Manitoba ( ) is a Canadian prairie province with an area of .
bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east
and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut and Northwest
Territories to the north, and the U.S. states of
Dakota and Minnesota to the south. It also has a
saltwater coastline on Hudson
dominates the province's economy.
In 2006, Manitoba had a population of 1,213,815 (730,305 of which
was in the Winnipeg Capital
). Manitoba's capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is also Canada's eighth-largest Census Metropolitan Area, and has
Canada's seventh-largest municipality.
There is a
population in Winnipeg, but the largest ethnic group is English.
There is also a growing aboriginal
The name "Manitoba" is believed to be derived from the Cree
languages. Fur traders first arrived
during the late 17th century. Manitoba entered Confederation
on July 15, 1870, after the
, and was the
first province to join Canada under the British North America Act
Act) after the original four provinces. A general strike
took place in
Winnipeg in 1919, and the province was hit hard by the Great Depression
. This led to the creation
of what would become the New Democratic Party of
, the dominant political party.
is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east
and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut and Northwest
Territories to the north, and the US states of
Dakota and Minnesota to the south. It also has a
saltwater coastline on Hudson
Bay at Churchill.
Relief of Manitoba
Geology and terrain
province has the longest saltwater coastline bordering Hudson Bay and contains over 110,000 lakes, covering
approximately 15.6% or of its surface area. Major Manitoba lakes
Winnipegosis, and Lake Winnipeg; the last of these is the tenth-largest fresh-water
lake in the world and the largest located entirely within southern
Lake Winnipeg's east side has some of the world's
last remote and intact watersheds
The large rivers that flow into the east side of Lake Winnipeg's
basin are pristine and largely undeveloped. Many uninhabited
islands can be found along the lake's shores. Many of these
originate in the Canadian Shield
neighbouring Ontario. These areas have only been used as native
fishing, hunting, and gathering grounds for thousands of years.
Some traditional land use areas of the east side of Lake Winnipeg
are a proposed United Nations World
, with the approval of their First Nations
Lakes of Manitoba (major lakes of
watercourses include the Red, Assiniboine,
Nelson, Winnipeg, Hayes,
Whiteshell and Churchill River.
Name of lake
(9,416 sq mi)
(2,075 sq mi)
(1,785 sq mi)
|Southern Indian Lake
(868 sq mi)
(522 sq mi)
(472 sq mi)
(444 sq mi)
(292 sq mi)
(254 sq mi)
(200 sq mi)
along the Red River is an important
part of Manitoba's tourism economy of Manitoba. Most of Manitoba's
inhabited south lies within the prehistoric bed of Glacial Lake
Agassiz, or the Red River
Valley. This region is extremely flat because it was
once the bottom of the ancient Lake Agassiz, which covered the area.
However, there are
hilly and rocky areas throughout province, along with large sand
ridges left behind by receding glaciers.
Mountain is the highest point at above sea level and the
Hudson Bay coast is the lowest, at sea level. Other upland areas
include Riding Mountain, the Pembina Hills,
Forest, and the Canadian Shield
regions. Much of the province's sparsely-inhabited
north and east lie within the irregular granite landscape of the
Canadian Shield, including Whiteshell, Atikaki,
Provincial Parks. Birds
Hill Provincial Park
was originally an island in Lake Agassiz
after the melting of glaciers.
agriculture is only found in the
southern half of the province, although there is grain farming in
the Carrot Valley Region (near the
The most common agricultural activity is
cattle farming (34.6%), followed by other grains (19.0%) and
oilseed (7.9%). Manitoba is the nation's largest producer of
sunflower seed and dry beans and one of the leading potato
producers. Around 12% of Canadian farmland is in Manitoba.
Because of its location in the centre of the North American
continent, Manitoba has a very
extreme climate. In general, temperatures and precipitation
decrease from south to north, and precipitation also decreases from
east to west. Since Manitoba is far removed from the moderating
influences of both mountain ranges and large bodies of water, and
because of the generally flat landscape, it is exposed to numerous
weather systems throughout the year, including cold Arctic
high-pressure air masses settle in from the north west, usually
during the months of January and February. In the summer, the
air masses often come out of the Southern United States, as the
stronger Bermuda High Pressure ridges into the North American
continent, the more warm, humid air is drawn northward from the
Mexico, similar to that experienced in Southern Ontario.
Southern parts of the province, located just north of Tornado Alley
, experience tornadoes
each year, with 15 confirmed touchdowns in
2006. In 2007, on June 22 and June 23, numerous tornadoes touched
down, including an F5 Tornado
that devastated parts of Elie
strongest officially recorded tornado in Canada). Temperatures
exceed 30 °C (86 °F) numerous times each summer, and the
combination of heat and humidity can bring the humidex value to the
mid-40's(C), (mid- 100's(F)), and the dewpoint to the upper 20's.
Manitoba, reached the extreme of 53.0 °C (127.4 °F) with the
humidex, which set the highest temperature reached with the
humidity in Canada.
Manitoba is also a very sunny province; according to Environment
Canada, Manitoba ranked first for clearest skies year round.
Manitoba also ranked second for most clear skies in the summer and
sunniest province in the winter and spring. Portage la
Prairie has the most sunny days in warm months in Canada;
and Winnipeg has the second clearest skies year-round and is the
second sunniest city in Canada in the spring and winter.
Southern Manitoba has a fairly long frost-free season, consisting
of between 125 and 125 days in the Red River Valley; this decreases
to the northeast.
northern sections of the province (including the city of Thompson) falls in the subarctic climate zone (Koppen
This region features long and extremely cold
winters with brief, warm summers with relatively little
precipitation. It is common to have overnight lows as low as
−40 °C (−40 °F) for several days each winter, and have a
few weeks that remain below −18 °C (0 °F).
southwestern corner (including the city of Brandon) has a semi-arid
mid-latitude steppe climate (Koppen climate classification
The region is drier than other parts of
southern Manitoba and very drought
is cold and windy in the winter and is the region most prone to
in the winter because of the
openness of the landscape. Summers are generally warm to hot, with
low to moderate humidity.
