Manitoba is filled with little hidden gems to go visit. In the many years now I have visited the province, I have had the fortune of visiting a handful or these out-of-the-way locations celebrating Canadian and Manitoban heritage and history. In every case, I had a blast. When I found out I was going to assume the Consulship in Winnipeg, one of the things I resolved to do was to visit those types of places to highlight just how cool they are. As a guest in Manitoba, albeit one with some roots here, I hope to help highlight a few of Manitoba’s best kept secrets and share them here.
So, with that in mind, I visited the Canadian Fossil Discovery Center (CFDC) in Morden on October 17. Along with me was MLA Cameron Friesen, Mordern City Councillor Heather Francis, Morden City manager John Scarce, and CFDC representatives Curator Matt Duda and Executive Director Peter Cantelon. I have never tried to hide my enthusiasm for all things associated with paleo-history. Indeed, at one time in my university career I was studying paleobiology. So, I came to the CFDC with a bit of a background in their field of expertise.
The staff and the facility itself were, for lack of a better word, completely engaging. The museum itself is very professional and presents the information in understandable (and interesting) ways. The CFDC focuses on marine reptiles like the Mosasaur (you may have heard of “Bruce” – if not, check out the pictures, you’ll know him when you see him. He’s a record breaker.). I also had the fortune to spend part of the day with the CFDC out in the field on a dig. It was a privilege to work on pulling some of the fossils out of the ground, but what really struck me was just how many fossils there were. Southern Manitoba is, almost literally, a goldmine of marine fossils. It is really a breathtaking geological situation – and you don’t need to be a paleontologist to appreciate how unique southern Manitoba is in regards to fossils. To the CFDC’s immense credit, they are protecting and presenting these national treasures with the care and dedication they deserve.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the CFDC, please do. It is well worth your time and deserves considerably more attention. Be proud, Manitoba.