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Winnipeg ( ) is the capital and largest city of Manitobamarker, Canadamarker. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, in south central Canadamarker, near the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, at the confluence of the Redmarker and Assiniboine Rivers (a point now commonly known as The Forksmarker). Winnipeg is the primary municipality in the Winnipeg Capital Region, which is home to more than sixty percent of Manitoba's population. The name Winnipeg comes from the Cree words meaning muddy water, referring to Lake Winnipegmarker 40 miles (60 kilometres) to the north.

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. 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. The Winnipeg Metropolitan area is Canada's 8th largest Census Metropolitan Area, with 694,668 inhabitants (739,000 including the capital region), and the City of Winnipeg is Canada's 7th largest municipality (as of the 2006 Census).

Winnipeg is a multicultural city and hosts numerous annual festivals. The city is known for its urban forest and parks and is the location of the famous Portage and Main intersection. It lies in close proximity to the Canadian Shield and hundreds of lakes including Lake Winnipegmarker and Lake Manitobamarker. The City has a number of artistic and cultural organizations, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and is home to several professional sports franchises. It is home to the University of Manitobamarker which is the largest university in the Province. The City is a national railway hub and transportation centre and is served by Richardson International Airportmarker.

A resident of Winnipeg is known as a Winnipegger.


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. The name Winnipeg is a transcription of the western Cree word wi-nipe-k meaning "muddy waters"; 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.

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. Numerous archaeological clues have been found about their way of life. 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 considered to be an inland sea, with important 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 Missourimarker and Mississippi Rivers. The Ojibway made some of the first maps on birch bark, which helped fur traders navigate the waterways of the area.


The first French officer arrived in the area in 1738. Sieur de la Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site, called Fort Rouge. Francophone trading continued at this site for several decades before the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company. Many French men married First Nations women; their children, the Métis, hunted, traded, and lived in the general area for decades. The bilingual Métis often took prominent roles in both cultures as settlement of the region continued.

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. The North West Company built Fort Gibraltar in 1809, and the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Douglas in 1812. The two companies competed fiercely over trade in the area. The Métis and Lord Selkirk's settlers fought at the Battle of Seven Oaksmarker in 1816. 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 Garrymarker in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The fort was destroyed by a flood in 1826 and was not rebuilt until 1835. The fort was the residence of the Governor of the company for many years. It became a part of the first major colony and settlement in western Canada. 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.

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

Late 1800s and early 1900s

Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881, allowing it to take on its distinctive multicultural character. Canada was eager to settle the west before American interests and railways interfered. Agriculture was a booming industry, and many made massive fortunes on the prairies. The Manitoba Legislative Buildingmarker reflects the optimism of the boom years. Built mainly of Tyndall Stone and 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 Boymarker"). Many new lots of land were sold and prices increased quickly due to high demand.

Winnipeg faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canalmarker opened in 1914. 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 Vancouvermarker eventually surpass Winnipeg to become Canada's third-largest city in the 1950s.

The Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919
Following World War I, 35,000 Winnipeggers walked off the job in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. The strike was the result of a postwar recession, appalling labour conditions, and the presence of radical union organizers and a large influx of returning soldiers. 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 Policemarker officers charged a group of strikers. 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. 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.

The stock market crash of 1929 only hastened an already steep decline in Winnipeg; the Great Depression resulted in massive unemployment, which was worsened by drought and depressed agricultural prices. The Depression ended when World War II started in 1939. The first Canadian to see battle was Winnipegger Selby Roger Henderson who enlisted in the RAF just before the start of the war. He participated in the attack on enemy ships at Wilhelmshaven, Germanymarker on September 4, 1939.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers were among the first Canadians to engage in combat against Japanmarker 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.

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. 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".

The end of World War II brought a new sense of optimism in Winnipeg. 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. 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. This evacuation was Canada's largest evacuation ever. The federal government estimated damages at over $26-million, although the province insisted that it was at least double that.

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.

