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Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Title: Winnipeg, Manitoba  
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Winnipeg, Manitoba

"WPG" redirects here. For other uses, see WPG (disambiguation).

City of Winnipeg
Esplanade Riel
Official logo of Winnipeg
Nickname(s): Gateway to the West, Winterpeg, The Peg
Motto: Unum Cum Virtute Multorum
(One with the Strength of Many)

Coordinates: 49°53′58″N 97°08′21″W / 49.89944°N 97.13917°W / 49.89944; -97.13917Coordinates: 49°53′58″N 97°08′21″W / 49.89944°N 97.13917°W / 49.89944; -97.13917

Country  Canada
Province  Manitoba
Region Winnipeg Capital Region
Established, 1738 (Fort Rouge)
Renamed 1822 (Fort Garry)
Incorporated 1873 (City of Winnipeg)
 • City Mayor Sam Katz
 • Governing Body Winnipeg City Council
 • MPs
 • MLAs
 • Land 463.01 km2 (178.77 sq mi)
 • Urban 448.92 km2 (173.33 sq mi)
 • Metro 5,302.98 km2 (2,047.49 sq mi)
Elevation 238 m (781 ft)
Population (2011 Census[1][2][3])
 • City 663,617 (7th)
 • Density 1,430/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
 • Urban 671,551 (8th)
 • Urban density 1,429/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
 • Metro 730,018 (8th)
 • Metro density 137.7/km2 (357/sq mi)
Racial Demographics
 • White 66.9%
 • Aboriginal 11.7%
 • Visible Minority 21.4%
Largest Minority Groups
 • S.E. Asian 9.8%
 • South Asian 3.5%
 • N.E. Asian 2.9%
 • Black 2.7%
 • Latino 1%
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code span R2C–R3Y
Area code(s) 204, 431
Demonym Winnipegger
NTS Map 062H14
Website City of Winnipeg


The economy of Winnipeg includes finance, manufacturing, food and beverage production, culture, retail and tourism sectors. Winnipeg is a transportation hub, served by Richardson International Airport. The city has railway connections to the United States and Eastern and Western Canada through three Class I rail carriers. Winnipeg's professional sports teams include the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (football), the Winnipeg Jets (hockey), and the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball). Winnipeg's post-secondary institutions include Red River College, the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Canadian Mennonite University, Booth University College, and University of St. Boniface (formerly known as St. Boniface College), the oldest post-secondary educational institution in Western Canada.

Winnipeg is culturally diverse, with one in ten Winnipeg residents speaking both English and French.[7] Winnipeg's cultural organizations include Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Opera, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery. Some of the city's popular festivals are the Festival du Voyageur, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and Folklorama, and WSO New Music Festival.[8]


Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and the Red River of the North, a location currently known as "The Forks". This point was at the crossroads of canoe routes travelled by Aboriginal peoples prior to European contact.[9] The name Winnipeg is a transcription of the western Cree word wi-nipe-k meaning "muddy waters";[10] the general area was populated for thousands of years by First Nations. Through archaeology, petroglyphs, rock art and oral history, scholars have learned that native peoples used the area in prehistoric times for camping, hunting, tool making, fishing, trading and, farther north, for agriculture.[11]

Before the first European encounter, First Nations peoples appear to have been engaged in farming activity along the Red River, near present-day Lockport, where corn and other seed crops were planted.[12] The rivers provided an extensive transportation network linking many indigenous peoples, including the Anishinaabe, Assiniboine, Ojibway, Sioux, and Cree. The Red River linked ancient northern peoples with those to the south along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The Ojibway made some of the first maps on birch bark, which helped fur traders navigate the waterways of the area.[13]


The first French officer arrived in the area in 1738.[14] Sieur de La Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site, called Fort Rouge.[15] Francophone trading continued at this site for several decades before the arrival of the British Hudson's Bay Company.[16] Many French and later British men who were trappers married First Nations women; their mixed-race children, the Métis, hunted, traded, and lived in the area.[17]

Lord Selkirk was involved with the first permanent settlement (known as the Red River Colony), the purchase of land from the Hudson's Bay Company, and a survey of river lots in the early 19th century.[18] The North West Company built Fort Gibraltar in 1809, and the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Douglas in 1812.[19] The two companies competed fiercely over trade in the area. The Métis and Lord Selkirk's settlers fought at the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816.[20] In 1821, the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies merged, ending their long-standing rivalry. Fort Gibraltar, at the site of present-day Winnipeg, was renamed Fort Garry in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson's Bay Company.[21] The fort was destroyed by a flood in 1826 and was not rebuilt until 1835.[21] The fort was the residence of the Governor of the company for many years. A rebuilt section of the fort, consisting of the front gate and a section of the wall, can be found near the modern-day corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Winnipeg.[22]

