The “Rules” of Rural Manitoba

Recently, I came across a terrific post by a Dauphin resident Tash Ryz. She was responding to an email she had received which provided information about a different set of “Rules” of rural Manitoba. I am not sure which version she received, but I did Google up Rules of Rural Manitoba, and found one edition. I can see why she did not agree, and wrote her own version for Dauphin, Manitoba based on her upbringing and personal experiences. These are so well-written, positive, and embrace the spirit of not only Dauphin, but much of rural Manitoba, that I wanted to re-post them here. This is about how to “experience” Manitoba, here in the Riding Mountains. I’d love to see us develop experiences that live and practice these 12 “rules” for both travellers and local folks alike. Well done Tash!

The “Rules” of Rural Manitoba

May 27, 2012 at 11:35am

I was recently forwarded an email about the “Rules” of Rural Manitoba.  I didn’t agree, so I wrote my own version of how I see Dauphin, Manitoba based on my upbringing and personal experiences.   Please add your own comments and awesomeness!

1. We wear what is most comfortable in the prairies. T-shirts and jeans for work? Absolutely.  Pajamas at the mall? Sure.  Rubberboots at the grocery store?  Why not? From ski-pants to hot pants, we wear what we want, when we want.  We encourage you to do the same!

2. We drive many different vehicles in the prairies. It is perfectly acceptable to drive a car, grain truck, tractor, snowmobile, dirt bike, golf cart or even a riding lawn mower to get around.  If you are walking somewhere, you will be offered a ride. If you are stuck, someone will stop to help you push.

3.  Our license plates say “Friendly Manitoba” for a reason. Expect strangers to wave and say hello, because we live by the slogan “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met!”

4.  No plans for dinner?  No problem, we always make more food that we need, so please stop by for a visit.  We always have an extra place for a new friend!

5.  We like to eat meat and fish that we have hunted and processed ourselves-without added chemicals or preservatives.  The pickerel is delicate and lovely; the garlic deer sausage is spicy and ridiculously good.

6. Don’t eat meat? No problem.  Our backyard vegetable gardens are massive and the hot summer sun helps us to grow the best tomatoes and strawberries you can imagine! Furthermore, most of us have apples trees, raspberry bushes and other berries growing right in our backyard.  Please help yourself!

7. Expect to be put to work- either helping in the kitchen, shovelling snow, picking stones in the field, helping move a truck or lifting something heavy.  We all take care of each other and try to lessen the load when we can.  As a side effect, your body will feel good, your mind will be clear and the food will taste even better!

8. Please turn off your cell phone. Enjoy the open sky, smell the fresh air, listen to the stillness.  We enjoy face-to-face conversations and like to take things slow.  Please pay attention and listen to the person you are with.

9. You will get dirty- either dirt biking through the mud, running through a field or riding in the back of a pick-up truck.  But you will have so much fun that you won’t even care!

10. Our thunderstorms are fierce and energizing.  Enjoy the show, but watch out if your hair stands on end!

11. Our lakes are abundant and we take full advantage of them-  in the summer we swim, boat and fish.  In the winter, we drive our vehicles right on the ice, set up shack villages and then fish, drink, visit and go sledding with our friends.

12.  We love to laugh, to sing and do silly creative things.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so please join in and have some fun!

 traditional Ukrainian braided bread

Welcome message symbol – Ukrainian braided bread

In rural Manitoba, our hearts are a big as our open fields and our minds as expansive as the never-ending sky.  We welcome you to our land!


Riding Mountain Biosphere Forum features Laura Rance

On March 20 & 21, the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve facilitated a first of its kind workshop. Attending were a number of invited stakeholders including scientists, licenced tourism operators, local agriculture producers, government enablers, academics from various institutions doing research about biosphere reserves, national park and biosphere reserve staff. Their purpose – to assess issues relating to research, communication, education, and community engagement and develop priorities for these different issues to guide the biosphere reserve efforts.

Over the period of two days, participants had opportunities to listen to several excellent presentations about local economic issues, sustainable tourism, and conservation within the biosphere. Solid data, provocative questions, and great examples from each of these three areas set the tone for good quality discussions.

In a positive manner, and with genuine effort to reach out and begin to develop relevance and engage local stakeholders, the workshop focused on creating dialogue between the various participants present as to what kind of research and other issues they felt the Riding Mountain biosphere reserve should be addressing.

Community Engagement

One of the most significant outcomes was the recommendation and realization by everyone that active communication engagement (involvement in a variety of ways – education, involvement in various projects, communication about the biosphere reserve) is a critical priority. While research will continue to be initiated and carried out, it has to be done in the context of a high priority and investment into community engagement. In my view, this was a very successful workshop.


Laura Rance, editor of the Cooperator – Keynote speaker

To kick off the two-day workshop, the Biosphere Reserve team invited a well-respected journalist Laura Rance, to deliver a keynote address. Laura is the Editor of The Cooperator, a Western Canadian publication for farmers and farmer news. Her talk was outstanding, providing a clear framework for some complex issues that we facing. Alternating between thoughtful, grounded, articulate, and passionate insights and education about agriculture, ecology, and economics, Laura wove a magical journey that really set the tone for great discussions. Laura’s talk is available at the following link – take the time to listen to this wonderful journalist share her passions and knowledge and experiences within Manitoba.  


For the techies in the audience, you’ll be interested to note that the talk was recorded on an iPhone 3G, with an app called Happy Talk Professional Recorder.  I am impressed with the quality of the recording, and happily recommend it.


Video Interview

I also interviewed Laura about her talk and what she was observing during the two days of this workshop. This short video provides her responses and insights, and are well worth viewing. Thank you Laura!


I feel that we were very fortunate to be able to have Laura with us for a couple of days.  She is a very busy person.  The following link gives you access to her presentation in March of this year, to the PEI Adapt Council, as well as several other very good presentations (all summarized in one pdf document).  Laura explains the inter-cropping technique that Saskatchewan farmer Colin Rosengren is using in this article called Crop Husbandry Saves Input Costs.  –Laura Rance.  March 13, 2009.

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