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—  City  —
That's In Canada
Downtown Winnipeg seen from The Forks


Coat of arms

Nickname(s): The 204, Winterpeg, One Great City, Peg City, The Peg, Gateway to the West, River City, Slurpee Capital of the World.
Motto: Unum Cum Virtute Multorum
(One with the Strength of Many)
Winnipeg is located in Manitoba
Location of Winnipeg in Manitoba
Coordinates: 49°54′N 97°08′W / 49.9°N 97.133°W / 49.9; -97.133Coordinates: 49°54′N 97°08′W / 49.9°N 97.133°W / 49.9; -97.133
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 464.01 km2 (179.2 sq mi)
 - Urban 448.92 km2 (173.3 sq mi)
 - Metro 5,302.98 km2 (2,047.5 sq mi)
Elevation 238 m (781 ft)
Population (2006 Census[1][2])
 - City 633,451 (7th)
 Density 1,365/km2 (3,535.3/sq mi)
 Urban 641,483 (9th)
 - Urban Density 1,429/km2 (3,701.1/sq mi)
 Metro 694,668 (8th)
 - Metro Density 131/km2 (339.3/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code span R2C–R3Y
Area code(s) 204
Demonym Winnipegger
NTS Map 062H14
Website City of Winnipeg

Winnipeg (pronounced /ˈwɪnɪpɛɡ/) is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality in the Winnipeg Capital Region, which is home to more than sixty percent of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, in south central Canada, near the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies,[3] at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers (a point now commonly known as The Forks).[4] It lies near to the Canadian Shield and hundreds of lakes including Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba.

The name "Winnipeg" comes from the Cree words meaning muddy water, referring to dark water of the rivers and lakes in the region.[5] The Winnipeg area was a trading centre for Aboriginal peoples prior to the arrival of Europeans. The first fort was built near the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in 1738 by French traders.[6] A settlement was later founded by the Selkirk settlers in 1812, the nucleus of which was incorporated as the City of Winnipeg in 1873. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Winnipeg was one of the fastest growing cities in North America and established itself as a transportation and manufacturing centre. It also became a centre for education: the University of Manitoba, founded during this period, is today the largest university in Manitoba.

Winnipeg is the 7th largest municipality in Canada, with a population of 633,451 in the Canada 2006 Census.[1] The city's census metropolitan area, consisting of the city of Winnipeg, 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, is Canada's 8th largest metropolitan area, with 694,668 inhabitants.[2]

Winnipeg has a diversified economy, with sectors in finance, manufacturing, food and beverage production, culture, retail and tourism. It is known for its urban forest and parks, and Downtown Winnipeg is centred on the famous Portage and Main intersection. Winnipeg is a major transportation hub, served by Richardson International Airport and railway connections to the United States as well as Vancouver and Toronto.

Winnipeggers are of predominantly European descent, but a wide variety of languages are spoken, including English, French, German, Tagalog (Winnipeg has the second largest Filipino population in Canada after Toronto) and Aboriginal languages such as Cree. This multicultural society is reflected in the cultural organizations and festivals based in the city, which include the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Le Cercle Molière, the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama; in addition, the Winnipeg Art Gallery contains the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Other notable organizations based in the city include its sports teams: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, and the Manitoba Moose.




Before European exploration

Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, a location currently known as "the Forks". This historic focal point was at the cross roads of canoe routes traveled by Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years.[7] The name Winnipeg is a transcription of the western Cree word wi-nipe-k meaning "muddy waters";[5] 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, further north, for agriculture.[8]

Tipis on the prairie near the Red River Colony, 1858

Long before the first European presence, 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.[9] The rivers provided an extensive transportation network linking many indigenous peoples, including the Anishinaabe, Assiniboine, Mandan, Ojibway, Sioux, Cree, Lakota and others, facilitating trade and knowledge sharing. Lake Winnipeg was an inland sea, with river links to the mountains in the West, to the Great Lakes in the East, and to the Arctic Ocean in the North. 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.[10]


The first French officer arrived in the area in 1738.[11] Sieur de la Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site, called Fort Rouge.[12] Francophone trading continued at this site for several decades before the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company.[13] Many French men married First Nations women; their children, the Métis, hunted, traded, and lived in the general area for decades.[14]