Average temperature in cities
remainder of southern Manitoba (including the city of Winnipeg), falls into the humid continental climate zone
||26/13 °C (79/55 °F)
||-13/-24 °C (8.6/-11.2 °F)
||27/12 °C (81/54 °F)
||-12/-24 °C (10.4/-11.2 °F)
||23/9 °C (73/48 °F)
||-20/-31 °C (-4/-23.8 °F)
|Portage la Prairie
||26/14 °C (79/57 °F)
||-12/-22 °C (10.4/-7.6 °F)
||26/13 °C (79/55 °F)
||-13/-23 °C (8.6/-9.4 °F)
||25/12 °C (77/54 °F)
||-13/-24 °C (8.6/-9.4 °F)
||23/12 °C (73/54 °F)
||-16/-27 °C (3.2/-16.6 °F)
Temperatures here are similar to the
semi-arid climate zone, but this region is the most humid area in
the Prairie Provinces with moderate precipitation.
Flora and fauna
The eastern, southeastern, and northern reaches of the province
range through boreal coniferous forests
Shield and a small section of tundra
bordering Hudson Bay. Forests make up about , or 48%, of the
province's land area. The forests generally consist of pines
(mostly jack pine, some red pine), spruces
(white, black), larch
(trembling aspen, balsam poplar), birch
(white, swamp) and small pockets of Eastern White Cedar
. Some of the last
largest and intact boreal forest of the world can be found along
the east side of Lake Winnipeg, with only winter roads, no hydroelectric
development, no mines, and
few communities. The tall-grass
dominates the southern parts of the province, and is
especially notable for its endangered Fringed Orchid.
Manitoba is home to diverse species of animals. The province is
especially noted for its bear population; Churchill, in northern
Manitoba, is commonly referred to as the "Polar Bear Capital".
Other large animals, including moose, deer, and wolves, are common
throughout the province, especially in the provincial and national
. There is
also a large population of garter
dens there are home to the largest concentration of snakes in the
The geographical area now named Manitoba was inhabited shortly
after the last ice age glaciers retreated in the southwest.
exposed land was the Turtle Mountain area, where large numbers of petroforms and medicine wheels can be found.
human habitants of southern Manitoba left behind pottery shards,
spear and arrow heads, copper, petroforms, pictographs, fish and animal bones, and signs of
agriculture along the Red River near Lockport.
, and Assiniboine
peoples were founded, along with other tribes that entered the area
to trade. The Whiteshell Provincial Park region along the Winnipeg
River has many old petroforms and may
have been a trading centre.
shells and copper found in this area are proof of a large trading
network to the oceans, and to the larger southern native
civilizations along the Mississippi
. In Northern Manitoba some areas were mined for quartz to
make arrowheads. The first farming in Manitoba appeared to be along
the Red River, near Lockport, where corn
other seed crops
were planted before contact
There are a few possible sources for the name "Manitoba". The more
likely is that it comes from Cree
and means "strait of the
(spirit)". It may also be from the
for "Lake of the
Henry Hudson was one of the first
Europeans to sail into what is now known as Hudson Bay, where he was abandoned by his mutinous
In 1619, explorer Jens Munk
in search of the Northwest
, wintered on the Churchill River
. Most of his
crew died and only three, including himself, made the return trip
back in July of that year. The Nonsuch
sailed into Hudson Bay in
1668–1669, becoming the first trading voyage to reach the area; it
led to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company
. The Hudson's Bay
Company was given the fur trading
to the entire Hudson Bay watershed, covering land in what is now
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, North Dakota,
and more. This watershed was named Rupert's Land
, after Prince Rupert, who helped
to subsidize the Hudson's Bay Company. York
Factory was founded in 1684 after the original main fort of
the Hudson's Bay Company, Fort Nelson—built in 1682—was destroyed
by French traders.
Other traders and explorers from Europe
eventually came to the Hudson Bay shores and went south along the
northern Manitoba rivers. The first European to reach present-day
central and southern Manitoba was Sir Thomas Button, who travelled upstream along
River and Lake
Winnipeg in 1612 and
may have reached somewhere along the edge of the prairies, where he
reported seeing a bison.
1690 to 1691, Henry Kelsey
first European fur trader known to have seen the prairie
grasslands, the great buffalo herds, the grizzly bears, and the
Plains tribes. Pierre
Gaultier de Varennes
, Sieur de la Vérendrye, visited the Red
River Valley in the 1730s to help open the area for French
exploration and the fur trade. Other French and Métis explorers came from the east and south by
going down the Winnipeg River and the
Red River (an important French-Canadian population (Franco-Manitobains) still lives in
Manitoba, especially in the Saint-Boniface district of Winnipeg).
A French fur trading
company called the North West
began trading with the Métis. Fur trading forts were
built by both the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company,
and there was often competition between the two in more southern
areas until they amalgamated in 1821. The territory was won
Britain in 1763 as part of the French and Indian War.
Hudson's Bay Archives
located in Winnipeg and preserves the rich history of the fur
trading era that occurred along the major water routes of the
Rupert's Land area.
The founding of the first agricultural community and settlements in
1812 by Lord
, north of the area which is now downtown Winnipeg,
resulted in conflict between the British colonists and the Métis
who lived and traded near
there. Twenty colonists, including the governor,
were killed by the Métis in the Battle of
Seven Oaks in 1816, in which the settlers fired the first
There was also one Métis man killed.