In 1869–70, Winnipeg was the site of the Red River Rebellion, a conflict between the local provisional government of Métis, led by Louis Riel, and newcomers from eastern Canada. General Garnet Wolseley was sent to put down the Métis rebellion. As a consequence of this rebellion, the Manitoba Act of 1870 paved the way for Manitoba's entry into the Canadian Confederation as Canada's fifth province.[23] On 8 November 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. Manitoba and Northwest Territories legislator James McKay named the settlement.[24]

Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881;[25] Canada was eager to settle the west before American interests and railways interfered. The Manitoba Legislative Building, constructed mainly of Tyndall Stone, opened in 1920; its dome supports a bronze statue finished in gold leaf, titled "Eternal Youth and the Spirit of Enterprise" (commonly known as the "Golden Boy").[26] Many new lots of land were sold and prices increased quickly due to high demand. Winnipeg faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914.[27] The canal reduced reliance on Canada's rail system for international trade; the real estate market slowed down, and the increase in shipping traffic helped Vancouver in British Columbia eventually to surpass Winnipeg and become Canada's third-largest city in 1920.[28]

Strike to present

Following World War I, more than 30,000 workers walked off their jobs in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.[29] The strike was a product of postwar recession, labour conditions, the activity of union organizers and a large influx of returning discharged soldiers seeking work.[30] After many arrests, deportations, and incidents of violence, the strike ended on 21 June 1919, when the Riot Act was read and a group of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers charged a group of strikers.[31] Two strikers were killed and at least thirty others were injured, resulting in the day's being known as Bloody Saturday; the event polarized the population.[31] One of the leaders of the strike, J. S. Woodsworth, went on to found Canada's first major socialist party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), which later became the New Democratic Party.[32]

The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression resulted in widespread unemployment, which was worsened by drought and low agricultural prices.[33] The Depression ended after the start of World War II in 1939, when war requirements stimulated the economies of Western nations. In the Battle of Hong Kong, The Winnipeg Grenadiers were among the first Canadians to engage in combat against Japan. Battalion members who survived combat were taken prisoner and endured brutal treatment in prisoner of war camps.[34] In 1942, the Government of Canada's Victory Loan Campaign staged a mock Nazi invasion of Winnipeg to promote awareness of the stakes of the war in Europe.[35]

When the war ended, pent-up demand generated a boom in housing development, although building activity was checked by the 1950 Red River Flood, the largest flood to hit Winnipeg since 1861.[36] On 8 May 1950, eight dikes collapsed, four of the city's eleven bridges were destroyed, and nearly 100,000 people had to be evacuated.[36] This evacuation was Canada's largest ever.[36] The federal government estimated damages at over $26 million, although the province insisted that it was at least double that.[37] In 1953, Manitoba was hit with the worst outbreak of polio in Canada. There were 2,357 cases and 80 deaths.[38]

Prior to 1972, Winnipeg was the largest of thirteen cities and towns in a metropolitan area around the Red and Assiniboine rivers. A consolidated metropolitan "Unicity" government was established on 27 July 1971, taking effect in 1972.[39] The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city of Winnipeg: the cities of Transcona, St. Boniface, St. Vital, West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, and St. James were amalgamated with the Old City of Winnipeg.[39][40]

Immediately following the 1979 energy crisis, Winnipeg experienced a severe economic downturn in advance of the early 1980s recession. Throughout the recession, the city incurred closures of prominent businesses, including the Winnipeg Tribune, as well as the Swift's and Canada Packers meat packing plants.[41] In 1981, Winnipeg was one of the first cities in Canada to sign a tripartite agreement with the province and federal government to redevelop its downtown area.[42] The three levels of government—federal, provincial and municipal—contributed over $271 million to the development needs of downtown Winnipeg.[43] In 1989, the reclamation and redevelopment of the CNR rail yards turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.[9]

As of 2012, there are 26 National Historic Sites of Canada in Winnipeg.[44]


Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a low-lying flood plain with an extremely flat topography.[45] This valley was formed by the ancient glacial Lake Agassiz which has rich deposits of black soil. Winnipeg is on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies in Western Canada; it is known as the 'Gateway to the West'. Winnipeg is bordered by tallgrass prairie to the west and south and the aspen parkland to the northeast; although, most the native prairie grasses have been removed for agriculture and urbanization.[46] It is relatively close to many large Canadian Shield lakes and parks, as well as Lake Winnipeg (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake).[47] Winnipeg is home of 8 million trees and contains the largest remaining mature urban elm forest in North America.[48]

The closest city with equal or greater population is Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota, which is 735 km (457 miles) southeast from the city. The city has a total area of 464.01 km2 (179.16 sq mi) and an elevation of 240 m (786 ft).[49] Winnipeg has four major rivers: the Red River, the Assiniboine River, the La Salle River, and the Seine River. The Red River is a Canadian heritage river.[50]

Winnipeg is subject to severe flooding. The Red River reached its greatest flood height in 1826. Another large flood occurred in 1950, which caused millions of dollars in damages and thousands of evacuations.[51] This flood prompted Duff Roblin's government to build the Red River Floodway to protect the city from flooding. In the 1997 flood, flood control dikes were reinforced and raised using sandbags; Winnipeg suffered very limited damage compared to cities without flood control structures, such as Grand Forks, North Dakota. Recent major floods include the 2009 Red River Flood and the 2011 Red River Flood. The generally flat terrain and the poor drainage of the Red River Valley's clay-based soil also results in a seasonal explosion of insects, especially mosquitoes.