Steamship port at the Forks, with Upper Fort Garry in the background, early 1870s

Lord Selkirk was involved with the first permanent settlement (Red River Colony), purchase of land from the Hudson's Bay Company, and a survey of river lots in the early 1800s.[15] The North West Company built Fort Gibraltar in 1809, and the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Douglas in 1812.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] The fort was destroyed by a flood in 1826 and was not rebuilt until 1835.[18] 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.[19]

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. This rebellion led to Manitoba's entry into the Canadian Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870.[20] On November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. Manitoba and Northwest Territories legislator James McKay named the settlement.[21]

Late 1800s and early 1900s

Winnipeg's Main Street in 1887 (at Pioneer Avenue, looking north)

Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881, allowing it to take on its distinctive multicultural character.[22] Canada was eager to settle the west before American interests and railways interfered. Agriculture was a booming industry. 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").[23] 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.[24] The canal reduced reliance on Canada's rail system for international trade; the real estate market slowed down, and the increase in ship traffic helped Vancouver eventually surpass Winnipeg to become Canada's third-largest city in 1920.[25]

The Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919

Following World War I, over 30,000 Winnipeggers walked off the job in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.[26] The strike was the result of a postwar recession, labour conditions, and the presence of union organizers and a large influx of returning soldiers.[27] After many arrests, deportations, and incidents of violence, the strike ended on June 21, 1919, when the Riot Act was read and a group of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers charged a group of strikers.[28] Two strikers were killed and at least thirty others were injured, resulting in the day being known as Bloody Saturday; the lasting effect was a polarized population.[28] 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 NDP.[29]

The stock market crash of 1929 hastened an already steep decline in Winnipeg; the Great Depression resulted in massive unemployment, which was worsened by drought and depressed agricultural prices.[30] The Depression ended when World War II started in 1939. The Winnipeg Grenadiers were among the first Canadians to engage in combat against Japan in the Battle of Hong Kong during World War II. Those in the battalion that were not killed in the conflict were captured and brutalized in prisoner of war camps.[31]

In Winnipeg, the established armouries of Minto, Tuxedo (Fort Osborne), and McGregor were so crowded that the military had to take over other buildings to increase capacity. In 1942, the Government of Canada's Victory Loan Campaign staged a mock Nazi invasion of Winnipeg to increase awareness of the stakes of the war in Europe.[32] The very realistic invasion included Nazi aircraft and troops overwhelming Canadian forces within the city. Air raid sirens sounded and the city was blacked out. The event was covered by North American media and featured in the film "If Day".

After the war ended, pent-up demand brought a boom in housing development, but building activity came to a halt due to the 1950 Red River Flood, the largest flood to hit Winnipeg since 1861. The disaster held waters above flood stage for 51 days.[33] On May 8, 1950, eight dikes collapsed, four of the city's eleven bridges were destroyed, and nearly 100,000 people had to be evacuated.[33] This evacuation was Canada's largest evacuation ever.[33] The federal government estimated damages at over $26-million, although the province insisted that it was at least double that.[34]

In 1953, Manitoba was hit with the worst outbreak of poliomyelitis in Canada. There were 2,357 cases and 80 deaths. Around 2000 polio victims ended up at Winnipeg's King George Hospital with 92 patients ending up on respirators that had to be flown in by the RCAF from all over North America. The paid staff of the hospital climbed to 750 with 600 volunteers.[35]

Amalgamation to present

Prior to 1972, Winnipeg was the largest of thirteen cities and towns in a metropolitan area around the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Unicity was created on July 27, 1971 and took effect with the first elections in 1972.[36] The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city of Winnipeg: the municipalities 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.[36] With the formation of Unicity, Winnipeg became the first large North American city to move beyond the stage of split-level metropolitan government to a single administration.[37]

