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 aboriginal peoples long before the arrival of Europeans. 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. As of 2011, Winnipeg is the seventh most populated municipality in Canada. Being located very far inland, the local climate is extremely seasonal even by Canadian standards with average January lows of around −21 °C (−6 °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. 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) and the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball).
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. Winnipeg is named after nearby Lake Winnipeg; the name is a transcription of the Western Cree words for muddy or brackish water. 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.
Estimates of the date of first settlement in this area are varied and range from 11,500 years ago for a site southwest of the present city to 6,000 years ago at The Forks. 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. 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.
Sieur de La Vérendrye built the first fur trading post on the site in 1738, called Fort Rouge. 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. Many French and later British men who were trappers married First Nations women; their mixed-race children hunted, traded, and lived in the area. They gradually developed as an ethnicity known as the Métis because of sharing a traditional culture.
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. 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. The two companies competed fiercely over trade. 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-standing rivalry. Fort Gibraltar was renamed Fort Garry in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson's Bay Company. The fort was destroyed by a flood in 1826 and was not rebuilt until 1835. A rebuilt section of the fort, consisting of the front gate and a section of the wall, can be found near the modern-day corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Winnipeg.
In 1869–70, 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. On 8 November 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city, with the Selkirk settlement as its nucleus. Métis legislator and interpreter James McKay named the city.
Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881. The railway divided the North End, which housed mainly Eastern Europeans, from the richer Anglo-Saxon southern part of the city. 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.
By 1911, Winnipeg was Canada's third-largest city. However, the city faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914. 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.
More than 30,000 workers walked off their jobs in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg general strike. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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"). The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression resulted in widespread unemployment, worsened by drought and low agricultural prices. The Depression ended after the start of World War II in 1939. 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. In 1942, the Victory Loan Campaign staged a mock Nazi invasion of Winnipeg to promote awareness of the stakes of the war in Europe. When the war ended, pent-up demand generated a boom in housing development, although building activity was checked by the 1950 Red River flood. The federal government estimated damage at over $26 million, although the province indicated that it was at least double that.
Prior to 1972, Winnipeg was the largest of thirteen cities and towns in a metropolitan area around the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. A consolidated metropolitan "unicity" government was established on 27 July 1971, taking effect in 1972. The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city. 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. 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, and the three levels of government contributed over $271 million to its development. In 1989, the reclamation and redevelopment of the CNR rail yards turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction. The city was threatened by the 1997 Red River flood as well as further floods in 2009 and 2011, in each of these floods, the Red River Floodway was used to safely protect the city.
Winnipeg lies at the bottom of the Red River Valley, a flood plain with an extremely flat topography. It is on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies in Western Canada and is known as the "Gateway to the West". 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. It is relatively close to many large Canadian Shield lakes and parks, as well as Lake Winnipeg (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake). Winnipeg contains North America's largest extant mature urban elm forest. The city has a total area of 464.08 km2 (179.18 sq mi).
Winnipeg has four major rivers: the Red, Assiniboine, La Salle and Seine. The city was subject to severe flooding in the past. The Red River reached its greatest flood height in 1826. Another large flood occurred in 1950, which caused millions of dollars in damage and mass evacuations. This flood prompted Duff Roblin's provincial government to build the Red River Floodway to protect the city; the project began in 1962 and was completed in 1968. In the 1997 flood, flood control dikes were reinforced and raised using sandbags; Winnipeg suffered very limited damage compared to the flood's impact on cities without such structures, such as Grand Forks, North Dakota. 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.
Winnipeg's location in the Canadian Prairies gives it a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) Summers have a July mean average of 19.7 °C (67.5 °F). Winters are the coldest and driest time of year, with the January mean average around −16.4 °C (2.5 °F) and total winter precipitation averaging 55 mm (2.2 in). Temperatures occasionally drop below −40.0 °C (−40 °F) The actual air temperature drops below −30 °C (−22 °F) on average 12.6 days annually and rises above 30 °C (86 °F) 13.3 days of the year. On average there are 317.8 days per year with measurable sunshine, with July seeing the most on average. With 2353 hours of sunshine per year, Winnipeg is the second sunniest city in Canada. Total annual precipitation (both rain and snow) is just over 51 centimetres (20 in). Thunderstorms are very common during summer, and sometimes severe enough to produce tornadoes. Low wind chill values are a common occurrence in the local climate. The wind chill has gone down as low as -57 and on average there are 12 days of the year that can reach a wind chill below -40.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was 42.2 °C (108 °F) on 11 July 1936 while the highest daily low temperature was 28.3 °C (83 °F) on July 12, 1936. The apparent heat can be even more extreme due to bursts of humidity and on 25 July 2007 a 47.3 reading of the humidex was measured. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −47.8 °C (−54 °F) on 24 December 1879.