Rupert's Land was ceded to Canada in 1869 and incorporated into the
Territories, a lack of attention to Métis concerns led their
elected leader Louis Riel to establish a
provisional government as part of the Red River Rebellion.
between the provisional and Canadian governments resulted in the
creation of the Province of Manitoba and its entry into
Confederation in 1870. However, Louis Riel was pursued by Garnet Wolseley
because of the rebellion,
and he fled into exile. The Métis were blocked by the Canadian
government in their attempts to obtain land promised to them as
part of Manitoba's entry into confederation. Facing racism from the
new flood of white settlers from Ontario, large numbers of Métis
moved to what would become Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Originally, the province of Manitoba
was only 1/18 of its current size and was square in shape—it was
known as the "postage stamp province". Its borders were expanded in
1881, but Ontario also claimed a large portion of the land; the
disputed portion was awarded to Ontario in 1889. It grew
progressively, absorbing land from the Northwest Territories until
it attained its current size by reaching 60°N in 1912.
Initially, the subject of provincial status did not come up during
the negotiations between Canada, the United Kingdom and the
Hudson's Bay Company. It was assumed that territorial status was
granted in the Act for the Temporary Government of Rupert's Land in
1869. Louis Riel first introduced the subject of provincial status
to the Committee of Forty appointed by the citizens of Red River in
1870. Riel's proposal to Donald
, emissary for the government of Canada, was
rejected by the government of John
. The list of
demands from Riel did goad the government of Canada into acting on
a proposal of its own regarding Red River's status. John A.
Macdonald introduced the Manitoba Act
in the Canadian House of
without raising the issue; the bill was given royal
assent and Manitoba joined Canada as a province. Macdonald's
misunderstanding of territorial versus provincial status, the rise
of the Métis people and the burgeoning growth of the United States
(which was considering annexing
territory) compelled him to act in a nation-building
Numbered Treaties were signed in the late 19th century with the
chiefs of various First Nations that lived in the area. These
treaties made quite specific promises of land for every family.
This led to a reserve system under the jurisdiction of the Federal
Government. There are still land claim issues because the proper
amount of land promised to the native peoples was not always
The Manitoba Schools
showed the deep divergence of cultural values in the
territory. The Franco-Manitobains had been guaranteed a
state-supported separate school system in the original constitution
of Manitoba, but a grassroots political movement among Protestants
in 1888-90 demanded the end of French
schools. In 1890, the Manitoba legislature passed a law abolishing
French as an official language of the province and removing funding
schools. The French Catholic
minority asked the federal Government for support; however, the
anti-Catholic forces mobilized nationwide. The Conservatives
proposed remedial legislation to override Manitoba's legislation,
but they in turn were blocked by Liberals, led by Wilfrid Laurier
, who opposed the remedial
legislation on the basis of provincial rights. Once elected Prime
Minister in 1896, Laurier proposed a compromise stating that
Catholics in Manitoba could have Catholic teaching for 30 minutes
at the end of the day if there were enough students to warrant it,
on a school-by-school basis. Tensions over language remained high
in Manitoba (and nationwide) for decades to come.
Early 20th century
Winnipeg was the third largest city in Canada by the early 20th century
. A boomtown, it grew quickly
around the turn of the century, with outside investors and
immigrants contributing to its success. Old mansions and estates
attest to Winnipeg's growing wealthy class during that period, as
does the growth of the railway system at the time. When the
Manitoba Legislature was built, it was expected that Manitoba would
have a population of 3 million quite soon. Around the beginning of
World War I
, the quickly growing city
began to cool down, as large amounts of money were no longer
invested to the same degree as before the war. Winnipeg eventually
fell behind in growth when other major cities in Canada began to
Crowd gathered outside the old City
Hall during the Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919.
In the 1917 election in the midst of the conscription crisis
Liberals were split in half and the new Union party carried all but
one seat. As the war ended severe discontent among farmers (over
wheat prices) and union members (over wage rates) resulted in an
upsurge of radicalism. With Bolshevism
coming to power in Russia,
conservatives were anxious and radicals were energized.
most dramatic episode was the Winnipeg General Strike of
which shut down most activity for six weeks. It began May
15 and continued until the strike collapsed on June 25, 1919; the
workers were gradually returning to their jobs, and the Central
Strike Committee decided to end the strike. Government efforts to
violently crush the strike, including a charge into a crowd of
strikers by the Royal Northwest Mounted
Police that resulted in 30 casualties and one death and
the arrest of the strike leaders, contributed to this
In the aftermath of the strike, eight leaders went on trial, and
most were convicted on charges of seditious
, illegal combinations, and seditious libel
; four were aliens who were deported under the
. Labor was weakened and divided as a
Farmers, meanwhile, were patiently organizing the United Farmers of
Manitoba, with plans to contest the 1920 provincial elections. The
result was that no party held a majority. The Farmers won in 1922,
with 30 seats, against 7 returning Liberals, 6 Conservatives, 6
Labour, and 8 Independents.
The Great Depression
hard in Western Canada, including Manitoba. The collapse of the
world market combined with a steep drop in agricultural production
due to drought led to economic diversification, moving away from
production. The Manitoba
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
was founded in 1932, the
forerunner to the New
Democratic Party of Manitoba
Winnipeg was one of the major commands for the British Commonwealth
Air Training Program
to train fighter pilots for World War II
, and there were air training
schools throughout Manitoba. Several Manitoba-based regiments were
deployed overseas, including Princess Patricia's
Canadian Light Infantry
. In an effort to raise money for the
war effort, the Victory Loan
campaign organized "If Day
" in 1942. The
event featured a simulated Nazi
occupation of Manitoba, and eventually raised over $65 million for
the war effort.