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, such as the Winnipeg Tribune and the Swift's and Canada Packers meat packing plants.[38] In 1981, Winnipeg was one of the first cities in Canada to sign a tripartite agreement to redevelop its downtown area.[39] The three levels of government—federal, provincial and municipal—contributed over $271-million to the development needs of downtown Winnipeg.[40] The funding was instrumental in attracting Portage Place mall, the headquarters of Investors Group, the offices of Air Canada, and several apartment complexes. In 1989, the reclamation and redevelopment of the CNR rail yards turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.[7]

Panorama of Winnipeg in 1907


Red River

Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a low-lying flood plain with an extremely flat topography.[41] There are no substantial hills in the city or its vicinity. Winnipeg is also on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies. It is relatively close to many large Canadian Shield lakes and parks, as well as Lake Winnipeg (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake).[42] According to the Census geographic units of Canada, the city has a total area of 464.01 km² (179.2 sq mi) and an elevation of 240 m (786 ft).[43]

Winnipeg has four major rivers, the Red River, the Assiniboine River, the La Salle River, and the Seine River. The Red River is now considered a Canadian heritage river.[44] The Red is home to the largest average size of channel catfish in the world.[45] Winnipeg has claimed the Guinness World Record for "World's Longest Skating Rink", along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.[46]


Winnipeg has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with extremes of hot and cold. Winter temperatures generally remain below 0°C (32°F) and there is persistent snow cover from mid-November until the later half of March. Winters in Winnipeg are usually dry, and can sometimes feel colder due to the often windy conditions. The coldest temperature recorded in Winnipeg was −47.8 °C (−54 °F) on December 24, 1879.[47] Summers in the Winnipeg area can sometimes be quite humid; nearby Carman, Manitoba reached 57C (127.4F) with humidex, breaking Canada's old humidex record, in 2007.[48][49][50][51] The highest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was 42.2 °C (108 °F) on July 11, 1936.[52]

A Winnipeg street after two large snowstorms.

Winnipeg is ranked as Canada's second sunniest city year-round,[53] second for clearest skies year-round, and second for sunniest city in Canada in spring and winter.[53] In the winter, Winnipeg has had up to 58 days per year where the temperature falls below −20 °C (−4.0 °F) during at least one point of the day.[54] On average, Winnipeg has 45 days a year where the humidex reaches above 30°C.[54]

Winnipeg's spring and fall tend to be rather contracted seasons, each averaging a little over six weeks. In general, the weather during these seasons is highly variable. For example, temperatures in Winnipeg in April have ranged from −26.3 °C (−15 °F) to 34.3 °C (93.7 °F),[55] and in October from −20.6 °C (−5 °F) to 30.5 °C (86.9 °F). Late heat waves and Indian summers are a regular feature of the climate, as are spring or autumn snowfalls.

Like Chicago, Winnipeg is known as a windy city; the windiest month is April.[56] However, Regina, Hamilton and St. John's (Canada's windiest city) are windier.[57] Although tornadoes are usually not common near Winnipeg, a Fujita scale F5 tornado struck Elie, Manitoba (just 40 km (25 miles) west of Winnipeg) in 2007; this was the strongest tornado ever recorded in Canada.[58] Winnipeg is also prone to flooding in the spring. Major floods include the 1950 Red River Flood, the 1997 Red River Flood, and the 2009 Red River Flood.[59] These major floods led to the 1968 construction and subsequent expansion of the Red River Floodway, designed to protect Winnipeg from floods.[60]

Climate data for Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.8
Average high °C (°F) -12.7
Daily mean °C (°F) -17.8
Average low °C (°F) -22.8
Record low °C (°F) -42.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 19.7
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.2
Snowfall cm (inches) 23.1
Sunshine hours 120.1 137.8 178.4 239.1 286.2 283.2 317.5 280.2 186.4 147.1 95.6 100.3 2,410.9
Source: Environment Canada[53] June 2009
Source #2: [61] December-30-09


Downtown Winnipeg as viewed from the Millennium Library

According to the 2001 Census, there are 230 neighbourhoods in Winnipeg.[62] Downtown Winnipeg (the financial heart of the city) is centred at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street, about one kilometre (0.6 miles) from The Forks. All roads radiate outwards from this intersection, reputed to be one of the windiest in Canada.[63] Downtown Winnipeg covers an area of about one square mile (2.5 km²), which is large for a city of its size. Surrounding the downtown area are various residential neighbourhoods. Urban development spreads in all directions from downtown, but 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 (15 mi) from east to west and 20 km (12 mi) from north to south, although there is still much land available for development within the city limits. Winnipeg is known for its urban forest, particularly its beautiful American Elm trees.[64] The two major parks in the city, Assiniboine Park and Kildonan Park, are both located in the suburbs.

