The name Manitoba is said to have been derived from an indigenous language (which could be the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine) and means roughly “strait of the spirit”. It joined the Confederation of Canada on 15 July, 1870, becoming the 5th province of the confederation. Manitoba has 14 seats in the 308-seat Canadian House of Commons and 6 seats in the 105-seat Senate of Canada. English and French are the official languages of the legislature and courts of Manitoba. However while 89.8% of Manitoba’s population speak only English, only 0.2% speak only French, while 9.1% speak both.
Manitoba has been inhabited by various indigenous tribes since the retreat of the last Ice Age glaciers some 10,000 years ago. In 1611 Henry Hudson became one of the first Europeans to explore the area. There was a mutiny of Hudson’s ship and his crew abandoned him. A year later, Sir Thomas Button traveled upstream in an unsuccessful attempt to look for Hudson.
In 1668, the British vessel
Nonsuch entered Hudson Bay to trade with the natives. The trading that materialized in the area set the stage for the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company, named after the explorer who was never seen again.
Winnipeg has the only international airport in Manitoba. Those intending to explore the province are advised to rent a car as distances are great. There is only one passenger train service through Manitoba, the Canadian transcontinental train that makes six stops in the province.
Towns in Manitoba
- Winnipeg – capital