At 61 000 square kilometres, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority represents approximately one-tenth of Manitoba’s area. The Interlake-Eastern region extends east to the Ontario border, north to the 53rd parallel, west to the eastern shores of Lake Manitoba and south to Winnipeg’s north perimeter dipping down just past Winnipeg to slightly below the Trans-Canada Highway eastwards to Ontario. It is home to over 132,000 people living in several towns, rural municipalities and 17 First Nations communities representing 27% of our population. Selkirk is home to the highest population of just over 10,000 people. Other larger communities include Arborg, Beausejour, Gimli, Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa, Powerview-Pine Falls, Stonewall, Teulon and Winnipeg Beach.
The region is made up of a wide variety of geographical features including natural lake borders as part of the Red River Valley, agricultural and parklands, beaches and marshlands. The population more than doubles in the summer with vacationers and cottage owners enjoying a multitude of beaches along Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, as well as the Hecla/Grindstone, Whiteshell, Nopiming and Atikaki Provincial Parks and resort communities.
The economy of the region is diverse and includes agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry, hydroelectric power and tourism. Seasonal recreation is abundant including boating, fishing, hunting and other great summer activities. Winter attractions include snowmobiling trails, ice fishing and cross country skiing. There are a large number of seasonal and all-season cottages.
Tourism and recreational activity has a direct impact on the demand for healthcare services. Potential for significant increases in demand for emergency services, physician services and hospital care exists during peak tourist seasons.
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The southern portion of the region is in close proximity to the City of Winnipeg and residents of these communities can easily commute to the city for employment and other cultural activities such entertainment, dining and shopping.