1950 to present
1950 Red River Flood was a
devastating flood that took place along the
River during the spring of 1950. Winnipeg was inundated on May 5, also known as Black
Friday, and had to be partially evacuated.
Control gates at the inlet to the
year, the Red River reached its highest level since 1861 and
flooded most of the Red River
. The damage caused by the flood eventually
led Duff Roblin to advocate for the
construction of the Red River Floodway. The province of Manitoba completed the
Floodway in 1968 after six years of excavation, put up
permanent dikes in eight towns south of Winnipeg, and built clay dikes and diversion dams in the
In 1997, the "Flood of the Century" caused
over $500 million in damages in Manitoba, but the Floodway
prevented Winnipeg from flooding.
Since 1969, the NDP has been the most successful provincial
political party, winning seven of the eleven elections during this
period. In 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attempted to pass the Meech Lake Accord to persuade Quebec to endorse
the Canada Act.
was needed to bypass the necessary public consultation in the
Manitoba Legislature, and MLA Elijah Harper
opposed bypassing consultation
because he did not believe First Nations had been adequately
involved in the Accord's process.
Manitoba has a population of 1,213,815, more than half of which is
located within the Winnipeg Capital Region (which has a total
population of 730,305). Winnipeg is Canada's eighth-largest Census
Metropolitan Area. Manitoba is the only Canadian Province with over
55% of its population located in a single city.
Population of Manitoba since 1871
*Preliminary 2006 census estimate.
- Source: Statistics
According to the 2006 Canadian census, the largest ethnic group in
Manitoba is English
followed by German
(13.4%), North American Indian
(4.9%), and Russian
(4.0%)—although almost one-fifth
of respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian". There
are a number of ethnic enclaves
throughout the province, where one ethnicity is predominant.
of these would include Gimli (Icelandic)
and St. Boniface
in Winnipeg (Franco-Manitobains).
There is also a
significant aboriginal community: aboriginals are Manitoba's
fastest-growing ethnic group, representing 13.6% of Manitoba's
population as of 2001.
Ten largest municipalities by population
|Portage la Prairie
Most Manitobans belong to a Christian denomination: on the 2001
census, 758,760 Manitobans (68.7%) reported being Christian, followed by 13,040 (1.2%) Jewish, 5,745 (0.5%) Buddhist, 5,485 (0.5%) Sikh,
5,095 (0.5%) Muslim, 3,840 (0.3%) Hindu, 3,415 (0.3%) Aboriginal spirituality and 995
(0.1%) pagan. 201,825 Manitobans (18.3%)
reported no religious affiliation in the 2001 census.
The largest Christian denominations by number of adherents were the
Roman Catholic Church with
292,970 (27%); the United Church
of Canada with 176,820 (16%); and the Anglican Church of Canada with
Although initial colonization of the province revolved mostly
around homesteading, the last 100 years have seen a shift towards
urbanization; the majority of Manitoba's population now lives in
Transportation and warehousing contributes approximately $2.2
billion to Manitoba’s GDP. Total employment in the industry is
estimated at 34,500.Manitoba has a rail, air, road and marine
component to its transportation industry.
The Trans-Canada Highway built
between 1950 and 1971 crosses the province from east to west.
Trucks haul 95% of land freight in Manitoba, and trucking companies
account for 80% of Manitoba's merchandise trade to the United
States. Five of Canada's twenty-five largest employers in for-hire
trucking are headquartered in Manitoba, and three of Canada's 10
largest employers in the for-hire trucking industry are
headquartered in Winnipeg. $1.18 billion of Manitoba's GDP directly
or indirectly comes from trucking. Around 5% or 33,000 people work
in the trucking industry.
Domestic and international bus service from the Winnipeg Bus Terminal is offered by
Greyhound Canada and Jefferson Lines. Winnipeg and other
municipalities offer transit bus service
within city limits.
Manitoba has two Class I railways: CN and Canadian Pacific Railway. Winnipeg
is centrally located on the main lines of both carriers, and both
companies maintain large intermodal terminals in the city. CN and
CP operate a combined of track within Manitoba. VIA Rail offers transcontenial and northern
Manitoba passenger service from Winnipeg's Union Station. The first railway through Manitoba was
the CP Railway, and the tracks were diverted south to make Winnipeg
as the capital and centre, and not Selkirk, which is located
further north. Numerous small regional and shortline railways exist
in the province. They are the Hudson
Bay Railway, the Southern
Manitoba Railway, Burlington Northern Santa
Fe Manitoba, Greater Winnipeg Water
District Railway, and Central Manitoba Railway. Together,
they operate approximately of track within the province.
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson
International Airport is one of only a few 24-hour unrestricted airports
in Canada and is part of the National Airports
System. It has a broad range of passenger and cargo
services and served over 3.5 million people in 2007, which is over
the maxium capacity of 600,000 the current terminal was to handle.
The airport handles approximately of cargo annually which makes it
the 3rd largest in the country. Currently the airport is going
under major redevelopment, with a new terminal, parkade, and luxury
hotel. The new bus terminal and Canada Post plant which are moving
from downtown will be located at the airport campus.
Eleven regional passenger carriers and nine smaller/charter
carriers operate out of the airport, as well as 11 air cargo
carriers and 7 freight forwarders. Winnipeg is a major sorting facility for
both FedEx and Purolator, and receives daily transborder
service from UPS. Air Canada Cargo
and Cargojet Airways use the
airport as a major hub for national traffic.
Churchill, owned by OmniTRAX, is
Canada's main window to the Arctic ocean, to
Russia, and inland to China. The port of Churchill is
nautically closer to ports in Northern
Europe and Russia than any other port in Canada. The port is
the only Arctic deep water port in Canada and a part of the closest
shipping route between North America and Asia. It has 4 deep-sea
berths for the loading and unloading of grain, general cargo and
tanker vessels. The port is linked by the Hudson Bay Railway (also owned by
OMNITRAX). Grain represented 90% of the port’s traffic in the 2004
shipping season. In that year, over of agricultural product was
shipped through the port.