Winnipeg's location in the Canadian Prairies, gives it a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb,[52] USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2b)[53] in that there are great differences between summer and winter temperatures. The openness of the prairies leaves Winnipeg exposed to numerous weather systems including blizzards and cold Arctic high pressure systems, known as the Polar high. Winnipeg has four distinct seasons, with short transitional periods between winter and summer. Summers are hot with plenty of thunderstorms,[54] winters are cold and dry, and spring and autumn are pleasant. Snow sometimes lasts 6 months of the year;[55] and some years (like 5 February 2007) reach −40.0 °C (−40 °F), without the windchill.[56] On average there are 317.8 days per year with measurable sunshine, with July being the highest average month.[57] Winnipeg has the biggest difference between summer and winter temperatures of all major cities in North America and Western Europe.


According to the City of Winnipeg's Census data, there are 236 neighbourhoods in Winnipeg.[59] Downtown Winnipeg, the city's financial heart and economic core, is centred on the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street (reputed to be one of the windiest in Canada).[60] Downtown Winnipeg covers an area of about one square mile (2.5 km2) and is the fastest growing high-income neighbourhood in the city.[61] More than 72,000 people work downtown, and over 40,000 students attend classes at its universities and colleges.[61] The past few decades have seen downtown undergo major revitalization efforts; since 1999, over C$1.2 billion has been invested.[61] Downtown is home to 10 buildings that stand taller than 85 m (279 ft). The tallest building in the city is the newer 33-storey, 128 m (420 ft) 201 Portage.[62] The second tallest building in the city is the Richardson Building, standing at 124 m (407 ft) tall with 34 storeys.[63]

Downtown Winnipeg's Exchange District is named after the area's original grain exchange from 1880 to 1913.[61] The 30-block district received National Historic Site of Canada status in 1997; it includes North America's most extensive collection of early 20th-century terracotta and cut stone architecture, 62 of downtown Winnipeg's 86 heritage structures,[61] Stephen Juba Park, and Old Market Square, home to Winnipeg Jazz and Fringe Festivals.[61] Other major downtown areas include The Forks, Central Park, Broadway-Assiniboine and Chinatown. Many of Downtown Winnipeg's major buildings are linked with the Winnipeg Walkway skywalk.[64]

Various residential neighbourhoods surround downtown in all directions, but expansion is greatest to the south and west, and has tended to follow the course of the two major rivers. The urbanized area in Winnipeg is about 25 km (16 mi) from east to west and 20 km (12 mi) from north to south, although several areas remain underdeveloped. The largest park in the city, Assiniboine Park next to the affluent neighbourhood of Tuxedo, houses the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, Other large city parks include Kildonan Park, St. Vital Park, and Fort Whyte Centre. There are an estimated 8 million trees in Winnipeg, 160,000 of which are elm trees. Winnipeg has the largest remaining mature urban elm forest in North America.[65] The major commercial areas in the city are Polo Park (West End and St. James), Kildonan Crossing (Transcona and East Kildonan), South St. Vital, Garden City (West Kildonan) and the Corydon strip.

The main cultural and nightlife areas are the Exchange District, The Forks, Osborne Village and Corydon Village (both in Fort Rouge), Sargent and Ellice Avenues (West End) and Old St. Boniface. Osborne Village is Winnipeg's most densely populated neighbourhood,[66] as well as the second most densely populated neighbourhood in Western Canada.[67]


Main article: Demographics of Winnipeg

As of the Canada 2011 Census there were 663,617 people living in Winnipeg proper,[68] with approximately 730,018 living in the Winnipeg CMA.[69] Thus, Winnipeg is Manitoba's largest city and Canada's eighth largest CMA.[6] [70] Furthermore, the city has 54.9% of the population of the entire Province of Manitoba, the highest percentage concentration in one city of any province in Canada (although Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory has an even higher percentage concentration at 68.7%). Apart from Winnipeg, the Winnipeg CMA includes the Rural municipalities of Springfield, St. Clements, Taché, East St. Paul, Macdonald, Ritchot, West St. Paul, Headingley, Rosser and St. François Xavier and the First Nations reserve of Brokenhead 4.