The frost-free season is comparatively long for a location with such severe winters. The last spring frost is on average around May 23, whilst the first fall frost is on September 22.
There are officially 236 neighbourhoods in Winnipeg. Downtown Winnipeg, the city's financial heart and economic core, is centred on the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street. It covers an area of about 1 square mile (2.6 km2) and is the fastest growing high-income neighbourhood in the city. More than 72,000 people work downtown, and over 40,000 students attend classes at its universities and colleges. The past few decades have seen the downtown undergo major revitalization efforts; since 1999, over C$1.2 billion has been invested.
Downtown Winnipeg's Exchange District is named after the area's original grain exchange, which operated from 1880 to 1913. 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, 62 of downtown Winnipeg's 86 heritage structures, Stephen Juba Park, and Old Market Square. 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.
Various residential neighbourhoods surround the downtown in all directions; expansion is greatest to the south and west, although several areas remain underdeveloped. The largest park in the city, Assiniboine Park, houses the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. Other large city parks include Kildonan Park and St. Vital Park. The major commercial areas in the city are Polo Park, Kildonan Crossing, South St. Vital, Garden City (West Kildonan), Pembina Strip, Kenaston Smart Centre, Osborne Village, and the Corydon strip. 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. Osborne Village is Winnipeg's most densely populated neighbourhood, as well as one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Western Canada.
As of the Canada 2016 Census there were 705,244 people living in Winnipeg proper, with approximately 778,489 living in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Thus, Winnipeg is Manitoba's largest city and Canada's seventh largest city. Furthermore, the city represents 54.9% of the population of the province of Manitoba, the highest population concentration in one city of any province in Canada. 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, and Rosser and St. François Xavier. Statistics Canada's estimate of the Winnipeg CMA population as of 1 July 2016 is 811,874.
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. 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.
Winnipeg has a significant and increasing Aboriginal population, with both the highest percentage of Aboriginal peoples (11.7%) for any major Canadian city, and the highest total number of Aboriginals (76,055) for any single non-reserve municipality. 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. 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%. 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. The population is 67.5% white as of 2011 (down from 73.5% in 2006), while non-aboriginal visible minorities represent 21.4% as of 2011 (up from 16.3% in 2006). The city receives over 10,000 net international immigrants per year.
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 Aboriginal languages are also spoken, such as Ojibwe (0.3%) and Cree (0.2%).
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.
Winnipeg is an economic base and regional centre. It has one of the country's most diversified economies, with major employment in the trade (15.2%), manufacturing (9.8%), educational (7.7%), and health care and social assistance (15.2%) sectors. There were approximately 21,000 employers in the city as of 2012.
In 2013, The CIBC Metropolitan Economic Activity Index rated Winnipeg's economy as fourth in a national survey of 25 city economies, behind Toronto, Calgary, and Regina. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Winnipeg is projected to experience a real GDP growth of 2 percent in 2014. Unlike most of Canada, the city experienced a decrease in unemployment in 2013, ending the year at a rate of 5.8 percent. As of 2010, median household income in the city was $72,050.
As of January 2014, approximately 416,700 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are government and government-funded institutions, including: the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, the Health Sciences Centre, and Manitoba Hydro. Approximately 54,000 people (14% of the work force) are employed in the public sector as of 2008. Large private sector employers include Shaw Communications, Manitoba Telecom Services, Ipsos-Reid, Palliser Furniture, Great-West Life Assurance, Motor Coach Industries, New Flyer Industries, Boeing Canada Technology, Magellan Aerospace, Nygård International, Canad Inns, Canada Goose clothing and Investors Group.
The Royal Canadian Mint, established in 1976, is where all circulating coinage in Canada is produced. The plant, located in southeastern Winnipeg, also produces coins for many other countries.
In 2012, Winnipeg was ranked by KPMG as the least expensive location to do business in western Canada. Like many prairie cities, Winnipeg has a relatively low cost of living. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average house price in Winnipeg was $260,000 as of 2013. As of May 2014, the Consumer Price Index was 125.8 relative to 2002 prices, reflecting consumer costs at the Canadian average.
Winnipeg was named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2010 by Canadian Heritage. As of 2012, there are 26 National Historic Sites of Canada in Winnipeg. One of these, The Forks, attracts four million visitors a year. 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 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) skate plaza, a 8,500-square-foot (790 m2) bowl complex, the Esplanade Riel bridge, a river walkway, Shaw Park, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the main Millennium Library.