Manitoba's economy grew 2.4% in 2008, the third consecutive year of
growth. The average individual income in Manitoba in 2006 was
$25,100, compared to a national average of $26,500 and ranking
fifth-highest among the provinces. As of October 2009, Manitoba's
unemployment rate is 5.8%.
Manitoba's economy relies heavily on tourism, energy, agriculture,
oil, minerals, mining, and forestry. Agriculture is vital to Manitoba's economy and
is found mostly in the southern half of the province, although
there is grain farming found as far north as The
Pas. The most common type of farm found in rural
areas is cattle farming (34.6%), followed by other grains (19.0%)
and oilseed (7.9%). Manitoba is the nation's largest producer of
sunflower seed and dry beans; and one of the leading potato
producers. Altona is the "sunflower capital of Canada". Around
12% of Canadian farmland is in Manitoba.
Prairie claims to be the Canadian potato producing capital,
and is a major potato processing center. It is also home to
the McCain Foods and Simplot potato processing plants, which provide
french fries for McDonald's, Wendy's, and various other commercialized restaurant
chains. Can-Oat Milling, one of the largest
oat mills in the world, is also located in the municipality. Churchill's arctic wildlife plays an important part in
Manitoba's tourism industry, having acquired the nicknames of
"Polar bear capital of the world" and
"Beluga capital of the world".
is the only Canadian Province with an Arctic
deep water sea port, located in Churchill, along Hudson
Bay. Manitoba's sea port is the only link along
the shortest shipping route between North
America, Europe, and Asia.
Manitoba's early economy depended on mobility and living off of the
land. Aboriginal Nations (including the Cree, Ojibwa, Dene, Sioux and Assiniboine)
followed herds of bison and congregated to trade among themselves
at key meeting places throughout the province. The first fur
traders entered the province in the 17th century; most of the
economy centred around the trade of beaver pelts and other furs.
Red River cart train
The first major diversification of the economy came when Lord
Selkirk brought the first agricultural settlers to the area just
north of present-day Winnipeg in 1811. The eventual triumph of the
Hudson's Bay Company over its competitors ensured the primacy of
the fur trade over widespread agricultural colonization. It took
years for the Red River Colony to
develop under HBC rule, as the Company invested little in
infrastructure for the community. It was only when independent
traders such as James Sinclair and Andrew McDermot (Dermott) started competing
in trade that improvements to the community began. In 1849, a Métis
fur trader named Pierre Guillaume
Sayer was charged with illegal trading by the Hudson's Bay
Company; though he was found guilty, he was not punished. The
result was a weakening of HBC rule over the region and laid the
foundations of provincehood for Manitoba. In 1853, a second
agricultural community started in Portage la Prairie.
HBC control of Rupert's Land ended in 1868, and Manitoba became a
province in 1870. All land in the province became the property of
the federal government, with homesteads granted to settlers for
farming. Transcontinental railways were constructed to simplify
trade. Manitoba's economy depended mainly on wheat farming, which persisted until drought and the
Great Depression led to diversification.
Like all Canadian provinces, Manitoba is governed by a unicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly of
Manitoba. The executive branch
is formed by the majority party; the
party leader is the Premier of Manitoba, the head of the
executive branch. The head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by the
Lieutenant Governor of
Manitoba, who is appointed by the Governor General of Canada on
advice of the Prime
Minister. The head of state is primarily a ceremonial role,
although the Lieutenant-Governor has the official responsibility of
ensuring that Manitoba always has a duly constituted government.
Manitoba is represented in federal politics by 14 Members of Parliament and six Senators.
Assembly of Manitoba was established on July 14, 1870. After
the control of Rupert's Land was
passed from Great Britain to the Government of Canada in 1869,
Manitoba attained full fledged rights and responsibilities of
self-government as the first Canadian province carved out of the
Northwest Territories. The Legislative Assembly
consists of the 57 Members elected to represent the people of
Manitoba. The horseshoe arrangement of the members seats within the
Chamber is unique in Canada. Manitoba's primary political parties
are the New Democratic
Party of Manitoba (NDP), the Progressive
Conservative Party of Manitoba and the Manitoba Liberal Party.
The current premier of Manitoba is Greg
Selinger of the NDP, who replaced Gary Doer to lead the NDP majority government of
36 seats. The Progressive Conservative Party holds 19 seats, and
the Liberal Party has 2 seats but does not have official party
status in the Manitoba Legislature. The last general election was
held Tuesday, May 22, 2007. Historically, political parties first
appeared between 1878 and 1883, with a two-party system (Liberals
and Conservatives). The United Farmers of Manitoba appeared in
1922, and later merged with the Liberals in 1932 to form the
dominant political party. Other parties, including the Cooperative Commonwealth
Federation (CCF), appeared during the Great Depression; in the
1950s, Manitoban politics became a three-party system, and the
LIberal party gradually declined in power. The CCF became the NDP,
which came to power in 1969. Since then, the Conservatives and the
NDP have been the dominant parties.
Manitoba's judiciary consists of three courts: the Court of Appeal,
the Court of Queen's Bench, and the Provincial Court. The
Provincial Court is primarily a criminal court; 95% of all criminal
cases in Manitoba are heard in this court. The Court of Queen's
Bench is the highest trial court in Manitoba. It has four
jurisdictions: family law (child and family services] cases),
civil law, criminal law (for indictable offences), and appeals for Provincial Court decisions. The Court of Appeal
hears appeals from both the Court of Queen's Bench and the
Provincial Court; decisions of this court can only be appealed to
Court of Canada.
