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Winkler ( ) is a small city with a population of about 9,600 (2008) located in southern Manitobamarker, Canadamarker. As the largest city in the Pembina Valley, Winkler serves as a regional hub for commerce, agriculture and industry.

Pembina Valley Provincial Park is a relatively short drive southwest of the city.

It is Manitoba's sixth-largest city (as of 2008) and remains one of the fastest growing cities in the province.

History

Winkler's history dates back to 1874 when Russian Mennonites began settling in the area. These first Mennonite inhabitants were part of deeply religious communities, for the most part, but did not establish confessional churches. The first official Mennonite Brethren congregation was founded in Winkler in 1888 as a result of mission work from the United Statesmarker. In 1892, Winkler was officially founded by Valentine Winkler, a lumber entrepreneur and politician who owned and operated his own lumber business in nearby Mordenmarker. Because Winkler's many customers from the Mennonite settlement wanted him to build a market in their vicinity, he persuaded the Canadian Pacific Railway to build a spur route on the northeastern edge of the settlement where Winkler had been established.

Winkler was incorporated as a village on May 9, 1906. By that time, the flourishing village had become home to a number of German, Jewish and Anglo-Saxon merchants. The Mennonites began moving into the village soon after; by World War I, they outnumbered all other groups.

During the 1930s, a large number of Jewish and German merchants emigrated from Winkler, causing a decline in population. However, the village's population increased after World War II, and on April 7, 1954, Winkler was incorporated as a town.

Following a halt in growth during the 1960s, the town's rapid growth in population resumed and continued into the 1990s. On April 7, 2002, Winkler was officially granted city status. The city celebrated its centennial anniversary in summer 2006.

Geography and climate

Located on the western edge of the Red River Valley, Winkler is located at the corner of provincial highways 14 and 32. It is approximately 100 kilometres southwest of Winnipegmarker and 70 kilometres northwest of a 24-hour United Statesmarker border crossing at Emersonmarker.

Winkler is situated on the prehistoric beaches of Lake Agassizmarker. The lake's shores were formed over 10,000 years ago by the Pembina Escarpment, located a few kilometres west of Winkler. A secondary beach known as the Emerado Beach lies to the west of Winkler. This gentle rise in elevation was formed thousands of years ago when the draining of Lake Agassizmarker temporarily stalled. Winkler has an elevation of 272 metres above sea level.

The rich soils of the area are separated by the Emerado Beach. Coarser textured loamy sand soils, located to the west, are suitable for irrigation and produce potato, corn and bean crops. To the east, finer textured clay soils produce sugar beets, canola, beans, corn and small grain.

Winkler's climate is typically continental, resulting in dry cold winters and hot, frequently dry summers (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3b). The Winkler area obtains the most heat units for crop production in Manitobamarker. Summer temperatures typically range from 20 to 30°C, while winter temperatures average between -15 and -25°C.

Economy

Winkler is the economic hub of southern Manitoba. The retail trading area serves an estimated 17,000 households. 4,380 people are employed in Winkler. Approximately 30% of the work force is employed in the industrial sector. The city's second-largest employer, employing 20% of the work force, is the health and education sector.

A number of industries have grown and developed in Winkler throughout the years. One of Winkler's largest employers is Triple E Recreational Vehicles, a recreational vehicle manufacturer and the only class A motor home builder in Canada. Other products manufactured in Winkler include mobile homes, houseboats, farm equipment, windows and doors. Two foundries, a straw fibre plant and a tire recycling plant are also located in Winkler.

Winkler's agricultural sector is one of the most productive and diversified in Manitoba. The area surrounding Winkler is home to rich, fertile soils which are especially suited to growing potatoes. However, many other crops are grown in the area, including wheat, canola, corn and beans. The area's livestock operations also continue to grow; hogs and cattle are raised, while dairy farms contribute to the making of cheese.

Business development in Winkler has boomed in the years since incorporation. On average, the city becomes home to 10-20 new businesses per year. In 2002 55 new businesses were established in Winkler. The increase in new businesses can be attributed to low taxes, reasonably priced real estate and cooperation between the city and entrepreneurs. One example of this is the recently established Incubator Mall, a city-owned, five office facility that gives new businesses the opportunity to rent office space at moderate rates. Once those businesses outgrow the space, they relocate, making room for new startup.

Government and politics

Winkler is governed by a mayor and six councillors who are elected by residents. The current mayor of Winkler is Martin Harder. The current city councillors of Winkler are deputy mayor Marvin Plett, Lloyd Thiessen, Henry Siemens, Ron Neufeld, Herb Dick and Ken J. Wiebe.