Of the city population, 48.3 percent were male and 51.7 percent were female. 24.3 percent were 19 years old or younger, 27.4 percent were between 20 and 30 years old, and 34.0 percent were between 40 and 64 years old. The average age of a Winnipegger in May 2006 was 38.7, compared to an average of 39.5 for Canada as a whole.[71] Between the censuses of 2001 and 2006, Winnipeg's population increased by 2.2 percent, compared to the average of 2.6 percent for Manitoba and 5.4 percent for Canada. The population density of the city of Winnipeg averaged 1,365.2 people per km2, compared with an average of 3.5 for Manitoba. As of July 2009, the population of the city of Winnipeg was estimated at 675,100, and that of the census metropolitan area at 742,400.[72]

Winnipeg is quickly becoming one of the most racially diverse cities in Canada. Aboriginals account for 11.7% of Winnipeg's population, which is the highest percentage of any city over 100,000 residents in Canada, and are the second fastest growing ethnic group as of 2011.[73] Visible minorities make up 21.4 percent of Winnipeg's population with Filipino Canadians as the city's fastest-growing minority group. Winnipeg is home to 56,400 people of Filipino descent, or roughly 8.7 percent of the total population,[73] giving the city the highest Filipino total population and population percentage of any municipality in Canada.[74] There are also large populations of South Asians (3.5%), Black (2.7%), and Chinese (2.3%).[74]

Ethnic Origins[73]
Population Percentage
English 137075 21.1
Scottish 113465 17.4
Canadian 108955 16.76
German 105910 16.2
Ukrainian 98860 15.2
Irish 85800 13.2
French 85025 13.1
Aboriginal 76055 11.7
Filipino 58255 9.0
Polish 50385 7.8

More than a hundred languages are spoken in Winnipeg, of which the most common is English. 99.0 percent of Winnipeggers are fluent English speakers. In terms of Canada's official languages, 88.0 percent of Winnipeggers speak only English, and 0.1 percent speak only French. 11 percent speak both English and French, while 0.9 percent speak neither. Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include German (4.1%), Tagalog (3.4%), Ukrainian (3.1%), Spanish, Chinese and Polish (all three spoken by 1.7% of the population). Several Aboriginal languages are also spoken, including Ojibway (0.6%), Cree (0.5%), Inuktitut and Mi'kmaq (both less than 0.1%). Other languages include Dutch, Hungarian, Non-verbal languages, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Marathi, Icelandic, Russian, Punjabi, Croatian, Serbian, and Greek (all of which are spoken by roughly 1% or less of the population).[7]

The 2001 census recorded that 72.9 percent of Winnipeggers belonged to a Christian denomination:[75] 35 percent were Protestant, 33 percent were Roman Catholic, and 5 percent belonged to other Christian denominations. 6 percent of the population followed a religion other than Christianity—followers of Judaism made up 2 percent of the population, those of Buddhism and Sikhism made up 0.9 percent of the population each, and Muslims made up 0.8 percent. Hindus accounted for 0.6 percent of the population, and members of other religions made up less than 0.5 percent.[75] 22 percent of Winnipeggers did not follow a religion.

The median value of a household/dwelling in Winnipeg is $240,168 which is lower than the national average at $280,552.


Winnipeg is an economic base and regional centre. It has a diversified economy, covering finance, manufacturing, transportation, food and beverage production, industry, culture, government, retail, and tourism. In 2011, The CIBC Metropolitan Economic Activity Index has rated Winnipeg's economy as third place in a national survey of 25 city economies, behind only Toronto and Kitchener, Ont.[76] According to the Conference Board of Canada, Winnipeg has the third-fastest growing economy among Canada's major cities in 2009 projections, with a real GDP growth of 2.5 percent.[77]

As of July 2010, approximately 409,500 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.[78] Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are government and government-funded institutions, including: The Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, the Health Sciences Centre, and Manitoba Hydro.[79] Approximately 54,000 people (14% of the work force) are employed in the public sector.[80] Large private sector employers include: Shaw Communications, Manitoba Telecom Services, Ipsos-Reid, Palliser Furniture, Great-West Life Assurance, Motor Coach Industries, New Flyer Industries, Boeing Canada Technology, Magellan Aerospace, Nygård International, Canad Inns and Investors Group.[81]

The Royal Canadian Mint, established in 1976, is where all circulating coinage in Canada is produced.[82] The plant, located in southeastern Winnipeg, also produces coins for many other countries.[83]

In 2006, Winnipeg was ranked by KPMG as one of the least expensive locations to do business in Canada.[84] As with much of Western Canada, in 2007, Winnipeg experienced both a building and real estate boom. In May 2007, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported a record-breaking month in Winnipeg in terms of sales and volume.[85]

Arts, culture and tourism

The Forks (a National Historic Site of Canada) attracts four million visitors a year.[86] It is home to the City television studio, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Winnipeg International Children's Festival, and the Manitoba Children's Museum. It also features a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) skate plaza, a 8,500-square-foot (790 m2) bowl complex, the Esplanade Riel bridge,[87] a river walkway, and finally "The River Trail" also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world,[88] Shaw Park (home to the Winnipeg Goldeyes), and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (scheduled to open in 2014).

