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Manitoba

Motto

Glorious et liber (Glorious and free)

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In the language of the Cree First Nation, Manitoba means ‘where the spirit lives’. The province started to take its modern form when Thomas Douglas, the fifth Earl of Selkirk, used his money and political connections to purchase land and settle poor Scottish families in British North America. First, in 1803 he helped settlers from Scotland find homes in Prince Edward Island. In 1804, he focused on Upper Canada. 

After reading Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s 1792 journals about his overland journey to the Pacific across the northwest and the Rocky Mountains, Lord Selkirk decided to establish a new farming colony in the Red River Valley. Together with Mackenzie, he bought enough shares in the Hudson’s Bay Company (which had a fur-trading monopoly in the region) to set up Assiniboia in the Red River Valley in 1811.

In 1869–70, the Red River Rebellion, led by Louis Riel, resulted in Manitoba’s entry into the Confederation as Canada’s fifth province in 1870. Winnipeg was incorporated as its capital in 1873.

The town of Churchill, on the Hudson Bay coast on the northeastern borders of Manitoba, is known as ‘the polar bear capital of the world’, providing a stopping-off point for nature lovers to view the iconic bears, beluga whales and other Arctic wildlife.

An etching from Miriam Rudolph’s My Winnipeg series, alongside Sarah Anne Johnson’s photographic print Two Bears Panorama, provides a playful personal take on the province’s capital, and two corners of the room feature works by a pair of Manitoba ceramicists, Robert Archambeau and Lin Xu. 

The carpet is based on the work of Winnipeg’s Denise Préfontaine.

Denise Préfontaine carpet artwork
Denise Préfontaine carpet artwork

Facts

Winnipeg has been the ‘Slurpee Capital of the World’ for ten consecutive years.

Bugs Bunny was created by Manitoba cartoonist Charles Thorson.

Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne’s ‘bear of very little brain’, was inspired by a Canadian bear named ‘Winnie’ after Winnipeg. Milne and his family used to visit Winnie at London Zoo.

Winnipeg was the first city in the world to develop a 911 emergency telephone number.

Sir William Stephenson, ‘a man called Intrepid’, was the great spymaster of World War II. He was born in Winnipeg in 1897.

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