Look North


Northern Manitoba is characterized as a large geographical area that is home to urban, rural and remote communities that are serviced by a number of modes of transportation.

Roads and Highways

The provincial government maintains a network of highways north of the 53rd Parallel, allowing personal vehicles, commercial carriers and public service vehicles to access northern rural and remote communities and industries in northern Manitoba. This network is important for opening the north to mining, hydroelectric development, logging, commercial fishing and tourism.

An important part of the transportation system is a 2,500 kilometre network of winter roads in the north and on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. This network not only connects 25 remote northern communities to neighbouring communities and to the provincial highway networks but also supports the movement of critical goods such as food, fuel and construction materials during the winter months. The winter road program is administered by the Manitoba government and relies on partnerships with local communities, First Nations, and the federal government.


Access by air to northern communities is provided through a range from traditional airports to gravel surface airstrips to water landing sites. Airports or airstrips are found in 58 northern communities, including 24 provincial government locations that serve remote communities. As an air transportation hub for northern Manitoba, the Thompson Airport is the second busiest for passenger traffic in the province. Manitoba's northernmost airport, the Churchill Airport, has the longest runway in Canada's north and serves communities and businesses across the Arctic region, particularly Nunavut. Air transportation is not only important for delivering time sensitive cargo and connecting remote communities to each other but also important for the delivery of medical, policing, fire fighting and search and rescue emergency services.

Rail lines

Freight and passenger rail services are provided on more than 800 miles of railway lines in northern Manitoba, which includes the 545 miles of railway from The Pas to Churchill, known as the "Bay Line" and operated by the Hudson Bay Railway. The Pas serves as the Bay Line interchange point for Canadian National Railway and the Keewatin Railway Company, a First Nations owned railway that operates a route from Sherrit Junction (near Flin Flon) to Pukatawagan. Truck/rail interchanges are provided in Thompson and The Pas. Six remote, rail‐only northern communities rely on the rail service as the only surface transportation option for freight and personal travel. Passenger rail services are provided by Via Rail.


The Manitoba government operates 4 seasonal ferry services in northern Manitoba, providing access between communities and to all-season roads.

This network of roads, airports, rail lines and seaport comprising Manitoba's northern transportation system links to a network of transportation assets and services in Winnipeg that creates a hub providing access across Canada as well as south to the United States and Mexico.