BringFido's Guide to Manitoba

Posted by Billy Francis

Manitoba, nicknamed the Keystone Province for its unique shape, boasts epic vistas and luscious forests all the way from the Arctic tundra to Hudson Bay. In this lovely region of Canada, you and your pooch will find the hip capital city of Winnipeg, a variety of off-leash areas to explore, great restaurants and breweries, and unique pet-friendly stays in every corner. Here’s why Manitoba is the key to your canine’s next great Canadian adventure.

Things to Do

“I can sit as still as a statue!” Photo by @cretinrob

Hang out with your hound in Winnipeg, the geographical center of North America, see a historic plane wreck, go on a national park adventure and snap a picture with the world's largest Coca-Cola can in magnificent Manitoba.

Historic Winnipeg

Located at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, The Forks has transformed a disused rail yard in Winnipeg into a recreational, historical and cultural hub. Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy the outdoor areas of the gathering place like Broadway Promenade, Alloway Arch and the Prairie Garden. Elsewhere in Winnipeg, you can bring your dog inside historic buildings and in the green space at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. Then, join Exchange District Walking Tours for a pet-friendly walk down memory lane to learn about the architecture and how the city was transformed from a pioneer settlement to Western Canada’s busiest metro center. Finally, visit Assiniboine Park to learn about Winnipeg’s role in the legend of Winnie the Pooh and take a stroll around Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

Have a Swingin’ Time

Explore Manitoba’s only sand dunes at Spirit Sands. Located in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, this hiking area welcomes leashed dogs to trot through meadows, forests and dunes to the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a colorful spring lake with great views. Afterwards, head to Souris Swinging Bridge, the longest swinging pedestrian bridge in Canada. This incredible crossing is more than 600 feet in length and will make a beautiful setting for Fido’s latest Instagram shots.

Nordic Vibes

Back in 1875, the town of Gimli along Lake Winnipeg was granted to Icelandic settlers, which is why the area pays homage to Norse mythology. Snap a picture of your pooch next to the Gimli Viking Statue in Viking Park where leashed pups are invited to walk around and learn about the history of the region. Every year, the park takes center stage for the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba with races, contests and more. Afterwards, Fido can burn off steam with Icelandic Sheepdogs at nearby Gimli Off-Leash Dog Park and go for a stroll along the town’s picturesque boardwalk to enjoy the Seawall Gallery. Dogs are not permitted on the beach itself but can play in the sand at nearby Winnipeg Beach Dog Beach and look for Icelandic flatboats on the horizon.

“I’m looking for peace, is it here?” Photo by Ruphali Abhang

Find Inner Peace with your Pooch

If you’ve just finished a road trip through the Black Hills and Badlands but you’re not ready to head home, continue to the International Peace Garden. This beautiful garden on the Canadian border can be accessed from Dunseith, ND in the U.S. and Boissevain in Manitoba. Over 150,000 flowers are planted in the formal garden every spring, but the star attractions are always the American and Canadian flags made out of flowers.

Run Wild in Winnipeg

Winnipeg is a seriously cool place to visit with your dog. In fact, it’s one of the coldest cities in the whole world during winter. Fido can get his blood pumping and warm up on the big off-leash loop trail that winds around Kil-Cona Park. Then, hop back in the car and make the short journey to Little Mountain Park, an expansive off-leash area known for its plethora of wildflowers in summer. For fenced fun downtown, let your pooch loose at Bonnycastle Dog Park.

“Can you carry ALL of us?” Photo by @happy_dingos

Ride the Mountain

Situated atop the Manitoba Escarpment, Riding Mountain National Park is a beautiful forested parkland that you can explore with your furry best friend. There are hikes to suit all levels of outbound hounds. Take on the easy Brule Trail for a laid-back loop around a lake, stomp through the forest and enjoy natural archways enveloping the path on the moderate Arrowhead Trail, or take on the challenge of the difficult North Escarpment, Bald Hill and Reeve’s Ravine Trail for views of the valley below.

Visit Churchill

People and pups who want a true adventure off the beaten path should make a trip to Churchill. Located on Hudson Bay, the area is known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World, is a hangout for beluga whales and one of the best places to see the northern lights in Canada. The only way to get to this isolated town is via airplane with Calm Air or you can transport small pets in a carrier on a train from Winnipeg with VIA Rail Canada. Upon arrival, start your trip at the Arctic Trading Company for souvenirs and supplies for your stay. Then, be sure to make the short trip to the local landmark, Miss Piggy Plane Wreck, a crashed cargo plane decorated by graffiti. If you’re seeking local knowledge, Discover Churchill offers dog-friendly private tours that include everything from sunrises at shipwrecks to tracking down the aurora borealis.

“Paw-tage” La Prairie

Make a pitstop along the Trans-Canada Highway at historic Portage La Prairie to walk around Island Park and get a taste of the scenic beauty. Leashed pups can keep you company while you learn about the flora and fauna that work together to make prairies function. Four-legged fans of pet-friendly roadside attractions can take a selfie next to the World’s Largest Coca-Cola Can in town, too.

Places to Stay

“Yurt life.” Photo by @jocelynnwoods

Book a unique stay far from other people, a pet-friendly room in a boutique hotel or a cozy getaway by the water with your mutt in Manitoba.

Yawn in a Yurt

Book a stay in one of six pet-friendly yurts at Tulabi Falls Campground. Positioned on a peninsula on Bird Lake's east shore, guests can share a traditional getaway in a cozy hideaway surrounded by nature. Taluba Falls yurts are all equipped with a private deck, outdoor picnic table and hardwood floors inside for easy cleanup.

