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Winnipeg

Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the historic Red and Assiniboine Rivers, a point now commonly known as The Forks. Winnipeg is the core cultural and economic centre of the Winnipeg Capital Region, which is home to more than half of the entire Manitoba population. It has Canada's 8th largest CMA with 694,668 inhabitants, and is Canada's 7th largest municipality with a population of 633,451 (as of the 2006 Census). The CMA population was estimated at 719,200 as of July 1, 2008. A resident of Winnipeg is known as a Winnipegger.

Before European exploration

Tipis on the prairie near the Red River Colony, 1858

Winnipeg lies at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, known today as "the Forks", a historic 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"; the general area was populated for thousands of years by First Nations. Through archaeology, petroglyphs, rock art, ancient artifacts, and oral history, scholars have learned that in prehistoric times, natives used the area for camps, hunting, fishing, trading, and further north, agriculture.

The first farming in Manitoba appeared to have been along the Red River, near present-day Lockport, where corn and other seed crops were planted before First Nations contact with Europeans. For thousands of years there have been humans living in this region. Numerous archaeological clues have been found about their ways of life. The rivers provided transportation far and wide and linked many peoples-such as the Anishinaabe, Assiniboine, Mandan, Ojibway, Sioux, Cree, Lakota, and others?for trade and knowledge sharing. The people made mounds near the waterways, similar to those of the mound builders of the south. Lake Winnipeg was considered to be an inland sea, with important river links to the mountains in the West, the Great Lakes to the East, and the Arctic Ocean in the North. The Red River linked ancient northern peoples with those to the south along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Ojibway made some of the first maps on birch bark, which helped fur traders find their way along the rivers and lakes.

Settlement

Steamship port at the Forks, with Upper Fort Garry in the background, early 1870s

The first French officer arrived in the area in 1738. Sieur de la Verendrye built the first fur trading post on the site, called Fort Rouge. Their traders continued there for several decades before the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company. The French men married women from the First Nations. Their children, called Metis, hunted, traded, and lived in the general area for decades. Growing up bilingual, they often took prominent roles between cultures as settlement expanded.

Lord Selkirk was involved with the first permanent settlement (Red River Colony), purchase of land from the Hudson's Bay Company, and a survey of river lots in the early 1800s. The North West Company built Fort Gibraltar in 1809, and the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Douglas in 1812. The two companies fought fiercely over trade in the area, and each destroyed some of the other's forts over the course of several battles. The Metis and Lord Selkirk's settlers fought a battle at the historic Battle of Seven Oaks site. In 1821, the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies ended their long rivalry with a merger. Fort Gibraltar, at the site of present-day Winnipeg, was renamed Fort Garry in 1822 and became the leading post in the region for the Hudson?? Bay Company. The fort was destroyed by a flood in 1826, and it was not rebuilt until 1835. The fort was the residence of the Governor of the company for many years. It became a part of the first major colony and settlement in western Canada.

In 1869?70, Winnipeg was the site of the Red River Rebellion, a conflict between the local provisional government of Metis, led by Louis Riel, and newcomers from eastern Canada. General Garnet Wolseley was sent to put down the rebellion. This rebellion led directly to Manitoba's entry into the Canadian Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870. On November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city. Manitoba and Northwest Territories legislator James McKay named the settlement.

Late 1800s and early 1900s
See also: Winnipeg General Strike
Winnipeg's Main Street in 1887 (at Pioneer Avenue, looking north through Portage and Main). The horse-car lines would be supplemented by a second set of tracks of the Winnipeg Electric Street Railway in 1892

With the recent Canadian Pacific Railway came many travellers, settlers, and businessmen to the new city. Agriculture was a booming industry, and many made massive fortunes on the prairies. Bonanza farms were common at the time further south in the United States. Canada was also eager to settle the west before American interests and railways interfered in any way. Winnipeg developed rapidly after the coming of the railroad in 1881, allowing it to take on its distinctive multicultural character. The Manitoba Legislative Building reflects the optimism of the boom years. Built mainly 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" (commonly known as the "Golden Boy"). Many new lots of land were sold, and prices increased fast due to high demand. The real estate boom eventually slowed down, and Vancouver soon became the third largest city.

