Wishing Well Gardens at Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

With all this natural beauty, you would think that people in the Parkland would find little need to cultivate their own. Greenery is a point of community pride, and the “Four-Blooms-or-Better” club grows bigger all the time. Sandy Lake, Dauphin, Rossburn, Russell and Grandview have all earned stellar marks in the Communities in Bloom competition, and are worth a visit each summer.

Our tour starts in Wasagaming, where the first‑rate gardens reflect the park planners’ vision of Riding Mountain as a Victorian resort in the wilderness. Highlights include the floral gardens at the Visitor Centre, the elm‑lined sidewalks of the central park, and the wishing well garden (located near the golf course at the east end of Clear Lake) with its shady perennial beds. Tours can be arranged by calling 204‑848‑7275.

Travel east out of the Park on Hwy. 19 to McCreary, and then north on PTH5 to Ste. Rose du Lac where a replica of the Notre Dame de Lourdes grotto in France can be found, including park and gardens.

Travel west on PTH5 to Roblin where a working sundial created from a massive glacial‑age boulder is the centerpiece of a beautiful community garden at the intersection of PTH5 and PTH83.

The town of Russell (a 4‑Bloom community, located south along PTH83) is home to Peace Park, which sits on the Trans‑Canada Trail route, and has an international flavour with flags of the world, a wooden bridge and floral gardens.

At Angusville on PTH45, the planters along the main street, a small “coffee park”, red and white street banners, and a short pathway loop—which is dedicated to those who served in Canada’s armed forces—add to the character of the community.

Take PTH45 east to Rossburn (a 4‑Bloom community). A life-sized bronze statue of Duke, an 812-pound black bear killed by a poacher is 1992­—which at one time held the record for largest black bear every recorded—can be found at Rossburn Memory Garden. This beautiful park is complete with a waterfall.

Next travel east on PTH45 to Sandy Lake (a 5‑Bloom Community) with its floral gardens tucked into every possible spot on the downtown streets, and baskets of flowers on buildings and lampposts.