It is not known to any school children or teacher, geographer or land surveyor, politician or diplomat. But nevertheless, it exists.
In between friendly Manitoba and gargantuan Ontario there lies Canada's eleventh (11th) and soon to be province, Manitario. It stretches from Lake of the Woods in the southeast to Lac du Bonnet in the west, making it the smallest province in Confederation.
There is but one geological feature in Manitario, and that is the Great Canadian Shield. It will not and can not accept any substitutes. The land is littered with lakes, and the lakes littered with islands. A twisting and powerful river system joins them all together. The deep greens of pine and spruce, highlighted with the whites of birch are perfectly perched atop pink granite rock that reach into the water like fingers.
Manitario's largest town and financial capital is Kenora, at the north end of Lake of the Woods. Minaki, Pinewa, Lac du Bonnet are the other major urban centres, each town a tight knit community blissfully aware of how beautiful their locations are.
Manitario is perfectly capable of supporting itself financially. There are six hydroelectric dams between Kenora and Lac du Bonnet, with enough power to provide for residents and to export to other markets. The extensive river and lake system, including but not limited to Whiteshell Provincial Park is a haven for paddlers, anglers, hunters and cottagers. The outdoor tourism industry is in full swing from May to October, bringing money from as far away locations as Toronto or Texas.
Manitario does not claim to be anything more than it is. A land and people sandwiched between two provinces, caught between the Leafs and the Jets. Its population possesses the friendliness of Manitobans, but lack the "what have you done for me lately" of Ontarians. They are people who like nothing more than to sit on the dock in the sun and watch the world float by. There are no solid deadlines in Manitario, "I know, I'll get to it", coming the closest. For who can finish putting up the wainscotting when there is barbequeing to be done? They are prone to bouts of hilarity, generosity and good times.
Yes, Manitario may not be an officially designated province - yet. But it certainly has enough charm and wit to win the hearts of the entire continent.