Winkler is represented in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (as part of the Pembina riding) by Progressive Conservative MLA Peter George Dyck and in the Canadian House of Commons (as part of the Portage—Lisgar riding) by Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner.

Transport

Winkler's chief transport connection to other communities is the highway system. Winnipegmarker is accessible from Winkler either via PTH 14 and PTH 3 or via PR 428 or PTH 23 and PTH 75 or PTH 14 and PTH 75. PTH 32 leads directly to the Winkler Port of Entry on the Canada-U.S. border. A 4-lane divided highway connects Winkler and Morden, the other major town of the region.

Winkler Airportmarker (CKZ7, ) is located in the city's industrial park. It has two runways: 08/26, a 2,900 ft (884 m) turf/asphalt runway; and 17/35, a turf strip. Aircraft which need a longer runway are advised to use the Morden Regional Aerodromemarker which is located 9 km from Winkler and has a 3,937 ft (1,200 m) asphalt runway.

The city has one taxi service, Pembina Valley Taxi.

Hi-Way Groceteria is the Bus Depot in the city. It is also a convenience store, open 24 hours a day. The Greyhound bus makes trips 3 times a week to Brandon, and Winnipegmarker. Hi-Way Groceteria also offers Purolator, UPS, DHL, Fedex, and Uhaul services.

Canadian Pacific Railway has a spur route going into Winkler's industrial park.

Demographics

City of Winkler
Population by year
1991 6,400
1996 7,245
2001 7,999
Winkler has long been and continues to be one of Manitoba's fastest growing cities. In the previous census (2001), Winkler had a population of 7,943. In the 2006 census, Winkler had a population of 9,106, an increase of 14.6%.

As of the Canada 2001 Census, there are 2,885 households and 2,135 families residing in the city of Winkler. The population density is 466.7/km² (180.2/mi²). There are 2,890 housing units at an average density of 170.0/km² (65.6/mi²).

The most common ancestries in Winkler (as of 1996) are German (65.2%), Dutch (Netherlandsmarker) (24.7%), Canadian (23.0%), Russian (10.0%), Ukrainian (2.1%), French (1.5%), Aboriginal (1.2%), Scottish (1.0%), Irish (0.9%), Polish (0.8%) and Icelandicmarker (0.2%). Most Winklerites are of Mennonite descent. The racial makeup of the city (as of 2001) is 98.8% White, 0.4% Chinese, 0.38% Aboriginal, 0.1% Black, 0.1% South Asian and 0.1% Southeast Asian.

The Mennonite faith is the largest faith in Winkler, accounting for 54.8% of the population in 2001. Other religious groupings include other Christian denominations (21.5%), other Protestant denominations (7.3%), Baptist (4.0%), Lutheran (2.0%), United Church (1.8%), Roman Catholic (1.2%), Evangelical Missionary Church (1.2%), Anglican (1.0%), Pentecostal (1.0%) and other faiths (0.8%). 96.4% of the city's residents are Christian. 2.6% have no religious affiliation.There are 2,885 households out of which 36.2% are married couples living together with children, 30.8% are married couples living together without children, 25.5% are one-person households and 7.6% are multiple-family households, single parent family households or non-family households other than one-person households. 90.2% of Winkler's 2,135 families are married couple families, while 1.4% are common-law couple families and 8.2% are single parent families. The average household size is 3.0 and the average family size is 3.3.

In the city the population is spread out with 21.6% under the age of 15, 8.5% from 15 to 19, 8.1% from 20 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 12.1% from 45 to 54, 7.1% from 55 to 64 and 17.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34.3 years. For every 100 females there are 94.8 males.

The average income for a family in the city is $44,227. The average income for all workers is $22,423, with males earning an average income of $27,787 and females earning an average income of $16,061. The average income for full-time, full-year workers is $30,779. Males who work full-time for a full year earn an average of $34,326 while females who work full-time for a full year earn an average of $23,546.

15.9% of Winkler's population is foreign-born. 1,832 immigrants settled in Winkler from 1999 to 2004, with 465 arriving in 2004 alone. Most immigrants to Winkler are ethnic Germans from Russia, Germans originating from Germanymarker, or returning Low German Mennonites from Latin America due to the city's German linguistic and religious linkages. Ethnic German immigrants from Russia are also drawn to the similarity of the region's geography to that of Russiamarker.

