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Winnipeg is the capital and largest city in the Canadian province of Manitoba, and 7th largest municipality in Canada with a population of 633,451. As of the 2006 census the Winnipeg Capital Regions total population was 730,305.

The city is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the historic Red and Assiniboine Rivers, a point now commonly known as The Forks. Winnipeg is located within the prairies of Western Canada, in a native tallgrass prairie ecosystem.

The city boasts such culture as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It is home to historic architecture; distinctive neighbourhoods; scenic waterways; a heritage river; and numerous parks, including Assiniboine Park, and Kildonan Park.

Winnipeg also lies in close proximity to pristine Canadian Shield rivers and hundreds of lakes, including Lake Winnipeg (the world's 11th largest lake), as well as Lake of the Woods and Lake Manitoba.

Winnipeg has even laid claim to the title of World's Longest Skating Rink, along the Red and Assiniboine rivers.


Before incorporation

Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine River and the Red River, known as The Forks, a historic focal point on canoe river routes travelled by Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years. The name Winnipeg is a transcription of a western Cree word meaning "muddy waters"; the general area was populated for thousands of years by First Nations. In prehistory, through oral stories, archaeology, petroglyphs, rock art, and ancient artifacts, it is known that natives would use the area for camps, hunting, fishing, trading, and further north, agriculture. The first farming in Manitoba appeared to be along the Red River, near Lockport, Manitoba, where maize (corn) and other seed crops were planted before contact with Europeans. For thousands of years there have been humans living in this region, and there are many archaeological clues about their ways of life. The rivers provided transportation far and wide and linked many peoples-such as the Assiniboine, Ojibway, Anishinaabe, Mandan, Sioux, Cree, Lakota, and others—for trade and knowledge sharing. Ancient mounds were once made near the waterways, similar to that of the mound builders of the south. Lake Winnipeg was considered to be an inland sea, with important river links to the mountains out west, the Great Lakes to the east, and the Arctic Ocean in the north. The Red River linked ancient northern and southern peoples along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The first maps of some areas were made on birch bark by the Ojibway, which helped fur traders find their way along the rivers and lakes.

The first French officer arrived in the area in 1738. Sieur de la Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site (Fort Rouge), which was later abandoned. The French traded in the area for several decades before Hudson Bay traders arrived. The first English traders visited the area about the year 1767. Fort Gibraltar was built by the North West Company in 1809, and Fort Douglas was built by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) in 1812. The two companies fought fiercely over trade in the area, and each destroyed some of the other's forts over the course of several battles. In 1821, the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies ended their long rivalry with a merger.

Fort Gibraltar, within the site of present-day Winnipeg, was renamed Fort Garry in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Fort Garry was destroyed in an 1826 flood and rebuilt in 1835. It played a small role in the fur trade, but remained the residence of the Governor of the company for many years and became a part of the major first colony and settlement in western Canada.

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 the newcomers from eastern Canada; General Garnet Wolseley was sent to put down the rebellion. This rebellion led directly to Manitoba's entry into the Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870, and on November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. In 1876, three years after the city's incorporation, the post office officially adopted the name "Winnipeg."

Railway boomtown

The first locomotive in Winnipeg, the Countess of Dufferin, arrived via steamboat in 1877. The Canadian Pacific Railway completed the first direct rail link from eastern Canada in 1881, opening the door to mass immigration and settlement of Winnipeg and the Canadian Prairies. The history of Winnipeg's rail heritage and the Countess of Dufferin may be seen at the Winnipeg Railway Museum.

Winnipeg experienced a boom during the 1890s and the first two decades of the 20th century, and the city's population grew from 25,000 in 1891 to more than 179,000 in 1921. As immigration increased during this period, Winnipeg took on its distinctive multicultural character. The Manitoba Legislative Building 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 Boy"). The Manitoba Legislature was built in the neoclassical style that is common to many other North American state and provincial legislative buildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Legislature was built to accommodate representatives for three million people, which was the expected population of Manitoba at the time.