Winnipeg the Bear, which would later 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. 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.
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.
Winnipeg's three largest performing arts venues, the Centennial Concert Hall, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) and the Pantages Playhouse Theatre, are located downtown. MTC is Canada's oldest English-language regional theatre, with over 250 performances yearly. The Pantages Playhouse Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1913. Other city theatres include the Burton Cummings Theatre (a National Historic Site of Canada built in 1906) and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Le Cercle Molière, based in St Boniface, is the oldest theatre company in Canada; it was founded in 1925. 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. 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 is the only Theatre for Young Audiences that offers a full season of plays for teenagers. The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre is the only professional theatre in Canada dedicated to Jewish themes. Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) presents adaptations of Shakespeare plays.
Winnipeg has hosted a number of Hollywood productions: Shall We Dance? (2004), Capote (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and Goon (2011) among others had parts filmed in the city. The Winnipeg Film Group has produced numerous award-winning films. 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. Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, an independent film released in 2008, is a comedic rumination on the city's history.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is the largest and oldest professional musical ensemble in Winnipeg. The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra runs a series of chamber orchestral concerts each year. Manitoba Opera is Manitoba's only full-time professional opera company. Among the most notable musical acts associated with Winnipeg are Comeback Kid, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, the Crash Test Dummies, The Guess Who, Neil Young, The Wailin' Jennys, and The Weakerthans.
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.
The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in the city, and depicts the history of the city and province. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch is the museum's showcase piece. The Manitoba Children's Museum is a nonprofit children's museum located at The Forks that features twelve permanent galleries. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is Western Canada's oldest public art gallery, founded in 1912. It is the sixth-largest in the country and includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the second Canadian national museum for human rights. The federal government has contributed $100 million towards the estimated $311-million project. Construction of the museum began on 1 April 2008, and the museum opened to the public 27 September 2014.
The Western Canada Aviation Museum, located 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. The Winnipeg Railway Museum is located at Via Rail Station and contains various locomotives, notably the Countess of Dufferin, the first steam locomotive in Western Canada.
Festival du Voyageur, Western Canada's largest winter festival, celebrates the early French explorers of the Red River Valley. Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural celebration festival in the world. The Jazz Winnipeg Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival both celebrate Winnipeg's music community. The Winnipeg Music Festival offers a competition venue to amateur musicians. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is the second-largest alternative theatre festival in North America. The Winnipeg International Writers Festival (also called THIN AIR) brings writers to Winnipeg for workshops and readings. 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.
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. 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". The Jets play at Bell MTS Place, which is currently 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. 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 presently located in Winnipeg is the Manitoba Moose, who are the American Hockey League primary affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and owned by the same group . In amateur hockey, the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League play out of the Bell MTS Iceplex. 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.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers play in the Canadian Football League. The Blue Bombers are ten-time Grey Cup champions, their last championship in 1990. From 1953 to 2012, the Blue Bombers called Canad Inns Stadium home; they have since moved to Investors Group Field. Due to construction delays and cost overruns, the stadium was not ready in time for the 2012 CFL season, instead opening in 2013. The $200-million facility is also the home to the CIS' University of Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League.
The University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of Winnipeg Wesmen represent the city in interuniversity sport. In soccer, it is represented by WSA Winnipeg in the USL Premier Development League.
Winnipeg has been home to a number of 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.
Winnipeg was the first Canadian city to ever host the Pan American Games, and the second city to host the event twice, in 1967 and again in 1999. The Pan Am Pool, built for the 1967 Pan Am Games, hosts aquatic events, including diving, speed swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. Winnipeg co-hosted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The city has been selected to host the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
Winnipeg has three daily newspapers: the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun, and the Metro Winnipeg. There are five weekly newspapers delivered free to most Winnipeg households by region. There are also several ethnic weekly newspapers.
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. 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. Winnipeg is home to 33 AM and FM radio stations, two of which are French-language stations. CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2 broadcast local and national programming in the city. NCI is devoted to Aboriginal programming.
Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg has been represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor, both elected every four years. The present mayor, Brian Bowman, was elected to office in 2014. The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system. 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. The mayor is elected by direct popular vote to serve as the chief executive of the city. At Council meetings, the mayor has one of 16 votes. The City Council is a unicameral legislative body, representing geographical wards throughout the city.
In provincial politics, Winnipeg is represented by 31 of the 57 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). As of 2016, Winnipeg districts are represented by 17 members of the Progressive Conservative Party, 10 by the New Democratic Party (NDP), and 2 by the Liberal Party.
