When looking at a satellite image of North America, very few lakes stand out: the Great Lakes, Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories and perhaps (depending on the resolution) Utah's Great Salt Lake. In addition to these fine bodies of water, it's quite difficult to miss the large apostrophe-shaped lake located near the continent's geographic center; this is Lake Winnipeg, the eleventh-largest freshwater lake in the world, and the fourth-largest in Canada.

For its size, relatively few communities can be found on Lake Winnipeg's shores, with most of these skirting the lake's southern shores. Of these, the largest are the towns of Gimli (population 1,930) and Riverton on the southwestern shore. North of Hecla Island, the only vestiges of humanity are small, isolated First Nations communities (such as Berens River, Poplar River and Norway House), most of which are only accessible by air, water or "winter roads" built on the surface of the frozen lake. (Siege of Leningrad, anyone?)

The lake plays host to several important recreational areas, including Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, Grand Beach Provincial Park, Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park and several provincial forests. Grand Beach and Victoria Beach are popular summertime spots for Winnipeg teens, while the golf resort on Hecla tends to attract an older and more affluent crowd. Public camping spots are abundant along most of the lake's southern shore. Fishing on the lake can net you catches of pickerel (walleye), whitefish, lake trout, northern pike and lake sturgeon.

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