English and French are the official languages of the legislature
and courts of Manitoba, according to the Manitoba Act, 1870 (which
forms part of the Constitution of
Canada). In April 1890, the Manitoba legislature introduced a
measure to abolish the official status of the French language in
the legislature, in the laws, in records and journals, and in the
Courts of Manitoba. The Manitoban Legislature ceased to publish
legislation in French but did so in English only. However, in 1985 the
Court of Canada ruled in the Reference re Manitoba
Language Rights that §23 still applied, and that legislation
published only in English was invalid (unilingual legislation was
declared valid for a temporary period to allow time for
Although French is an official language for the purposes of the
legislature, legislation, and the courts, the Manitoba Act does not
require it to be an official language for the purpose of the
executive branch (except when performing legislative or judicial
functions). Hence, Manitoba's government is not
completely bilingual, and as reflected in the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, the only
completely bilingual province is New Brunswick. The Manitoba French Language Services
Policy of 1999 is intended to provide a comparable level of
provincial government services in both official languages. Services
to the public are accessible in both English and French.
The first school in Manitoba was founded in 1818 on the banks of
the Red River. Roman Catholic
missionaries began constructing
Catholic schools in the region. The first Protestant school was
established in 1820. The Manitoba Schools Question led to
funding for French Catholic schools largely being withddrawn. The
provincial Department of Education was established in 1871; it was
responsible for public schools and curriculum.
Today, public schools in Manitoba fall under the jurisdiction of
one of 37 school
divisions within the
provincial education system (except for the Manitoba Band Operated
Schools, which are administered by the federal government).
Schooling is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 16
years; students are allowed to attend school between the ages of 6
and 21. All public schools follow a provincially-mandated
curriculum in either French or English. There are 65 funded
independent schools in Manitoba, of which three are boarding
schools. These schools are required to follow the Manitoban
curriculum and meet other provincial requirements. Additionally,
there are 44 non-funded independent schools that are not required
to meet these criteria.
There are five universities in Manitoba, which are under the
responsibility of the Ministry of Advanced
Education and Literacy. Four of these universities—the University
of Manitoba, the Collège universitaire de
Saint-Boniface, the Canadian Mennonite University and the University of Winnipeg—are in Winnipeg. The Collège universitaire de
Saint-Boniface, established in 1818, is the oldest university in
the province and is the only French-language university in the
province, and Brandon
University, formed in 1899 and located in Brandon,
Manitoba, is the newest.
Manitoba also has 38 public libraries; of these, 12 have
significant French-language collections and 8 have significant
collections in other languages. Twenty-one of these are part of the
Winnipeg Public Library
system. The first lending library in Manitoba was founded in
Manitoba has three professional sports teams: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Canadian Football League), the
Manitoba Moose (American Hockey League), and the
Winnipeg Goldeyes (Northern League). At one time, the
province had a National Hockey
League team (the Winnipeg Jets),
but the team moved to Phoenix, Arizona due to financial troubles and are now the Phoenix Coyotes. The Western Hockey League's Wheat Kings are based in Brandon.
There was also previously two basketball
teams, the Winnipeg Thunder
League) and the Winnipeg
Cyclone (International Basketball
Association), but both teams are now defunct. There were two
baseball teams in the previous incarnations of the Northern League and the
International League. The
Winnipeg Maroons and the Winnipeg Whips played in each
province is represented in university athletics by the University
of Manitoba Bisons, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, and the Brandon University Bobcats. All three teams compete in the
West Universities Athletic Association (the regional division
Manitoba's culture has been influenced by
both traditional (aboriginal and Métis) and modern Canadian
artistic values, as well as some aspects of the cultures of
immigrant populations and its American neighbours. In Manitoba, the Minister
of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport is the cabinet minister responsible for promoting
and, to some extent, financing Manitoban culture. Most of
Manitoba's cultural activities take place in Winnipeg.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet
(RWB), based in Winnipeg, is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously
operating ballet company in North
America. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet was granted its royal title
in 1953, the first granted under Queen Elizabeth II.
Manitoba is also known for the Red River
Jig, a combination of aboriginal pow-wows and European reels that
was popular among early settlers. Manitoba's traditional music also
has strong roots in Métis
and Aboriginal culture.
Manitoba is a center for the old-time
fiddling of the Métis people. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
(WSO) performs at the Centennial
Concert Hall in Winnipeg, and the orchestra also performs
throughout the province of Manitoba.
Manitoba also has many prominent popular musicians and music
groups. The Canadian 1960s supergroup The
Guess Who became the first Canadian band to have a No. 1 hit in
the United States. Former Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman later
Overdrive (BTO). Rocker Neil Young
played with Stephen Stills in the
band Buffalo Springfield, and
again with Crosby,
Stills, Nash & Young.Soft-rock band Crash Test Dummies formed in the late
1980s in Winnipeg and were the 1992 Juno Awards Group of the Year.
Other Manitoban pop artists include Chantal Kreviazuk, Remy Shand, and Propagandhi.
Manitoba's largest art gallery, the Winnipeg Art
Gallery (WAG) was Canada's first
civic gallery and is the sixth-largest in the country.
permanent collection includes over 20,000 works, with a particular
emphasis on Manitoban and Canadian art. Most of Manitoba's theatre groups are
also based in Winnipeg. Le Cercle
Molière (founded 1925) is the oldest theatre in Canada.
Manitoba Theatre Centre
(MTC, founded 1958) is Canada's oldest English-language regional
Theatre for Young People was the first English-language theatre
to win the Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences
Award, and offers plays for children and teenagers as well as a
Several prominent Canadian films were produced in Manitoba,
including The Stone Angel,
based on the Margaret Laurence book of the same title, The Saddest Music in the
World, For Angela, and
My Winnipeg. Guy Maddin, OM,
the creator of My Winnipeg, is a prominent Manitoban
screenwriter and film director.
