WINNIPEG, MANITOBA "“ A wildlife viewing tour this summer and fall offers travelers an unusual opportunity to photograph and learn about black bears in their native habitat.

This fly-drive vacation in the Canadian prairie province of Manitoba also features a stay at a homey guest ranch that is a reminder of earlier, more relaxed times.

It is located on a secluded lakeside"”a Cape Cod-style home complete with knotty pine woodwork, vintage Canadian furnishings and a fireplace to warm up those cool, crisp northern nights. You'll enjoy scrumptious home-cooked meals just like those that your grandmother used to make (depending, of course, on your grandmother).

In addition to black bear, you'll also find a herd of bison, as well as moose, elk, deer, coyotes, timber wolves and bald eagles.

The Riding Mountain Guest Ranch is located at Riding Mountain National Park, a three-hour drive northwest of Winnipeg. Set among the rolling hills of western Manitoba, this 1,168-square-mile preserve also is a destination where guests enjoy taking canoe trips and doing some catch-and-release fishing and boating on Clear Lake (which also offers supervised swimming).

The black bears of Riding Mountain are renowned for their many color phases. You'll want to keep an eye out for blonde, taupe, cinnamon, red and chocolate bears. You will have an excellent opportunity to see these secretive forest creatures close up from the comfort and safety of a special viewing blind. You may even spot a mother bear with cubs. Join a wildlife biologist on informative safaris and nature walks and visit a vacant bear den.

"Black Bear Wildlife Holiday" is a five day/four night getaway offered by The Great Canadian Travel Company, North America's foremost experts on travel to "The Top of the World," including remote regions of Canada's northland.

Included is a three-day midsize car rental with unlimited mileage, one night's accommodation in Winnipeg, three nights at Riding Mountain Guest Ranch, all meals, wildlife-viewing and walking tours, ranch facilities and guiding services while at the guest ranch. Departures are Saturdays and Tuesdays through November 10. Cost is $1,085 (Canadian) per person, based on double occupancy (approximately $960 U.S. as of mid-June).

An interesting option is to spend another night or two in Winnipeg and explore that city and its many attractions. These might include an introduction to the British game of cricket, which you will find at 378-acre Assiniboine Park, alongside the river of the same name. Nearby"”close to downtown and to the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers"”explore Forks National Historic Site, settled by native Canadians 6,000 years ago. (The Forks Market, with seasonal fresh produce, is a popular venue for foodies).

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