Strawberry Fields Hike & BYOPicnic

Explore Portage la Prairie's picturesque Crescent Lake and Island Park. Beginning with a walk through the arboretum on Island Park, our route takes you out around the Lake, skirting the pleasant residential area of Koko Platz and then out through the beautiful strawberry fields of Mayfair Farms.

hike length - 8.5 km loop

At the end of the hike we'll  picnic in the Island Park Arboretum (Please bring your own picnic lunch) and we'll supply a special treat  of freshly picked Mayfair Farms strawberries and ice cream.

Club members* pay $5. / Non-club members pay $15.

(Event fees will be collected at the beginning of the event) * Participants who have a current $25. annual Prairie Pathfinder walking club membership are eligible for the discount event price of $5.

some history -

Since the beginning of human history on our continent, the site of Portage la Prairie has been a strategic location in Canada. Its name and history go back to French explorer LaVerendrye who established his fort two miles from the present city in 1738. First Portage la Prairie was important for exploration and fur trade and later it was a magnet for early settlement.  Metis farmers  from the overcrowded Red River Settlement were the first farmers here. Later in the century they were largely shunted aside by settlers from Ontario and Britain who made a beeline for the rich farmland. With the interest and enthusiasm of Ontarians & British, it is not surprising that by 1880, when the railway reached Portage, most of the Portage Plains were settled. Within a few years the area was producing a grade of wheat unsurpassed on the world market. Sitting in the heart of the fertile Portage Plains, this is the richest farming belt in Manitoba.
One early British settler, Robert B. Hill, went on to become a ‘mover and shaker’ whose influence continues to this day. Hill was a blacksmith and carriage maker by trade. He came to be recognized as Portage la Prairie’s first historian and a preeminent authority on Manitoba’s early settlement. In his books, he amused readers with his ‘behind the scenes’ tale of Portage la Prairie’s experiment as a republic. Of more importance to us today is the outcome of his influence to create Crescent Lake & Island Park.
The Assiniboine River had created an oxbow which most people saw as ‘just a slough’. The ever creative Hill sparked citizens’ imagination about what the area could become when he began renting row boats in the summer of 1892 (He probably built them too). This boating ‘on the slough’ became very popular with the young people. Up until that time, the island was considered a primitive section of town. By 1896 there were park and exhibition grounds and a turf club. Later, water was pumped in from the Assiniboine to raise the level of the lake, and a bridge was built. The semi circular lake then effectively created the ‘Island’. A history of ‘Island Park’ tells us that Hill himself was out plowing and harrowing the soil in readiness for sodding and seeding the public park.
Island Park is now the centrepiece of the city.  A four acre arboretum has a collection of prairie hardy trees, shrubs and vines. Descendants of  R.B Hill live on Island Park to this day, operating the large and prosperous Mayfair Farm and one of the prettiest u-pick strawberry patches in the province.

* Participants who have a current $25. annual Prairie Pathfinder walking club membership are eligible for the discount event price of $5.

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  • Carole C.

    was a great hike, strawberries and ice cream; rain held off nicley although going home was a little hairy
    Thanks Wendy and Leone

    June 28, 2014

  • margaret k.

    The hike was wonderful from start to finish, and the strawberries and ice cream topped it off. Thanks so much Wendy and Leona. Even the rain gods were with us!!

    June 28, 2014

  • Cecile C.

    Awesome day and dessert was DELISH!

    1 · June 28, 2014

  • Dawn B.

    Perfectly timed!! Great desert.

    1 · June 28, 2014

  • Anna C.

    What a super hike! Even the weather cooperated and the strawberries and ice cream were a nice touch to the day. Thank you Wendy and Leone.

    1 · June 28, 2014

  • liz m.

    How do Wendy and leone control the rain ( most of the hikes- todays!!!

    1 · June 28, 2014

  • Leone B.

    We have booked a picnic shelter so we are sure of a place to stay out of the rain (or hot sun)?

    3 · June 27, 2014

  • Sandra S.

    Sorry to cancel again. Daughter visiting for the weekend.

    June 27, 2014

  • Linda H.

    I'm sorry to have to say no, this is a very nice walk.

    June 24, 2014

  • Carole C.

    Can anyone give me a ride, I live on University cres and Pembina

    June 24, 2014

  • Cecile C.

    We begin the walk in one park and end in another, does this mean we need to carry our picnic with us thru the whole walk? Does anyone know?

    June 23, 2014

  • Rob S.

    This is the perfect celebration of summer's arrival! I am sorry to miss this wonderful hike.

    June 15, 2014

  • Gialinh

    Wow, I love it! :D

    1 · May 27, 2014

  • Sandra S.

    Strawberries and ice-cream! Yum!!

    1 · March 20, 2014

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