The major commercial areas in the city are Polo Park (West End and St. James), Kildonan Crossing (Transcona and East Kildonan), South St. Vital, and Garden City (West Kildonan). The main cultural and nightlife areas are the Exchange District, The Forks, Osborne Village, Little Italy, Sargent and Ellice Avenues (West End) and Old St. Boniface. Osborne Village, the city's most densely populated neighbourhood, is also Canada's third most densely populated neighbourhood.[65] It was voted the Best Place to Live in Uptown Magazine's 2008 Best of List.[66]

Downtown Winnipeg's major neighbourhoods include The Waterfront District, The Forks, Central Park, Broadway-Assiniboine, the Exchange District (a national historic site), and Chinatown. Downtown Winnipeg is home to many of the city's main attractions, like Canwest Park and The Forks. Much of Downtown Winnipeg is linked with the Winnipeg Walkway, which is an skywalk linking major buildings, including the MTS Centre, Millennium Library, Cityplace, Winnipeg Square, and Portage Place mall.[67]


Ethnic Origins[68]
Population Percentage
English 141,480 22.6
Scottish 114,960 18.4
German 106,260 17.0
Canadian 104,130 16.6
Ukrainian 96,255 15.4
French 87,165 13.9
Irish 86,580 13.9
Polish 50,555 8.1
Visible minorities[69]
Population Percentage
Total 101,910 16.3
Filipino 36,820 5.9
South Asian 15,080 2.4
Black 14,200 2.3
Chinese 12,660 2.0
Latin American 5,390 0.9
Southeast Asian 5,325 0.9
Multiple 3,060 0.5
Arab 2,115 0.3
Korean 2,065 0.3
West Asian 1,885 0.3
Japanese 1,725 0.3
Other 1,585 0.3
Aboriginal identity[70]
Population Percentage
Total 119,090 20.1
North American Indian 76,155 10.0
Métis 42,180 5.97
Inuit 755 0.04

As of the 2006 Census, there were 633,451 inhabitants in Winnipeg itself, 694,668 inhabitants in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), and 711,455 in the Winnipeg Capital Region.[2] Thus, Winnipeg is Manitoba’s largest city and Canada's eighth largest CMA.[2] [71] Apart from Winnipeg, the Winnipeg CMA includes the Rural municipalities of East St. Paul, Headingley, Ritchot, Rosser, Springfield, St. Clements, St. François Xavier, Taché and West St. Paul, and the Aboriginal community of Brokenhead.

Of the city population, 48.3% were male and 51.7% were female. 24.3% were 19 years old or younger, 27.4% were between 20 and 30 years old, and 34.0% were between 40 and 64 years old. people. The average age of a Winnipegger in May 2006 was 38.7, compared to an average of 39.5 for Canada as a whole.[72]

Between the censuses of 2001 and 2006, Winnipeg's population increased by 2.2%, compared to the average of 2.6% for Manitoba and 5.4% for Canada. The population density of the city of Winnipeg averaged 1,365.2 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 3.5 for Manitoba. The population of the city of Winnipeg was estimated at 672,300 as of July 1, 2009 and that of the census metropolitan area to be 739,300.[73]

Most Winnipeggers are of European descent, and/or classify themselves as Canadian. Over 8% of Winnipeg population is Aboriginal, and it is the city's (and province's) fastest-growing ethnic group. Non-aboriginal visible minorities make up 16.3% of Winnipeg's population. Winnipeg is home to 38,155 people of Filipino descent, or roughly 6% of the total population.[68] This is the highest concentration of persons of Filipino origin in Canada, and the second largest Filipino population in Canada after Toronto.[68][74]

