Are you ready to learn more cool trivia about Eastern Manitoba? We have no shortage of fascinating stories, intriguing history, or incredible things to see and do. Did you know about any of things facts?
The Elma Pool Hall and the Prohibition
In 2001, a resident of the small rural community of Elma uncovered a hidden, elaborately constructed gambling den in the basement of their newly acquired property. During days of prohibition, hundreds of feet of concrete-lined tunnels were built around 1916 for an escape route that was just big enough for a person to crawl through.
It was built in the 1900s by owner Peter Kolega. It had a games room on the main floor and a lunch counter in the basement. A residence building behind it had boarding rooms upstairs and, of course, a crawlspace connected to a network of concrete-lined tunnels.
The Elma Pool Hall and Residence is a municipally designated historic site.
The First Permanent Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church
The community of Gardenton was chosen to be where the first permanent Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church was built in Canada. The church was consecrated on 14 October 1899 and was built by immigrants from northern Bukowyna, now western Ukraine, who settled the Gardenton area after 1896.
The structure exemplified Bukowynian pioneer craftsmanship in architecture, interior decoration and religious furnishing. St. Michael’s served as a focal point of spiritual and cultural life in the first Ukrainian settlement in Manitoba and remains a symbol of the continuity of the Ukrainian identity in Canada. It is also home to the last wooden truss bridge left in Manitoba.
Beside the building is a cemetery, where you can respectfully search through names. The church was used actively until 1935. In that year, another church by the same name was built in the nearby village of Gardenton. Since then, the historic old church has been used for services only two or three times a year. In 1970, due to its historical status, an annual pilgrimage service was added.
Today, you can book a tour for The Gardenton Heritage Tour. With this tour, your group can experience tours of the Historic St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve Lands, the Stuartburn Wildlife Management Area, Weston Family Interpretive Centre, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, Agassiz Interpretive Trail, Prairie Shor Interpretive Trail, Ukrainian Museum and Village, and the Howe Pony Timber Truss Bridge.
While at the Gardenton Museum, you can indulge in homemade, authentic Ukrainian cuisine prepared by local volunteers, so make sure you go hungry!
The Longest Active Transportation Trail in Manitoba
If your boots were made for walking, then this 400km long trail may be for you! The Red River North Trail is the longest active transportation trail in Manitoba that stretches over 400km long from Winnipeg Area to around MacArthur Falls. This trail goes through 10 municipalities along the way and is part of the Great Trail (Trans Canada)
There are many things to do and things to see along the trail, like:
- Cross-country Skiing
- Farmer’s Markets
- Bird Watching
- Galleries and Shopping
- And much more!
Another fun fact: The Crow Wing Trail is the longest section of the Trans Canada Trail in Manitoba.
13 Kilometers East of Dominion City is a large Cottonwood tree that measures six meters in circumference and nine meters tall. The tree is 300 years old!
Lake Created by a Meteor
At this Manitoba hot spot, their Meteor Festival is out of this world. West Hawk Lake was created by a meteor 150 million years ago and has an annual festival every year to celebrate its unique creation story. It is also the deepest lake in Manitoba, and one of the deepest in North America overall, coming in at 111.5 meters deep.
Every August, you can experience the Perseid meteor showers in the dark skies of Eastern Manitoba.