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City of Winnipeg
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
University of Winnipeg
Intersection of Portage and Main in downtown
St. Boniface Cathedral
Esplanade Riel Footbridge
Manitoba Legislative building
Unum Cum Virtute Multorum
(One with the Strength of Many)[1]
Interactive map of Winnipeg
Coordinates: 49°53?4?N 97°8?47?W / 49.88444°N 97.14639°W / 49.88444; -97.14639Coordinates: 49°53?4?N 97°8?47?W / 49.88444°N 97.14639°W / 49.88444; -97.14639
RegionWinnipeg Metropolitan Region
 o MayorBrian Bowman
 o Governing bodyWinnipeg City Council
 o Land461.78 km2 (178.29 sq mi)
 o Metro
5,285.46 km2 (2,040.73 sq mi)
Elevation239 m (784 ft)
 o City749,607 (6th)
 o Density1,430/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
 o Urban
758,515 (6th)
 o Urban density1,429/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
 o Metro
834,678 (8th)
 o Metro density157.90/km2 (409.0/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
UTC-5 (CDT[7])

Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of the province of Manitoba in Canada. It is centred on the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, near the longitudinal centre of North America. As of 2021, Winnipeg had a city population of 749,607 and a metropolitan population of 834,678, making it the sixth-largest city, and eighth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.[6]

The city is named after the nearby Lake Winnipeg; the name comes from the Western Cree words for muddy water. The region was a trading centre for Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of Europeans; it is the traditional territory of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and is the birthplace of the Métis Nation.[8] French traders built the first fort on the site in 1738. A settlement was later founded by the Selkirk settlers of the Red River Colony in 1812, the nucleus of which was incorporated as the City of Winnipeg in 1873. Being far inland, the local climate is extremely seasonal even by Canadian standards with average January highs of around -11 °C (12 °F) and average July highs of 26 °C (79 °F).

Known as the "Gateway to the West", Winnipeg is a railway and transportation hub with a diversified economy. This multicultural city hosts numerous annual festivals, including the Festival du Voyageur, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and Folklorama. In 1967, Winnipeg was the first Canadian host of the Pan American Games. It is home to several professional sports franchises, including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Canadian football), the Winnipeg Jets (ice hockey), Manitoba Moose (ice hockey), Valour FC (association football), and the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball).


Winnipeg is named after nearby Lake Winnipeg, 65 km north of the city. English explorer Henry Kelsey may have been the first European to see the lake in 1690, and he adopted the Cree and Ojibwe name win-nipi (also transcribed win-nipiy or ouenpig) meaning "murky water" or "muddy water"[9][10][11] (modern Cree: w?nip?k, ?). French-Canadian fur trader La Vérendrye referred to the lake as Lac Gouinipique or Ouinipigon when he built the first forts in the area in the 1730s.[12] Local newspaper The Nor'-Wester included the name on its masthead on February 24, 1866, and the city was incorporated by that name under legislation by the Manitoba Assembly in 1873.[11]


Early history

Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and the Red River of the North, a location now known as "The Forks". This point was at the crossroads of canoe routes travelled by First Nations before European contact.[13] Evidence provided by archaeology, petroglyphs, rock art and oral history indicates that native peoples used the area in prehistoric times for camping, harvesting, hunting, tool making, fishing, trading and, farther north, for agriculture.[14]

Estimates of the date of first settlement in this area range from 11,500 years ago for a site southwest of the present city to 6,000 years ago at The Forks.[15][16] In 1805, Canadian colonists observed First Nations peoples engaged in farming activity along the Red River. The practice quickly expanded, driven by the demand by traders for provisions.[17] The rivers provided an extensive transportation network linking northern First Peoples with those to the south along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The Ojibwe made some of the first maps on birch bark, which helped fur traders navigate the waterways of the area.[18]

Sieur de La Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site in 1738, called Fort Rouge.[19] French trading continued at this site for several decades before the arrival of the British Hudson's Bay Company after France ceded the territory following its defeat in the Seven Years' War.[20] Many French men who were trappers married First Nations women; their mixed-race children hunted, traded, and lived in the area. Their descendents are known as the Métis.[21]

An 1821 painting of winter fishing on the ice of the Assiniboine and Red rivers. Fort Gibraltar was erected in 1809.

