The capital city of the province of Manitoba, Winnipeg has one of the most stable and diverse economies in Canada. Known as ‘The Keystone Province’ due to its central location within Canada, Manitoba borders Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. Winnipeg is ideally situated just 62 miles from the U.S.
Winnipeg's ideal location within Canada puts it at the hub of five major continental and global transportation routes. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico benefit from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
From what to pack in July to what kind of currency you’ll need to liquor laws and other useful information; we’ve got everything you need to know about the heart of the continent!
Population: 663,000 as of 2017
Climate: Winnipeg experiences a continental climate characterized by four distinct seasons. Average temperatures range between -12° Celsius (+10.4° Fahrenheit) in the winter months to +26° Celsius (+78.8° Fahrenheit) in the summertime. Due to its northern location, Winnipeg residents enjoy 2,300 hours of sunlight annually and up to 16 hours of sunlight daily during the summer months. Winnipeg averages approximately 51.4 centimetres (20.2 inches) of precipitation each year.
Time Zone: Winnipeg is located in the Central Standard Time Zone (CST). In Manitoba Canada Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 am local time on the second Sunday in March. On the first Sunday in November areas on Daylight Saving Time return to Standard Time at 2:00 am. During Daylight Saving Time clocks are turned ahead one hour.
Language: English and French are Canada’s two official languages. English is the predominant language spoken in Winnipeg. Old St. Boniface - Winnipeg’s French Quarter, is largely French-speaking. Many banks, hotels, airline offices, service institutions, shops and key tourist destinations have multilingual staff.
Currency: The currency used in Winnipeg is the Canadian Dollar. It is recommended that visitors exchange their currency at a bank, a foreign exchange outlet or use a banking machine.
Provincial and Federal Taxes: Goods and services purchased in Manitoba are subject to the Provincial Sales Tax (PST: 8%) and the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST: 5%).
Accommodation Tax: There is a 5% tax on accommodations within the city of Winnipeg. For more information please click here.
Electricity: Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.
Liquor Laws: Spirits, wine and beer are available at Manitoba Liquor Control Commission outlets; wine is also available at private wine stores; domestic beer also from hotel vendors. Open liquor must be stored in the trunk. Legal age for consumption of alcohol is 18 years. These laws are strictly enforced. “Please drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.”
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all public places including restaurants, bars, malls and sporting events.
Known for its friendly and welcoming spirit, Winnipeg is a diverse multicultural city with a rich and varied history. An aboriginal trading centre prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Winnipeg was at the heart of the country’s fur trade and instrumental in developing Canada’s gateway to the west. Home to a grain exchange that once rivalled the largest markets in the world, Winnipeg’s architecture and neighbourhoods reflect the profound character of this small prairie town.
Over the last decades, Winnipeg has developed into a cosmopolitan city complete with top-notch restaurants, swanky boutiques, exciting attractions and an arts and culture scene that bursts with talent and originality.
Top 10 Must Sees
Check out the best 10 things to see and do in Winnipeg !
Designed by architect extraordinaire Antione Predock, Canada’s newest, most eye-catching attraction dominates the Winnipeg skyline, shining like a beacon. Inside an immersive experience that you can’t possibly shake awaits as 11 powerful, interactive and awe-inspiring exhibits gradually climb to the CMHR’s pinnacle, the Tower of Hope (which provides a stunning view of the city). An ambitious museum meant to foster dialogue and promote change for a better world, the CMHR provides a stirring account of the human experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed.
With the possible exception of seals, everybody loves polar bears — that’s why they are the main attraction at the sensational new Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo. Watching these majestic mammals dive, swim, and frolic above you through the exhibit’s glass dome will take your breath away, while the vast new terrain also features an incredible selection of animals, like muskox, wolves, moose, and seals. The zoo also features uber-rare animals, like red pandas and snow leopards, along with over 200 other species.
Saturated in 6,000 years of history, the meeting of the Red and Assiniboine rivers has always been a gathering place for peoples. Across 54 beautiful acres you’ll find a bustling central market, exceptional dining and accommodations, vast treelined paths overlooking all the bends in the riverbank, a world-class skate park, a children’s play area and water park, and all the best things a Winnipeg winter has to offer, like skate rentals and access to one of the world’s longest skating rinks. It also bridges, via the sexy Esplanade Riel, the très-European St. Boniface — with its restaurants, cafés, artistic heir and francophone flavour — and the downtown core.
