• Option four, on the far right, was chosen to be the cover of the 2015 Summer Travel issue.

As I wrote in my editor’s notebook for the Summer 2015 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel, “Manitoba surprises me.” Indeed, while the province — to which the issue is dedicated — is well known for its polar bears and fly-in fishing, it’s not yet as well known as a world hot spot for beluga whale watching (though that’s likely to soon change!), among many other surprises.

So, while we presented four very different cover options that captured different aspects of Manitoba in our cover vote for this issue, our staff felt strongly from the outset that the beluga cover, option four, was the strongest of the contenders. (As regular Canadian Geographic followers know, in advance of each issue’s publication we solicit your feedback to help us choose our cover image.) Not only does the cover boast a captivating image, but it also represents the Manitoba that we suspect most Canadians aren’t familiar with.

In the end, the results of the vote couldn’t sway our opinion, and as we rarely do, we went against the popular vote (option three was the winner, with 40 per cent of the tally) and stuck to our gut reaction — and rationale. Option four did fare well, nabbing 29 per cent (options one and two were well back, with 16 and 15 per cent each), and while we greatly appreciate and rely on the feedback from our cover vote, our expert opinions just couldn’t be swayed this time by that margin of victory.

If you don’t already receive our cover vote email but want to, simply click here and sign up for the Canadian Geographic newsletter. And if you’re not a subscriber to Canadian Geographic Travel already, be sure to get your copy of the Summer 2015 issue by subscribing today!