Lord Selkirk was involved with the first permanent settlement (known as the Red River Colony), the purchase of land from the Hudson's Bay Company, and a survey of river lots in the early 19th century.[22] The North West Company built Fort Gibraltar in 1809, and the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Douglas in 1812, both in the area of present-day Winnipeg.[23] The two companies competed fiercely over trade.[24] The Métis and Lord Selkirk's settlers fought at the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. In 1821, the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies merged, ending their long rivalry.[25] Fort Gibraltar was renamed Fort Garry in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson's Bay Company.[26] A flood destroyed the fort in 1826 and it was not rebuilt until 1835.[26] A rebuilt section of the fort, consisting of the front gate and a section of the wall, is near the modern-day corner of Main Street and Broadway in downtown Winnipeg.[27]

In 1869-70, present-day 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 uprising. The Manitoba Act of 1870 made Manitoba the fifth province of the three-year-old Canadian Confederation.[28][29][30] Treaty 1, which encompassed the city and much of the surrounding area, was signed on 3 August 1871 by representatives of the Crown and local Indigenous groups, comprising the Brokenhead Ojibway, Sagkeeng, Long Plain, Peguis, Roseau River Anishinabe, Sandy Bay and Swan Lake communities.[31] On 8 November 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city, with the Selkirk settlement as its nucleus.[32] Métis legislator and interpreter James McKay named the city.[33] Winnipeg's mandate was to govern and provide municipal services to citizens attracted to trade expansion between Upper Fort Garry / Lower Fort Garry and Saint Paul, Minnesota.[34]

Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881.[35] The railway divided the North End, which housed mainly Eastern Europeans, from the richer Anglo-Saxon southern part of the city.[15] It also contributed to a demographic shift beginning shortly after Confederation that saw the francophone population decrease from a majority to a small minority group. This shift resulted in Premier Thomas Greenway controversially ending legislative bilingualism and removing funding for French Catholic Schools in 1890.[36]

Modern history (1900-present)

Crowd gathered outside old City Hall during the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919

By 1911, Winnipeg was Canada's third-largest city.[15] However, the city faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914.[37] The canal reduced reliance on Canada's rail system for international trade; the increase in shipping traffic helped Vancouver to surpass Winnipeg in both prosperity and population by the end of World War I.[38]

More than 30,000 workers walked off their jobs in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg general strike.[39] The strike was a product of postwar recession, labour conditions, the activity of union organizers and a large influx of returning World War I soldiers seeking work.[40] After many arrests, deportations, and incidents of violence, the strike ended on 21 June 1919 when the Riot Act was read and a group of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers charged a group of strikers.[41] Two strikers were killed and at least thirty others were injured on the day that became known as Bloody Saturday; the event polarized the population.[41] 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, which later became the New Democratic Party.[42]

The Manitoba Legislative Building, constructed mainly of Tyndall stone, opened in 1920; its dome supports a bronze statue finished in gold leaf, titled "Eternal Youth and the Spirit of Enterprise" (commonly known as the "Golden Boy").[43] The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression resulted in widespread unemployment, worsened by drought and low agricultural prices.[44] The Depression ended after the start of World War II in 1939.[15]

In 1942, the Canadian Victory Loan campaign simulated a Nazi occupation of the city to raise war bonds.

In the Battle of Hong Kong, The Winnipeg Grenadiers were among the first Canadians to engage in combat against Japan. Battalion members who survived combat were taken prisoner and endured brutal treatment in prisoner of war camps.[45] In 1942, the Victory Loan Campaign staged a mock Nazi invasion of Winnipeg to promote awareness of the stakes of the war in Europe.[46][47] When the war ended, pent-up demand generated a boom in housing development, although building activity was checked by the 1950 Red River flood.[48] The federal government estimated damage at over $26 million, although the province indicated that it was at least double that.[49] The damage caused by the flood led then-Premier Duff Roblin to advocate for the construction of the Red River Floodway.[50]

Before 1972, Winnipeg was the largest of thirteen cities and towns in a metropolitan area around the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. In 1960, the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg was established to co-ordinate service delivery in the metropolitan region.[34] A consolidated metropolitan "unicity" government incorporating Winnipeg and its surrounding municipalities was established on 27 July 1971, taking effect in 1972.[51] The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city.[15] In 2003, the City of Winnipeg Act was repealed and replaced with the City of Winnipeg Charter.[34]

Winnipeg experienced a severe economic downturn in advance of the early 1980s recession, during which the city incurred closures of prominent businesses, including the Winnipeg Tribune, as well as the Swift's and Canada Packers meat packing plants.[52] In 1981, Winnipeg was one of the first cities in Canada to sign a tripartite agreement with the provincial and federal governments to redevelop its downtown area,[53] and the three levels of government contributed over $271 million to its development.[54] In 1989, the reclamation and redevelopment of the CNR rail yards turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.[13][15] The city was threatened by the 1997 Red River flood as well as further floods in 2009 and 2011.[55]


Docks at The Forks. The city lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a flood plain with a flat topography.

Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a flood plain with an extremely flat topography.[56] It is on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies in Western Canada and is known as the "Gateway to the West".[15] Winnipeg is bordered by tallgrass prairie to the west and south and the aspen parkland to the northeast, although most of the native prairie grasses have been removed for agriculture and urbanization.[57] It is relatively close to many large Canadian Shield lakes and parks, as well as Lake Winnipeg (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake).[58] Winnipeg has North America's largest extant mature urban elm forest.[59] The city has an area of 464.08 km2 (179.18 sq mi).[2]

Winnipeg has four major rivers: the Red, Assiniboine, La Salle and Seine.[60] The city was subject to severe flooding in the past. The Red River reached its greatest flood height in 1826. Another large flood in 1950 caused millions of dollars in damage and mass evacuations.[61] This flood prompted Duff Roblin's provincial government to build the Red River Floodway to protect the city.[15] In the 1997 flood, flood control dikes were reinforced and raised using sandbags; Winnipeg suffered limited damage compared to the flood's impact on cities without such structures, such as Grand Forks, North Dakota.[62] The generally flat terrain and the poor drainage of the Red River Valley's clay-based soil also results in many mosquitoes during wetter years.[63]


Winters are cold with little precipitation in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg's location in the Canadian Prairies gives it a warm-summer humid continental climate[64] (Köppen Dfb),[65] with warm, humid summers, and long, severely cold winters. Summers have a July mean average of 19.7 °C (67.5 °F).[4] Winters are the coldest time of year, with the January mean average around -16.4 °C (2.5 °F) and total winter precipitation (December through February) averaging 55.2 mm (2.17 in).[4] Temperatures occasionally drop below -40 °C (-40 °F).[4]

On average there are 317.8 days per year with measurable sunshine, with July seeing the most on average.[66] With 2353 hours of sunshine per year, Winnipeg is the second sunniest city in Canada.[67] Total annual precipitation (both rain and snow) is just over 521 mm (20.5 in).[4] Thunderstorms are very common during summer, and sometimes severe enough to produce tornadoes.[68] Low wind chill values are a common occurrence in the local climate. The wind chill has gone down as low as -57.1 °C (-70.8 °F) and on average there are twelve days of the year that can reach a wind chill below -40 °C (-40 °F).[4]

The highest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was during the 1936 North American heat wave. The temperature reached 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) on 11 July 1936 while the highest daily low temperature, recorded on the following day, 12 July 1936, was 28.3 °C (82.9 °F).[69] The apparent heat can be even more extreme due to bursts of humidity, and on 25 July 2007 a humidex reading of 47.3 °C (117.1 °F) was measured.[4]

The frost-free season is comparatively long for a location with such severe winters. The last spring frost is on average around 23 May, while the first fall frost is on 22 September.[4]

Climate data for Winnipeg (Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport)
WMO ID: 71852; coordinates 49°55?N 97°14?W / 49.917°N 97.233°W / 49.917; -97.233 (Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport); elevation: 238.7 m (783 ft); 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1872-present[a]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 6.3 11.1 28.0 34.1 40.2 46.1 47.3 45.5 45.9 34.3 23.9 9.3 47.3
Record high °C (°F) 7.8
Average high °C (°F) -11.3
Daily mean °C (°F) -16.4
Average low °C (°F) -21.4
Record low °C (°F) -44.4
Record low wind chill -56.4 -57.1 -49.6 -35.8 -20.8 -7.9 0.0 0.0 -11.5 -24.2 -48.1 -50.6 -57.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 19.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.2
Average snowfall cm (inches) 23.7
Average precipitation days 12.2 8.0 9.2 7.2 11.5 13.3 11.4 10.7 10.4 9.4 10.3 11.8 125.3
Average rainy days 0.67 0.93 2.9 5.1 11.3 13.3 11.4 10.7 10.3 7.9 3.0 0.84 78.3
Average snowy days 12.4 7.7 7.4 2.9 0.56 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.11 2.3 8.6 11.5 53.5
Average relative humidity (%) 72.7 71.7 68.5 49.1 46.7 54.5 55.6 52.4 54.8 60.1 72.0 75.1 61.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 114.7 133.9 181.9 241.4 285.2 276.3 308.3 281.4 189.0 147.4 93.9 99.5 2,352.9
Mean daily sunshine hours 3.7 4.8 5.9 8.0 9.2 9.2 9.9 9.1 6.3 4.8 3.1 3.2 6.4
Percent possible sunshine 42.9 47.2 49.5 58.6 59.8 56.6 62.6 62.8 49.8 44.1 34.4 39.2 50.6
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 2 4 6 7 7 6 4 2 1 1 4
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada[70][71][72] and Weather Atlas (daily sunshine hours and UV index)[73]


Centred on the intersection of Portage and Main, Downtown Winnipeg is the city's central business district.

There are officially 236 neighbourhoods in Winnipeg.[74] Downtown Winnipeg, the city's financial heart and economic core, is centred on the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street and covers about 2.6 km2 (1 sq mi). More than 72,000 people work downtown, and over 40,000 students attend classes at its universities and colleges.[75]

Downtown Winnipeg's Exchange District is named after the area's original grain exchange, which operated from 1880 to 1913.[75] The 30-block district received National Historic Site of Canada status in 1997; it includes North America's most extensive collection of early 20th-century terracotta and cut stone architecture, Stephen Juba Park, and Old Market Square.[75] Other major downtown areas are The Forks, Central Park, Broadway-Assiniboine and Chinatown. Many of Downtown Winnipeg's major buildings are linked with the Winnipeg Walkway.[76]

