of chocolate bar will melt the chocolate a bit.” – Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Guides, 1927

We don’t actually know the earliest date when the first s’more was roasted and, oh, so delightfully squished into being, but it has left its sticky mark in the pantheon of picture-perfect lake living.

Plus, we shouldn’t overlook just the old-fashioned roasted marshmallow. Yum!

Trail mix

Trail mix has long been a staple for hikers, campers and people generally enjoying the outdoors. It is easy-to-make, tasty and keeps you sustained on any trail, or while you’re sitting around the campfire. Traditionally, the health-conscious portions include any nuts, seeds and dried fruit of your liking.

What comes next is typically the part most people eat first — the sweet stuff. This is where you can add anything of your choosing, such as candies with a hard chocolate exterior, popcorn etc. Some recipes even opt for Chex, Cheerios or other dry breakfast cereals.  

What makes up your favourite trail mix?

Jiffy Pop

This fun treat comes complete with its own pan, kernels and foil wrapping. Jiffy Pop was developed in 1958 by the late inventor, businessman and chemist Frederick Mennen. We all remember that sound, as the kernels pop, pop and the foil billows upwards with near constant shaking.

We have even successfully made Jiffy Pop on the campfire. You can also make your own popcorn while camping with a pot with lid, oil, kernels and camp stove. Both methods are awesome.

Campfire Banana Splits

This campfire snack is fun for the whole family. 

  1. Take a banana and cut the peel on the concave side until you see the fruit inside.
  2. Mush up the banana and add the sweet fillings, anything your heart desires. We’ve enjoyed chocolate chips, peanut butter, marshmallows, coconut, berries, Nutella, etc.
  3. Wrap up the banana in aluminum foil. Ensure you evenly heat your banana dessert. The campfire grate works well, as do the embers of the fire when it has died down a bit.
  4. Unwrap your cooked banana and chow down.

Baked Campfire Apple

A true legend of the camping scene, we can never get enough of baked campfire apples. 

  1. Start by washing and cutting out the cores from your apples. Keep the little tops, as they will be required later. Don’t forget all the seeds!
  2. Add one tablespoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in the apple.
  3. Place the tops back on and wrap each apple in two sheets of tin foil.
  4. Cook in the hot embers of the campfire, five minutes on each side and then roll out of the fire.
  5. Let them cool down and you’re ready to eat your own personal baked apple.

Gear for the Happy Camper in your life:

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New solar cycle to ramp up Northern Lights across Manitoba

art astronomy atmosphere aurora

Global visitors come to the shores of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba to view the Northern Lights. Their destination, Churchill, is one of the best-known places to do so on our planet after all. Its remote location means their claim to fame is true — the Aurora Borealis shimmers for 300 days each year.

Whether you are checking out the lights at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre or you’ve booked a tour, it’s a one-of-a-kind destination, made even more so when you add polar bears and beluga whales.

Yet, the Northern Lights can be viewed from across Manitoba (best in Fall and Winter), maybe not as frequently as our friends up north, but people from all corners of the province can enjoy the majesty. 

All they need is a dark sky. 

What are the Northern Lights?

Geomagnetic storms on the Sun expel solar winds towards Earth. The particles that reach us are captured in our magnetic field, and flow toward the poles, north and south. The Northern Lights are a clash of ages between the particles and the molecules in our atmosphere, followed by rapid temperature increase. Different atoms reacting with the sun’s particles creates the competing colours. 

What does a new solar cycle mean for the Northern Lights?

The NASA and NOAA-sponsored Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel estimated that this cycle, now the 25th, is on the rise and will peak in solar activity in 2025.

This comes as the world left a solar minimum, the tail end of solar cycle 24, in December 2019.

Chasing the Northern Lights near Winnipeg

We’ll start with locations right outside the city. You may be lucky enough to see faint aurorae from within city limits, but, trust us, you’ll want to drive outside of Winnipeg for the optimal dark skies.

A birders paradise during the day, Oak Hammock Marsh can be an extremely busy area for Winnipeggers trying to see the Northern Lights. We must note, however, that the RCMP urge caution.

It is dangerous to park along the road and get out at any point, let alone at night-time. The police will hand out tickets. Long lines of parked vehicles can be a reality — if it’s busy, find a safer place to stop. 

Nearby Birds Hill Provincial Park is also popular for astronomers. However, as both places are easily accessible, some people may wish to carve out a quieter part of Manitoba for their sky gazing.