More than a hundred languages are spoken in Winnipeg, of which the most common is English. 99.0% of Winnipeggers are fluent English speakers. In terms of Canada's official languages, 88.0% of Winnipeggers speak only English, and 0.1% speak only French. 11% speak both English and French, while 0.9% speak neither English nor French. Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include German (4.1% of the population), 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 spoken in Winnipeg include Dutch, Hungarian, Non-verbal languages, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Icelandic, Russian, Punjabi, Croatian, Serbian, Japanese, Greek, Creole, Danish, and Gaelic languages (all of which are spoken by roughly 1% or less of the population).[75]

The 2001 census recorded that 72.9% of Winnipeggers belonged to a Christian denomination:[76] 35.1% were Protestant, 32.6% were Roman Catholic, and 5.2% belonged to other Christian denominations. 5.6% of the population followed a religion other than Christianity—followers of Judaism made up 2.1% of the population, those of Buddhism and Sikhism made up 0.9% of the population each, and Muslims made up 0.8%. Hindus accounted for 0.6% of the population, and members of other religions made up less than 0.5%.[76] 21.7% of Winnipeggers did not follow a religion.


Winnipeg's Royal Canadian Mint

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. 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 at 2.5%.[77]

Approximately 375,000 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.[78] Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are government and government-funded institutions, including: McPhillips Street Station Casino, Club Regent Casino, 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.[78] Large private sector employers include: Manitoba Telecom Services, Ipsos Reid, Canwest, Palliser Furniture, Great-West Life Assurance, Motor Coach Industries, Convergys Corporation, New Flyer Industries, Boeing Canada Technology, Bristol Aerospace, Nygård International, Canad Inns and Investors Group.[80] Several large private family-owned companies operate out of Winnipeg. The Richardson Building (James Richardson & Sons) at Portage and Main was the first skyscraper to grace that corner.[81] Other private companies include Ben Moss Jewellers, Frantic Films and Paterson Grain.

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 lowest cost 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 and culture

This pedestrian only, Side-spar cable-stayed bridge (The Esplanade Riel), is home to the Winnipeg-based Salisbury House Restaurant

The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the Millennium Library.[86]

Winnipeg is known for its murals.[87] Many buildings in the downtown area and some in suburban areas have murals painted on their sides.[88] Although some are advertisements, many are historical paintings, school art projects, or downtown beautification projects. Murals can also be found on several of the downtown traffic light switch posts and fire hydrants.

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) and X2 (2003) had parts filmed in the province. Several nationally televised dramas have also been produced in Winnipeg. 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. Some of the most prominent are Frantic Films, Buffalo Gal 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. It features archival footage and contemporary imagery blended into an extended autobiographical goodbye letter.[89]

Animator Charles Thorson named Bugs Bunny in 1939 in the third outing for the popular cartoon character for Warner Bros.. In addition to animating Hare-um Scare-um, Thorson's designs were used by Walt Disney Animation Studios for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White was based on a young waitress Thorson knew while living in Winnipeg. [35]

Winnipeg Bear, (also known as Winnie-the-Pooh) was purchased in Ontario, by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse cavalry regiment en route to his embarkation point for the front lines of World War I.[90] He named the bear after the regiment's home town of Winnipeg. A.A. Milne later wrote a series of books featuring Winnie-the-Pooh. An Ernest H. Shepard painting of "Winnie the Pooh" is the only known oil painting of Winnipeg’s famous bear cub.[91] It was purchased at an auction for $285,000 in London, England, in 2000.[91] The painting is displayed in Assiniboine Park.

Winnipeg is mentioned in the song "Anywhere Under the Moon" by Canadian folk duo Dala, on their 2007 album Who Do You Think You Are, as well as in Danny Michel's song "Into the Flame". Winnipeg is the subject of the song "One Great City!" by The Weakerthans.[92] The title of the song was the slogan on signs welcoming visitors to Winnipeg. The city is also mentioned in Neil Young's "Don't Be Denied".