Residential neighbourhoods surround the downtown in all directions; expansion is greatest to the south and west, although several areas remain underdeveloped.[77] The city's largest park, Assiniboine Park, houses the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.[78] Other large city parks include Kildonan Park and St. Vital Park. The city's major commercial areas are Polo Park, Kildonan Crossing, South St. Vital, Garden City (West Kildonan), Pembina Strip, Kenaston Smart Centre, Osborne Village, and the Corydon strip.[79] The main cultural and nightlife areas are the Exchange District, The Forks, Osborne Village and Corydon Village (both in Fort Rouge), Sargent and Ellice Avenues (West End) and Old St. Boniface.[80] Osborne Village is Winnipeg's most densely populated neighbourhood[81] and one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Western Canada.[82]


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Winnipeg had a population of 749,607 living in 300,431 of its 315,465 total private dwellings, a change of 6.3% from its 2016 population of 705,244. With a land area of 461.78 km2 (178.29 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,623.3/km2 (4,204.3/sq mi) in 2021.[91]

At the census metropolitan area (CMA) level in the 2021 census, the Winnipeg CMA had a population of living in of its total private dwellings, a change of 6.6% from its 2016 population of . With a land area of 5,285.46 km2 (2,040.73 sq mi), it had a population density of 157.9/km2 (409.0/sq mi) in 2021.[92]

Winnipeg represents 54.9% of the population of the province of Manitoba, the highest population concentration in one city of any province in Canada.[93][94] Apart from the city of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg CMA includes the rural municipalities of Springfield, St. Clements, Taché, East St. Paul, Macdonald, Ritchot, West St. Paul, Headingley, the Brokenhead 4 reserve, Rosser and St. François Xavier.[95] Statistics Canada's estimate of the Winnipeg CMA population as of 1 July 2020 is 850,056, making it the 7th largest CMA in Canada.[96]

As of the 2006 census, 48.3 percent of residents were male and 51.7 percent were female. 24.3 percent were 19 years old or younger, 27.4 percent were between 20 and 30 years old, and 34.0 percent were between 40 and 64 years old. The average age of a Winnipegger in May 2006 was 38.7, compared to an average of 39.5 for Canada as a whole.[97] Between the censuses of 2006 and 2011, Winnipeg's population increased by 4.8 percent, compared to 5.2 percent for Manitoba as a whole. The population density of the city of Winnipeg averaged 1,430 people per km2, compared with 2.2 for Manitoba.[98]

Ethnic origins, 2011[99]
Ethnicity Population %
English 137,075 21.1
Scottish 113,465 17.4
Canadian 108,955 16.76
German 105,910 16.2
Ukrainian 98,860 15.2
Irish 85,800 13.2
French 85,025 13.1
Indigenous (incl. Métis) 76,055 11.7
Filipino 58,255 9.0
Polish 50,385 7.8

Winnipeg has a significant and increasing Indigenous population, with both the highest percentage of Indigenous peoples (12.2%) for any major Canadian city, and the highest total number of Aboriginals (84,305) for any single non-reserve municipality.[100] The Aboriginal population grew by 22% between 2001 and 2006, compared to an increase of 3% for the city as a whole; this population tends to be younger and less wealthy than non-Aboriginal residents.[101] Winnipeg also has the highest Métis population in both percentage (6.3%) and numbers (41,005); the growth rate for this population between 2001 and 2006 was 30%.[99][101]

The city has the greatest percentage of Filipino residents (8.7%) of any major Canadian city, although Toronto has more Filipinos by total population. In 2006, Winnipeg ranked seventh of the Canadian cities for percentage of residents of a visible minority.[99][102] As of the 2016 Census, the population was 63.9% European in origin (73.5% of the city was white in 2006), while non-aboriginal visible minorities represent 23.5% (up from 16.3% in 2006).[99][97] The city receives over 10,000 net international immigrants per year.[103]

More than a hundred languages are spoken in Winnipeg, of which the most common is English: 99 percent of Winnipeggers are fluent English speakers, 88 percent speak only English, and 0.1 percent speak only French (Canada's other official language). 10 percent speak both English and French, while 1.3 percent speak neither. Other languages spoken as a mother tongue in Winnipeg include Tagalog (5.0%), German (2.5%), and Punjabi and Ukrainian (both 1.4%). Several Indigenous languages are also spoken, such as Ojibwe (0.3%) and Cree (0.2%).[98]

The 2011 National Household Survey reported the religious make-up of Winnipeg as: 63.7% Christian, including 29.7% Catholic, 8.1% United Church, and 4.6% Anglican; 1.7% Muslim; 1.6% Jewish; 1.5% Sikh; 1.0% Hindu; 1.0% Buddhist; 0.3% traditional (aboriginal) spirituality; 0.4% other; and 28.9% no religious affiliation.[99]


The Royal Canadian Mint's facility in Winnipeg produces Canadian coins for circulation, as well as foreign coins.

