Courier February Courier - Page 52

COMPASS WESTERN CANADA On the trail of small-town Manitoba While travelers are very familiar with Manitoba’s signature cities, Winnipeg and Churchill, the province also boasts a number of small towns where hospitality and local spirit shine. According to Michel LaRiviere, Travel Manitoba’s inter- national marketing specialist, groups can enjoy that home- town feel at the following four destinations: Dauphin Tucked between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis at the edge of Riding Mountain National Park, the city is known for its arts and culture scene and sites pertaining to the area’s Ukrainian heritage. Gimli A haven for settlers who founded New Iceland on the shore of Lake Winnipeg in 1875, Gimli pays tribute to its Nordic roots at the Icelandic Heritage Museum and during Islendingadagurinn, a summer festival. Morden The city’s largest resident, a 43-foot marine reptile named Bruce, who resides at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, is just one of the many historical figures groups can encounter in this Pembina Valley gem. BC’s River Rock Casino Resort “A variety of discounts are available for operators, includ- ing food and beverage credits and gaming incentives. Plus, we offer easily accessible tour bus pick up/drop off as well as free parking,” Fry adds. Contact him at jfry@riverrock.com or go to riverrock.com to find out more. Festivals feature Yukon’s cultural riches This month, more than 50 dog teams and their handlers will head out on the Yukon tundra for one of the most grueling competitions on the planet, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Beyond the renowned 1,000-mile race, Yukon is home to a gaggle of other annual festivals, including the following ones that showcase local cities and culture (2018 dates listed): The Sourdough Rendezvous Festival Feb. 16–25 Whitehorse resi- dents and visitors celebrate the cold winter months in style with a week of mainstage con- certs, snow-carv- ing displays and unusual contests— everything from lip syncing and hair freezing to chain- saw chucking. The Adäka Cultural Festival June 29–July 5 The talents and contributions of Yukon’s First Nations people are showcased in Whitehorse through traditional and contemporary music, dance, art and storytelling, as well as interactive craft workshops. Dawson City Music Festival Wasagaming The main town site is home to the southern July 20–22 visitor center for Riding Mountain National Park. Visitors can enjoy the area’s natural beauty and take part in a number of activities centered around the popular Clear Lake. This summer celebration, which turns 40 in 2018, features six stages of music and dozens of bands, workshops led by perform- ers, open jam sessions, an arts pavilion and a beer garden. For more information, contact LaRiviere at mlariviere@ travelmanitoba.com or visit travelmanitoba.com. To learn more, contact Tourism Yukon’s Stephen Reynolds at stephen.reynolds@gov.yk.ca or go to travelyukon.com. 50 February 2018 Gimli’s Islendingadagurinn festival “For us, it’s all about location, location, location,” says James Fry, the director of sales and catering for the Richmond, British Columbia-based River Rock Casino Resort. “We are a three-minute train ride from Vancouver International Airport and 18 minutes from downtown Vancouver.” The full-service resort offers casino gaming, nightly live music in the lounge, performances in the Show Theatre, an award-winning spa, contemporary rooms, a waterslide and more. Groups also can enjoy a range of culinary experiences at its 10 dining spots. Tramonto and Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant are two of the property’s top restaurants. Patrons can have gour- met meals and take in great views of the Fraser River at Tramonto, which is consistently rated as one of the Vancouver area’s best restaurants. Sea Harbour serves up contempo- rary Cantonese fare, dim sum and fresh seafood dishes in a sophisticated setting. Rolling at the River Rock