Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba and the largest city in the province. Over the past decade the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program brought to Canada immigrants in record numbers and Winnipeg became home to more than 60,000 newcomers.
The strong population growth boosted Winnipeg’s economy, which was recently rated the third-fastest growing economy among Canada’s major cities. Being one of the Canadian cities that offer most affordable housing, Winnipeg continues to attract immigrants from around the globe.
Winnipeg is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. However, clear skies don’t necessary mean warm weather. Manitoba’s capital experiences very cold and windy winters, which last from November to March. The average snow depth in January is 20 cm and the temperatures are between -22.8°C and -12.7°C. Extremes are not unusual. The lowest recorded temperature was in -45°C in February 1966. Strong winds can make winter temperatures feel even colder than the actual temperatures. Wind chill is the index to indicate how cold the weather feels to the average person. In Winnipeg there are about 49 days a year with wind chill of -30°C or less. The coldest wind chill was -57.1°C in January 1996.
Summers are from May to August. Temperatures in July are usually between 19.5°C and 25.5°C. The highest temperature recorded in summer was 40.6°C in 1949. The city is hit by thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes in springs and summers.
Winnipeg is threatened by severe flooding (such as the Red River Flood of 1997) because of its flat topography and the melting snow.
Winnipeg Transit provides the public bus service in the city. It operates 84 fixed routes. The buses run usually from 6 a.m. until pass midnight. You can find system maps and timetables at the Transit Administration Office (B-414 Osborne Street), the Millennium Library (251 Donald Street) and Winnipeg Square Service Centre (SW Concourse Portage and Main). Also, Winnipeg Transit’s web site offers a trip planner where you can type your location and find out how to get to your destination. For transit fares click here.
Places of worship
Christians make about 72 per cent of Winnipeg’s population. For a list of churches in the city click here.
Followers of Judaism can visit Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, which is a centre for Conservative Judaism.
The Ahmadiyya Centre Mosque, located at 525 Kylemore Avenue, is part of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Pre-arrival settlement and employment services in Manitoba
City Size and Population (Society)
The population of Winnipeg is 700,000. The highest per cent of Winnipeggers are of European descent (English, Scottish, German and others). 10,2 per cent of the population is Aboriginal, which makes Winnipeg the city with the greatest number of Aboriginal people in Canada.
After years of no population growth in the 1990s and even a net loss of 4,600 people in 1996, over the past decade there was a strong population growth and the city became home to more than 60,000 new residents. What highly contributed to this growth was the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program that attracted immigrants in record numbers. For 2010 the top five professions received in Manitoba were industrial butcher, health professional, welder, truck driver and accounting and other types of clerks. The greatest number of newcomers came from the Philippines and Winnipeg became the city with the highest Filipino population percentage among municipalities in Canada. There is a significant number of immigrants from India and China as well.
Winnipeg’s economy is rated the third-fastest growing economy among Canada’s major cities. It is also one the country’s most diversified economies. Key sectors include advanced manufacturing, financial services, aerospace, agribusiness, transportation and distribution, information technology, furniture and apparel industries, life sciences and others.
The manufacturing sector ranges from food and beverage to farm equipment, buses, steel products, electrical components, aerospace components, chemicals, plastic and more. Winnipeg is the location of the Royal Canadian Mint – the plant where all Canada’s circulating coinage is produced. The Mint also manufactures coins for other countries, as well as medals, gold, silver, palladium and platinum bullion coins.
The financial service sector is one of the largest in country and the headquarters for some of Canadian biggest insurance companies and investment firms are located in Winnipeg. Due to the strong population growth over the past decade and the increased demand for housing, there is a building and real estate boom.
Unemployment rate in Winnipeg is 5.5 per cent, which is about 1.5 per cent below the overall Canadian rate.
Finding a Home
For the last seven years the strongest demand and the majority of new homes built have been in the South area of the City – south St. Boniface, south St. Vital and Fort Garry. Single family dwellings outnumber the amount of multi-family dwellings built.
Over the past decade Winnipeg experienced significant rise in house prices. There was a 115 per cent increase in the average price of a new house and a 170 per cent increase in the average price of a resale house. Because of the population growth and demand for more homes, house prices are expected to continue increasing.
Nevertheless, house prices in Winnipeg are still low compared to other cities in Canada. A 1500 sq ft two-storey house that costs about $300,000 in Winnipeg would cost 415,000 in Calgary and $865,000 in Vancouver.
Rental costs in Winnipeg are also among the lowest in Canada. The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment is $875 compared to $1,234 in Vancouver.
Residents of Manitoba are eligible for government health coverage. Newcomers should apply for Manitoba Health Card which they have to show every time they need medical services. Some services are not covered by the Government of Manitoba, but most employers provide additional health insurance.
After obtaining health coverage, a new resident of Manitoba has to find a family physician. Family doctors can prescribe drugs and refer their patients to specialists or to hospitals if necessary. The Family Doctor Connection Program provides an up-to-date list of Winnipeg family physicians accepting new patients. You can contact the Program by calling 204-786-7111.
If you haven’t found a family doctor, you can go to a walk-in clinic. Doctors at walk-in clinics can also give prescriptions and refer patients to specialists and hospitals.
For a list of hospitals and facilities in Winnipeg click here.
In case of medical emergency call 9-1-1. To receive an ambulance service, you have to pay about $300.
There are seven school divisions in Winnipeg. The largest is the Winnipeg School Division which comprises of 77 schools and over 5,300 staff members. It teaches more than 33,000 students. The other divisions are St. James-Assiniboia School Division with 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and four high schools, Pembina Trails School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, The Franco-Manitoban School Division, River East Transcona School Division and The Louis Riel School Division. Parents can also choose to send their children to private or religious schools. For a list of schools in Winnipeg click here.
The University of Manitoba of Manitoba is the oldest university in Western Canada. It offers over 90 degrees, diplomas and certificates, more than 60 at the undergraduate level.
Université de Saint-Boniface is the only French-language university in all of western Canada.
University of Winnipeg (U of W) has undergraduate faculties of art, business and economics, education, science and theology and offers also graduate programs.
Canadian Mennonite University is a private Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition.
Red River College is Manitoba’s largest institute for applied learning with more than 200 full-time and part-time programs.
Winnipeg offers a wide variety of sport facilities – swimming pools, golf courses, skating rinks, skating arenas and hockey rinks, tennis courts and weight rooms. Winnipeg parks have beautiful trails and pathways as well as off-leash dog areas.
Manitoba’s capital enjoys a substantial cultural life. There are many art galleries and performing arts venues in Winnipeg. The largest gallery in Manitoba, Winnipeg Art Gallery, which has the biggest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, features every year touring exhibitions from all over the world. Centennial Concert Hall is the primary concert venue of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Opera and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Over 250 theatre performances are given yearly at the Manitoba Theatre Centre.
The city hosts Folklorama, the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world. Each year in August different countries are presented at 40 to 45 pavilions, and approximately 3,000 entertainers perform at more than 1,500 shows.