Animator Cordell Barker's most
notable short is The Cat
Came Back (1988), which received an Oscar nomination. Manitoban Richard Condie was nominated for an Oscar and won the Genie Award for Best
Animated Short with his 1985 work The Big Snit. Several major films were
filmed in Manitoba, including The
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and
Capote, both of which
received Academy Award nominations.
Beach, an internationally-broadcast television drama, was
filmed at Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba. Manitoba has appeared in popular
American television shows, including in an episode of The Simpsons where Homer visited Winnipeg.
Manitoba has a strong literary tradition. Bertram Brooker won the first-ever Governor General's Award for
Fiction in 1936. Cartoonist Lynn
Johnston, author of the comic strip For Better or For Worse, was
nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and
inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of
Fame. Margaret Laurence's
The Jest of God was set in
Manawaka, a fictional town representing
Neepawa, and won the Governor General's Award in 1966. Carol Shields won both the Governor General's
Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Stone Diaries. Gabrielle Roy, a Franco-Manitoban writer born in Saint
Boniface, Manitoba, won the Governor General's Award three
times. A quote from her writings is featured on the Canadian
Cultural festivals take place throughout the province, with the
largest festivals centred in Winnipeg. The Festival du Voyageur is an annual
10-day winter festival held in Winnipeg's
French Quarter, Saint-Boniface, and is Western
Canada's largest winter festival. The event celebrates
Canada's fur-trading past and French heritage and culture. Folklorama, a cultural festival run by the Folk
Arts Council, receives around 400,000 pavilion visits each year.
The Winnipeg Fringe
Theatre Festival is an annual alternative theatre festival, currently the
second-largest North American festival of its kind (after the
International Fringe Festival).
Folklorama 2005, Scottish
There are also a diverse array of museums documenting different
aspects of Manitoban heritage. The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in Manitoba and focuses on
Manitoban history from prehistory to the 1920s. The
full-size replica ship Nonsuch is the
museum's showcase piece. The Manitoba Children's Museum at the
Forks presents exhibits for children. The Canadian Museum for Human
Rights will upon completion be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National
Capital Region. There are two museums dedicated to the
native flora and fauna of Manitoba: the Living Prairie Museum, a tall grass
prairie preserve featuring 160 species of grasses and wildflowers,
and FortWhyte Alive, a park
encompassing prairie, lake, forest and wetland habitats, home to a
large herd of bison. The Canadian Fossil Discovery
Centre houses the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in Canada.
Reflecting the importance of transportation
in the development of the province, Manitoba has museums featuring
the history of aviation, marine
transport, and railways in the area.
Winnipeg has two daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press and the
Winnipeg Sun. There are
several ethnic weekly newspapers, as well as regionally- and
nationally-based magazines based in the city. Brandon has two
regular local newspapers: the Brandon
Sun and the Wheat City
Journal. Many small towns have local newspapers, and some
also receive deliveries of Brandon or Winnipeg papers.
There are five English language stations and one French language
station based in Winnipeg. The Global Television Network (owned
by Canwest) is headquartered in the city.
Most small towns are served by rebroadcasts of Winnipeg or Brandon
television stations, sometimes with the addition of local
Winnipeg is home to 21 AM and FM radio stations, two of which are
French-language stations. Brandon's
five local radio stations are provided by Astral Media and Westman Communications Group.
In addition to the Brandon and Winnipeg stations, radio service is
provided in rural areas and smaller towns by Golden West Broadcasting and
Corus Entertainment, as well as
a few local broadcasters. CBC Radio
broadcasts local and national programming throughout the province.
NCI is devoted to
Aboriginal programming and broadcasts to many of the isolated
native communities as well as to larger cities.
Canadian Forces Base
Winnipeg (CFB Winnipeg) is a Canadian Forces Base in Winnipeg
co-located at the Winnipeg International Airport. CFB Winnipeg is
home to flight operations support divisions, as well as several
training schools. It is also the 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian
NORAD Region Headquarters. The base is supported
by over 3,000 military personnel and civilian employees.
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada are infantry reserve
units based at Minto Armouries in Winnipeg. The Fort Garry Horse is
an armoured reconnaissance and field engineer reserve unit based at
McGregor Armoury in Winnipeg.
17 Wing of the Canadian Forces is
based in Winnipeg near the airport. The Wing has three squadrons
and six schools. The Wing also supports 113 units from
Bay to the Saskatchewan/Alberta border, and from the 49th
Parallel to the high Arctic.
acts as a deployed operating base for CF-18
Hornet fighter-bombers assigned to the Canadian NORAD
The two Air Force squadrons based in the city are: the 402 ("City
of Winnipeg" Squadron"), which flies the Canadian designed and
produced de Havilland Canada
CT-142 Dash 8 navigation trainer in support of the Canadian Forces
Air Navigation School’s Air Navigators and Airborne Electronic
Sensor Operator training programs; and the 435 (“Chinthe” Transport
and Rescue Squadron), which flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules tanker/transport in
airlift search and rescue roles. In addition, 435 Squadron is the
only Air Force squadron equipped and trained to conduct air-to-air
refueling of fighter aircraft.
For years, Winnipeg was the home of the Second Battalion of
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 the River Heights/Tuxedo neighbourhood of Winnipeg. Since
2004, the 550 men and women of the battalion have operated out of
Canadian Forces Base
Shilo (CFB Shilo).
is an Operations and Training base of the Canadian Forces located
east of Brandon,
Manitoba. During the 1990s, Canadian Forces Base
Shilo was also designated as an Area Support Unit, acting as a
local base of operations for south-west Manitoba in times of
military and civil emergency. CFB Shilo is the home of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian
Horse Artillery , the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's
Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI)—both battalions of
the 1 Canadian
Mechanized Brigade Group—as well as being the Home Station of
the Royal Canadian
Artillery. In addition, CFB Shilo lodges training units such as
the Western Area Training Centre Detachment Shilo and the
Communications Reserve School. It also serves as a base for support
units of Land Force Western
Area, including 731 Signals Squadron.