The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the Millennium Library.[89]

Winnipeg has a large independent film community. It has also hosted a number of Hollywood productions: Shall We Dance? (2004), the Oscar nominated film Capote (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Horsemen (2009) had parts filmed in the province,and Goon (2011) was filmed in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Portage la Prairie. The National Film Board of Canada and the Winnipeg Film Group have produced numerous award-winning films. There are several TV and film production companies in Winnipeg: the most prominent are Farpoint Films, Frantic Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures, Original Pictures, Les Productions Rivard and Eagle Vision. Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, an independent film released in 2008, is a comedic rumination on the city's history.[90]

Winnipeg the Bear, which would later become the inspiration for part of the name, Winnie-the-Pooh, was purchased in Ontario, by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of the Fort Garry Horse. He named the bear after the regiment's home town of Winnipeg.[91] A.A. Milne later wrote a series of books featuring the fictional Winnie-the-Pooh. In 2004 Original Pictures fictionalized the story with a film "A Bear Named Winnie" for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation starring Michael Fassbender as Harry Colebourn. Ernest H. Shepard painting of "Winnie the Pooh", the only known oil painting of Winnipeg's adopted fictional bear, is displayed in Assiniboine Park.[92] It was purchased at an auction for $285,000 in London, England, in 2000.[92]


The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in the city, and depicts the history of the city and province. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece.[93] The Manitoba Children's Museum is a non-profit, charitable Children's museum located at The Forks that features twelve permanent galleries.[94][95]

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is Western Canada's oldest public art gallery, founded in 1912. It is the sixth-largest in the country[96] and includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.[97]

The Western Canada Aviation Museum, located in a hangar at Winnipeg's James Richardson International Airport, features military jets, commercial aircraft, Canada's first helicopter, the 'flying saucer' Avrocar, flight simulators, and a Black Brant (rocket) built in Manitoba by Bristol Aerospace.[98] The Winnipeg Railway Museum is located at Via Rail Station and contains various locomotives, including the Countess of Dufferin, the first steam locomotive in Western Canada.[99]

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be the second Canadian national museum for human rights.[100] The federal government has contributed $100 million towards the estimated $311-million project.[101] Construction of the museum began on 1 April 2008, and is expected to be completed in late 2013.[102]

Theatres and theatre companies

Winnipeg's three largest performing arts venues, the Centennial Concert Hall, Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) and the Pantages Playhouse, are located downtown. MTC is Canada's oldest English language regional theatre, with over 250 performances yearly.[103] The Pantages Playhouse Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1913.[104]

Other city theatres include the Burton Cummings Theatre (a National Historic Site of Canada built in 1906 currently named after the lead singer of the Guess Who) and Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE), Winnipeg's second-largest live theatre. Le Cercle Molière, based in St Boniface, is the oldest theatre company in Canada. This French language theatre, founded in 1925, moved to a new $2-million theatre in 2010.[105] Rainbow Stage is a musical theatre production company based in Kildonan Park which produces professional, live Broadway musical shows and is Canada's longest-surviving outdoor theatre.[106] The Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) at The Forks is one of only two Theatres for Young Audiences in Canada with a permanent residence, and is the only Theatre for Young Audiences that offers a full season of plays for teenagers.[107] The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (WJT) is the only professional theatre in Canada dedicated to Jewish themes.[108] Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) presents adaptations of Shakespeare plays.


Festival du Voyageur, western Canada's largest winter festival, celebrates the early French explorers of the Red River Valley.[109] Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural celebration festival in the world.[110]

The Jazz Winnipeg Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival both celebrate Winnipeg's music community. The Winnipeg Music Festival offers a competition venue to amateur musicians. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is the second-largest alternative theatre festival in North America.[111]

The Winnipeg International Writers Festival (THIN AIR) brings writers from all over the world to Winnipeg for workshops and readings.

Winnipeg Polish Fest is a festival that entertains, excites, and showcases local talent and culture from not only the Polish community, but also from a number of other cultural groups within the city.

The LGBT community in the city is served by Pride Winnipeg, an annual gay pride festival and parade, and Reel Pride, a film festival of LGBT-themed films.

Music and dance

Further information: List of Winnipeg musicians

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is the largest and oldest professional musical ensemble in Winnipeg.[112] The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO) runs a series of chamber orchestral concerts each year.[113] Manitoba Opera is Manitoba's only full-time professional opera company.[114]

Winnipeg had a thriving music scene in the 1960s, a tradition that continues to this day, and boasts a long list of musical talents and groups that have originated in this city, in many genres of music, including folk, roots, rock 'n' roll, blues, jazz, pop, alternative rock and others. Among the most notable musical acts associated with Winnipeg are Neil Young, the Guess Who, Acoustically Inclined, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Streetheart, Harlequin, Chantal Kreviazuk, Fred Penner, Fresh IE, Bif Naked, Econoline Crush, Brent Fitz, Venetian Snares, Propagandhi, The Weakerthans, Crash Test Dummies, the Watchmen, Comeback Kid, Lenny Breau, the Wailin' Jennys, Remy Shand, Daniel Lavoie, Holly McNarland, Mira Black, Terry Jacks, Joey Gregorash, producer Bob Rock and the Duhks.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.[115] It was the first organization to be granted a royal title under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II,[115] and has included notable dancers such as Evelyn Hart and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The RWB also runs a full-time classical dance school, which is recognized internationally for excellence in dance training.[115]


