Lars Plougmann

Starting in June, travellers have a new option for getting to central Canada and the opportunity to create a unique short break.

Jetaway2Canada is setting up twice-weekly jaunts from London Gatwick to Winnipeg, via Reykjavik from £235 one way, including taxes.

It's possible to extend your stop over and experience Iceland's nearly round the clock summer daylight, before or after your time in Manitoba for a custom-made trip to two less frequented destinations.

As these are charter flights, they usually work out cheaper than regularly scheduled flights with large carriers through major centres, like Toronto or Calgary, said David Hamel, Jetaway2Canada.

The largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland is in Manitoba. These flights serve that community, as well as open up a new possibility for other travellers, too, said Hamel.

Why bother with Manitoba?

When the resident polar bears pack up for the summer, thousands of beluga whales come to play and feed in Manitoba's Hudson Bay. Up to 3,000 whales visit the area between mid-June to mid-August, making the region popular with wildlife enthusiasts.

Passenger boats take visitors out among the pods of whales, and those looking for a closer encounter can snorkel and paddle nearby.
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Nicknamed 'sea canaries' for their strange high-pitched whistles, clicking and chirping, you can eavesdrop on the belugas whale-speak using hydrophones - submergible microphones.

But not everything worth seeing in Manitoba is under-water. See Baldy Mountain, Manitoba's highest point in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, hike and bike Canadian Shield forests, canoe or kayak the many lakes and rivers and explore the rugged countryside.

Arts and culture events abound too, including the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Manitoba Stampede and North America's second-largest alternative theatre festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival take pace during the summer months.