In federal politics, as of 2015 Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: seven Liberals and one New Democrat. There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa: three Liberals, two Conservatives, and one Independent.
From 2007 to 2011, Winnipeg was the "murder capital" of Canada, with the highest per-capita rate of homicides; it fell to second place in 2012, behind Thunder Bay. Winnipeg has had the highest violent crime index since 2009. The robbery rate in 2012 was between 250.1 and 272.9. Despite high overall violent crime rates, crime in Winnipeg is mostly concentrated in the inner city, which makes up only 19% of the population 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.
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 compared to 487 auto-thefts per 100,000 residents for Canada as a whole. 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. The auto-theft rate has been on a constant drop since 2006. Other types of property crime have also decreased, but rates are still fairly high.
Winnipeg is protected by the Winnipeg Police Service, which in 2012 had 1,442 police officers. In November 2013, the national police union reviewed the Winnipeg Police Force and found high average response times for several categories of calls.
There are seven 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, and Louis Riel School Division. Winnipeg also has a number of religious and secular private schools.
The University of Manitoba is the largest university in Manitoba. It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada's first university. In a typical year, the university has an enrolment of 24,500 undergraduate students and 4,000 graduate students. Université de Saint-Boniface is the city's only French Canadian university. The University of Winnipeg received its charter in 1967. Until 2007, it was an undergraduate institution that offered some joint graduate studies programs; it now offers independent graduate programs. The Canadian Mennonite University is a private Mennonite undergraduate university established in 1999.
Winnipeg also has two independent colleges: Red River College and Booth University College. Red River College offers diploma, certificate, and apprenticeship programs and, starting in 2009, began offering some degree programs. Booth University College is a private Christian Salvation Army university college established in 1982. It offers mostly arts and seminary training.
Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars. They were replaced by electric trolley cars. The trolley cars ran from 1892 to 1955, supplemented by motor buses after 1918, and electric trolleybuses from 1938 to 1970. Winnipeg Transit now runs diesel buses on its routes.
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.
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. 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. A recent study cited dangerous intersections and low efficiency as its primary shortfalls. The Trans-Canada Highway runs east to west through the city (city route), or circles around the city on the Perimeter Highway (beltway). 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.).
The Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport completed a $585-million redevelopment in October 2011. The development includes a new terminal, a four-level parking facility, and other infrastructure improvements. Winnipeg Bus Terminal, located at Winnipeg International Airport, offers domestic and international service by Greyhound Canada, Grey Goose Bus Lines, Winnipeg Shuttle Service and Brandon Air Shuttle. Approximately 20,000 acres (81 km2) 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. In 2009, construction began on a $212-million four-lane freeway that would eventually connect CentrePort with the Perimeter Highway. Named CentrePort Canada Way, it was opened in November 2013.
Winnipeg is served by several taxi companies, the three largest being Unicity, Duffy's Taxi and Spring Taxi. Fifty percent of Winnipeg residents use a taxi at least once during the year. Cycling is popular in Winnipeg, and there are many bicycle trails and lanes around the city. Winnipeg holds an annual Bike-to-Work Day and Cyclovia, and bicycle commuters may be seen year-round, even in the winter. Active living infrastructure in Winnipeg encourages bicycling through the inclusion of bike lanes and sharrows.
Winnipeg's major hospitals include Health Sciences Centre, Concordia Hospital, Deer Lodge Centre, Grace Hospital, Misericordia Health Centre, Riverview Health Centre, Saint Boniface General Hospital, Seven Oaks General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.
The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is one of only a handful of biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world. 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.
Water and sewage services are provided by the city. 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. The city's system comprises over 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) of underground water mains, which are subject to breakage during extreme weather conditions.
Electricity and natural gas are provided by Manitoba Hydro, a provincial crown corporation headquartered in the city; it uses primarily hydroelectric power. The primary telecommunications carrier is MTS, although a number of other corporations offer telephone, cellular, television and internet services in the city.
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 and is more expansive than in comparable communities. The services have faced numerous complaints from residents in 2013–14 about missed service.
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, 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. Excluding the three levels of government, 17 Wing is the fourth largest employer in the city. The Wing 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.
There are two squadrons based in the city. The 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron flies the Canadian-designed and produced de Havilland CT-142 Dash 8 navigation trainer. The 435 "Chinthe" Transport and Rescue Squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules in airlift search and rescue roles. In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Royal Canadian Air Force squadron equipped and trained to conduct tactical air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft.
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, the location of which now houses the Rady Jewish Community Centre. They eventually moved to the Kapyong Barracks located between River Heights and Tuxedo. Since 2004, the battalion has operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.