Main article: Sport in Winnipeg

Winnipeg has been home to several professional hockey teams. The Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League have called the city home since 2011. The original Winnipeg Jets, the city's former National Hockey League team, left for Phoenix, Arizona after the 1995–96 season due to mounting financial troubles, despite a campaign effort to "Save the Jets."[116] The Jets play at MTS Centre, which is currently ranked the world's 19th-busiest arena among non-sporting touring events, 13th-busiest among facilities in North America, and 3rd-busiest in Canada.[117] Past professional hockey teams based in Winnipeg include the Winnipeg Maroons, Winnipeg Warriors, and the Manitoba Moose.[117]

In amateur hockey, the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League play out of the MTS Iceplex. On the international stage, Winnipeg has hosted national and world hockey championships on a number of occasions, most notably the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship and 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a community-owned football team that plays in the Canadian Football League. The Blue Bombers are ten-time Grey Cup champions, their last championship coming in 1990. From 1953 to 2012, the Blue Bombers called Canad Inns Stadium home and are expecting to move to Investors Group Field, currently under construction at the University of Manitoba, in June 2013. The $190-million facility will also be home to the CIS' University of Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League. Construction began in May 2010 and is scheduled for completion in June 2013.

The University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of Winnipeg Wesmen represent the city in interuniversity sport. In soccer it's represented by the Winnipeg Alliance FC in the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League and the WSA Winnipeg in the USL Premier Development League.

Winnipeg has been home to a number of professional baseball teams, most recently the Winnipeg Goldeyes, since 1994. The Goldeyes play at Shaw Park, which was completed in 1999. The team led the Northern League for ten straight years in average attendance as of 2010, with 300,000+ annual fan visits, until the league collapsed and merged into the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.[118]

Winnipeg was the first Canadian city to ever host the Pan American Games, and the second city to host the event twice, in 1967 and again in 1999.[119] The Pan Am Pool, built for the 1967 Pan American Games, hosts aquatic events, including diving, speed swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo.[120] Winnipeg will return to the international stage when it co-hosts the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015.[121] And Winnipeg has been selected to host the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

Professional sports teams
Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Investors Group Field 1930 10
Winnipeg Jets NHL MTS Centre Original: 1972—1996;
Present-day: since 2011
Winnipeg Goldeyes American Association Shaw Park 1994 2

Local media

Main article: Media in Winnipeg

Winnipeg has three daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun[122] and the Metro Winnipeg. There are five weekly newspapers delivered free to most Winnipeg households by region. There are several ethnic weekly newspapers,[123] such as the Filipino Journal, as well as regional and national magazines based in the city.

Television broadcasting in Winnipeg started in 1954, two years after it began in eastern Canada. The federal government refused to license any private broadcaster until the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had created a national network. In May 1954, CBWT went on the air with four hours of broadcasting.[38] The first local private station, CJAY, began broadcasting in 1960. There are presently five English-language stations and one French-language station based in Winnipeg. Additionally, some American network affiliates are available over-the-air.[124]

Winnipeg is home to twenty-four AM and FM radio stations, two of which are French-language stations.[125] CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2 broadcast local and national programming in the city. NCI is devoted to Aboriginal programming and CKJS is devoted to multilingual ethnic programming.

Law and government

Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg has been represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor elected every four years.[126] The present mayor, Sam Katz, was elected to office in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2010.[127] The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system.[128] The structure of the municipal government is set by the provincial legislature in the City of Winnipeg Charter Act, which replaced the old City of Winnipeg Act in 2003.[129] The mayor is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city.[130] At Council meetings, the mayor has one of 16 votes. The City Council is a unicameral legislative body, representing geographical wards throughout the city.[129]

In provincial politics after the 2011 election, Winnipeg is represented by 31 of the 57 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). 26 Winnipeg districts are represented by members of the New Democratic Party (NDP), 4 are members of the Progressive Conservative Party, one is a member of the Liberal Party. All three leaders of the provincial parties represent Winnipeg districts in the legislature.[131]

In federal politics, Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: six Conservatives, one New Democrat and one Liberal.[132] There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa.[133] Only two list Winnipeg as the division they represent, although all of them were residents of Winnipeg when appointed to the Senate. The political affiliation in the Senate is three Liberals, two Conservatives, and one Independent.[133]


