Manitoba

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Manitoba
Motto: Latin: Gloriosus et Liber
("Glorious and free")
Capital Winnipeg
Largest city Winnipeg
Largest metro Winnipeg
Official languages English (de facto)
Demonym Manitoban
Government
Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee
Premier Greg Selinger (NDP)
Legislature Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Federal representation in Canadian Parliament
House seats 14
Senate seats 6
Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th)
Area  Ranked 8th
Total
Land
Water (%) (15.6%)
Population  Ranked 5th
Total (2010) 1,232,654 (est.)[1]
Density
GDP  Ranked 5th
Total (2009) C$50.973  billion[2]
Per capita C$38,001 (8th)
Abbreviations
Postal MB
ISO 3166-2 CA-MB
Time zone UTC–6, (DST −5)
Postal code prefix R
Flower Prairie Crocus
Tree White Spruce
Bird Great Grey Owl
Website [http://www.gov.mb.ca / www.gov.mb.ca ]
Rankings include all provinces and territories

Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other major industries are transportation, manufacturing, mining, forestry, energy, and tourism. The largest ethnic group in Manitoba is English Canadian, but there is a significant Franco-Manitoban minority and a growing aboriginal population.

Manitoba's capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is Canada's eighth-largest Census Metropolitan Area, and home to 60% of the population of the province. Winnipeg is the seat of government, home to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and the highest court in the jurisdiction, the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Four of the province's five universities, all four of its professional sports teams, and most of its cultural activities (including Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama) are located in Winnipeg. The city has train and bus stations and a busy international airport; a Canadian Forces base operates from the airport and is the regional headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The name Manitoba (meaning "strait of the spirit" or "lake of the prairies") is believed to be derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine language. Fur traders first arrived during the late 17th century. Manitoba became a province of Canada in 1870 after the Red River Rebellion. A general strike took place in Winnipeg in 1919, and the province was hit hard by the Great Depression. This led to the creation of what would become the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, one of the province's major political parties.

Geography

Manitoba is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut and Northwest Territories to the north, and the US states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south. It adjoins Hudson Bay to the northeast, and is the only prairie province with a coastline.

Hydrography and terrain

The province has a saltwater coastline bordering Hudson Bay and contains over 110,000 lakes,[3] covering approximately 15.6% or of its surface area.[4] Manitoba's major lakes are Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis, and Lake Winnipeg, the tenth-largest freshwater lake in the world and the largest located entirely within southern Canada.[5] Some traditional Native lands and boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg are a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6]

Major watercourses include the Red, Assiniboine, Nelson, Winnipeg, Hayes, Whiteshell and Churchill Rivers. Most of Manitoba's inhabited south lies in the prehistoric bed of Glacial Lake Agassiz. This region, particularly the Red River Valley, is flat and fertile; there are hilly and rocky areas throughout the province left behind by receding glaciers.[7]

Baldy Mountain is the highest point in the province at above sea level,[8] and the Hudson Bay coast is the lowest at sea level. Riding Mountain, the Pembina Hills, Sandilands Provincial Forest, and the Canadian Shield are also upland regions. Much of the province's sparsely inhabited north and east lie on the irregular granite Canadian Shield, including Whiteshell, Atikaki, and Nopiming Provincial Parks.[9]

Extensive agriculture is found only in the southern half of the province, although there is grain farming in the Carrot Valley Region (near The Pas). The most common agricultural activity is cattle farming (34.6%), followed by assorted grains (19.0%) and oilseed (7.9%).[10] Around 12% of Canadian farmland is located in Manitoba.[11]

Climate

Manitoba has an extreme continental climate; temperatures and precipitation generally decrease from south to north, and precipitation decreases from east to west.[12] Manitoba is far removed from the moderating influences of both mountain ranges and large bodies of water, and because of the generally flat landscape, it is exposed to cold Arctic high-pressure air masses from the northwest during January and February. In the summer, air masses often come out of the Southern United States, as warm humid air is drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico.[13]

Southern parts of the province, located just north of Tornado Alley, experience tornadoes each year, with 15 confirmed touchdowns in 2006. In 2007, on June 22 and June 23, numerous tornadoes touched down, the largest of which was an F5 Tornado that devastated parts of Elie (the strongest officially recorded tornado in Canada).[14] Temperatures exceed numerous times each summer, and the combination of heat and humidity can bring the humidex value to the mid-40s.[15] Carman, Manitoba holds the record for the highest humidex in Canada, with 53.0.[16]

According to Environment Canada, Manitoba ranked first for clearest skies year round, and ranked second for clearest skies in the summer and for sunniest province in the winter and spring.[17] Portage la Prairie has the most sunny days in summer in Canada; Winnipeg has the second-clearest skies year-round and is the second-sunniest city in Canada in the spring and winter.[18] Southern Manitoba has a long frost-free season of between 125 and 135 days in the Red River Valley,[19] decreasing to the northeast.

The northern sections of the province (including the city of Thompson) fall in the subarctic climate zone (Köppen climate classification Dfc). This region features long and extremely cold winters and brief, warm summers with little precipitation.[20] Overnight temperatures as low as occur on several days each winter.[20]

Southern Manitoba (including the city of Winnipeg), falls into the humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfb). This area is cold and windy in the winter and frequently experiences blizzards because of the openness of the landscape, but summers are hot, and this region is the most humid area in the Prairie Provinces with moderate precipitation.

Southwestern Manitoba, though under the same climate classification as the rest of Southern Manitoba, is closer to the semi-arid interior of Palliser's Triangle. The area is drier and more prone to droughts than other parts of southern Manitoba.[21] This area is cold and windy in the winter and frequently experiences blizzards because of the openness of the landscape.[21] Summers are generally warm to hot, with low to moderate humidity.[21]

>. Environment Canada. http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/Welcome_e.html. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Manitoba[22]
City July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Winnipeg 26/13 79/55 −13/−20 9/−4
Portage la Prairie 25/13 77/55 −12/−23 10/−9
Dauphin 25/12 77/54 −12/−23 10/−9
Brandon 25/11 77/52 −13/−24 9/−11
The Pas 23/12 73/54 −16/−26 3/−15
Thompson 23/9 73/48 −19/−31 −2/−24