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Map of Manitoba

The Geography of Manitoba addresses the easternmost of the three prairie Canadian provinces, located in the longitudinal center of Canada. Manitoba borders on Saskatchewan to the west, Ontario to the east, Nunavut to the north, and the American states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south. In elevation, Manitoba ranges from 490 ft (150 m) to 980 ft (300 m) above sea level.[1] Baldy Mountain, the highest elevation, is at 2727 ft (831 m). The northern sixty percent of the province is on the Canadian Shield. The northernmost regions of Manitoba lie permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil), and a section of tundra bordering Hudson Bay.

All waters in the province flow into Hudson Bay, due to its coastal area. Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Winnipeg are two of its largest lakes. Important rivers are the Red River, Assiniboine River, Nelson River, and Churchill River. Manitoba is the sixth largest Canadian province, and the eighth largest Canadian province by percentage of fresh water.[citation needed] The capital and largest city of the province is Winnipeg; the province lies in the time zone UTC -6.


Environmental geography

Manitoba has an extreme climate, but southern latitudes allow agriculture. The northern area of the region ranges from coniferous forests to muskeg to tundra in the far north. Before settlement had occurred, a vast portion of southern Manitoba was either flood plain or swamp. An extensive system for drainage ditches was required throughout south-central Manitoba to make the region suitable for cultivation.

Boreal forests of the southern part of the province have extensive Black Spruce and White Spruce forests. The tundra region of northern Manitoba exhibits more sparse Black Spruce forests whose tree heights are limited by the thin soils, permafrost underlayer and generally cold climate. In this region Polar Bears are found, denning in the Wapusk National Park and migrating to hunt for seals when pack ice forms on Hudson Bay.[2]

Historical geography

Seven Sisters GS from the downstream side

Manitoba is bordered on the east by Ontario, on the south by North Dakota and Minnesota, on the west by Saskatchewan, and on the north by Nunavut. Northeast Manitoba follows the Hudson Bay shoreline. Churchill, on the Hudson Bay is the only port for the prairie provinces. The harbour serves as an open market for grain.

Manitoba was the first Canadian province to be involved in the wheat industry. There are only three ice-free months a year that allow for the shipments to be sent when shipping through the home port of Churchill.

The Canadian Shield limits the amount of farming in the north, but there are some forestry and mining operations. The majority of the grain production is found in farms in the south.

Central and southern Manitoba is covered by lakes and rivers. Most of the population is centered in the southern third of the province.[3]

Manitoba played a significant role in the European settlement of the Canadian west. Explorers arrived in Manitoba by the Hudson Bay, in search of a passage to China. As the fur trade boomed, settlements rose up in the province to trading posts for the Natives and the Voyageurs (trappers). The settlement was not easy, and colonization slowed down for several years around 1816. In 1870, the Hudson's Bay Company sold its huge domain to the confederation of Canada.

Settlement inflated in Manitoba when the railway was built in the province and again in late 18th, early 19th century when government promoted settlement by European immigrants.

Mountain ranges of Manitoba

Relief of Manitoba

The three dominant mountain ranges in Manitoba consist of Duck Mountains, the Pembina Mountains, and the Porcupine Mountains. They encompass natural beauty, tourist attractions, resorts, provincial parks, and many recreational activities.

The Duck mountain range is located in western Manitoba and stretches along the north-south Saskatchewan border. The highest point is Baldy Mountain, which reaches 2, 727 feet. Duck Mountain Provincial park is located within the range and includes vivid scenery, tranquil Madge Lake, aspen forests, beaches, campgrounds, and fishing.[4]

The Pembina Mountains are located in southern Manitoba and extends over to Assiniboine River and the North Dakota border. Its highest point is 2, 000 feet.

The Porcupine Mountains range is located in west-central Manitoba and extending along the Saskatchewan border. The highest point, which is Hart Mountain near Swan River, rises to 2,700 feet. The area is for diverse habitats, ranging from prairies to glacier valleys to plateaus and well-known for its dense forest.


In central Manitoba lies the Flin Flon greenstone belt, which is one of the largest Paleoproterozoic volcanic-hosted massive sulphide districts in the world, containing 27 copper-zinc-(gold) deposits from which more than 183 million tonnes of sulphide have been mined.[5]

Other facts

Hydroelectrical Complex on Churchill and Nelson rivers

Location and Boundary

  • Area: 250,946 mi² / 649,950 km²
  • Land Surface: 211721 mi² / 548,360 km²
  • North to South: 761 miles / 1225 km
  • Width (South): 279 miles / 449 km
  • North Boundary (Width): 260 miles / 418 km
  • Coastline: 400 miles / 645 km
  • Water surface: 39,225 mi² / 101,593 km²
  • Widest Point: 493 miles / 793 km


  • Total population 1,150,000 (2001)
  • Population density 1.78 people/km² (ranked 5th among Canadian provinces)

See also

Line note references

Location of Manitoba in Canada

Further reading

  • Dredge, L. A., F. M. Nixon, and R. J. Richardson. Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology of Northwestern Manitoba. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Govt. Pub. Centre, Supply and Services Canada, 1986. ISBN 0660121638
  • Dredge, L. A., and F. M. Nixon. Glacial and Environmental Geology of Northeastern Manitoba. Ottawa, Canada: Geological Survey of Canada, 1992. ISBN 0660143992

External links


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