Dan Brown would be at a loss trying to decipher all the meaning enlaced in Canada’s finest provincial legislative building. The grandiose interior of this ode to Olympus is studded with hieroglyphics, freemasonic symbols and numeric codes, all of which are unveiled in the Hermetic Code Tour — a must for anyone with a sense of intrigue. On the top of the building is Winnipeg’s most beloved citizen: the beaming Golden Boy, our nod to Hermes who was crafted in Paris and holds a sheath of wheat.
How many places do you know that can take you from the towering dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period, to across the cosmos through space and time, to the buffalo-laden prairie plains all under one roof? If your answer is none, then you haven’t been to The Manitoba Museum. The nine permanent galleries in this award-winning heritage and edu-tainment centre will enthral kids and adults alike. Whether you are catching a Planetarium show featuring one of the world’s most advanced projection systems, or viewing some of Canada’s most important historical artifacts in the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection, The Manitoba Museum is sure to please.
Architecturally striking and centrally located in the heart of downtown, the WAG houses an internationally acclaimed collection (with exhibitions having been shown from New York, to Barcelona, to Tokyo) of nearly 24,000 works featuring a great deal of Canadian and Manitoba-centric pieces, including the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art. Critically acclaimed touring shows are also constantly brought in, featuring everything from the Renaissance to Dadaism, to Ancient Greece and the best in contemporary photography.
Six hundred-forty acres of pristine prairie beauty are waiting to welcome you in this oasis just south of the city. In summer, feel the wind in your hair canoeing or sailing on one of FortWhyte’s several lakes. In fall, sip a locally brewed beer on their restaurant patio while witnessing North America’s largest animal (the bison) roam in its natural habitat as migrating birds fill the sky. In winter, go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on its many trails or take the kids out for a ridiculously fun day of sliding on the Richardson Rrrun Toboggan slide. No matter what the season, there is always an adventure to be had at FortWhyte Alive.
One of Canada’s architectural marvels, this 30-block district boasts North America’s most extensive (and handsome!) turn-of-the-20th-century buildings. While walking its charming streets, you’ll find some of the city’s trendiest and tastiest spots including small plate restaurants and bistros, who flaunt their exposed brick and beam; up-and-coming and established galleries; vintage and antique shops, and some of the best the city has to offer in coffee and café culture.
One of Winnipeg’s most beautiful buildings, its reflective glassy exterior is a sight to behold at sundown, glowing under an orange prairie sky. On the inside you’ll find guided tours that will have you holding a $600,000 gold bar (it’s really quite heavy), ogling over the Olympic gold medals that were made for Vancouver 2010, and witnessing coins being produced for over 70 different countries. A trip to the Mint is surely worth every penny.
The newest jewel in Winnipeg’s luxuriant-spa crown, Thermëa brings a bit of Scandinavia to the heart of the Canada. Let the stress soak out of you in thermal pools situated amongst the pines; indulge your senses in Finnish saunas; treat yourself to the best in body treatments and massage therapy. Then, finish your day with some exquisite dining because hey, you are worth it.
Geography and Climate
Winnipeg is situated just east of the longitudinal centre of Canada (near the geographical centre of North America), and approximately 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the border with the United States.
It is near the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, and about 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Lake Winnipeg. It is situated in the floodplain of the Red River and is surrounded by rich agricultural land.
The closest urban area with over 500,000 people is the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
Winnipeg Summers are warm to hot and often quite humid with frequent thunderstorms. The summers in Winnipeg are similar to those experienced in cities in the Midwestern United States.
Spring and autumn are short and highly variable seasons. In a typical year temperatures range from -30° C to 30° C, recorded extremes are 40.6° C and -50° C (105.1° F to -52° F). The weather is characterized by an abundance of sunshine throughout the year.
Winnipeg is the second sunniest city in Canada in the winter and has the second clearest skies year-round.