Winnipeg faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914. The canal reduced reliance on Canada's rail system for international trade, and the increase in ship traffic helped Vancouver surpass Winnipeg to become Canada's third-largest city in the 1960s.

Winnipeg General Strike

Following World War I, owing to a postwar recession, appalling labour conditions, and the presence of radical union organizers and a large influx of returning soldiers, 35,000 Winnipeggers walked off the job in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. After many arrests, deportations, and incidents of violence, the strike ended on June 21, 1919, when the Riot Act was read and a group of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers charged a group of strikers. Two strikers were killed and at least thirty others were injured, resulting in the day's 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 would later become the New Democratic Party.

The Great Depression and World War II

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 broke out in 1939. Then, thousands of Canadians volunteered to join the armed forces. In Winnipeg, the old established armouries of Minto, Tuxedo (Fort Osborne), and McGregor were so crowded that the military had to take over other buildings to increase capacity.

Winnipeg played a large part in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The mandate of the BCATP was to train flight crews away from the battle zones in Europe. Pilots, navigators, bombardiers, wireless operators, air gunners, and flight engineers all passed through Winnipeg on their way to the various air schools across western Canada; Winnipeg served as a headquarters for Command No. 2.

After World War II and the 1950 flood

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 flood 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, making it Canada's largest evacuation in history. Premier Douglas Campbell called for federal assistance, and Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent declared a state of emergency. Soldiers from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiment staffed the relief effort for the duration of the flood. The federal government estimated damages at over $26-million, although the province insisted it was at least double that.

To prevent future floods, the Red River Basin Investigation recommended a system of flood control measures, including multiple diking systems and a floodway to divert the Red River around Winnipeg; this prompted construction of the Red River Floodway under Premier Dufferin Roblin. See also the Flood of the Century — 1997 Red River Flood, which was just as bad as the 1950 flood. The floodway was pushed to its limits in 1997, which led to the Red River Floodway Expansion, set to be completed in late 2010 at a final cost of more than $665,000,000 CAD.

Creation of Unicity 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 St. Boniface, Transcona, St. Vital, West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, and the City of St. James, were amalgamated with the Old City of Winnipeg.

In 1979, the Eaton's catalogue building was converted into the first downtown mall in the city. It was called Eaton Place, but would change its name to Cityplace following the controversial demolition of the empty Eaton's store in 2002.

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—have contributed over $271-million to the development needs of downtown Winnipeg over the past 20 years. The funding was instrumental in attracting Portage Place mall, which comprises 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 at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.

In 1993, feeling that their community needs were not being fulfilled, the residents of Headingley seceded from Winnipeg and officially became incorporated as a municipality.

Political history

The first elections for city government in Winnipeg were held shortly after incorporation in 1873. On January 5, 1874, Francis Evans Cornish, former mayor of London, Ontario, defeated Winnipeg Free Press editor and owner William F. Luxton by a margin of 383 votes to 179. There were only 382 eligible voters in the city at the time, but property owners were allowed to vote in every civic poll in which they owned property. Until 1955, mayors could only serve one term. City government consisted of 13 aldermen and one mayor; this number of elected officials remained constant until 1920.

Construction of a new City Hall commenced in 1875. The building proved to be a structural nightmare, and eventually had to be held up by props and beams. The building was eventually demolished so that a new City Hall could be built in 1883.

A new City Hall building was constructed in 1886. It was a "gingerbread" building, built in Victorian grandeur, and symbolized Winnipeg's coming of age at the end of the 19th century. The building stood for nearly 80 years. There was a plan to replace it around the World War I era (during the construction of the Manitoba Legislative Building.), but the war delayed that process. In 1958, falling plaster almost hit visitors to the City Hall building. The tower eventually had to be removed, and in 1962, the whole building was torn down.

The Winnipeg City Council embraced the idea of a "Civic Centre" as a replacement for the old city hall. The concept originally called for an administrative building and a council building, with a courtyard in between. Eventually, a police headquarters and remand centre (the Public Safety Building) and parkade were added to the plans. The four buildings were completed in 1964 in the brutalist style, at a cost of $8.2 million. The Civic Centre and the Manitoba Centennial Centre were connected by underground tunnels in 1967.