Winnipeg is an economic base and regional centre. It has a diversified economy, with major employment in the health care and social assistance (15%), retail (11%), manufacturing (8%), and public administration (8%) sectors.[104] There were approximately 444,000 jobs in the city as of 2016.[104] Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are government and government-funded institutions, including the Province of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro, and Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation. Major private-sector employers include Canad Corporation of Manitoba, Canada Life Assurance Company, StandardAero, and SkipTheDishes.[105]

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Winnipeg was projected to experience a real GDP growth of 1.9 percent in 2019. Gross Domestic Product was $43.3 Billion in 2018.[106]

The city had an unemployment rate of 5.3% in 2019, compared to a national rate of 5.7%. Household income per capita was $47,824, compared to $49,744 nationally.[107]

The Royal Canadian Mint, established in 1976, produces all circulating coinage in Canada.[108] The facility, located in southeastern Winnipeg, also produces coins for many other countries.[109]

In 2012, Winnipeg was ranked by KPMG as the least expensive location to do business in western Canada.[110] Like many prairie cities, Winnipeg has a relatively low cost of living.[111] The average house price in Winnipeg was $301,518 as of 2018.[107] As of May 2014, the Consumer Price Index was 125.8 relative to 2002 prices, reflecting consumer costs at the Canadian average.[112][113]


The Esplanade Riel is a landmark and pedestrian bridge in the city. It connects downtown Winnipeg with the St. Boniface neighbourhood.

Winnipeg was named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2010 by Canadian Heritage.[114] As of 2021, there are 26 National Historic Sites of Canada in Winnipeg.[115] One of these, The Forks, attracts four million visitors a year.[116] It is home to the City television studio, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Winnipeg International Children's Festival, and the Manitoba Children's Museum. It also features a 2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) skate plaza, a 790 m2 (8,500 sq ft) bowl complex, which features a mural of Winnipeg skateboarding pioneer Jai Pereira, the Esplanade Riel bridge,[117] a river walkway, Shaw Park, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.[116] The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the main Millennium Library.[118]

Winnipeg the Bear, which would become the inspiration for part of the name of Winnie-the-Pooh, was purchased in Ontario by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of the Fort Garry Horse. He named the bear after the regiment's home town of Winnipeg.[119] A. A. Milne later wrote a series of books featuring the fictional Winnie-the-Pooh. The series' illustrator, Ernest H. Shepard, created the only known oil painting of Winnipeg's adopted fictional bear, displayed in Assiniboine Park.[120]

The city has developed many distinct dishes and cooking styles, notably in the areas of confectionery and hot-smoked fish. Both the First Nations and more recent Eastern Canadian, European, and Asian immigrants have helped shape Winnipeg's dining scene, giving birth to dishes such as the desserts schmoo torte and wafer pie.[121][122]

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is Western Canada's oldest public art gallery, founded in 1912. It is the sixth-largest in the country[123] and includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.[15][124] Since the late 1970s Winnipeg has also had an active artist run centre culture.[125]

Winnipeg's three largest performing arts venues, the Centennial Concert Hall, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Pantages Playhouse Theatre, are downtown. The Royal Manitoba is Canada's oldest English-language regional theatre, with over 250 performances yearly.[126] The Pantages Playhouse Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1913.[127] Other city theatres include the Burton Cummings Theatre (a National Historic Site of Canada built in 1906[128]) and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Le Cercle Molière, based in St Boniface, is Canada's oldest theatre company; it was founded in 1925.[129] Rainbow Stage is a musical theatre production company based in Kildonan Park that produces professional, live Broadway musical shows and is Canada's longest-surviving outdoor theatre.[15][130] The Manitoba Theatre for Young People at The Forks is one of only two Theatres for Young Audiences in Canada with a permanent residence and the only Theatre for Young Audiences that offers a full season of plays for teenagers.[131] The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre is the only professional theatre in Canada dedicated to Jewish themes.[132] Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) presents adaptations of Shakespeare plays.[133]

Winnipeg has hosted numerous Hollywood productions: Shall We Dance? (2004), Capote (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and A Dog's Purpose (2017), among others were filmed in the city.[134][135] The Winnipeg Film Group has produced numerous award-winning films.[136] There are several TV and film production companies in Winnipeg: the most prominent are Farpoint Films, Frantic Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures, and Les Productions Rivard.[137] Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, an independent film released in 2008, is a comedic rumination on the city's history.[138]

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is the largest and oldest professional musical ensemble in Winnipeg.[139] The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra runs a series of chamber orchestral concerts each year.[140] Manitoba Opera is Manitoba's only full-time professional opera company.[141] Among the most notable musical acts associated with Winnipeg are Bachman-Turner Overdrive,[142] The Guess Who,[143] Neil Young,[144] The Weakerthans,[145] the Crash Test Dummies,[146] Propagandhi,[147] Bif Naked,[148] and The Watchmen[149] among many others.[142] Winnipeg also has a significant place in Canadian jazz history, being the location of Canada's first jazz concert in 1914 at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre.[150]