Due to its location in the centre of a large land mass and its distance from both mountains and oceans, Winnipeg has an extreme continental climate.
The city’s northerly location is also influential, though Winnipeg is located farther south than cities like London or Amsterdam.
The city is famous for its long, cold and snowy winters, and is often referred to as “Winterpeg”. According to Environment Canada, Winnipeg is the coldest city in the world with a population of 663,000.
Winnipeg is one of Canada's sunniest cities, and the weather in all seasons is characterized by an abundance of sunshine.
The city receives an average of 2,372 hours of sunshine per year compared with 1,928 hours at Vancouver and 2,037 hours at Toronto. July is the sunniest month, and November the least sunny.
Winnipeg, like Chicago, 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). The windiest weather usually occurs during blizzards or thunderstorms. April is the windiest month, and July the least windy. Tornadoes are not uncommon in the area, particularly in the spring and summer months.
Information from Wikipedia
Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine River and Red River, which is also known as The Forks, and was a 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".
In 1869-1870, Winnipeg was the site of the Red River Rebellion, a conflict between the local Métis people led by Louis Riel and newcomers from eastern Canada. This rebellion led directly to Manitoba's entry into Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870.
On November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. In 1876, the post office officially adopted the name "Winnipeg," three years after the city's incorporation.
Early 20th century
Winnipeg experienced a boom during the 1890s and the first two decades of the twentieth century, and the city's population grew from 25,000 in 1891 to more than 200,000 in 1921. Immigration increased during this period, and Winnipeg took on its distinctive multicultural character.
The Manitoba Legislative Building reflects the optimism of the boom years. Built 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" but commonly known as the "Golden Boy". The Legislature was built in the neoclassical style that is common to many other North American state and provincial legislative buildings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Winnipeg's growth slowed considerably after the opening of the Panama Canal 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 1920s.
Winnipeg General Strike
As a result of appalling labour conditions 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 government broke the strike through arrests, deportation and violence. The strike ended 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 30 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 would later become the New Democratic Party.
Great Depression and World War II
The stock market crash in 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. Thousands of Canadians volunteered to join the forces. In Winnipeg,
Post-World War II and 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 the building activity came to a halt in 1950 when the city was swamped by the 1950 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 and four of the city's eleven bridges were destroyed. Nearly 70,000 people had to be evacuated.
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 the construction of the Red River Floodway under Premier Dufferin Roblin.
The current city of Winnipeg was created when the City of Winnipeg Act was amended to form Unicity in 1971. The municipalities of St. James-Assiniboia, St. Boniface, Transcona, St. Vital, West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, and Charleswood 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 changed its name to Cityplace following the demise of the entire Eaton's chain in 1999
Information from Wikipedia.
Located at the eastern edge of the great plains of Western Canada, Winnipeg plays a prominent role in transportation, finance, manufacturing, agriculture and education.
Because all rail and highway traffic between eastern and western Canada must travel through or near the city, it is often called the "Gateway to the West".
Winnipeg is an important regional centre of commerce, industry, culture, finance, and government.
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.
Approximately 375,000 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.
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.
Winnipeg is the site of Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg and the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division, as well as home to several reserve units.
The Royal Canadian Mint located in eastern Winnipeg 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 also home to the National Microbiology Laboratory, Canada's front line in its response to SARS and one of only 15 Biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world.
Information from Wikipedia
As with much of Western Canada, in 2007, Winnipeg experienced both a building and real estate boom. In May of 2007, the Winnipeg Real Estate Board reported the best month in its 104-year history in terms of sales and volume.
Information from Wikipedia.
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 college and a French college in St. Boniface.
The University of Manitoba is the largest university of the province of Manitoba, most comprehensive and 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 enrollment 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.
Winnipeg is also home to numerous private schools, both religious and secular.
There are six public school divisions in Winnipeg:
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
Louis Riel School Division
There are four universities and one major college in Winnipeg:
University of Manitoba
University of Winnipeg
Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface
Canadian Mennonite University
Red River College
Private Schools in Winnipeg:
Balmoral Hall School
Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute
Ohr HaTorah Day School
St. John's-Ravenscourt School
St. Mary's Academy
St. Paul's High School
St. Boniface Diocesan High School
St. Maurice School
Immanuel Christian School
Springs Christian Academy
Westgate Mennonite Collegiate
Gray Academy of Jewish Education
Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate
Information from Wikipedia.