Main article: Crime in Winnipeg

In 2004, Winnipeg had the fourth-highest overall crime rate among Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas listed, with 12,167 Criminal Code of Canada offences per 100,000 inhabitants.[134] Winnipeg had the highest rate among centres with populations greater than 500,000.[134] Statistics Canada states that in 2005, Manitoba had the highest decline of overall crime in Canada at nearly 8%; however, in 2009 the province topped all others in violent crime rates.[135][136] The statistics for 2010 were similar, with Winnipeg still topping the violent crime severity index, although for the overall total crime severity index, Winnipeg was in third place, behind Saskatoon and Regina, with an index of 122.3, down by 10 per cent from 2009.[137][138]

Winnipeg is the most violent city in Canada. From 2009 to 2012, Winnipeg has had the highest violent crime severity index of all CMA areas. Ever since homicide rates have been recorded in 1981, Winnipeg has been the murder capital of Canada 16 times, other words 50% of the time.[139] However despite the high overall violent crime rate, the crime in Winnipeg is very concentrated. For example, 77 of the 238 neighborhoods had not one robbery in 2012,[140] and 34 others only had one robbery. But there was 21 neighborhoods that had higher robbery rates than the highest robbery rate in Toronto (Bay Street Corridor; 640 per 100,000 residents),[141] such as Lord Selkirk Park with a rate of 4,395.6,[142] or South Portage at 4,301.1. The two highest rankings are South Point Douglas (11,304.3) and Logan-C.P.R. (6,333.3) but both have low populations under 1,000 residents. Lord Selkirk Park and South Portage compare to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States of America,[143] however no ranking is 100% certain as Canada and the USA have different classifications for crimes, robbery is one though that both countries use, but there is also no recorded assault rates for Winnipeg neighborhoods. Other neighborhoods (with over 1,000 residents) with robbery rates over 1,000 are; Portage-Ellice (3891.4), Spence (2112.7), Central Park (2025.3), William Whyte (1881.0), West Alexander (1750.0), North Point Douglas (1707.9), Centennial (1618.0) and Dufferin (1148.3). In the same year (2012), the robbery rate of Canada as a whole was 79.4,[141] where as in Winnipeg it was 250.4, which was a decrease from the year before in 2011 where the robbery rate was 268.4.[144]

Law enforcement in Winnipeg is provided by the Winnipeg Police Service, which has 1418 members.[145]

Manitoba has also had a continuing problem with auto thefts, most of which occur in Winnipeg.drastically in the past 5 years. For example, in 2007 the auto theft rate per 100,000 residents was 1939.2, and in the follow year it almost halved ranking a rate of 1,080.6. In 2012 the rate was 327.3 which is a huge difference from when the rate was 2165.0 in 2006.

According to Statistics Canada Winnipeg had the highest homicide rate of all 33 Canadian metropolitan areas per year for every year between 2007 and 2011.[148]


There are seven school divisions in Winnipeg: Winnipeg School Division, St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Pembina Trails School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, River East Transcona School Division, and Louis Riel School Division.[149] Winnipeg also has religious and secular private schools, which must still adhere to provincial regulations.

The University of Manitoba is the largest university in Manitoba.[150] It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada's first university.[150] In a typical year, the university has an enrolment of 22,500 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students.[151] The University of St. Boniface, the city's only French Canadian university,[152] grew from a college associated with the University of Manitoba into a university.

The University of Winnipeg received its charter in 1967.[153] The founding colleges were Manitoba College 1871, and Wesley College 1888, which merged to form United College in 1938.[153] Until 2007, it was an undergraduate institution that offered some joint graduate studies programs. It now offers graduate programs exclusive to the university.

The Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a private Mennonite university established in 1999. It was formed through the amalgamation of three colleges: Canadian Mennonite Bible College (founded in 1947), Concord College (founded as Mennonite Brethren Bible College in 1944), and Menno Simons College (founded in 1988).[154] It is an undergraduate institution, and offers some programs jointly with the University of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg also has two independent colleges: Red River College and Booth College. Red River College offers diploma, certificate, and apprenticeship programs and, starting in 2009, began offering a limited number of degree programs. In May 2009, the federal government of Canada pledged $9.5-million of funding to the college to help reconstruct the 104-year-old Union Bank Building for a second urban campus in downtown Winnipeg.[155] Booth College, a Christian Salvation Army college, is a private university college established in 1982. It offers mostly arts and seminary training.



Main article: Transport in Winnipeg

Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars.[156] They were replaced by electric trolley cars. The trolley cars ran from 1892 to 1955, supplemented by motor buses after 1918, and electric trolleybuses from 1938 to 1970.[156] Winnipeg Transit now runs diesel buses.[157]

Winnipeg is a railway hub and is served by Via Rail, Canadian National Railway (CNR), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Manitoba, and the Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR). It is the only city between Vancouver and Thunder Bay with direct U.S. connections by rail.[158]

Winnipeg is the largest and best connected city within Manitoba, and has highways leading in all directions from the city. To the south, Winnipeg is connected to the United States via Provincial Trunk Highway 75 (PTH 75) (a continuation of I-29 and US 75). The highway runs 107 km (66 mi) to Emerson, Manitoba, and is the busiest Canada – United States border crossing between Vancouver and the Great Lakes.[159] Much of the commercial traffic through Emerson either originates from or is destined for Winnipeg. Inside the city, the highway is known as Pembina Highway (Route 42).

