Exploring Portage La Prairie: Island on the Prairies Guide

Updated: Aug 25

Winnipeggers are well familiar with the city of Portage La Prairie. Conversations surrounding the city usually start and end with “I grew up in Portage La Prairie” or “Oh yeah, I have a cousin that lives there”.


Unfortunately, you don’t hear “I’m going on a vacation to Portage La Prairie this month!” or “I’ve always wanted to check out that city, but I haven’t had the chance!”.


If you asked locals their favourite restaurant or landmark, they’d probably stumble for an answer. If you ask someone out of province: you’d receive a blank look.


The city is overlooked when it comes to exploring Manitoba: which is a shame since the island on the prairies is full of sights to see and things to do.


By the end of this blog, you will be shocked by Portage La Prairie’s delightful secrets and your urge for a road trip.


Living in the Prairies is Full of Opportunities

With a population of just over 14,000 people, the city seems like a blip on the map, compared to Winnipeg’s staggering 770,000+ population.


The city is roughly 24.68 square kilometres; it boasts natural landscapes and farmland.


It’s an amazing destination if you’re looking to purchase a home, raise a family, and/or ground your roots.


The real estate prices are roughly 48% lower than other cities in Manitoba, plus rental prices are approximately 46% lower.


You can find a 1 bedroom apartment starting at $650, which is nearly impossible in Winnipeg unless it’s a shared house.


Their low housing prices make the overall cost of living 27% less than other major cities in Manitoba.


Low investments can contribute to remarkable savings.


With average hourly earnings of $18, it’s surprising to hear their unemployment rate is growing. Especially when there are job opportunities within the city, Indeed has over 100 job postings currently.


Manitoba in general has a bad rep for crime rates.


Four major cities made it on Macleans “Canada’s Most Dangerous Places” in 2019.


Thompson was number 1, closely followed by Portage La Prairie which was 3rd place, and Selkirk at spot 7. Winnipeg was shockingly rated #13.


Impaired driving and break-ins seem to be the most common crimes.


Should this scare you from the small city? It shouldn’t. A 2021 report, didn’t note Portage La Prairie at all. Plus their crime is slowly declining.


The city didn't rank on the global crime index for 2022 like Winnipeg and other major cities.

Unfortunately, criminal activity can’t be avoided no matter what city or location you’re in.


It should be considered when relocating, but don’t forget about the perks of the city you’re researching.


Balance is always key.


All and all, with Portage La Prairie’s low housing costs, up-and-coming employment opportunities, and road-trip-worthy entertainment, the city is an amazing place to live.


Convenient Amenities & Entertainment

Inconvenient hurdles are a thing of the past. People are always looking for convenient methods, no matter what the scenario is.


LifeSmiles Dental Corp always chooses dental locations with convenience in mind. People live a fast-paced lifestyle and after the pandemic, everyone is prioritizing work.


Taking time off for a single appointment, is a thing of the past. We get it. Thats why our dental clinic is centrally located.

Portage District General Hospital in Portage La Prairie

Our Portage La Prairie location is situated in the Portage Clinic on 9 St E and the corner of King Ave; a 6-minute walk or 2-minute drive to E Saskatchewan Ave (the main road).


Most businesses and service centres are located on E Saskatchewan Ave.


That means you can run errands and visit a dentist at our clinic before your lunch break is up.


Stop at Manulife Bank, RBC, CIBC, or grab some groceries on your way home.

Portage Supermarket in Portage La Prairie

Choose a local option like Portage Supermart or drive a bit further for a national favourite like Sobey’s.


Need a tune-up on your car? Drop it off at NAPA AUTO PRO - Prime Auto, walk over to LifeSmiles Dental Corp and have your teeth cleaned, then head back and pick up your vehicle.


Retail therapy on your mind?


Have a quick look at Olina Fashions, Pure Footwear, or Portage MCC Thrift Shop.


Have a day off work? Check-up on your oral health and head out for a night of fun!

Prairie Fusion Gallery in Portage La Prairie

Prairie Fusion is a hub for art and culture.


Their ongoing exhibits are exclusive to Manitoban artists, they offer creative classes like visual arts for kids, as well as a dance/theatre program.


Prairie City Cinema shows blockbusters and classic films throughout the week and weekend.


Friday dentist appointment? Head out to Delta Beach Campground, Millers Camping Resort, or Portage Industrial Exhibition Campground, start a weekend full of sun and fresh air early.


Staying in the city? Grab some drinks at Tavern United or Tornado's Restaurant & Lounge.


Portage La Prairie may be a fraction of the size of Winnipeg, but the style of living isn’t far off.


Local Dining and Take-Out Spots

Who doesn’t love going out to eat? People gather around the table to celebrate milestones, catch up with family members, or just to enjoy really good food.


Local restaurants always offer a more personalized visit. Even upscale places have a sense of home or a taste of love in their food.


Portage La Prairie has a diverse selection of restaurants to choose from.

Dinning table full of food. Subs, greek salad, fries, gyros, and more from Over The Coals Restaurant in Portage La Prairie

“Every day something good is cooking” is Over The Coals motto.


Each meal is prepared to order and never disappoints with flavour.


Their greek menu has been loved by everyone for the last 30 years.


In addition to being able to order online through their website now, Over The Coals restaurant has a new facebook page as well! Make sure to give them a follow and check out their new menu pictures.


Feeling like Chinese food? May Mei Chinese Restaurant has all of your favourite authentic dishes. Dine-in, take out or order delivery.


Just looking at Om Indian Cuisine makes your mouth water. Their menu is packed with traditional meals and they have several delicious dessert options like RasMalai.


Little Spruce Cafe emphasizes ingredients and carries Winnipeg's favourite local brands. Coffee beans from Thom Bargen, craft beer from Little Brown Jug and Half Pints Brewing Company, and the food menu features local produce providers.


This amazing cafe is open from Monday-Friday, you can find them on Prince Avenue.

Unicorn Toots Ice Cream Cone from Whats The Scoop in Portage La Prairie

Stopping yourself from eating a ridiculously unhealthy amount of treats from What’s The Scoop, is seriously hard.


You will go for one piece, but somehow half the cake is gone. No regrets tho!


What's The Scoop has a limited online menu for preorder or you can swing by their shop on Saskatchewan Ave W. to see whats in-stock!


If you need a cavity filling after your binge, LifeSmiles Dental Corp is a small drive away!


Island on the Prairies is Full of Beauty

Going on a road trip to the island on the prairies is a perfect escape, no matter the season.


Their underrated entertainment and restaurants are available all season long. The drive


itself may be a bit bland, but a picture near the World’s Largest Coke Can is kind of cool, right?


We’d love to hear about your favourite spots or see your recent road trip to Portage La Prairie. Feel free to DM or tag us on Instagram! @lifesmiles.ca