Winnipeg faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914. The canal reduced reliance on Canada's rail system for international trade, and the increase in ship traffic helped Vancouver eventually surpass Winnipeg to become Canada's third-largest city in the 1950s.
The Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919

Following World War I, owing to a postwar recession, appalling labour conditions, and the presence of radical union organizers and a large influx of returning soldiers, 35,000 Winnipeggers walked off the job in May 1919 in what came to be known as the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. After many arrests, deportations, and incidents of violence, the strike ended on June 21, 1919, when the Riot Act was read and a group of RCMP officers charged a group of strikers. Two strikers were killed and at least thirty 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 NDP.

The stock market crash of 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 started in 1939. In Winnipeg, the old established armouries of Minto, Tuxedo (Fort Osborne), and McGregor were so crowded that the military had to take over other buildings to increase capacity.

The end of World War II brought a new sense of optimism in Winnipeg. Pent-up demand brought a boom in housing development, but building activity came to a halt due to the 1950 Red River 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, four of the city's eleven bridges were destroyed, and nearly 100,000 people had to be evacuated, making it Canada's largest evacuation in history. The federal government estimated damages at over $26-million, although the province insisted it was at least double that..

Amalgamation to present

Prior to 1972, Winnipeg was the largest of thirteen cities and towns in a metropolitan area around the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Unicity was created on July 27, 1971 and took effect with the first elections in 1972. The City of Winnipeg Act incorporated the current city of Winnipeg: the municipalities of Transcona, St. Boniface, St. Vital, West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, and St. James, were amalgamated with the Old City of Winnipeg.

Immediately following the 1979 energy crisis, Winnipeg experienced a severe economic downturn in advance of the early 1980s recession. Throughout the recession, the city incurred closures of prominent businesses such as the Winnipeg Tribune and 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 to redevelop its downtown area. The three levels of government?federal, provincial and municipal?have contributed over $271-million to the development needs of downtown Winnipeg over the past 20 years. The funding was instrumental in attracting Portage Place mall, which comprises the headquarters of Investors Group, the offices of Air Canada, and several apartment complexes. In 1989, the reclamation and redevelopment of the CNR rail yards at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers turned The Forks into Winnipeg's most popular tourist attraction.

Geography

Winnipeg lays at the bottom a low lying flood plain in the Red River Valley, which has an extremely flat topography, as there are no substantial hills in the city or its vicinity. Winnipeg is also on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, which allows it to be relatively close to many large Canadian shield lakes and parks, as well as Lake Winnipeg (the earth's 11th largest freshwater lake). According to the Census geographic units of Canada, the city has a total area of 464.01 km? (179.2 sq mi), and has a total elevation of 238 m (781 ft).

Winnipeg has four major rivers, the Red River, Assiniboine River, La Salle River, and the Seine River (the Red River is now considered a Canadian heritage river). The Red is home to the largest average size of channel catfish in the world; and according to Guinness world Records, Winnipeg has laid claim to the title of "World's Longest Skating Rink", along the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

According to the 2006 Census, there were 633,451 people residing in Winnipeg itself and a total of 694,668 inhabitants in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area on 16 May 2006, and 711,455 in the Winnipeg Capital Region making it Manitoba?? largest city and the eighth largest CMA in Canada. Of the city population, 48.3% were male and 51.7% were female. 24.3% were 19 years old or younger, people aged by 20 and 39 years accounted for 27.4%, and those between 40 and 64 made up 34.0% of the population. 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 2001 and 2006, Winnipeg's population increased by 2.2%, compared to the average of 2.6% for Manitoba and 5.4% for Canada. The population density of the city of Winnipeg averaged 1,365.2 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 3.5 for Manitoba.

Of Winnipeg?? total population, 61,217 citizens live in the city?? Census Metropolitan Area, which apart from Winnipeg includes the Rural municipalities of East St. Paul, Headingley, Ritchot, Rosser, Springfield, St. Clements, St. Francois Xavier, Tache and West St. Paul, and the Aboriginal community of Brokenhead.

Ethnicity

Ethnic diversity is an important part of Winnipeg's culture. Most Winnipeggers are of European or Canadian descent. Visible minorities make up 16.3% of Winnipeg's population. Winnipeg is home to 38,155 people of Filipino descent, or roughly 6% of the total population, the highest concentration of persons of Filipino origin in Canada, and the second largest Filipino population in Canada after Toronto.