The four-lane highway Perimeter Highway, built in 1969, serves as a Ring Road, with at-grade intersections and a few interchanges. It allows travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway to by-pass the city. A recent study cited dangerous intersections and low efficiency as its primary shortfalls.[160]

The Trans-Canada Highway runs east to west through the city (city route), or circles around the city on the Perimeter Highway (beltway). The eastern starting point of the Yellowhead Highway is in Winnipeg, at the junction of Portage Avenue & Main Street. Some of the city's major arterial roads include Route 80 (Waverley St.), Route 155 (McGillivray Blvd), Route 165 (Bishop Grandin Blvd.), Route 17 (Chief Peguis Trail), and Route 90 (Brookside Blvd., Oak Point Hwy., King Edward St., Century St., Kenaston Blvd.).

The Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport completed a $585-million redevelopment in October 2011. The development includes a new terminal, a four-level parking facility, and other infrastructure improvements. The field was Canada's first international airport when it opened in 1928 as Stevenson Aerodrome.[161] Winnipeg Bus Terminal, located at Winnipeg International Airport, offers domestic and international service by Greyhound Canada, Grey Goose Bus Lines, Winnipeg Shuttle Service and Brandon Air Shuttle.[162]

Approximately 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land to the north and west of the airport has been designated as an inland port, CentrePort Canada, and is Canada's first Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). It is a private sector initiative to develop the infrastructure for Manitoba's trucking, air, rail and sea industries.[163] Still in its preliminary stages, construction has begun on a $212-million four-lane freeway that will connect CentrePort with the Perimeter Highway.[164]

Winnipeg is served by several taxi companies, the three largest in order of size being Unicity, Duffy's Taxi and Spring Taxi.[165] Fifty percent of Winnipeg residents can be expected to use a taxi at least once during the year.[165]

Cycling is popular in Winnipeg, and there are many bicycle trails and lanes around the city. Winnipeg holds an annual Bike-to-Work Day[166] and Cyclovia,[167] and bicycle commuters may be seen year-round even in the city's forbidding winter climate. Active living infrastructure in Winnipeg encourages bicycling through the inclusion of bike lanes[168] and sharrows.[169]

Medical centres and hospitals

Winnipeg's major hospitals include Health Sciences Centre, Concordia Hospital, Deer Lodge Centre, Grace Hospital, Misericordia Health Centre, Riverview Health Centre, Saint Boniface General Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.[170]

The National Microbiology Laboratory is Canada's front line in its response to infectious diseases and one of only a handful of Biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world.[171] The National Research Council also has the Institute for Biodiagnostics laboratory located in the downtown area.


Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, co-located at the airport, is home to many flight operations support divisions and several training schools. It is also the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region.[172] The base is supported by over 3,000 military personnel and civilian employees.

17 Wing of the Canadian Forces is based at CFB Winnipeg. The Wing comprises three squadrons and six schools; it also provides support to the Central Flying School.[173] Excluding the three levels of government, 17 Wing is the fourth largest employer in the city.[174] The Wing supports 113 units, stretching from Thunder Bay to the Saskatchewan/Alberta border, and from the 49th parallel to the high Arctic.[173] 17 Wing also acts as a deployed operating base for CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers assigned to the Canadian NORAD Region.[173]

There are two squadrons based in the city. The 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron flies the Canadian-designed and -produced de Havilland CT-142 Dash 8 navigation trainer.[175] The 435 "Chinthe" Transport and Rescue Squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules tanker/transport in airlift search and rescue roles.[176] In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Royal Canadian Air Force squadron equipped and trained to conduct tactical air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft.[176]

Winnipeg is home to a number of reserve units.

For many years, Winnipeg was the home of the Second Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI). Initially, the battalion was based at the Fort Osborne Barracks, the location of which now houses the Rady Jewish Community Centre.[177] They eventually moved to the Kapyong Barracks located close by in River Heights/Tuxedo. Since 2004, the 550 men and women of the battalion have operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.[178]

Sister cities

Since April 1971, the City of Winnipeg has permitted the Mayor to enter into "sister city" agreements with mayors in other countries.[179] These sister cities (11 total since 1971) are located in North America, Europe and Asia.

Winnipeg and Minneapolis (USA) were formerly sister cities.[182]

See also


Further reading

External links

  • – Official Winnipeg website
  • Destination Winnipeg economic and travel guide
  • Winnipeg and Manitoba stories- 250 stories about Winnipeg and Manitoba History
  • Archiseek Winnipeg Architecture of Winnipeg

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