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 by Queen Elizabeth II, and has included notable dancers such as Evelyn Hart and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The RWB also runs a full-time classical dance school.[151]

The Manitoba Museum, the city's largest museum, depicts the history of the city and province. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece.[152] The Manitoba Children's Museum is a nonprofit children's museum at The Forks that features twelve permanent galleries.[153][154] The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the only Canadian national museum for human rights and the only national museum west of Ottawa.[155] The federal government contributed $100 million towards the estimated $311-million project.[156] Construction of the museum began on 1 April 2008,[157] and the museum opened to the public 27 September 2014.[158]

The Western Canada Aviation Museum, in a hangar at Winnipeg's James Richardson International Airport, features military jets, commercial aircraft, Canada's first helicopter, the "flying saucer" Avrocar, flight simulators, and a Black Brant rocket built in Manitoba by Bristol Aerospace.[159] The Winnipeg Railway Museum at Via Rail Station has a variety of locomotives, notably the Countess of Dufferin, the first steam locomotive in Western Canada.[160]


The Korean Pavilion during Folklorama.

Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada's largest winter festival, celebrates the early French explorers of the Red River Valley.[161] Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural celebration festival in the world.[162] 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.[163] The Winnipeg International Writers Festival (also called THIN AIR) brings writers to Winnipeg for workshops and readings.[164] The LGBT community in the city is served by Pride Winnipeg, an annual gay pride festival and parade, and Reel Pride, a film festival of LGBT-themed films.[165]


Winnipeg has been home to several professional hockey teams. The Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL) have called the city home since 2011.[166] The original Winnipeg Jets, the city's former NHL team, left for Phoenix, Arizona after the 1995-96 season due to mounting financial troubles, despite a campaign effort to "Save the Jets".[167] The Jets play at Canada Life Centre, which is ranked the world's 19th-busiest arena among non-sporting touring events, 13th-busiest among facilities in North America, and 3rd-busiest in Canada as of 2009.[168]

Canada Life Centre is an indoor arena in downtown Winnipeg. It is the home arena of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets and the AHL's Manitoba Moose.

Past hockey teams based in Winnipeg include the Winnipeg Maroons, Winnipeg Warriors, three time Stanley Cup Champion Winnipeg Victorias and the Winnipeg Falcons, who were the first ever Gold Medal Olympians, representing Canada in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. Another professional ice hockey team in Winnipeg is the Manitoba Moose, the American Hockey League primary affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets that are owned by the same group .[169][170] On the international stage, Winnipeg has hosted national and world hockey championships on a number of occasions, most notably the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship and 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship.[171][172] In 2019, the Western Hockey League returned to Winnipeg after a long absence with the Kootenay Ice relocating as the Winnipeg Ice.[173]

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers play in the Canadian Football League. They are twelve-time Grey Cup champions, their last championship in 2021.[174] From 1953 to 2012, the Blue Bombers called Canad Inns Stadium home; they have since moved to IG Field. Due to construction delays and cost overruns, the stadium was not ready for the 2012 CFL season, instead opening in 2013. The $200-million facility is also the home to U Sports' University of Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League.[175][176]

The University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of Winnipeg Wesmen represent the city in university-level sports.[177] In soccer, it is represented by both Valour FC in the new Canadian Premier League[178] and WSA Winnipeg in the USL League Two.[179]

Winnipeg has been home to several professional baseball teams, most recently the Winnipeg Goldeyes since 1994. The Goldeyes play at Shaw Park, which was completed in 1999. The team had led the Northern League for ten straight years in average attendance through 2010, with more than 300,000 annual fan visits, until the league collapsed and merged into the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.[180]

Winnipeg was the first Canadian city to host the Pan American Games, and the second city to host the event twice, in 1967 and again in 1999.[181] The Pan Am Pool, built for the 1967 Pan Am Games, hosts aquatic events, including diving, speed swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo.[182] Winnipeg co-hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.[183]

Professional sports teams
Club Sport League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football CFL Osborne Stadium (1935-1952)
Winnipeg Stadium (1953-2012)
IG Field (2013-present)
1930 12
Winnipeg Jets Ice hockey WHA, NHL Winnipeg Arena (1972-1996)
Canada Life Centre (2011-present)
Original: 1972-1996
Current: 2011
3 (WHA Avco Cup)
Valour FC Soccer CPL IG Field 2018 0
Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Northern League (1994-2010)
American Association (2011-present)
Shaw Park 1994 4
Manitoba Moose Ice hockey IHL (1996-2001)
AHL (2001-2011, 2015-present)
Winnipeg Arena (1996-2004)
Canada Life Centre (2004-2011, 2015-present)
1996-2011, 2015-present 0

Local media

CBC Manitoba is one of five English-language television broadcasters in Winnipeg and ICI Manitoba is the French-language station.

