Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
The morning sun is just peeking over the aspens along the shoreline of the Whitemouth River. The trees are touched with gold on these on these late September days. And there’s the final thread of a mist rising off the water.
Flowing water ripples around a maze of boulders then tumbles over a low ridge, making the slightest of trickling sounds and you stand there, with a cup of locally brewed Trail’s End Coffee in hand, marvelling at nature’s work. This is the Moon Gate Guest House and it’s just one of the treasures waiting for your visit in Manitoba’s Eastman region.
Running east of Lake Winnipeg, north to Pine Falls and south to nearly the United States border, the region winds it way through prairie landscapes and touches the shorelines of lakes and rivers and as it heads east, even stretching into the boreal forest of the Whiteshell. The biggest community is Steinbach, and after that towns and villages get significantly smaller, making things feels homey, cosy and infinitely inviting. So pick a chunk of the Eastman region, grab your hiking boots and a camera, and let’s explore!
Once an egg-grading station, Moon Gate Guest House between Whitemouth and Elma is a freestanding building that includes four tastefully decorated bedrooms, extra spacious common areas (for easy social distancing) and even a sweet-smelling cedar sauna. Breakfast includes Jenny’s homemade preserves and Michel’s sourdough bread baked in the outdoor wood-fired oven. And it’s that oven where Michel also creates his knock-your-socks-off artisan pizzas, available on Friday nights. This winter, they’ll host their Music, Food and Friends series of small gatherings at the guest house.
For something completely different, live like a high-roller in the Grand Suite at South Beach Casino in Brokenhead. The sprawling corner room includes a lavish soaker tub, the perfect place to digest your delicious dinner from Mango’s Restaurant. Roll the dice in the casino or kick back in the art deco inspired Tropical Pool.
The community might be small but the vintage vibe is big in Tolstoi with the Tolstoi Country Cottage filled with antiques and collectibles to make visitors feel like it really is the 1920s, when the house was built. The two-bedroom rental sets the mood with billowy lace curtains, cosy bedspreads and planked wooded floors — but includes all the modern touches like cable television and hot running water!
Deep in the boreal forest of West Hawk Lake is Tallpine Lodges. Take that first sip of morning coffee, gaze outside and spot a trio of white-tailed deer plucking at the bark of an evergreen. It’s quite cosy with a hot tub, fireplace and private sauna in every cabin of this couples-only getaway.
There’s no better view of the Pinawa Channel than from the centre of the 54-metre long Pinawa Heritage Suspension Bridge. Built by volunteers, the swaying bridge leads hikers to the Heritage Walk — an offshoot of the TransCanada Trail — where sights and sounds of the boreal forest abound. Just a little up the road, the remnants of the Pinawa Dam are reminiscent of Roman ruins half a world away. Built over a century ago and abandoned in the 1950s, the area now includes an amphitheatre, interpretive signage, walking bridge, picnic shelter and nature trails. Cast a line, go for a hike or nap under the swaying spruces.
Pick and choose your section of the 191-kilometre Crow Wing Trail for a stunning fall hike that follows an ancient route used to transport goods to the Red River Settlement. It connects Emerson to Winnipeg and you can pick it up in Franklin, Roseau River First Nation, De Salaberry, St. Pierre-Jolys, Niverville or many other spots in the RM of Ritchot with plenty of sightseeing along the way, including the Senkiw Suspension Bridge that crosses the Roseau River.
It stands like a sentinel on the prairie. The Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception is a one-of-a-kind architectural wonder in the village of Cooks Creek. Its unmistakable domes and massive footprint make it hard to miss. Built in the 1930s, it’s an enduring example of the work of Reverend Philip Ruh, a prolific and imaginative designer of early Ukrainian Catholic churches in Canada. The exterior boasts a warm yellow concrete finish with rows of red and green stars as accents. Don’t miss the massive cement structure next door, a replica of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
For a wee bit of fun folklore, check out the Elma Pool Hall and Residence in the tiny town of Elma. The front building featured games on the main floor and a lunch counter in the basement. The rear building included boarding rooms and a crawlspace connected to a network of concrete-lined tunnels offering a quick escape for the times when Prohibition made alcohol illegal in Manitoba. (Note: you can check out the exterior only — the building isn’t open yet to the public.)
They come from far and near to the Spicy Radish Café in Whitemouth for the farmer’s reuben, chicken-and-brie melt, and the signature Spicy Radish burger with spicy mayo, pickles and cheddar on a whole-wheat bun. The restaurant also does a gluten-free plate that includes chicken or shrimp, farmer’s sausage, mashed potatoes and salad. For vegans, there’s a selection of sandwiches and wraps as well as their beet salad (hold the feta). Homemade pie is always on the menu.
A falafel salad, beet chips and laksa — a red curry and coconut broth soup — may not be commonplace in rural Manitoba, but at Colins’ House in Beausejour, they are not to be missed. The eclectic menu is the brainchild of two gentlemen named Colin who have brought their worldly experiences to the table. The menu also includes taco rice, butter chicken, five taco selections and irresistible lime pie with mango sauce.
The iconic soup-and-sandwich combo reigns supreme at Main Bread & Butter Company in Steinbach. From Monday to Saturday, two soups are offered daily — one being their signature chicken noodle loaded with a pile of thin, tender noodles. From there, take your pick from classic sandwiches including egg salad, corn beef or a BLT. Or build your own with their selection of five breads and tasty extras such as alfalfa sprouts and sauerkraut. The deli stands inside a store stocked with produce, frozen foods, meats, cheeses, bread, baked goods and plenty of local products.
At Pennyweight Market in Beausejour, stock up on bulk spices including their pizza spice that will make your ‘za sing.
Shepherd’s Dream in Roseau River makes ultra luxurious wool-filled bedding — from comforters to pet beds, mattress toppers to neck rolls.
Mennonite Girls Can Cook and From Oma’s Kitchen are just a couple of the excellent selections of cookbooks to be found at the charming gift shop at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach.
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