Law and government

Municipal politics

Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg is represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor elected every three years. The present mayor, Sam Katz, whose last name is pronounced "Cates", 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 Act. 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.

Provincial politics

Winnipeg is represented by 31 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)—25 of whom are members of the New Democratic Party, four are members of the Progressive Conservative Party, and two are members of the Liberal Party. In the provincial election in 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 are residents of Winnipeg.

Federal politics

Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: three Conservatives, three New Democrats, and two Liberals. There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa. 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.


In 2004, Winnipeg had the fourth-highest overall crime rate among Canadian Census Metropolitan Area cities listed, with 12,167 Criminal Code of Canada offences per 100,000 population; only Regina, Saskatoon, and Abbotsford 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 Calgary, and more than double the rate for Toronto.

Statistics Canada shows that in 2005, Manitoba had the highest decline of overall crime in Canada, at nearly 8%. Winnipeg dropped from having the highest rate of murder per capita in the country; that distinction went to Edmonton but ultimately returned to Winnipeg as of 2007. However, given the relatively small number of annual murders, even a small increase or decrease in the absolute numbers can translate into a large increase or decrease in the percentage rate. Manitoba did continue to lead all other provinces in 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, and now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install them.

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

Geography and climate

Winnipeg is situated in the Canadian Prairies of Western Canada; near the geographical centre of North America; approximately north of the border with the United States; and south of Lake Winnipeg. It is situated in the rich agricultural land of the Red River of the North. According to the Census geographic units of Canada, the city has a total area of 464.01 km² (179.2 sq mi), making it by far the largest city in the Red River Valley.

Winnipeg has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3a. Summers are warm to hot and often humid, Spring and autumn are highly variable seasons, and its winters are long and cold. Because of the extremely flat, open landscape; Winnipeg lies exposed to numerous weather systems throughout the year; including cold arctic high pressure systems from the northwest during the winter season; and hot, humid weather drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico during the summer season, often resulting in severe nighttime thunderstorms. Temperatures usually reach or higher on 14 days a year, however, with the humidex it reaches temperatures at or above on 45 days a year. Winnipeg usually has 27 days with thunderstorms per year. A typical year will see an extreme range of temperatures from -35°C (-31°F) to 35°C (95°F), though both colder and warmer temperatures have been recorded.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was , on December 24, 1879. The coldest wind chill reading ever recorded was , on February 1, 1996. The highest temperature recorded in Winnipeg was 42.2 °C (108 °F) on July 11, 1936. The highest humidex reading recorded in Winnipeg was on July 25, 2007, although just southwest of the city, in the town of Carman, Manitoba broke Canada's all time humidex record, with a high of , July 25, 2007.

Winnipeg is a very sunny city with an average of 317 sunny days per year; and all seasons are characterized by an abundance of sunshine. Winnipeg has the second-clearest skies year-round and is the second sunniest city in Canada in the spring and winter. Portage la Prairie, west of the city has the most sunny days in warm months in Canada.

The city averages 415.6 mm (16.36 inches) of rainfall per year, although this can vary greatly from year to year. Like many other prairie cities, droughts are not uncommon during some years.

The city often receives an Indian Summer, usually after the first frost in mid to late October. Winnipeg is also known as a windy city. The average annual wind speed is 16.9 km/h (10.5 mph), predominantly from the south. The city has experienced wind gusts of up to 129 km/h (80 mph). April is the windiest month, and July the least windy. Tornadoes are not uncommon in the area, particularly in the spring and summer months.


The city is directly connected to the United States via Provincial Trunk Highway 75 (PTH 75) (a northern continuation of I-29 and US 75). The highway runs to Emerson, Manitoba, and is the busiest Canada – United States border crossing between Vancouver and the Great Lakes. Much of the commercial traffic that crosses through Emerson, either originates from or is destined for Winnipeg. Inside the city, the highway is locally known as Pembina Highway (Route 42).