Winnipeg has two daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Sun.[184] There are also several ethnic weekly newspapers.[185]

Radio broadcasting in Winnipeg began in 1922;[186] by 1923, government-owned CKY held a monopoly position that lasted until after the Second World War. Winnipeg is home to 33 AM and FM radio stations, two of which are French-language stations.[187] CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2 broadcast local and national programming in the city.[188] NCI is devoted to Indigenous programming.[189]

Television broadcasting in Winnipeg started in 1954. The federal government refused to license any private broadcaster until the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had created a national network. In May 1954, CBWT went on the air with four hours of broadcasting per day.[190] There are now five English-language stations and one French-language station based in Winnipeg. Additionally, some American network affiliates are available over-the-air.[191]

Law and government

Winnipeg City Hall is the seat of municipal government.

Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg has been represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor, both elected every four years.[192] The present mayor, Brian Bowman, was first elected to office in 2014.[15] The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system.[15] The structure of the municipal government is set by the provincial legislature in the City of Winnipeg Charter Act, which replaced the old City of Winnipeg Act in 2003.[193] The mayor is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city.[194] At Council meetings, the mayor has one of 16 votes. The city governance functions off the "strong-mayor" model which allows for a "two tiered system" or voting block between the councilors who are on or not on the Executive Policy Committee.[195] The City Council is a unicameral legislative body, representing geographical wards throughout the city.[193]

In provincial politics, Winnipeg is represented by 32 of the 57 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the 42nd Manitoba Legislature. As of 2019, Winnipeg districts are represented by 15 members of the Progressive Conservative Party, 14 by the New Democratic Party (NDP), and 3 by the Liberal Party.[196]

Winnipeg is home to the Manitoba Legislative Building, which houses the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

In federal politics, as of 2019 Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: four Liberals, two Conservatives and two New Democrat.[197] There are five Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa (plus one seat vacant as of April 2021).[198]


From 2007 to 2011, Winnipeg was the "murder capital" of Canada, with the highest per-capita rate of homicides; as of 2019 it is in second place, behind Thunder Bay.[199][200] As of 2019 Winnipeg had the 13-highest violent crime index in Canada, and the highest robbery rate.[201] Winnipeg was the "violent crime capital" of Canada in 2020 according to the Statistics Canada police-reported violent crime severity index.[202] Despite high overall violent crime rates, crime in Winnipeg is mostly concentrated in the inner city, which makes up only 19% of the population[203] but was the site of 86.4% of the city's shootings, 66.5% of the robberies, 63.3% of the homicides and 59.5% of the sexual assaults in 2012.[204]

From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, Winnipeg had a significant auto-theft problem, with the rate peaking at 2,165.0 per 100,000 residents in 2006[205] compared to 487 auto-thefts per 100,000 residents for Canada as a whole.[206] To combat auto theft, Manitoba Public Insurance established financial incentives for motor vehicle owners to install ignition immobilizers in their vehicles, and now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install immobilizers.[207] These initiatives resulted in an 80% decrease in auto thefts between 2006 and 2011.[208]

As of 2018, the Winnipeg Police Service had 1,914 police officers, which is one officer per 551 city residents, and cost taxpayers $290,564,015.[209] In November 2013, the national police union reviewed the Winnipeg Police Force and found high average response times for several categories of calls.[210][211] In 2017, the city started to deal with an increasingly large methamphetamine problem, fuelling violent crime.[212][213]


Located in Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba is the largest post-secondary institution in the province.

Winnipeg has seven school divisions: Winnipeg School Division, St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Pembina Trails School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, River East Transcona School Division, and Louis Riel School Division.[214] Winnipeg also has several religious and secular private schools.[215][216]

The University of Manitoba is the largest university in Manitoba.[217] It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada's first university.[217] In a typical year, the university has 26,500 undergraduate students and 3,800 graduate students.[218] Université de Saint-Boniface is the city's only French-language university.[219] The University of Winnipeg received its charter in 1967.[220] Until 2007, it was an undergraduate institution that offered some joint graduate studies programs; it now offers independent graduate programs.[220] The Canadian Mennonite University is a private Mennonite undergraduate university established in 1999.[221]

Winnipeg also has two independent colleges: Red River College Polytechnic and Booth University College. Red River College offers diploma, certificate, and apprenticeship programs and, starting in 2009, began offering some degree programs.[222] Booth University College is a private Christian Salvation Army university college established in 1982. It offers mostly arts and seminary training.[223][224]



Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars.[225] 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.[225] Winnipeg Transit now runs diesel buses on its routes.[226]

Winnipeg is a railway hub and is served by Via Rail at Union Station for passenger rail, and Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Manitoba, and the Central Manitoba Railway for freight rail. It is the only major city between Vancouver and Thunder Bay with direct US connections by rail.[227]