Winnipeg is well known across the prairies for its arts and culture.
Among the popular cultural institutions in the city are: the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), the Manitoba Opera, the Manitoba Museum (formerly the Museum of Man and Nature), the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Prairie Theatre Exchange, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
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 Writer's 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 Le Festival du Voyageur.
For a list of all Festivals, click here.
The planned Canadian Museum for Human Rights is in the midst of construction. It will be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National Capital Region.
Information from Wikipedia.
Winnipeg has a long and storied sports history. It has been home to several professional hockey, football and baseball franchises.
There has also been numerous university and amateur athletes over the years who have left their mark.
Current professional franchises:
-Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) Games are played at Investors Group Field
-Winnipeg Jets (NHL) Games are played at MTS Centre
-Winnipeg Goldeyes (Northern League) Games are played at Shaw Park
-Manitoba Moose (NHL farm team of the Jets) Games are played at MTS Centre
Winnipeg hosted the Pan-American Games in 1967 and 1999, the only city other than Mexico City to have hosted the event twice. The 1999 Pan Am Games were the biggest multi-sport event ever held in Canada, and the third largest ever held in North America, after the Atlanta and Los Angeles Olympics.
In recent years, the province has very successfully played host to many sporting events such as the Grey Cup, the World Curling Championships and the Canada Summer Games.
Information from Wikipedia.
Residents of Winnipeg have access to 2.5 million acres of parkland and more than 100 golf courses in the province. Winnipeggers can fish in one of the province’s 100,000 pristine lakes, hike over the sand dunes in the desert near Carberry, or stroll along the many long, sandy beaches. In fact, Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg is one of the best in North America. You can watch the huge and varied flocks of birds from the boardwalks at Oak Hammock Marsh. The choices are almost endless. Best of all, there are so many great outdoor locations and activities that it is easy to get away from the crowds.
Information from destinationwinnipeg.ca
Winnipeg has had a public transit system since the 1880s, starting with horse-drawn streetcars. Electric streetcars from 1891 until 1955, and electric trolley buses from 1938 until 1970.
Winnipeg Transit now operates entirely with diesel buses. Phase 1 of Winnipeg's highly anticipated Rapid Transit System has finally opened in April of 2012 and operates from downtown to the University of Manitoba! Phase 2 is now being planned! Stay tuned!
CentrePort Canada is North America's newest 20,000 acre inland port and Foreign Trade Zone, offering unique access to tri-modal transportation (road, rail and air). Located next to Winnipeg's airport, recently renamed as Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, which opened its new terminal in 2011, and is one of Canada's top cargo airports, CentrePort Canada opened it's doors in November 2009 and also provides companies with easy access to major national and international road, rail and sea corridors and gateways. Winnipeg's airfield was Canada's first international airport when it opened in 1928 as Stevenson Aerodrome.
The city is directly connected to the United States via Highway 75 (a northern continuation of I-29 and US 75). The highway runs 107 kilometres to Emerson, Manitoba, the 8th busiest border crossing. Much of the commercial traffic that crosses in Emerson either originates from or is destined to Winnipeg. Inside the city, the highway is locally known as Pembina Highway.
Winnipeg is unique among North American cities 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 modern four-lane highway called the Perimeter Highway was built in 1969. It serves as an expressway around the city (also known as a ring road) with interchanges and at-grade intersections that bypass the city entirely. It allows travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway to avoid the city and continue east or west uninterrupted.
Information from Wikipedia.
Home Service Providers
Winnipeg has three daily newspapers, six English television stations, one French television station, 25 AM and FM radio stations and a variety a regional and nationally based magazines that call the city home.
This is a list of hospitals in Winnipeg. Some of the facilities run by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Deer Lodge Centre
Health Sciences Centre, also includes Winnipeg Children's Hospital
Misericordia Health Center
Riverview Health Centre
Saint Boniface General Hospital
Seven Oaks General Hospital
Victoria General Hospital
Information from Wikipedia.
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