Foraging for Wild Fruits

Foraging for Wild Fruits

By Diana Bizecki Robson, Curator of Botany at the Manitoba Museum


There are many plant species with edible fruit in Manitoba. Wild fruits make a nutritious snack when you are out hiking but you may also want to consider growing of these shrubs in your yard to ensure easy access to their delicious fruit.


Berries are fleshy fruits with several seeds inside them. The most popular ones to eat are Saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) and blueberries (Vaccinium spp.). Saskatoons are tall shrubs typically found in the prairies and parklands, while blueberries are low shrubs common in the boreal forest.

A cluster of small blue-purple berries growing among green leaves on a bush.

Saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) are often found along river valleys in southern Manitoba. © Manitoba Museum

A low growing plant with small white flowers growing on it.

When in flower, Velvet-leaved Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides) attracts many insect pollinators, including bees. © Manitoba Museum


Fruits that we commonly call “cherries” or “plums” are actually drupes, a fleshy fruit with a hard, inedible pit inside. Manitoba has five species of wild cherries including Wild (Prunus americana) and Canada Plum (P. nigra), Chokecherry (P. virginiana), Pin Cherry (P. pensylvanica) and Sand Cherry (P. pumila). Wild plums and cherries can be pitted and dried or turned into jam, juice, or jelly.

Clusters of dark blue chokecherries growing on a branch.

Chokecherries (Prunus virginiana) are common, tall shrubs with edible, dark purple fruits. © Manitoba Museum

Small red Pin cherries growing along a leaved branch.

Pin cherries (Prunus pensylvanica) are tall shrubs with bright red berries occurring in clusters. © Manitoba Museum

A red raspberry growing among green leaves.

Faux Berries

Some fruits are called “berries” but are structurally different from real berries. The fleshy part of wild strawberries (Fragaria spp.) is actually a fleshy petal; what we call “seeds” are the fruits. In raspberries (Rubus idaeus) and dewberries (R. pubescens) the fruit is a whole bunch of tiny fruits clustered together.


Image: Dewberry (Rubus pubescens) produces a raspberry-like fruit that is highly nutritious. © Manitoba Museum

A berry consisting of red drupes growing low to the ground among green leaves.

Fatal Fruits

Edible fruits typically grow on shrubs, and are red, bluish, or purple in color. If the fruits are white, or if the plant is a vine or herb, it should not be eaten. The plant Baneberry (Actaea rubra) produces poisonous berries that can be fatal if eaten.


Image: Baneberry (Actaea rubra) is a forest herb that has deathly poisonous red or white berries. Do not consume this species’ fruit! CC-BY-SA-2.0

Before consuming any wild fruit, remember to consult with a field guide, to ensure you can correctly identify both edible and dangerous fruits.

Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson

Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson

Curator of Botany

Dr. Bizecki Robson obtained a Master’s Degree in Plant Ecology at the University of Saskatchewan studying rare plants of the mixed grass prairies. After working as an environmental consultant and sessional lecturer…
Meet Dr. Bizecki Robson

Winnipeg 150: Experiences of Immigration

Adapting to life in a new city or country can come with many challenges and successes. This video with Dr. Roland Sawatzky in the Winnipeg Gallery looks at how the experiences of immigrants to Winnipeg in the last 20 years or so compare to the experiences of immigrants 100-150 years ago.

This series celebrating Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary is ongoing throughout 2024, so keep an eye out for more #Wpg150 videos!

Anishinaabemowin with Amik

We show gratitude to the Telus Friendly Future Foundation for their generous support in funding our project, Anishinaabemowin with Amik. Together, we can work towards language preservation and ensure children and youth across the country have easy access to learning Anishinaabemowin. Gichi-miigwech!

This project title is inspired by the beaver (amik) who represents wisdom in the seven sacred teachings. The beaver is the pillar of their community’s and nature’s well-being and strives to make a positive impact.

Winnipeg 150: City of Celebration

Here in Winnipeg we love a good celebration! Coming together for festivals, sports, and cultural events help us share what it means to be Winnipeggers. Learn more in this video from the Winnipeg Gallery with Dr. Roland Sawatzky.

This series celebrating Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary is ongoing throughout 2024, so keep an eye out for more #Wpg150 videos!