Winnipeg is the largest and best connected city within Manitoba, and has highways leading in all directions from the city. To the south, Winnipeg is connected to the United States via Provincial Trunk Highway 75 (PTH 75) (a continuation of I-29 and US 75, known as Pembina Highway or Route 42 within Winnipeg). The highway runs 107 km (66 mi) to Emerson, Manitoba, and is the busiest Canada-United States border crossing on the Prairies.[228] The four-lane Perimeter Highway, built in 1969, serves as a Ring Road, with at-grade intersections and a few interchanges. It allows travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway to bypass the city.[229] The Trans-Canada Highway runs east to west through the city (city route), or circles around the city on the Perimeter Highway (beltway). Some of the city's major arterial roads include Route 80 (Waverley St.), Route 155 (McGillivray Blvd), Route 165 (Bishop Grandin Blvd.), Route 17 (Chief Peguis Trail), and Route 90 (Brookside Blvd., Oak Point Hwy., King Edward St., Century St., Kenaston Blvd.).[230]

The Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport completed a $585-million redevelopment in October 2011. The development brought a new terminal, a four-level parking facility, and other infrastructure improvements.[231] Winnipeg Bus Terminal, at Winnipeg International Airport, previously served by Greyhound Canada (through its subsidiary Grey Goose Bus Lines), Winnipeg Shuttle Service and Brandon Air Shuttle. Since Greyhound's exit from Western Canada, very few remaining routes still serve the terminal.[232]

Approximately 8,100 ha (20,000 acres) of land to the north and west of the airport has been designated as an inland port, CentrePort Canada, and is Canada's first Foreign Trade Zone. It is a private sector initiative to develop the infrastructure for Manitoba's trucking, air, rail and sea industries.[233] In 2009, construction began on a $212-million four-lane freeway to connect CentrePort with the Perimeter Highway.[234] Named CentrePort Canada Way, it opened in November 2013.[235]

Several taxi companies serve Winnipeg, the largest being Unicity, Duffy's Taxi and Spring Taxi. Ride sharing was legalized in March 2018 and several services including TappCar and Cowboy Taxi operate in Winnipeg.[236] Cycling is popular in Winnipeg, and there are many bicycle trails and lanes around the city. Winnipeg holds an annual Bike-to-Work Day[237] and Cyclovia,[238] and bicycle commuters may be seen year-round, even in the winter. Active living infrastructure in Winnipeg includes bike lanes[239] and sharrows.[240]

Medical centres and hospitals

Winnipeg's major hospitals include Health Sciences Centre, Concordia Hospital, Deer Lodge Centre, Grace Hospital, Saint Boniface General Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.[241]

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is one of only a handful of biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world.[242] The NML houses laboratories of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease collocated in the same facility. Research facilities are also operated through hospitals and private biotechnology companies in the city.[243][244]


Water and sewage services are provided by the city.[245] The city draws its water via an aqueduct from Shoal Lake, treating and fluoridating it at the Deacon Reservoir just outside the city prior to pumping it into the Winnipeg system.[246] The city's system has over 2,500 km (1,600 mi) of underground water mains, which are subject to breakage due to corrosion and pressure from extreme dry, wet, or cold soil conditions.[247]

Electricity and natural gas are provided by Manitoba Hydro, a provincial crown corporation headquartered in the city; it uses primarily hydroelectric power.[248] The primary telecommunications carrier is Bell MTS, although other corporations offer telephone, cellular, television and internet services.[249]

Winnipeg contracts out several services to private companies, including garbage and recycling collection and street plowing and snow removal. This practice represents a significant budget expenditure. The services have faced numerous complaints from residents about missed service.[250][251][252][253]


Entrance to CFB Winnipeg. CFB Winnipeg is the home garrison for a number of Royal Canadian Air Force units.

Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, co-located at the airport, is home to many flight operations support divisions and several training schools. It is also the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region,[254] as well as the home base of 17 Wing of the Canadian Forces. The Wing comprises three squadrons and six schools; it also provides support to the Central Flying School.[255] Excluding the three levels of government, 17 Wing is the fourth largest employer in the city.[256] The Wing supports 113 units, stretching from Thunder Bay to the Saskatchewan-Alberta border, and from the 49th parallel to the high Arctic.[255] 17 Wing also acts as a deployed operating base for CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers assigned to the Canadian NORAD Region.[255]

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.[257] The 435 "Chinthe" Transport and Rescue Squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules in airlift search and rescue roles.[258] In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Royal Canadian Air Force squadron equipped and trained to conduct tactical air-to-air refuelling of fighter aircraft.[258]

There are several units of the Canadian Army Primary Reserve based in Winnipeg. These include The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 38 Service Battalion, 38 Combat Engineer Regiment, 38 Signal Regiment, and The Fort Garry Horse.[259] HMCS Chippawa is a Royal Canadian Navy reserve division in Winnipeg.[260]

For many years, Winnipeg was the home of the Second Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Initially, the battalion was based at the Fort Osborne Barracks, now the location of the Rady Jewish Community Centre.[261] They eventually moved to the Kapyong Barracks between River Heights and Tuxedo. Since 2004, the battalion has operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.[262]

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  1. ^ Climate data was recorded at St. John's College from March 1872 to July 1938, and at Winnipeg Airport from January 1938 to present.

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