Culture

Winkler's main festival is the Harvest Festival and Exhibition. Held at the Winkler Parkland in mid-August, it features a parade, midway, live stage entertainment, fireworks, rodeo and more. The parade features mostly farm implements, such as tractors and combines. Shriners, are no longer allowed to participate in the parades because of the city's strong religious beliefs. Canada Day celebrations are held at the Winkler Parkland on July 1 of each year, although in 2007 the celebrations were held on July 2, since July 1 fell on a Sunday. The Cripple Creek Music Festival takes place on the fourth Sunday in July.

Education

Winkler's public school system is the Garden Valley School Division, which consists of four elementary schools - Winkler Elementary School, Parkland Elementary School, J.R. Walkof School, Emerado Centennial School and one high school, Garden Valley Collegiate-(GVC). The enrollment of GVC is approximately 1100 students. A junior high school Emerado Centennial School opened in October 2006. There are no private schools operating within the city.

Garden Valley Technical School (gvctec) is the new vocational campus that has opened in Winkler.

Red River Collegemarker operates a regional campus in Winkler, serving 1,500 students each year. The Red River College-Winkler Community Learning Centre is located at 100-561 Main Street.

Winkler was formerly home to the Winkler Bible Institute, a Christian college run by the Mennonite Brethren conference, which closed in 1997. It is currently home to the Canadian Baptist Bible College, a non-accredited private Christian college.

According to the Canada 2001 Census, 42% of Winkler residents between the ages of 20 and 34 do not have a high school education. According to the same census, 93% of Winkler residents between the ages of 20 and 34 do not have a university certificate, diploma or degree. Winkler has approximately twice as many people on average who do not have a high school or university education than the average Manitoban population within this age group.[102121]

Media

Winkler's local newspaper is The Winkler Times, published weekly and distributed to more than 17,000 households. The Southern Shopper & Regional Review, published in Darlingford twice a month, targets southern Manitoba and is distributed to over 15,000 households. The Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Sun are available daily.

Winkler is home to two radio stations of its own, both of which are owned and operated by Altonamarker-based Golden West Broadcasting. CKMW, a country music station, was established in 1980 and broadcasts at 1570 kHz on the AM dial. CJEL, an adult contemporary music station branded as The Eagle 93.5, launched in 2000 and is the only FM radio station in the Pembina Valley.

Though they are not based in Winkler, several other radio stations are notable in the Winkler area. The signal from Golden West's easy listening radio station in Altona, CFAM 950 AM, reaches the Winkler area. Two North Dakotamarker stations near the Canada/U.S. border also reach Winkler: KAOC 105.1 FM (Maverick 105), a country music station in Cavaliermarker and KYTZ 106.7 FM (Z-106.7, Today's Best Hits), an adult contemporary music station in Walhallamarker. The former station sells advertisements targeting the Pembina Valley region and maintains an advertising sales office in Morden. Radio stations from Winnipegmarker and Grand Forks, North Dakotamarker can also be received sometimes.

Cable television service is provided by Valley Cable Vision, now a division of MTS. Most Winnipeg-based television and radio stations can be picked up from Winkler. WDAZ-TVmarker and KNRR-TV can also be received in Winkler via antenna.

Sports

Winkler's primary ice hockey team is the Winkler Flyers, who compete in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The Flyers play their home games at the Winkler Arena. Perhaps the best known alumni of the team is goaltender Ed Belfour, who played with the Flyers during the 1985-86 season and recorded a 2.58 goals against average that year. Belfour went on to play in the NHL and win a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars. Minor league hockey also has a presence in Winkler, for nearly all ages.

Winkler was the host city for the 2008 edition of CBC Sports' day-long Hockey Day in Canada, which took place on February 9, 2008.[102122]

Garden Valley Collegiate, the local high school, has a hockey team named the Zodiacs which draws hundreds of fans to their home games.

The G.V.C. Zodiacs also have strong soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball teams, as well as a high calliber track and field team.

Notable Winklerites



Neighbouring communities

References

  • City of Winkler (2003). http://www.cityofwinkler.ca/. Retrieved August 11, 2005.
  • Province of Manitoba (2000). Community Profile: City of Winkler. Retrieved August 11, 2005.
  • Statistics Canada (2004). 2001 Community Profile - Winkler. Retrieved August 11, 2005.
  • Winkler Chamber of Commerce (2004). http://www.winklerchamber.com/. Retrieved August 11, 2005.


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