How are you Celebrating Indigenous History Month?

By Tashina Houle-Schlup, Head of Indigenous Programming & Engagement


Throughout this important month, the Manitoba Museum celebrates the tangible and intangible heritage of the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities of Manitoba. One of our special initiatives to create space for these celebrations occurs on Sunday, June 16, when we will host our first-ever Indigenous Artist Market to honour and celebrate Indigenous History Month.

This much-anticipated market will not only showcase and support numerous local Indigenous artists, makers, and crafters but also provide a unique opportunity for visitors to engage in a cultural exchange, connecting the historical works in the Museum Galleries with the beautiful, contemporary creations from these vendors.

As caretakers of a significant collection of Indigenous ancestral works, the Museum takes pride in  preserving and showcasing pieces like the exquisite, intricate quillwork dating back to the early 19th century and beadwork that transcends beauty in every meticulously created design.

Intricately beaded octopus bag with a black base material and colourful floral and vines design.

Mid-19th-century octopus bag with floral beadwork, Cree or Anishinaabe. H4-0-734 ©Manitoba Museum

Intricately quilled cradleboard fender.

Early 19th-century cradleboard fender with loom quillwork, Cree or Anishinaabe, a possible origin of Red River Settlement. HBC 47-8 ©Manitoba Museum

We are fortunate to show our visitors that these hundreds of years-old artistic practices are still being carried forward by artists, makers, and crafters today. Some amazing, talented vendors attending our market include Bead N’ Butter, Red Thunder Cloud Designs, Onyx Art, Alicia Kejick Creations, Indigify, By Niizhode, Pretty Windy Designs, Anishinaa-Bakes, and many more.

The market will give attendees the chance to honour the rich artistic traditions on display in the Museum  Galleries, support thriving local Indigenous entrepreneurs, and contribute to the growth and sustainability of their incredible work.

A pair of beaded dangling earrings in a sunbeam design featuring yellow, blue, orange, and black beads.

Earrings by Bead n Butter © Jessie Pruden

Digital artwork by Onyx Art. © Piper Lockhart

A toddler-sized patterned dress with ruffled sleeves and red and blue ribbons along the bottom.

Toddler Ribbon Dress by Indigify © Stefanie Chabot

We invite you to visit the Museum this June to explore, reflect, and learn this Indigenous History Month; and don’t forget to stop by on Sunday, June 16, from 10 am to 3 pm to help us support and celebrate the talented  artists taking part in our first ever Indigenous Artist Market.


Word graphic on a black and fuchsia background with colourful Indigenous floral art on the right-hand side. Text reads, "Indigenous Artist Market @ the Manitoba Museum / Sunday, June 16, 2024 / 10 am to 3 pm".

Winnipeg 150: City of Water

Water has been a major influence on the development of Winnipeg throughout its 150-year history. Learn about our rivers, floods, and drinking water in this video from the Winnipeg Gallery with Dr. Roland Sawatzky.

This series celebrating Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary is ongoing throughout 2024, so keep an eye out for more #Wpg150 videos!

Collections for Community: A New Access Initiative

Last year the Manitoba Museum piloted a new program to provide community members increased access to Museum collections. Weekday appointments to view collections are sometimes difficult for folks who work full-time or are enrolled in school. This program was developed through discussions with artists, makers, and interested community members. We decided on a free open-access event on a weekend, one where people could sign up and come and spend a few hours looking at many items cared for in storage, rather than on display in the Museum galleries.

Since the majority of the HBC and Anthropology Collections are of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit origin, we structured the initial sessions with preference given to individuals who self-identify as Indigenous. Due to tight collections storage spaces, we kept each session to a maximum of 10 participants. A smaller group setting created a nice, intimate learning environment for discussion, and enabled us to move freely within collection storage as a group.

A small group of individuals surrounding an open drawer to closer view the objects stored inside.

Participants exploring the Anthropology Collection. ©Manitoba Museum

An open drawer containing twelve intricately beaded and quilled wall pockets and bags, laid out carefully for storage.