Winnipeg's airport, renamed Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in December 2006, is currently under redevelopment. A new terminal building is scheduled for completion by 2009, 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 Airport, is among the top 20 in terms of aircraft movements.

Winnipeg is unique among North American cities of its size in that it does not have freeways within the urban area. Beginning in 1958, the primarily suburban Metropolitan council proposed a system of freeways, including one that would have bisected the downtown area.

A four-lane highway, called the Perimeter Highway, was built in 1969. It serves as a beltway, by-passing the city, with at-grade intersections and some interchanges. It allows travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway to completely avoid the city.

The city has "major arterial roads"; examples are Route 165 (Bishop Grandin Blvd.) and Route 90 (Brookside Blvd., Oak Point Hwy., King Edward St., Century St., Kenaston Blvd.).

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

Winnipeg has also 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.

Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars. They were replaced by electric trolley cars which ran from 1891 to 1955, supplemented by motor buses since 1918, and electric trolleybuses from 1938 to 1970. Winnipeg Transit now operates entirely with 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 Manitoba's suburban campus.

Winnipeg is a railway hub and is served by VIA Rail, Canadian National Railway (CN), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Manitoba, and the Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR). It is the only city between Vancouver and Thunder Bay, Ontario with direct U.S. connections.


Winnipeg is an important regional centre of commerce, industry, culture, finance, and government.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Winnipeg had the third-fastest growing economy among Canada's major cities in 2007; with a real GDP growth at 3.7%.

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 Winnipeg Real Estate Board reported the best month in its 104-year history in terms of sales and volume.

Approximately 375,000 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are either government or government-funded institutions: the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, the Health Sciences Centre, the Casinos of Winnipeg, and Manitoba Hydro. Approximately 54,000 people or 14% of the work force are employed in the public sector.

There are several large private sector employers, as well: Manitoba Telecom Services, 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 privately held 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.

Winnipeg is the site of CFB Winnipeg and the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division, as well as home to several reserve units. See Military in this article.

The Royal Canadian Mint located in eastern Winnipeg (on Route 20 (Lagimodière Blvd)) is where all circulating coinage in Canada is produced. The plant, established in 1975, also produces coins for many other countries in the world.

Winnipeg is home to several government research labs. 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 Council also has the Institute for Biodiagnostics laboratory located in the downtown area.

Polo Park, located in the West End, is the largest mall between Toronto and Edmonton.


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
Irish 86,580 13.9
Polish 50,555 8.1
French 47,165 6.6
Scandinavian 45,215 7.2
multiple responses included
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 population 625,700 100.00
total Aboriginal identity 68,405 10.19
  North American Indian 26,000 3.99
  Métis 41,000 5.97
  Inuit 280 0.04
  multiple Aboriginal 355 0.06
  other Aboriginal 770 0.12

According to the 2006 Census, there were 633,451 people residing in Winnipeg itself and a total of 694,668 inhabitants in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area on 16 May 2006, and 711,455 in the Winnipeg Capital Region making it Manitoba’s largest city and the eighth largest CMA in Canada.

Of the city population, 48.3% were male and 51.7% were female, and 24.3% were 19 years old or younger. People aged by 20 and 39 years accounted for 27.4%, while those between 40 and 64 made up 34.0% of the population. The average age of a Winnipegger in May 2006 was 38.7, compared to the 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.

Of Winnipeg’s total population, 61,217 citizens live in the city’s Census Metropolitan Area, which apart from Winnipeg includes the Rural municipalities of East St. Paul, Headingley, Ritchot, Rosser, Springfield, St. Clements, St. François Xavier, Taché and West St. Paul, and the Aboriginal community of Brokenhead.


Ethnic diversity is an important part of Winnipeg's culture. Most Winnipeggers are of European or Canadian descent. 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, the highest concentration of persons of Filipino origin in Canada, and the second largest Filipino population in Canada after Toronto.