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. The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city of Winnipeg: the municipalities of Transconamarker, St. Bonifacemarker, St. Vitalmarker, West Kildonanmarker, East Kildonanmarker, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, and St. Jamesmarker, were amalgamated with the Old City of Winnipeg. 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.

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. In 1981, Winnipeg was one of the first cities in Canada to sign a tripartite agreement to redevelop its downtown area. The three levels of government—federal, provincial and municipal—contributed over $271-million to the development needs of downtown Winnipeg. 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 Forksmarker into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.


Red River
Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a low-lying flood plain with an extremely flat topography. 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 Winnipegmarker (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake). According to the Census geographic units of Canada, the city has a total area of 464.01 km² (179.2 sq mi), and has a total elevation of 238 m (781 ft).

Winnipeg has four major rivers, the Red Rivermarker, the Assiniboine River, the La Salle River, and the Seine River. The Red River is now considered a Canadian heritage river. The Red is home to the largest average size of channel catfish in the world. According to Guinness World Records, Winnipeg has laid claim to the title of "World's Longest Skating Rink", along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.


Winnipeg has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb) with extremes of hot and cold. 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 city has reached a record low of -57.1°C (-70.8°F) with wind chill. The coldest temperature recorded in Winnipeg was in February 1966. Summers in the Winnipeg area can sometimes be quite humid; nearby Carman, Manitobamarker reached 57C (127.4F) with humidex, breaking Canada's old humidex record, in 2007. The highest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was on July 11, 1936.

A Winnipeg street after two large snowstorms.

Winnipeg is ranked as Canada's sixth sunniest city year-round, second for clearest skies year-round, and second for sunniest city in Canada in spring and winter. In the winter, Winnipeg has 58 days per year where the temperature falls below during at least one point of the day. On average, Winnipeg has 45 days a year where the humidex reaches above 30°C.

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 to , and in October from to . Late heat waves and Indian summers are a regular feature of the climate, as are spring or autumn snowfalls.

Like Chicagomarker, Winnipeg is known as a windy city; the windiest month is April. However, Reginamarker, Hamiltonmarker and St. John'smarker (Canada's windiest city) are windier. 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. 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. These major floods led to the 1968 construction and subsequent expansion of the Red River Floodwaymarker, designed to protect Winnipeg from floods.


According to the 1996 Census, there are 228 neighbourhoods in Winnipeg.Downtown Winnipegmarker (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 Forksmarker. All roads radiate outwards from this intersection, reputed to be one of the windiest in Canada. 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. The two major parks in the city, Assiniboine Parkmarker and Kildonan Parkmarker, 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 Forksmarker, Osborne Villagemarker, 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. It was voted the Best Place to Live in Uptown Magazine's 2008 Best of List.

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


Ethnic Origins
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
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
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. Thus, Winnipeg is Manitoba’s largest city and Canada's eighth largest CMA.
Apart from Winnipeg, the Winnipeg CMA includes the Rural municipalities of East St. Paulmarker, Headingley, Ritchotmarker, Rosser, Springfield, St. Clements, St. François Xaviermarker, 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.

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 is estimated at 672,300 as of July 1, 2009 and that of the census metropolitan area at 739,300.

Most Winnipeggers are of European descent, and/or classify themselves as Canadian. Those who self-describe as Canadian could also potentially be of First Nations, Métis or Inuit descent. 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. This is the highest concentration of persons of Filipino origin in Canada, and the second largest Filipino population in Canada after Toronto.

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 language (all of which are spoken by roughly 1% or less of the population).

The 2001 census states that 21.7% of Winnipeggers do not follow a religion. 72.9% of Winnipeggers belong to a Christian denomination. Of these, 35.1% are Protestant, 32.6% are Roman Catholic, and 5.2% are other Christian denominations. 5.6% of the population follows a religion other than Christianity—followers of Judaism make up 2.1% of the population, followers of Buddhism and Sikhism make up 0.9% of the population each, and followers of Islam make up 0.8% of the population. Hindus account for 0.6% of the population, while followers of other religions make up less than 0.5% of the population.


