Winnipeg is known as the “Heart of the Continent” and is the capital city of Manitoba. It is also the largest city located in the area known as the Canadian Prairies. Home to almost one million residents, this city is known for its harsh winters and, conversely, its heart-warming and hospitable spirit. A relatively new city in terms of age, it was incorporated in 1873 with just 1,869 residents. The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1885 and brought with it a 30-year growth spurt that is still unrivalled for urban development in Canada.
The city’s name might mean “murky waters” to the natives, but for modern-day Canadians, it’s becoming the place to call home when you want a small-town vibe with city conveniences and all the friendly smiles you can handle.
Although most people don’t realise it, Winnipeg has a lot of culture to offer. It’s home to the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the more recent Canadian Museum for Human Rights. You’ll also enjoy concerts and shows at Centennial Concert Hall, and the University of Manitoba sits in the Fort Garry neighbourhood. This is the oldest university west of Ontario, initially founded in 1877. Today, it’s also one of the top research institutions in the country.
For fun, you can head to the Assiniboine Park Zoo or The Exchange District, home to about 20 blocks of art and culture, with plenty of great boutique shops, cafes, and some of the most popular stops in the city. Check out Old Market Square for festivals and musical guests. Also artsy, Osborne Village is home to the best dive bars and vintage stores, as well as music venues, pubs, and good old record shops.
Winnipeg neighbourhoods are home to some of the cheapest rental costs in the entire country. Many newcomers on a limited budget choose this city when they want to enjoy living alone and avoid having to recruit roommates. Winnipeg apartments are about 12% cheaper than in Hamilton, Ontario, debunking the myth that the urban centres of Ontario are the only affordable city living options.
Like other cities in the Canadian Prairies, Winnipeg isn’t known for public transit. The urban sprawl and freezing cold winters mean many people choose to drive before they even consider the bus. Public transport via the bus system is fairly comprehensive, and monthly transport passes are available. Winnipeg is also relatively walkable, and there is a bike path that networks around the city for those who like to cycle. Rideshares and taxis are available, but not nearly as popular as in larger cities.