More than 20 languages are spoken in Winnipeg, the most common is English, in which 99.0% of Winnipeggers are fluent. 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 or French. Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include German (spoken by 4.1% of the population), Tagalog (3.4%), Ukrainian (3.1%), Spanish, Chinese and Polish (all three spoken by 1.7% of the population), as well as Aboriginal languages including Ojibway (0.6%), Cree (0.5%), Inuktitut and Micmac (both less than 0.1%). Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include Portuguese, Italian, Icelandic, Punjabi, Vietnamese, Urdu, Hindi, Russian, Dutch, Non-verbal languages, Arabic, Serbian, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Creoles, Danish, and Gaelic languages (all of which are spoken by roughly 1% or less of the population).


The 2001 census states that 72.9 per cent of Winnipeg residents belong to a Christian denomination, 35.1% of which are Protestant, 32.6% Roman Catholic, and 5.2% other following 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, while Muslims 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. 21.7% of Winnipeggers do not follow a religion.


Education is a responsibility of the provincial government in Canada.

In Manitoba, education is governed principally by The Public Schools Act and The Education Administration Act, as well as regulations made under both Acts. Rights and responsibilities of the Minister of Education, Citizenship and Youth and the rights and responsibilities of school boards, principals, teachers, parents and students are set out in the legislation.

There are two major universities, a community college, a private Mennonite university and a French college in Saint Boniface

The University of Manitoba is the largest university in the province of 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 24,542 undergraduate students and 3,021 graduate students.

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

Winnipeg is also home to numerous private schools, both religious and secular.

School divisions

There are seven school divisions in Winnipeg:

Post-secondary Institutions

There are five post-secondary institutions in Winnipeg


Winnipeg has a long and storied sports history. It has been home to several professional hockey, football, baseball franchises, and dirt track stock car racing. There have also been many university and amateur athletes over the years who have left their mark.

Current professional franchises
Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Canadian Football League Canad Inns Stadium 1930 10
Manitoba Moose American Hockey League MTS Centre 1996 0
Winnipeg Goldeyes Northern League Canwest Park 1994 1

Winnipeg hosted the Pan American Games in 1967 and 1999, being the only Canadian city to host the event and the second city to host it twice.

Arts and culture

Winnipeg is well known for its arts and culture.

The city is home to several large festivals. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is North America's second largest Fringe Festival, held every July. The Winnipeg International Writers Festival (THIN AIR) rivals similar festivals in Calgary and Vancouver. Other festivals include Folklorama, the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Music Festival, the Red River Exhibition, and Festival du Voyageur.

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

Winnipeg is well known for its murals. Many buildings in the downtown area and extending into some suburban areas have murals painted on the sides of buildings. Although some are advertisements for shops and other businesses, 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 film community, beginning as early as 1897 with the films of James Freer to the production of local independent films of today, such as those by Guy Maddin. It has also supported a number of Hollywood productions, including Shall We Dance? (2004), the Oscar nominated film Capote (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2006), The Horsemen (2008) and X2 (2003) had parts filmed in the province. Several locally-produced and national television dramas have also been shot in Winnipeg. The National Film Board of Canada and the Winnipeg Film Group have produced numerous award-winning films.

Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, an independent film released in 2008, is a poetic and comedic rumination on the city's history. It features archival footage and contemporary imagery blended seamlessly into an extended autobiographical goodbye letter.

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.

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, 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 and The Duhks.

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 is the slogan on signs welcoming visitors to Winnipeg. The city is also mentioned in Neil Young's "Don't Be Denied". Aaron Funk, a Winnipeg-based Breakcore artist better known as Venetian Snares, released a concept album in 2005 based on his hatred of Winnipeg.

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".

The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the Millennium Library, located downtown.


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, 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, Jeanne's cake, Russian mints from Morden's Chocolate, Old Dutch potato chips, and beer from Half Pints and Fort Garry breweries.

Local media

Winnipeg has two daily newspapers, six English television stations, one French television station, 24 AM and FM radio stations and a variety of regional and nationally based magazines that call the city home.