PS: Keep your eyes on the road while driving, even if an amazing dance dips and dives above you.

Your best chance of spotting the Northern Lights will occur in rural areas. Consider traveling north into the municipality of St. Andrews. This past March, the lights were seen above Steinbach to the southeast.

Jordan Carruthers with Manitoba Storm Chasers expressed that Sportsman’s Corner Campground (outside Westbourne), Delta Beach (north of Portage La Prairie) on Lake Manitoba and St. Ambroise Beach Provincial Park, also on Lake Manitoba, are some of his favourite spots.

A mystical show above Manitoba’s Interlake region

One of the best areas to experience the Northern Lights, within reasonable driving distance from Winnipeg, is the Interlake region. In many instances, there’s little to no light pollution here, especially around the lakes. People have had success outside Gimli, including Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park.

Another reason to travel to the Parkland region

It’s a three-hour drive from Winnipeg, or a one-hour drive from nearby Brandon, yet the skies over Riding Mountain National Park are nothing short of pristine — perfect for catching the show. We’ve enjoyed some stunning images of the Northern Lights over Clear Lake, Moon Lake and Grayling Lake. 

Plus, the resort townsite of Wasagaming has everything travelers and aurora chasers are looking for.

Northern Lights meets the Canadian Shield

At 2,800 square kilometers of protected wilderness area, Whiteshell Provincial Park features numerous lakes — Falcon Lake, Caddy Lake and Westhawk Lake among them — and rivers. Set against the forests and awe-inspiring rock formations of the Canadian Shield, this is also a hot spot for the Northern Lights. 

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10 provincial parks you must visit at least once in Manitoba

city bicycle in the middle of forest trail

Outdoor adventure awaits in Manitoba. Where else can you visit rolling plains, hike amongst the Canadian Shield, soak in northern landscapes and, of course, enjoy that lake life we live for? 

We have 92 provincial parks that were made for exploring. This land has been part of our human story for thousands of years, and we’re excited to share it.

We can’t wait to talk about our favourite places — beaches included.

Central region:

Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park and Grand Beach Provincial Park

People have been visiting Interlake beaches as tourists since top hats were in. Winnipeg Beach, for instance, started with a bang 121 years ago via the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was a bonafide attraction, and thousands came, often by the Moonlight Special train, to the resort on Lake Winnipeg.

Riding the rails was romantic, and many singles met their soulmates here. Today, the beach is popular with sunbathers, campers, cabin owners and water sports enthusiasts.

Check out the Winnipeg Beach Campground and the now iconic CPR steel water tower. 

A fan favourite, Grand Beach Provincial Park is located where the dunes meet the waters of Lake Winnipeg. Walk the Ancient Beach trail; its long-forgotten waters, Lake Agassiz, dried 8,000 years ago.

Hidden shorelines, lost waves — can you hear them? — grassy hills as islands, sign us up. 

Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park:

Island hop through mystical Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park located near Gimli Manitoba. Learn more.

Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park:

A storied ruin, what’s left of Our Lady of the Prairies looks more like something you would see in the United Kingdom. Yet, the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (ie. Trappists) founded their monastery on the river in 1892 (near St. Norbert). By 1978, they had moved to Holland, Manitoba.

A fire left the monastery in its current state. We highly recommend a visit to this picturesque site, especially when the venerable acting troupe Shakespeare in the Ruins puts on a performance. 

St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park:

Located where the Red and La Salle rivers meet, learn about the culture and heritage of our Metis people at St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park. During tourism season, ensure you explore the typical log and frame homes from the late 1800s. We can’t wait to see you there.

Lockport Provincial Heritage Park:

A place where nearly 3,000 years of First Nations heritage has been uncovered, Lockport Provincial Heritage Park easily secures its place as an incredibly significant archeological site.

The St. Andrews Lock and Dam, a historic site as well, aided in controlling rapids along the Red River, which, at that time, had been negatively affecting trade in Winnipeg in the early 20th century.

Western region:

Turtle Mountain Provincial Park:

People have been enjoying Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, in its designated form, since 1961. Trust us, it goes further back to a truly momentous time. It’s celebrated as the earliest known inhabited place in the province. Nearly 10,000 years ago, glaciers from the last Ice Age retreated, leaving this land dry.

People took advantage of the forests, the animal herds and used this region for its bountiful resources. But, where did this provincial park get its name — from the Western Painted Turtle of course!

