Transformational adventures and cultural experiences abound in Manitoba
Striking landscapes, exceptional cuisine and thriving cultural attractions are just a few of the draws of travelling to Manitoba, located in the heart of Canada. As Destination Canada Business Events learned on a recent familiarization (FAM) tour, that’s only the beginning of what this diverse province has to offer. We've rounded up some of the memorable experiences and highlights from our six-day autumn trip to two destinations: Winnipeg and Churchill.
Enriching museums and galleries
Long lauded for its vast collection of museums and galleries, Manitoba’s cultural offerings have been taken to a whole new level in recent years. Destination Canada’s FAM trip included tours of several museums garnering a great deal of attention — starting off with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which opened its doors in 2014 as the first museum dedicated entirely to exploring the subject of human rights. The stunning venue can also be rented for private incentive receptions, offering delicious local cuisine and a range of entertainment options.
After marvelling at the striking glass panel exterior, we were taken on an immersive journey to better understand the evolution of human rights as we made our way up through the museum’s seven levels. One of the exhibits, Truth and Reconciliation, told the tragic story of the residential schools in Canada. It featured a guitar beautifully hand-painted by a Métis artist, which symbolized the role that music played as an escape for students in residential schools.
We then visited the breathtaking Qaumajuq museum at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Located right in the downtown core, Qaumajuq is home to the largest public collection of Inuit art in the world. All told, there are approximately 14,000 breathtaking pieces that range from carvings to textiles.
The following day, we took a two-hour flight to the remote town of Churchill, where we toured the Itsanitaq Museum, one of Canada’s finest collections of Inuit carvings and artifacts dating from pre-Dorset, Dorset, Thule and modern Inuit times.
“Each museum and exhibit that I visited provided me with a deeper connection and understanding of the local cultures and heritages,” says Mark Zanetti, Incentive Specialist with Destination Canada Business Events, who attended the trip. “When it comes to connecting in meaningful ways with a destination and enriching travellers’ incentive experiences, there's no doubt that Manitoba delivers.”
Thrilling wildlife viewing and adventures
With nearly 900 residents, Churchill is small in population — but it does it big when it comes to unforgettable adventures that are exclusive to Canada. With around the same number of polar bears as there are residents, Churchill has even earned the nickname “The Polar Bear Capital of the World.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that people flock from all over the globe to see the gigantic species up close in their natural habitat.
The FAM trip consisted of a three-night stay at the Tundra Buggy Lodge by Frontiers North Adventures, a unique, one-of-a-kind mobile lodge in the middle of polar bear country. After enjoying a hearty breakfast as we gazed out at the rugged beauty of the arctic landscape, we set out for a day of wildlife viewing in a large all-terrain tundra vehicle standing over 13 feet tall. From the comfort of the vehicle, we saw majestic polar bears, wolves, Arctic fox and moose meandering across the tundra, as hundreds of species of migrating birds soared above. Evenings were spent at the lodge connecting with guests, sharing stories and enjoying delicious regional, Indigenous-inspired cuisine like arctic char and elk — all while looking at the remarkable colours of the golden sunset from the expansive windows in the dining room.
“Locking eyes with the world's largest land predator and having the chance to learn about Canada’s diverse wildlife directly from exhibition leaders is an incentive experience that I will never forget,” says Mark. “The Tundra Buggy Lodge truly is a unique space to reward employees and build camaraderie among teams, while the private chartered flights offer a luxurious experience that’s perfect for celebrating a year of achievements.”
During our time in Churchill, we took also part in an invigorating dog sledding adventure with the Indigenous owned and operated company, Wapusk Adventures. This included a mile-long ride through Churchill’s boreal forest while inhaling the crisp fall air, as well as the chance to hear stories about Métis culture and learn the philosophy of dog handling from a local Métis community leader.
A transformational experience
With its world-class museums, exhilarating outdoor adventures and enriching cultural experiences, Manitoba is the perfect destination to reward employees and create memories that will last a lifetime. The destination is also filled with bucket-list activities that can be enjoyed during other seasons, from seeing the awe-inspiring northern lights dance across the night sky to kayaking alongside pods of friendly beluga whales.
“Whether it’s exploring the vast tundra of Churchill or the vibrant city of Winnipeg, Manitoba is a once-in-a-lifetime destination,” says Mark. “With plenty of experiences that are perfectly aligned with today’s incentive trends, it makes an unforgettable reward trip for an organization’s top performers.”