Winnipeg Bear, the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh, was not actually born in Winnipeg. Instead, Winnipeg Bear was purchased in White River, Ontario, by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse cavalry regiment en route to his embarkation point for the front lines of World War I. He named the bear after the regiment's home town of Winnipeg. In 1924, on an excursion to the London Zoo with neighbour children, Christopher Robin Milne, son of author A. A. Milne, was introduced to Winnie for the first time.

An E. 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, England, late in 2000. The painting is displayed in the Pavilion Gallery in Assiniboine Park.



Winnipeg is the future home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The start of construction is contingent on continued efforts to raise money in 2008. It will be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National Capital Region. The museum will be located at The Forks. The Forks, where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet, is Winnipeg's number one tourist attraction and brings locals and visitors alike to its shops, river walkways and festivals.

The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in the province. It has nine galleries and includes a planetarium as well as a replica of the Nonsuch. It is one of the only attractions to receive the Michelin Guide highest rating as an attraction in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Railway Museum, located on tracks 1 and 2 in the Via Rail Station is home to The Countess of Dufferin, the first locomotive on the Canadian Prairies.

The city is home to the Western Canada Aviation Museum, the second largest aviation museum in Canada. The museum is housed in a Trans-Canada Air Lines hangar and contains the most complete Vickers Viscount in the world along with the last remaining Fokker Universal.

The Costume Museum of Canada now resides in Winnipeg's Exchange District. After 23 years in outlying Dugald, the museum has recently relocated to the capital city with hopes to attract even more visitors. It is home to approximately 35,000 articles of clothing and represents about 400 years of fashion history in Canada.

The Winnipeg Firefighters Historical Society Museum housed in a former fire station contains memorabilia dating back to the beginning of the Winnipeg Fire Brigade in 1882, including fully operational fire apparatus such as a 1927 American LaFrance and a 1958 Mack truck.

Historic Sites

Winnipeg is home to several of Canada's national historic sites including; The Forks, the Red River Floodway, the Fort Garry Hotel, Confederation Building, the Exchange District, Fort Douglas and Lower Fort Garry (from the original Fort Garry).


The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada's oldest ballet and the longest continually operating ballet company in North America. It is the first Canadian company to tour Russia and Czechoslovakia and the first western company to tour Cuba. It is the only ballet company in Canada to receive a Royal charter in 1953 from Queen Elizabeth II.

The Manitoba Theatre Centre is Canada's first regional theatre. It was founded in 1957 and has produced just under 500 plays featuring actors such as Len Cariou, Gordon Pinsent, Keanu Reeves and William Hurt.


Winnipeg's large parks including Assiniboine Park, Kildonan Park and St. Vital Park, as well as the Assiniboine Forest, are major attractions. The Assiniboine Forest is home to a sizable urban deer herd. Located in Assiniboine Park is the minimum gauge railway, Assiniboine Valley Railway. Assiniboine Park also has a zoo, conservatory, and the Leo Mol sculpture garden.

Winnipeg is located only an hour or two of driving, from many large forests, lakes, parks, and beaches; in all directions; such as Whiteshell Provincial Park, Grand Beach Provincial Park, or Pembina Valley Provincial Park.


Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, co-located at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, is home to many flight operations support divisions, as well as several training schools. It is also the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division (1CdnAirDiv, formerly Air Command Headquarters) and the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region Headquarters. 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 also supports 113 units stretching from Thunder Bay, to the Saskatchewan/Alberta 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.

Two squadrons based in the city are:

Winnipeg is home to a number of reserve units: The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada infantry (along with the The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada Museum), 735 Communications Regiment, 17 Service Battalion, and 17 (Winnipeg) Field Ambulance at Minto Armoury, The Fort Garry Horse armoured reconnaissance regiment at McGregor Armoury, and HMCS Chippewa, original home to the Naval Museum of Manitoba, Canadian Naval Reserve.

For many years, Winnipeg was the home of The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, or 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 part of Winnipeg. Since 2004, the 550 men and women of the battalion have operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.

Sister cities

This is a list of Winnipeg's sister cities and the date the agreement with each location was signed.

See also




  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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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