Gallery » Northern Manitoba

Manitoba is a northern province, although spending any time travelling here quickly reveals that "north" and "south" are always relative terms.

I moved here from Southern Ontario, and realized very quickly that Winnipeg is actually north of Kapuskasing and Hearst and the rest of what is considered remotest Northern Ontario by most urbanites. Its long winters give it a decidedly northern feel compared to the cities of the Great Lakes. And then one travels north ...

Thompson is a ten-hour drive north from Winnipeg, and geographically it's still only halfway to the Nunavut border. And of course it's impossible to drive to Churchill at any time, and most other northern communities much of the year. The existence of snow roads mean that, paradoxically to the southerner, many communities are only reachable by car or truck in the winter.

Northern Manitoba is a landscape of transitions where the boreal forest gives way to muskeg and tundra. Human existence can seem small and frail against the vast expanses and in the face of the long, deep, cold. But human life, animal life, and plant life all thrive under what are only superficially strange and inhospitable conditions.

Southerners have to rethink a lot of assumptions about the rhythms of life, the cycle of the year, and the reliability and density of infrastructure and transportation when they come north. It's a remarkable and transformative place.