Pillow Fort

Fort Garry Hotel is a historic hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Pampered pups are summoned to partake in the hotel’s Tail Wagger Package, which includes an overnight luxury room for you and your dog, parking, use of the hotel’s dog beds and bowls, and a surprise welcome bag upon arrival. Before curling up in a comfortable room, you can take a walk together around the small park behind the property.

Lake Life with your Lab

Riverview Lodge welcomes canine guests to pitch up in a pet-friendly cabin for the weekend at Whiteshell Provincial Park. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy hiking or snowshoeing along the woodland trails and taking a plunge in the lake during the summer. If you want to venture out on Eleanor Lake together, guests have complimentary use of the lodge’s canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.

“You didn’t tell me this place had a squirrel problem.” Photo by Ceone Hamilton

A Delightful Airbnb

Gather around the wood-burning fireplace at The Woodhaus and toast Fido’s paws after a day exploring Riding Mountain National Park. This snug little home is just a short drive from Wasagaming and Clear Lake, but it feels completely secluded. Cook up Fido’s favorites on the grill outside, stoke the fire pit and enjoy world-class stargazing from the deck.

Enjoy “Hos-pet-ality”

The Fairmont Winnipeg wants you to share unforgettable memories with your mutt. The hotel’s “Hos-pet-ality Staycation” pet package comes with a bed, bowls and treats every day your dog is in town. When you wake up well-rested, take a morning stroll on the boardwalk at Stephen Juba Park next to the hotel.

Relax in a Cozy Inn

Outbound hounds who need somewhere to relax after a day dodging polar bears in Churchill can join their owners for an affordable stay at Polar Inn & Suites. Pet-friendly rooms have hardwood floors and are located on the ground floor for easy access to the pet relief area outside.

Lake of the Woods Awaits

Guests can gaze out across Big Traverse Bay, Muskeg Bay and Buffalo Bay from a pet-friendly cabin at Buffalo Point Resort, located on the Canadian/U.S. border. Deer, foxes, timber wolves and bears are among the permanent animal residents who live here, as well as a variety of colorful flora on display around the lake that can be explored via pathways and quiet roads. Anglers can purchase a license from the resort and try to catch a big fish off one of the docks on the property. During winter, dogs are allowed to join their owners on one of the resorts’ ice fishing excursions.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“It’s fun to be a dog of the Beer Can.” Photo by @thebeercanwpg

Manitoba might be the Slurpee capital of the world, but there’s more to this culinary scene than slushies alone. These pet-friendly restaurants offer snacks for Fido and pretty places to hang out with his friends while you enjoy delicious food, too.

Dogs of The Beer Can

The Beer Can is a vibrant community hub with seasonal happenings and exceptional hoppy beers on tap. Grab a brisket sandwich and a fruity beer to enjoy in the expansive outdoor area during the warmer months. Don’t forget to tag pics of your pup soaking up the surroundings with #dogsofthebeercan and #bringfido to feature your creature.

Hang Out at the Summertime Culture Bar

Located outside the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, Le Patio 340 hosts live entertainment in French and English from Friday through Sunday every week. Head to Le Bar for local Winnipeg beer and cider from Sookrams, Nonsuch and La Shoppe, cocktails inspired by campaigns, and a range of Canadian wines. Leashed dogs are welcome to soak up the sun and culture at this Winnipeg arts hub.

A Sunny Brandon Cafe

Bring your dog for a light lunch on the pet-friendly patio at Lady of the Lake. This quaint cafe sources ingredients from local growers and offers a menu of delicious dishes like quiches, salads and a variety of desserts.

“Little brown dog? Oh, you said jug.” Photo by @dedaumier

Bring Your Little Brown Dog to the Jug

Little Brown Jug is just a short walk away from the Fairmont Winnipeg. Leave the comfort of your hotel for the buzzing atmosphere at this welcoming brewery. Favorites of the tasting room include Folk Fest Lager, 1919 Belgian Pale Ale and a tart cider for those who don’t like beer. Dogs are welcome in the sunny beer garden for live music and good vibes.

Drive-In with Your Dog

When you’re on the road, pulling up at a pet-friendly drive-in is the easiest way to fill up with your pup. Salty’s Drive Inn serves up mouthwatering dinners like fish and chips, shrimp dinner and a variety of burgers. Eat your meal in the car or at one of Salty’s picnic tables with your dog for company.

“There’s nowhere like this place!” Photo by @nonsuchbeer

Where Everybody Knows Fido’s Name

Nonsuch Brewing Co. “only allows dogs if they’re 100% cute,” but would also like to point out that they think all dogs are. Pups aren’t just permitted at this popular Winnipeg brewery, they’re encouraged to attend. The pet-friendly beer garden is a great place to hang out in the sun with your number one and pair a refreshing brew like a Festi Broue lager with a charcuterie board for the table.

Slurp a Sundae with your Saluki

Named after the owner’s beloved Basset hounds, Dug & Betty's Ice Creamery serves up tasty treats in Winnipeg. Fido can chow down on a dog cone, while you try one of Dug and Betty’s tantalizing flavors like Strawberry Honey Balsamic Pepper, Sour Cherry with Dark Chocolate and Coconut Chocolate Fudge Oreo.

Preserve the Good Times

Preservation Hall Eatery + Wine Bar welcomes Winnipeg’s wagging population to join in the fun on the pet-friendly patio with nice views across Omand’s Creek. When temperatures drop, the heaters come out to keep Fido toasty while you eat interesting farm-to-table delights like bison meatloaf, pulled jackfruit and more.

What are your favorite dog-friendly things to do in Manitoba? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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