In 2004, Winnipeg had the fourth-highest overall crime rate among Canadian Census Metropolitan Area listed, with 12,167 Criminal Code of Canada offences per 100,000 inhabitants; only Reginamarker, Saskatoonmarker, and Abbotsfordmarker had higher crime rates. Winnipeg had the highest rate among centres with populations greater than 500,000. The crime rate was 50% higher than that of Calgarymarker, and more than double that of Torontomarker.

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

Manitoba has also had a running problem with auto thefts, almost all of it centred in Winnipeg. 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.

Winnipeg is protected by the Winnipeg Police Service, which has over 1350 members.


Winnipeg's Royal Canadian Mint

Winnipeg is an important economic base and regional centre. It has an extremely diversified economy, covering financial, manufacturing, transportation, food and beverage production, industry, culture, government, and 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%.

Approximately 375,000 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. 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 Centremarker, and Manitoba Hydro. Approximately 54,000 people (14% of the work force) are employed in the public sector. 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. A number of large private family-owned companies operate out of Winnipeg. The most famous of these is James Richardson & Sons. The Richardson Building at Portage and Main was the first skyscraper to grace that corner. 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. The plant, located in southeastern Winnipeg, also produces coins for many other countries.

In 2003 and 2004, Canadian Business magazine ranked Winnipeg in the top 10 cities for business. In 2006, Winnipeg was ranked by KPMG as one of the lowest cost locations to do business in Canada. 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.

Arts and culture

Winnipeg is well known across the region for its arts and culture. The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the Millennium Librarymarker.

Winnipeg is known for its murals. Many buildings in the downtown area and some in suburban areas have murals painted on their sides. 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 also has a thriving 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 prominent ones 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.

Winnipeg Bear, (also known as Winnie-the-Pooh) was purchased in Ontariomarker, 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. 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. It was purchased at an auction for $285,000 in London, Englandmarker, in 2000. The painting is displayed in Assiniboine Parkmarker.

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. The song makes allusion to the slow growth and lost industry in the town. 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".

Since 1999, Winnipeg has achieved acclaim for being the "Slurpee Capital of the World".

The Forksmarker (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 skate plaza, a bowl complex, and the Esplanade Rielmarker bridge.


The Winnipeg Art Gallerymarker 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. The collection includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The Manitoba Museummarker is the largest museum in the city. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece.

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 Regionmarker. 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.

Theatre companies

Winnipeg is home to a number of theatre companies. Le Cercle Molière, based in St Bonifacemarker, is the oldest theatre company in Canada. This French-language theatre was founded in 1925. The Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) is Canada's oldest English-language regional theatre. Rainbow Stagemarker, based in Kildonan Park, is Canada's longest-surviving outdoor theatre.

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. The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (WJT) is the only professional theatre in Canada dedicated to Jewish themes. Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) is a theatre based in Assiniboine Parkmarker that presents adaptations of Shakespeare plays.


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

FemFest: Founded in 2003 by Sarasvàti Productions, FemFest presents the work of both established and emerging artists from across Canada. The festival’s mandate is to produce one-act plays by women and showcase women theatre artists.

Music and dance

Winnipeg has an active musical community. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is the largest and oldest professional musical ensemble in Winnipeg. 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. Manitoba Opera is Manitoba's only full-time professional opera company.

Winnipeg is also associated with various music acts. Among the most notable 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.

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


Winnipeg has a broad selection of restaurants and specialty food stores. Many ethnic cuisines are well represented, including those of the local Ukrainian, Jewish, Mennonite, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Korean, Greek, Thai, French, Vietnamese, and Filipino populations. 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. 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.

Local media

Winnipeg has two daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Sun. There are five weekly newspapers delivered free to most Winnipeg households based on geography. There are several ethnic weekly newspapers, as well as regionally- and nationally-based magazines based in the city.