Today, the landscape is dotted with hills, forests and shallow lakes, and is perfect for bicycling, walking and cross-country skiing in winter. Come for the camping and stay for the numerous hiking trails.

Eastern region:

Whiteshell Provincial Park:

This stunning park is the Precambrian Shield at its finest. Perfect fishing rivers, beaches made for relaxing and cabins and rentals for your next family adventure, Whiteshell Provincial Park awaits. There are 200 lakes in the vicinity, including one of our favourites, West Hawk Lake.

This body of water is a meteorite impact crater from 100 million years ago. You can learn more about this Cretaceous-era collision course at the West Hawk Museum in the West Hawk campground office.

Check out the Caddy Lake Tunnels, cross the Whiteshell River Suspension Bridge, hike Bear Lake (or countless others) and delve into First Nations history on a guided tour of the Bannock Point Petroforms.

This is a hiker’s mecca — you won’t regret the view of Falcon Lake from the Top of the World trail. People of all skills walk here, from beginners through to experts on the 60 km (one way) Mantario Trail.

Nopiming Provincial Park:

Dense boreal forest. More than 700 crystal lakes. Nopiming means “entrance to the wilderness” in Anishinabe, and no, a more apt description could not be found. Look out over the Canadian Shield from Tulabi Falls or cast your line into Tulabi Lake. 

Campers have a selection to choose from including Black Lake Campground, Tulabi Falls Campground, Bird Lake Campground or Beresford Lake. In winter, start your outdoor adventure at Nopiming Lodge.

Whitemouth Falls Provincial Park:

Archaeology fans, take note. Whitemouth Falls Provincial Park is another designated area well known for First Nations culture. Three campsites found near the falls date back to 4,800 years ago. Located 90 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg, the park is served by the community of Seven Sisters Falls.

As well Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park is nearby as well, with its dam site from 1906. 

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Open your eyes to the natural delights near Gimli, Manitoba

Gimli, Manitoba is its own tourist magnet, each person tempted by natural beauty, incredible vistas of Lake Winnipeg and, yes, Icelandic heritage. At 4.6 metres high, the community’s Viking Statue has been an iconic symbol, standing tall since 1967 — its warrior visage yearning for Valhalla.

Gimli has a thriving arts scene and is known for its culture and history. One such example is the Gimli Film Festival. It’s recognized as the country’s largest rural film festival, and a not-to-be-missed event.

We can’t wait to attend the next Icelandic Festival of Manitoba — now that’s a party. There’s so much to see and do, and this makes Gimli a sought-after destination for day trippers from Winnipeg. 

Better yet, Gimli lies at the very heart of the Interlake region. We know you’re excited, so let’s get to it.

5 outdoor getaways near Gimli, Manitoba

Gimli Beach:

You don’t have to go far for this one; Gimli’s waterfront is a popular beach and boardwalk. People come here to relax, catch some rays on the shores of Lake Winnipeg and for summer events.

What do Streetheart, Harlequin and the Trews have in common? They’ve each played the Gimli Beach Bash concert series. Come July, catching a film on the beach for the film festival is pretty cool.

Plus, we hear that the sunsets are something else.

Camp Morton Provincial Park:

Camp Morton Provincial Park is a few kilometres north of Gimli. The area was first developed in 1920 as a lakeside summer camp for under privileged children. Decades later, the colourful camp buildings are quiet, except for the people casually enjoying the grounds, and reading about bygone years.

Yurt fans delight — six of them are available to rent, as well as 14 cozy cabins. There are also traditional camp spots as well. We’ll bring the hot dog sticks and marshmallows — it’s a great place to unwind. 

PS: Don’t forget to bring your hiking poles to explore some of the trails in the park.

Monsignor Thomas W. Morton had the right idea. 

Hnausa Beach Provincial Park

Fun fact: Hnausa means piece of turf in Old Icelandic

Hnausa Beach Provincial Park is a short drive north of Gimli. People come for the camping facilities — basic and electricity-serviced camp spots — and recreation opportunities on Lake Winnipeg.

Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park

Fun fact: Hecla Island was named for the famous, and hot under the collar, Mount Hekla in Iceland

An outdoor paradise where magic and mysticism hangs on the wind, the islands that comprise Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park are steeped in many traditions, including those of the Anishinabe people.