One of many drawers within the HBC Museum Collection featuring wall pockets with beadwork and quillwork. ©Manitoba Museum

For these sessions we brought in skilled artists to discuss the objects with the group and to share learning experiences in traditional artistic techniques. We were very fortunate to feature Jennine Krauchi and Cynthia Boehm at our first session, and Tashina Houle-Schlup and Cheyenne Schlup for the second session. All four of these artists are not only incredibly skilled with beadwork, embroidery, and quillwork in their own artistic practices, but also knowledgeable on historic pieces within the Museum’s collections. Participants were able to learn so much through this collaborative structure with community artists and makers.

A small group of individuals standing beside a selection of artifacts laid out on a countertop next to an interior window.

Cheyenne Schlup sharing knowledge with participants (note his beautiful work in the background). ©Manitoba Museum

A small group of individuals surrounding an open drawer to closer view the objects stored inside.

Artist Jennine Krauchi shows session participants several beautifully beaded artifacts stored with care ©Manitoba Museum

Based on the success of this program last year, we hope to offer 3-4 more sessions in the upcoming year, featuring different artists to share these wonderful collections with interested community members.  If you’re interested in participating, keep your eyes on the Museum’s website and social media for the next session!

Don’t miss out on our special Mother’s Day tour From Talk to Table: Indigenous Motherhood on May 12. This tour explores parenting throughout time on Turtle Island and includes include an in-depth tour of Indigenous artifacts in the Museum Galleries and behind-the-scenes.

Dr. Amelia Fay

Dr. Amelia Fay

Curator of Anthropology & the HBC Museum Collection

Amelia Fay is Curator of Anthropology and the HBC Museum Collection at the Manitoba Museum. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba (2004), an MA in Archaeology…
Meet Dr. Amelia Fay

Winnipeg 150: Military in Winnipeg

Canadian armed forces are part of the historical fabric of Winnipeg. Join Dr. Roland Sawatzky to learn about some Winnipeg veterans whose artifacts are on display in the Winnipeg Gallery.

This series celebrating Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary is ongoing throughout 2024, so keep an eye out for more #Wpg150 videos!

Winnipeg 150: City of Contrasts

Winnipeg citizens have been fighting inequality and racism for over one hundred years. Join Dr. Roland Sawatzky in the Winnipeg Gallery to learn about these contrasts within our city.

This series celebrating Winnipeg’s 150th anniversary is ongoing throughout 2024, so keep an eye out for more #Wpg150 videos!

Make Every Day Earth Day! 

By Mika Pineda, Learning & Engagement Producer for Youth Climate Action.  

Every year on April 22, we celebrate our home, the Earth, and all the wonderful things it provides us – from the food that nourishes our body, the shelter and clothing that keeps us warm, to the air and water that allow us to live and breathe.

An adult and two children working in a garden bed.

Here are just a few ideas that can do at home to celebrate Earth Day, every day:  

  • Change up your commute: consider walking or cycling to your destination.  
  • Lend a helping hand: gather some friends and start a community clean-up in your neighbourhood.  
  • Get gardening: plant a tree or a wildflower garden this Spring to attract pollinators. 
  • Conserve with care: take shorter showers to save water and turn off lights in empty rooms to conserve electricity.  

Celebrating and appreciating the Earth doesn’t have to be a one day event; every little thing you do to help the planet makes a difference!


Get your hands dirty by planting a garden to celebrate Earth Day. © Kampus Production

Still looking for Earth-friendly activities?  

Join us for Earth Days at the Manitoba Museum on April 20 and 21! Play “Planet vs Plastics”, a fun and educational board game led by our Youth Climate Alliance; check out our special planetarium shows: Atlas of a Changing Earth and We Are Guardians; explore the Museum Galleries on an Earth Days scavenger hunt; and stop by the Earth Day reflection Wall to ask yourself: What action will I take to keep our environment healthy?

A seated adult smiles at a child as they engage with a board game propped up on an easel.

Learn how we can protect our Earth together. © Manitoba Museum

Two children placing sticky notes on a blue wall filled with other previously placed notes.

Ask yourself “How do I want to see the future unfold?” at the Earth Day Reflection Wall. © Manitoba Museum

An adult and three children engage with digital exhibit screens on a round table. A mural showing the water system is on the wall behind them.

Find solutions to keep our waterways healthy in the Science Gallery. © Manitoba Museum/Rejean Brandt

Help us celebrate Earth and learn how we can better protect our future, together!