The Forks (a national historic site) brings locals and visitors alike to its shops, river walkways and festivals. It is home to the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, 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, and the Esplanade Riel bridge.[93]


The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a public art gallery that was founded in 1912. It is Western Canada's oldest civic art gallery, and the 6th largest in the country.[94] The collection includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.[95] The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in the city. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece.[96]

Winnipeg is also the future home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It will be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National Capital Region. The museum will be located at The Forks. Construction of the museum began on April 1, 2008 and is expected to be completed sometime in 2012.[97]

Theatre companies

Le Cercle Molière, based in St Boniface, is the oldest theatre company in Canada. This French-language theatre was founded in 1925.[98] The Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) is Canada's oldest English-language regional theatre.[99] Rainbow Stage, based in Kildonan Park, is Canada's longest-surviving outdoor theatre.[100]

The Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) 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.[101] The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (WJT) is the only professional theatre in Canada dedicated to Jewish themes.[102] Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) is a theatre based in Assiniboine Park that presents adaptations of Shakespeare plays.


Festival du Voyageur, western Canada's largest winter festival, celebrates the early French explorers of the Red River Valley.[103] Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural celebration festival in the world.[104] 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.[105] The Winnipeg International Writers Festival (THIN AIR) brings writers from all over the world to Winnipeg for workshops and readings.

Music and dance

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is the largest and oldest professional musical ensemble in Winnipeg.[106] It performs at the Centennial Concert Hall, and also runs the New Music Festival to display contemporary classical music. The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO) runs a series of chamber orchestral concerts each year, including CBC's Candlelight Concerts series.[107] Manitoba Opera is Manitoba's only full-time professional opera company.[108]

Among the most notable musical acts associated with Winnipeg are Neil Young, The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Streetheart, Harlequin, Chantal Kreviazuk, Bif Naked, Venetian Snares, Comeback Kid, The Waking Eyes, Econoline Crush, Brent Fitz, Jet Set Satellite, the New Meanies, Propagandhi, The Weakerthans, The Perpetrators, Crash Test Dummies, Christine Fellows, The Wailin' Jennys, Remy Shand, The Duhks, and The Stills.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.[109] It was the first organization to be granted a royal title under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.[109] The RWB also runs a full-time classical dance school, which is recognized internationally for excellence in dance training.[109]


Winnipeg's restaurants and specialty food stores represent many ethnic cuisines, including those of the local Ukrainian, Jewish, Mennonite, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Korean, Greek, Thai, French, Vietnamese, and Filipino populations.[110] Regional dishes include Winnipeg goldeye, a kind of smoked fish, fresh pickerel fillets and pickerel cheeks, and an East European style of light rye bread called Winnipeg rye.[111] Also associated with Winnipeg are nips (hamburgers) from Salisbury House restaurant, perogies, Jeanne's cake, Russian mints from Morden's Chocolate, Old Dutch potato chips, and beer from the Half Pints and Fort Garry breweries.[111]

Local media

Winnipeg has two daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Sun.[112] There are five weekly newspapers delivered free to most Winnipeg households by region. There are several ethnic weekly newspapers,[113] as well as regionally and nationally based magazines based in the city.

Television broadcasting in Winnipeg started in 1954, two years later than in eastern Canada. The federal government, in the interests of Canadian culture, refused to license any private broadcaster until the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had created a national network. In May of 1954, CBWT went on the air with 4 hours of broadcasting including a 15 minute newscast.[35] 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 that supply free programming to the city. Additionally, some American network affiliates are available over-the-air.[114]

Winnipeg is home to 24 AM and FM radio stations, two of which are French-language stations.[115] 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.


Winnipeg has been home to several professional hockey, football, and baseball franchises. The Winnipeg Jets, the city's former National Hockey League team, was lost during the 1995-96 season to Phoenix, Arizona after a large and emotional campaign to "Save the Jets".[116] Winnipeg has plans to replace Canad Inns Stadium, current home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of Winnipeg Wesmen represent the city in interuniversity sport. Winnipeg has two Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams, the Winnipeg Saints and the Winnipeg South Blues. The city is represented in the Canadian Junior Football League by the Winnipeg Rifles, and in the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League by the Winnipeg Alliance FC.