There are five English language stations and one French language station based in Winnipeg that supply free programming to the city. Additionally, American network affiliates broadcasting from North Dakotamarker are available over-the-air in many parts of Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba.

Winnipeg is home to 24 AM and FM radio stations, two of which are French-language stations. CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2marker 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, Arizonamarker after a large and emotional campaign to "Save the Jets". Winnipeg has plans to replace Canad Inns Stadiummarker, current home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

There have also been many university and amateur athletes over the years. 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.

The MTS Centremarker, 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. Winnipeg is the only 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. Winnipeg lost the 2015 bid of the World Police and Fire Games to Washington D.C.

Professional sports teams

Manitoba Moose

Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Canad Inns Stadiummarker 1930 10
AHL MTS Centremarker 1996 0
Winnipeg Goldeyes Northern League Canwest Parkmarker 1994 1

Law and government

Winnipeg City Hall

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

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

The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system. 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. The mayor is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city. At Council meetings, the mayor has one of 16 votes. The City Council is a unicameral legislative body, representing geographical wards throughout the city.

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. 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. All three leaders of the provincial parties represent Winnipeg in the legislature. 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. There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawamarker. 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.


Education is a responsibility of the provincial government in Canada. In Manitoba, public school education is governed by The Public Schools Act, The Education Administration Act, and regulations made under both Acts. 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. 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 Manitobamarker is the largest university in Manitoba, the most comprehensive and the only research-intensive post-secondary educational institution. It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada’s first university. In a typical year, the university has an enrolment of 22,500 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students. Collège universitaire de Saint-Bonifacemarker, the city's only French college, is affiliated with the University of Manitoba.

The University of Winnipegmarker received its charter in 1967, but its founding colleges date back more than 130 years. The founding colleges were Manitoba Collegemarker 1871, and Wesley College 1888, which merged to form United College in 1938. 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 Universitymarker (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 Collegemarker (founded in 1988). It is an undergraduate institution, and offers some programs jointly with the University of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg also has two independent colleges: Red River Collegemarker and Booth Collegemarker. 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. 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: 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. 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. Winnipeg Transit now runs diesel buses. For decades, the city has explored the idea of a rapid transit link, either bus or rail, from downtown to the University of Manitobamarker's suburban campus.

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 Vancouvermarker and Thunder Baymarker with direct U.S. connections by rail.

The city is connected to the United Statesmarker via Provincial Trunk Highway 75 (a continuation of I-29 and US 75). The highway runs to Emerson, Manitobamarker, and is the busiest Canada – United States border crossing between Vancouver and the Great Lakes. 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 interchange. 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. 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 , Route 155 , Route 165 , Route 17 , and Route 90 .

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

Winnipeg Bus Terminal, located in downtown Winnipegmarker, offers domestic and international service by Greyhound Canada, Jefferson Lines, Grey Goose Bus Lines, Beaver Bus Lines, Winnipeg Shuttle Service and Brandon Air Shuttle. This terminal will move to a new location near the airport next year.

Winnipeg has embarked on an ambitious wayfinding program, erecting new signage at strategic downtown locations. 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 Centremarker, Concordia Hospital, Deer Lodge Centre, Grace Hospital, Misericordia Health Centre, Riverview Health Centre, Saint Boniface General Hospitalmarker, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.

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. The National Research Councilmarker also has the Institute for Biodiagnostics laboratory located in the downtown area.


Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, co-located at the airportmarker, 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 Commandmarker (NORAD) Region. 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. Excluding the three levels of government, 17 Wing is the fourth largest employer in the city. The Wing supports 113 units, stretching from Thunder Baymarker to the Saskatchewanmarker/Albertamarker border, and from the 49th parallel to the high Arctic. 17 Wing also acts as a deployed operating base for CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers assigned to the Canadian NORAD Region.

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

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 Villagemarker. 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 Brandonmarker.

Sister cities

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

Winnipeg was formerly sister cities with Minneapolismarker (USAmarker)

See also


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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