With nearly 60 kilometres of hiking trails, you’ll walk past cliffs, by the famous lighthouse, along beaches, through marshlands and among serene mixed forests.

Camping accommodation in the park includes basic spots, as well as others that are serviced by electricity and water. Group camp spots are available as well, as are a selection of vacation cabins.

Birders rejoice! Ducks Unlimited and Manitoba Conservation welcome you to the Grassy Narrows Marsh on Hecla Island. This region is home to many species, such as pelicans, hawks and even moose. Ensure you’re respectful, as it’s a nesting ground for Canada Geese.

Once an important settlement in New Iceland, tourists now come to the Hecla Historic Village to learn about Icelandic culture and how families lived and thrived here between the 1920s and 1940s.

A self-guided walk is available in all seasons, and interpreter-led guided tours occur in the summer. Check out the former two-room schoolhouse, now the Hecla School Interpretive Centre.

Then learn all about the commercial fishery at the former icehouse, the Hecla Fish Station.

Narcisse Snake Dens

“Snakes, why’d it have to be snakes?” – Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark

You’ll have to wait a little longer for this one as it’s currently closed due to COVID-19. Yet, when it’s open, there’s an incredible natural phenomenon that occurs at the aptly named Narcisse Snake Dens.

When else are you going to see thousands of red-sided garter snakes during their mating rituals, but springtime in Manitoba? When visiting, remember to remain on the trails and observation platforms.

National Geographic has referred to this spectacle as the largest gathering of snakes anywhere in the world. Check before you go, but it’s usually best experienced at the end of April, beginning of May.

The dens can be found in the Rural Municipality of Armstrong outside Narcisse, Manitoba. 

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5 Important things you should know about Cabin Street

It’s been just about three years since the inception of Cabin Street – and Woah, what a ride! At first, what started as just an idea quickly came to fruition. Within months, we were up and running, and then we had to find our customers in this great province. Growing takes time, we needed to build our brand and hone in on our niche. From the start, we focused on who we believed our customers would be proud to support. Manitoba has shown us the most incredible amount of support and we are inspired every day! We want to represent the best of Manitoba through clothing and high-quality accessories.

As a small local start-up business, we have made more mistakes than we would like to admit but we are here loving every moment of this journey and couldn’t do it without your support. From the quiet moments of us dreaming up this brand in a coffee shop to getting our first sale, we wouldn’t change it for the world. Manitobans are incredible, thank you for checking out our local Manitoba clothing business.

What you should know about Cabin Street:

We design everything.

Cabin Street’s success is rooted in hard work and a deep love for Manitoba. Every piece has been designed in-house by our founders, we spend countless hours creating original designs that not only our customers will love, but are truly a representation of our brand. When you purchase a piece from us, take pride in knowing that it’s truly unique. All our creative work is done with the utmost care and integrity.

Made in Canada or imported – Always sustainable.

We put a lot of time and consideration into the selection of our garments. We are pleased to say that about 50% of our products are made in Canada. For the remaining products, it simply isn’t possible to source 100% of our raw garments within our borders. We work with several North American manufacturers with global factories. All garments are sustainable and ethically produced. This will always be our commitment and stand behind our sourcing or products. If you have any questions about our products please reach out at [email protected].

Our photos are real, never a mock-up.

As a small business, we sell a majority of our products without our customers seeing the physical product. We love that we are able to reach a large audience virtually. This comes with its own set of challenges, our online store, and social media has become the most invaluable tool for businesses. With that, we strive to showcase our products as accurately as possible! All product photos are actually photos of the garments and are colour adjusted so that they are as close to the actual product as possible. This creates extra work for us, but we are proud of our products and want you to be confident in your purchase.

Printed in Manitoba

We are so proud that all of our designs and finishing happens within Manitoba. This gives us the control to create timeless designs that are produced at the highest quality. We use several different printing techniques that each serve a unique purpose.

The collection that started it all!

The first collection that we started with is our Lake collection. We are proud to feature the best spots in Manitoba. We feature over 20 products and are always finding new and exciting areas to add to our rotation. Whether you are enjoying the sandy beaches of Grand Beach, spending time with family at Falcon Lake, Canoeing in Caddy Lake, sitting around the fire in Moose Lake, or jumping in the cool waters of West Hawk Lake. Know that our sweaters are made for you and they are made for your lake. This isn’t a limited run, not just for cabin season we will be available year-round for your lake essentials.

Thanks, Cabin Street!