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Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi). The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography.
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.
Manitoba's culture has been influenced by both traditional (Aboriginal and Métis) and modern Canadian artistic values, as well as by the cultures of its immigrant populations and American neighbours. The Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport is responsible for promoting and, to some extent, financing Manitoban culture. Manitoba is the birthplace of the Red River Jig, a combination of aboriginal pow-wows and European reels that was popular among early settlers. Manitoba's traditional music has strong roots in Métis and Aboriginal culture, in particular the old-time fiddling of the Métis. Manitoba's cultural scene also incorporates classical European traditions. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB), based in Winnipeg, is Canada's oldest ballet and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America; it was granted its royal title in 1953 under Queen Elizabeth II. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) performs classical music and new compositions at the Centennial Concert Hall.
Le Cercle Molière (founded 1925) is the oldest French-language theatre in Canada, and Manitoba Theatre Centre (founded 1958) is Canada's oldest English-language regional theatre. Manitoba Theatre for Young People was the first English-language theatre to win the Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences Award, and offers plays for children and teenagers as well as a theatre school. The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), Manitoba's largest art gallery and the sixth largest in the country, hosts an art school for children; the WAG's permanent collection comprises over twenty thousand works, with a particular emphasis on Manitoban and Canadian art.
The 1960s pop supergroup The Guess Who was the first Canadian band to have a No. 1 hit in the United States; Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman later created Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO). Fellow rocker Neil Young played with Stephen Stills in Buffalo Springfield, and again in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Soft-rock band Crash Test Dummies formed in the late 1980s in Winnipeg and were the 1992 Juno Awards Group of the Year.
Several prominent Canadian films were produced in Manitoba, such as The Stone Angel, based on the Margaret Laurence book of the same title, The Saddest Music in the World, Foodland, For Angela, and My Winnipeg. Major films shot in Manitoba include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Capote, both of which received Academy Award nominations. Falcon Beach, an internationally broadcast television drama, was filmed at Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba. Manitoba has appeared in popular American television shows, including in an episode of The Simpsons.
Manitoba has a strong literary tradition. Manitoban writer Bertram Brooker won the first-ever Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1936. Cartoonist Lynn Johnston, author of the comic strip For Better or For Worse, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame. Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel and A Jest of God were set in Manawaka, a fictional town representing Neepawa; the latter won the Governor General's Award in 1966. Carol Shields won both the Governor General's Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Stone Diaries. Gabrielle Roy, a Franco-Manitoban writer, won the Governor General's Award three times. A quote from her work is featured on the Canadian $20 bill.
Festivals and museums
Festivals take place throughout the province, with the largest centred in Winnipeg. The Festival du Voyageur is an annual ten-day event held in Winnipeg's French Quarter, and is Western Canada's largest winter festival. It celebrates Canada's fur-trading past and French heritage and culture. Folklorama, a multicultural festival run by the Folk Arts Council, receives around 400,000 pavilion visits each year, of which about thirty percent are from non-Winnipeg residents. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is an annual alternative theatre festival, the second-largest festival of its kind in North America (after the Edmonton International Fringe Festival).
Manitoban museums document different aspects of the province's heritage. The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in Manitoba and focuses on Manitoban history from prehistory to the 1920s. The full-size replica of the Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece. The Manitoba Children's Museum at The Forks presents exhibits for children. There are two museums dedicated to the native flora and fauna of Manitoba: the Living Prairie Museum, a tall grass prairie preserve featuring 160 species of grasses and wildflowers, and FortWhyte Alive, a park encompassing prairie, lake, forest and wetland habitats, home to a large herd of bison. The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre houses the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in Canada. Other museums feature the history of aviation, marine transport, and railways in the area. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will on completion be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National Capital Region.
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