Where to go: Exploring Manitoba, a Pandemic Family Adventure


Where to go is a blog series highlighting our members’ great carsharing adventures. Today we join Ginny, Duncan, and family as they explore Manitoba during a “stay-home” summer.

Ginny and Duncan McNairny, daughter Leo
Ginny Collins and her partner Duncan McNairnay, both Peg City members since 2015, embark on a Manitoba adventure with their baby daughter Leo. Photo Credit: Gabrielle Touchette Photography

Like all Manitobans, we had to re-imagine our summer. After giving birth to our daughter Leo in the fall, I spent the cold winter months dreaming of a summer filled with friend gatherings, trips to Scout Coffee, and baby & mom classes. Enter Corona, stage left. When COVID 19 graced Manitoba with its presence, Leo was four months old. Needless to say, strict isolation hadn’t been part of my postpartum plan. Instead of patios and play dates, we now faced a summer of unemployment and isolation.

Murder hornets? Bring it on 2020. I birthed a child out of my body. I eat murder hornets for breakfast!

But by the time summer was in full swing, things were looking somewhat brighter. Manitobans had flattened the curve and we now had a small pod of cohorts to pandemic with. We were on strict budget, yet rich in time. And so began our Pandemic Family Adventure 2020.

As Peg City members for five years standing, we’ve been able to save thousands of dollars in transportation costs for our family. Getting rid of our car in 2015 was one of the best things we ever did and has influenced other major life decisions such as our choice of neighbourhood (Wolseley) and housing (condo with no parking space). Even after our daughter was born, we never missed the burdens of car ownership – and even less so now that Peg City has added child car seats to several vehicles in their fleet (cue triumphant instrumental music, shots of me skipping through a field of daisies.)

Anyway – pandemic, rich in time, poor in money, etc. What’s a Manitoba family to do? Camping of course! With a baby? Sure why not! We don’t sleep anyway, we might as well not sleep in a tent.

Pandventure #1: Grand Beach

Admittedly, I went into this with some unfounded assumptions about Grand Beach.
Isn’t it a party destination for bros? Our pandemic pod friends Shannon and Ross convinced us otherwise, so we loaded up the Wolseley Peg City van and embarked on a two night camping trip with them and their 11-month-old son Beckett.

Turns out, Grand Beach is a fantastic family destination! The campground is clean, the hiking trails are beautiful, and there is a quieter family beach option away from the main beach. We strapped the babies onto our bodies and set off to explore the Ancient Beach and Boulder Hill Trails, in between snacks and naps at the campsite.

Sleep was somewhat elusive, but who needs sleep when you’re making memories?

Overall, I would highly recommend Grand Beach to families. It’s a nice, quick trip out of Winnipeg with lots of great areas to explore.
Super Bonus: Our Peg City van was equipped with a Provincial Park pass! This proved to be a major convenience for us all summer.

moms chatting at campsite

Pandventure #2: Birds Hill Park

Several people recommended Birds Hill Park as a camping destination, and we were certainly not disappointed. The man-made beach is sandy and well-maintained, the trails are lovely and the campground is very family friendly. But most-importantly, I am happy to report that we made an incredible discovery that turned a regular camping trip into a major success story that will likely be made into an award-winning motion picture. You’re welcome in advance.

That discovery is…

Campfire Quesadillas:
Sour Cream
Your favourite quesadilla fillings. We brought pulled chicken, sliced red peppers,
onions and a spicy mayo.

1) Start a fire and get it real hot.
2) Place tortilla on the grill for a few seconds. Then place your toppings, including
the cheese on half the tortilla. Don’t overload it, but make sure you get the toppings
all the way to the edge.
3) Fold the tortilla in half so toppings are covered.
4) Leave for about a minute until it gets all melty, then flip tortilla to toast other side
– also about a minute or two. Use your judgment.
5) Transfer quesadilla to a plate and prepare your palate to be delighted. Garnish
with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

So easy! So delicious! So cheap! And you don’t even need a stove. We are going to make them on every camping trip we take until the end of time.

Pandventure #3: Hecla Island, Camp Morton, Arnes Farmers Market

I have a real soft spot for the Interlake. “I prefer the Whiteshell” says everyone all the time. Yes, lovely, it’s beautiful there – but if you’re looking for a somewhat less motor-boaty place where a cabin doesn’t cost three million dollars, come on down!

loading the Peg City Car Co-op car

My family has cottaged in the Interlake for many years, but somehow I had never explored Hecla Island. We chose this as our third camping destination (we brought along my sister Gwen and her partner PJ – also Peg City members) and I have to say, Hecla was the real winner. Our beautiful campsite had a path to our own private beach where we took morning and evening swims. The island also boasts a gorgeous hike to a lighthouse, a large sandy beach and some excellent fishing (although we
didn’t partake this trip).

After two nights at Hecla we met my parents at Camp Morton for a picnic. (Why not stop at all the provincial parks? We have the Peg City park pass!) A ten-minute drive from Gimli, Camp Morton is a beautiful little Manitoba secret with sweet little yurts and log cabins for rent. It was developed in the early 1900’s as a camp for orphans and under-privileged children – and still has several historical buildings and a sunken garden to explore. It’s one of my family’s favourite picnic spots.

Our Interlake trip also included a stop-over at the my favourite market in Manitoba, the Arnes Farmers Market. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a stop here on Saturdays in the summer. The market has everything you could want, including kids activities and an adorable petting zoo.

petting goats,

All in all, summer = saved. Thanks to Peg City, we were able to explore our own province and create some incredible Manitoba memories. It turns out Leo loves camping and the outdoors (thank goodness) so we’ll be embarking on more of these adventures for years to come.

Thanks Peg City for giving our family fantastic car sharing and vehicle selection options. These are opportunities and experiences we wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.

Peg City family for life!

There’s still some summer left! Sign up today using our expansion promo code GROW100 for a $100 credit!