- Notes on the Geology of Some Islands in Lake Winnipeg. J. Hoyes
Panton. MHS Transactions Series 1, No. 20. Read 25 January
- Trigger, Bruce G. The Cambridge History of the native peoples
of the Americas. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
- Catherine Flynn, Parks Canada and E. Leigh Syms, Manitoba
Museum of Man and Nature. Manitoba's First Farmers. Manitoba
History, Number 31, Spring 1996
- Henry Hudson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography I, 374-79.
- Jens Munck, Dictionary of Canadian Biography I, 514-15.
- Laird Rankin, The Return Nonsuch: The Ship that Launched an
- York Factory National Historic Site. Lillian Stewart, Manitoba
Northern Historic Sites, Canadian Parks Service. Manitoba History,
Number 15, Spring 1988
- Thomas Button, Dictionary of Canadian Biography I, 144-45.
- Henry Kelsey, Dictionary of Canadian Biography II, 307-15.
- Pierre Gaultier De Varennes La Vérendrye, Dictionary of
Canadian Biography III, 246-54.
- Thomas Douglas, Dictionary of Canadian Biography V,
- The 150th Anniversary of Seven Oaks. Joseph E. Martin. MHS
Transactions Series 3, Number 22, 1965-66 season
- Manitoba: the birth of a province. W. L. Morton (ed). Winnipeg:
Manitoba Record Society, 1984
- Garnet Joseph Wolseley, Dictionary of Canadian Biography
- The Historiography of Métis Land Dispersal, 1870–1890. Brad
Milne. Manitoba History, Number 30, Autumn 1995
- From Postage Stamp to Keystone. Douglas Kemp. Manitoba Pageant,
- The Story of the Manitoba Legislature. M. S. Donnelly. MHS
Transactions Series 3, Number 12, 1955-56 season
- The Language Problem in Manitoba's Schools. Robert Fletcher.
MHS Transactions Series 3, Number 6, 1949-50
- McLauchlin, Kenneth. “Riding The Protestant Horse”: The
Manitoba School Question and Canadian Politics, 1890–1896. CCHA,
Historical Studies, 53 (1986) 39-52
- Francis, Daniel (1984), "1919: The Winnipeg General Strike",
History Today 38: 4-8.
- Dwayne Winseck. A Social History of Canadian
Telecommunications. Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 20, No 2
- February 19, 1942: If Day. Michael Newman. Manitoba History,
Number 13, Spring 1987
- Comeau, Pauline. “The Man Who Said No (Elijah Harper),” The
Canadian Forum (July/August 1990): 7-11.
- Rails Across the Red - Selkirk or Winnipeg. Ruben C. Bellan.
MHS Transactions, Series 3, 1961-62 Season
- Member Statements. Manitoba Hansard, 4th-36th Vol. 33. Nov
1997. The new plant was constructed in 2003 by JR Simplot.
- Lord Selkirk Settlers. William L. Morton. Manitoba Pageant,
April 1962, Volume 7, Number 3
- The Lord Selkirk Settlement at Red River, Part 3. Anne Matheson
Henderson. Manitoba Pageant, Spring 1968, Volume 13, Number 3
- Andrew McDermot, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XI,
- Pierre Guillaume Sayer, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII,
- Mary Liston. Administrative Law in Context, ch4.
- In  1 S.C.R. 221-222 , the Supreme Court rejected the contentions
of the Société franco-manitobaine that §23 extends to executive
functions of the executive branch.
- Foundations of Dual Education at Red River, 1811-34. Dr. C. J.
Jaenen. MHS Transactions Series 3, 1964-65 season
- “Winnipeg Public Library: A Capsule History.” Winnipeg Public
- Beck, Jerry.
The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by
1,000 Animation Professionals. Atlanta: Turner Publishing,
1994. ISBN 1-878685-49-X]
- Carr, Ian and Robert E. Beamish. Manitoba Medicine: A Brief
History (ISBN 0-88755-660-4) (1999)
- Clark, Lovell. ed The Manitoba School Question: majority
rule or minority rights? (1968) historians debate the
- Chafe, J. W. Extraordinary Tales from Manitoba History
- Cook, Ramsay. The Politics of John W. Dafoe and the Free Press (1963)
- Dafoe, John W. Clifford Sifton in Relation to His Times
- Donnelly, M. S. The Government of Manitoba (1963)
- Ellis, J.H. The Ministry of Agriculture in Manitoba,
- Ewanchuk, Michael. Pioneer Profiles: Ukrainian Settlers in
Manitoba (1981) (ISBN 0-9690768-4-3)
- Raymond M. HÃ©bert. Manitoba's French-Language Crisis: A
Cautionary Tale McGill-Queen's University Press (2004) ISBN
- Hanlon, Christine; Edie, Barbara; Pendgracs, Doreen.
Manitoba Book of Everything (2008) (ISBN
- Kinnear, Mary, ed. 1st Days, Fighting Days: Women in
Manitoba History (1987)
- Friesen, Gerald, and Potyondi, Barry. A Guide to the Study
of Manitoba Local History (1981)
- Petryshyn, Jaroslav. Peasants in the Promised Land: Canada
and the Ukrainians, 1891–1914 (1985)
- Whitcomb, Ed. A Short History of Manitoba (1982) (ISBN
- Yuzyk, Paul. The Ukrainians in Manitoba: A Social