Manitoba is located in the geographical center of North America. Manitoba is home to over one million people, of whom well over half live in Winnipeg, the provincial capital. It has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province’s economy; other major industries are transportation, manufacturing, mining, forestry, energy, and tourism.
Manitoba is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut and Northwest Territories to the north, and the US states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south. It adjoins Hudson Bay to the northeast and is the only prairie province with a coastline.
Public schools in Manitoba fall under the regulation of one of thirty-seven school divisions within the provincial education system (except for the Manitoba Band Operated Schools, which are administered by the federal government). There are sixty-five funded independent schools in Manitoba, including three boarding schools. There are forty-four non-funded independent schools. There are five universities in Manitoba and four of these universities are in Winnipeg. The University of Manitoba, the largest and most comprehensive; Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, the province’s only French-language University; Canadian Mennonite University, a religion-based institution; and the University of Winnipeg, a smaller campus located downtown. The Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, established in 1818 and now affiliated with the University of Manitoba is the oldest university in Western Canada. Brandon University formed in 1899 and located in Brandon, is the province’s newest university and the only one not in Winnipeg.