Congratulations to Oak Hammock Marsh as it earns place among Canadian Signature Experiences!

The designation signals that the interpretive centre is one of the nation’s exceptional tourism opportunities – one that will immerse travellers in the special people, places and cultures of the area. Oak Hammock joins eight other Manitoba attractions that have been selected by the CTC to highlight the unique, exotic and unexpected nature of Canadian travel.

“This opens so many doors for us,” said Jacques Bourgeois, Oak Hammock’s Promotion and Marketing Co-ordinator. “Being a Canadian Signature Experience will definitely broaden the range of promotion for this package, particularly in Europe. We’ll gain much more exposure than we would be able to afford on our own.”

The Oak Hammock experience selected by the CTC is “A Bird in the Hand,” a new package that makes tourists active participants in bird banding and wildlife research. The package will be promoted by the CTC in a category called “Active Adventure among Awe-Inspiring Natural Wonders” – one of five types of uniquely Canadian experiences that more international travellers are looking for.

A Bird in the Hand engages all five senses in the experience. The tour begins with a ride through the wetland in a voyageur-style canoe. Naturalists point out the sights, smells and sounds of the ecosystem as the group paddles among wildflowers, enjoying a duck’s-eye view of the marsh. Along the way, they are offered a taste of freshly harvested cattails.

The bird banding itself is done by professionals, but participants are invited to play a hands-on role. As naturalists gently retrieve birds from fine mist nets over the marsh, the group helps to identify the species, measure the wings and determine the birds’ fat content. After the banding, participants can hold the wild bird as it is released back into nature.

“Here at Oak Hammock we have 300 species of birds – half of all the species in Canada – and this is the only location in Manitoba to do bird banding,” Jacques said. “We decided to create a brand new package that would create an intimate connection for participants.”

The CTC looks for applicants providing not just a product, but a truly memorable experience that reinforces the Canadian travel brand and aligns with one or more Explorer Quotient segments. To make the cut, applicants also need to demonstrate the right level of business-readiness and active involvement in international marketing.

The eight other Manitoba packages in the Canadian Signature Experience collection are:

  • Marvels of Manitoba – Churchill Nature Tours
  • Birds, Bears and Belugas – Churchill Wild
  • Polar Bears by Tundra Buggy – Frontiers North
  • Heartland Travel’s Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislature – Heartland International Travel and Tours
  • Pathway of the Voyageurs – Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge
  • The Lazy Bear Wilderness Expedition – Lazy Bear Lodge
  • Polar Bear Adventure – The Great Canadian Travel Company
  • A Prairie Legacy: The Bison and its People – FortWhyte Alive