As for motorsports, Manitoba offers central Canada’s largest high bank Dirt Oval racing facility (Red River Co-op Speedway). The facility offers ten different racing classes with racing happening most Thursday’s of the dry season (May-September). Dirt Track Stock Car Racing is the 4th largest spectator sport in Manitoba and still continues to grow

The MTS Centre, located downtown, is now the world's 19th busiest arena (its highest ranking ever), 13th busiest among facilities in North America, and 3rd busiest in Canada.[117] Winnipeg is the first Canadian city to ever host the Pan American Games, and the second city in the world to host the event twice, once in 1967 and once in 1999.[118]

Professional sports teams
Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Canad Inns Stadium 1930 10
Manitoba Moose AHL MTS Centre 1996 0
Winnipeg Goldeyes Northern League Canwest Park 1994 1

Law and government

Winnipeg City Hall

In 1869–70, Winnipeg was the site of the Red River Rebellion.[119] This rebellion led to Manitoba's entry into Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870,[119] and on November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city.[120]

Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg is represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor elected every four years.[121] The present mayor, Sam Katz, was elected to office in 2004 and re-elected in 2006.[122] Katz is Winnipeg's first Jewish mayor.[123]

The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system.[124] The structure of the municipal government is set out by the province of Manitoba in the City of Winnipeg Charter Act, which replaced the old City of Winnipeg Act in 2003.[125] The mayor is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city.[126] At Council meetings, the mayor has one of 16 votes. The City Council is a unicameral legislative body, representing geographical wards throughout the city.[125]

In provincial politics, Winnipeg is represented by 31 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)—25 are members of the New Democratic Party (NDP), four are members of the Progressive Conservative Party, and two are members of the Liberal Party.[127] In the provincial election of 2007, the NDP won two ridings from the Conservatives, rising from 23 to its present 25 seats in the city.[128] All three leaders of the provincial parties represent Winnipeg in the legislature.[129] Most Premiers of Manitoba have been residents of Winnipeg.

In federal politics, Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: four Conservatives, three New Democrats, and one Liberal.[130] There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa.[131] 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.[131]


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; only Regina, Saskatoon, and Abbotsford had higher crime rates.[132] Winnipeg had the highest rate among centres with populations greater than 500,000.[132] The crime rate was 50% higher than that of Calgary, and more than double that of Toronto.[132]

Statistics Canada shows that in 2005, Manitoba had the highest decline of overall crime in Canada at nearly 8%.[133]

Manitoba has also had a continued problem with auto thefts, most of which occur in Winnipeg.[134] To combat auto theft, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) established financial incentives for motor vehicle owners to install ignition immobilisers in their vehicles. It now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install immobilisers.[135]

Winnipeg is protected by the Winnipeg Police Service, which has 1418 members. [136]


Education is a responsibility of the provincial government in Canada.[137] In Manitoba, public school education is governed by The Public Schools Act, The Education Administration Act, and regulations made under both Acts.[137] Rights and responsibilities of the Minister of Education, Citizenship and Youth, public school boards, principals, teachers, parents and students are set out in the legislation.[137] Winnipeg is home to private schools, both religious and secular. These are not governed by school boards, but must still adhere to regulations outlined by the province.

The University of Manitoba is the largest university in Manitoba, the most comprehensive and the only research-intensive post-secondary educational institution.[138] It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada’s first university.[138] In a typical year, the university has an enrolment of 22,500 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students.[139] Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, the city's only French college, is affiliated with the University of Manitoba.

The University of Winnipeg received its charter in 1967, but its founding colleges date back more than 130 years.[140] The founding colleges were Manitoba College 1871, and Wesley College 1888, which merged to form United College in 1938.[140] Until 2007, it was an undergraduate institution that offered some joint graduate studies programs. It now offers graduate programs exclusive to the university. In 2008, the university created a new faculty of business consisting of economics and business programs hived off from the faculty of arts.

The Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a private Mennonite university established in 1999. It was formed through the almagamation 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).[141] 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 Tower (regarded as "Canada's oldest skyscraper") for a second urban campus in downtown Winnipeg.[142] Booth College, a Christian Salvation Army college, is a private university college established in 1982. It offers mostly arts degrees, as well as seminary training.

School divisions

There are seven school divisions in Winnipeg:[143]

Private schools are not governed by any school division.



The Provencher Bridge links Downtown Winnipeg with St. Boniface.

Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars.[144] 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.[144] Winnipeg Transit now runs diesel buses.[145] For decades, the city has explored the idea of a rapid transit link, either bus or rail, from downtown to the University of Manitoba's suburban campus.[146]

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.[147]

The city 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.[148] Much of the commercial traffic through Emerson either originates from or is destined for Winnipeg. Inside the city, the highway is locally 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.[149] The Trans-Canada Highway runs east to west through the city (city route), or circles around the city on the Perimeter Highway (beltway). The city is also the starting point on the Yellowhead highway.

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.).

Winnipeg's Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is currently under redevelopment. A new terminal building is scheduled for completion by 2010, along with an office tower and a second hotel.[150] The field was Canada's first international airport when it opened in 1928 as Stevenson Aerodrome.[151] The airport is the 7th busiest in Canada in terms of passenger traffic and, along with Winnipeg/St. Andrews Airport, is among the top 20 in terms of aircraft movements.[152]

Winnipeg Bus Terminal, located at Winnipeg International Airport, offers domestic and international service by Greyhound Canada, Jefferson Lines, Grey Goose Bus Lines, Beaver Bus Lines, Winnipeg Shuttle Service and Brandon Air Shuttle. [153]

Winnipeg has embarked on an ambitious wayfinding program, erecting new signage at strategic downtown locations.[154] The intention is to make it easier for travellers, specifically tourists, to locate services and attractions.

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.[155]

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.[156] 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.[157] 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.[158] Excluding the three levels of government, 17 Wing is the fourth largest employer in the city.[159] The Wing supports 113 units, stretching from Thunder Bay to the Saskatchewan/Alberta border, and from the 49th parallel to the high Arctic.[158] 17 Wing also acts as a deployed operating base for CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers assigned to the Canadian NORAD Region.[158]

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.[160] The 435 "Chinthe" Transport and Rescue Squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules tanker/transport in airlift search and rescue roles.[161] In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Canadian Forces Air Command squadron equipped and trained to conduct air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft.[161]

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 near present-day Osborne Village. They eventually moved to the Kapyong Barracks located in River Heights/Tuxedo. Since 2004, the 550 men and women of the battalion have operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.[162]

Sister cities

Winnipeg maintains trade development programs, cultural and educational partnerships in sister city agreements with these cities:

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

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Further reading

  • J. M. Bumsted, The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919: An Illustrated History (1994), 140 pp. heavily illus; ISBN 0-920486-40-1.
  • Ramsay Cook; The Politics of John W. Dafoe and the Free Press (1963), 305 pp. B&W illustrations; ISBN 0802051197
  • Grayson, J. P., and L. M. Grayson, "The Social Base of Interwar Political Unrest in Urban Alberta". Canadian Journal of Political Science, 7: 289–313 (1974)
  • Hanlon, Christine; Edie, Barbara; Pendgracs, Doreen. Manitoba Book of Everything (2008) (ISBN 978-0-9784784-5-2)
  • Kenneth McNaught; A Prophet in Politics: A Biography of J. S. Woodsworth (RICH: Reprints in Canadian History) (Paperback) Introduction Allen Mills. (2001), 304 pp.; ISBN 0802084273
  • Norman Penner, ed., Winnipeg 1919: The Strikers' Own History of the Winnipeg General Strike (Toronto: 1973)
  • Greg Shilliday, ed., Manitoba 125 - A History" (1995) ISBN 0-9697804-1-9 (v.1)
  • K. W. Taylor; "Voting in Winnipeg During the Depression" Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology v 19 #2 1982. pp 222+
  • Taylor, K. W., and Nelson Wiseman, "Class and Ethnic Voting in Winnipeg: The Case of 1941". Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 14: 174-87 1977
  • Wiseman, Nelson and K. W. Taylor, "Ethnic vs Class Voting: the Case of Winnipeg, 1945". Canadian Journal of Political Science 7: 314-28 1974
  • Wiseman, Nelson and K. W. Taylor, "Class and Ethnic Voting in Winnipeg During the Cold War". Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 16: 60–76 1979

External links


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