Language

More than 100 languages are spoken in Winnipeg; the most common is English, in which 99.0% of Winnipeggers are fluent. In terms of Canada's official languages, 88.0% of Winnipeggers speak only English, and 0.1% speak only French. 11% speak both English and French, while 0.9% speak neither English nor French. Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include German (spoken by 4.1% of the population), Tagalog (3.4%), Ukrainian (3.1%), Spanish, Chinese and Polish (all three spoken by 1.7% of the population), as well as Aboriginal languages including Ojibway (0.6%), Cree (0.5%), Inuktitut and Mi'kmaq (both less than 0.1%). Other languages spoken in Winnipeg include Portuguese, Italian, Icelandic, Punjabi, Vietnamese, Urdu, Hindi, Russian, Dutch, Non-verbal languages, Arabic, Serbian, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Creole, Danish, and Gaelic languages (all of which are spoken by roughly 1% or less of the population).

Religion

The 2001 census states that 21.7% of Winnipeggers do not follow a religion., while 72.9% of Winnipeggers belong to a Christian denomination, 35.1% of which are Protestant, 32.6% are Roman Catholic, and 5.2% are other Christian denominations. 5.6% of the population follows a religion other than Christianity?followers of Judaism make up 2.1% of the population, followers of Buddhism and Sikhism make up 0.9% of the population each, and Muslims make up 0.8% of the population. Hindus account for 0.6% of the population, while followers of other religions make up less than 0.5% of the population.

Education

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 university and a French college in Saint Boniface

The University of Manitoba is the largest university in the province of Manitoba, the most comprehensive and the only research-intensive post-secondary educational institution. It was founded in 1877, making it Western Canada?? first university. In a typical year, the university has an enrolment 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. Until 2007, it was an undergraduate institution with a faculty of arts and science that offered some joint graduate studies programs. It now offers graduate programs exclusive to the university. In 2008, the university plans on creating a new faculty of business consisting of economics and business programs hived off from the faculty of arts.

Winnipeg is also home to numerous private schools, both religious and secular.

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
* Louis Riel School Division


Post-secondary Institutions

There are five post-secondary institutions in Winnipeg

* University of Manitoba
* University of Winnipeg
* College universitaire de Saint-Boniface
* Canadian Mennonite University
* Red River College

Economy

Winnipeg's Royal Canadian Mint

Winnipeg is an important economic base and regional centre, with an extremley diversified economy; covering financial, manufacturing, transportation, food and beverage production, industry, culture, government, and retail and tourism. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Winnipeg had the third-fastest growing economy among Canada's major cities in 2007, with a real GDP growth at 3.7%.

Approximately 375,000 people are employed in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Some of Winnipeg's largest employers are either government or government-funded institutions, including: McPhillips Street Station Casino, Club Regent Casino, 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. Large private sector employers include: Manitoba Telecom Services, Canwest, Palliser Furniture, Great-West Life Assurance, Motor Coach Industries, Convergys Corporation, New Flyer Industries, Boeing Canada Technology, Bristol Aerospace, Nygard International, Canad Inns and Investors Group. The Royal Canadian Mint located in southeastern 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.

A number of large privately held family-owned companies operate out of Winnipeg. The most famous of these is James Richardson & Sons. The Richardson Building at Portage and Main was the first skyscraper to grace that corner. Other private companies include Ben Moss Jewellers, Frantic Films and Paterson Grain.

Winnipeg is home to several government research labs. The National Microbiology Laboratory is Canada's front line in its response to infectious diseases and one of only a handful of Biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world. The National Research Council also has the Institute for Biodiagnostics laboratory located in the downtown area.

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. As with much of Western Canada, in 2007, Winnipeg experienced both a building and real estate boom. In May 2007, the Winnipeg Real Estate Board reported the best month in its 104-year history in terms of sales and volume.

Arts and Culture

This pedestrian only, Side-spar cable-stayed bridge (The Esplanade Riel), is home to the Winnipeg-based Salisbury House Restaurant

Winnipeg is well known across the prairies for its arts and culture.

Since 1999, Winnipeg has achieved acclaim for being the "Slurpee Capital of the World".

The Winnipeg Public Library is a public library network with 20 branches throughout the city, including the Millennium Library, located downtown. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a public art gallery that was founded in 1912. It is Western Canada's oldest civic gallery and the 6th largest in the country. The collection includes the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The Manitoba Museum is the largest museum in the city. The full-size replica of the ship Nonsuch, whose voyage in 1668 led to the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company, is the museum's showcase piece.

Winnipeg is well known for its murals. Many buildings in the downtown area and extending into some suburban areas have murals painted on the sides of buildings. Although some are advertisements for shops and other businesses, many are historical paintings, school art projects, or downtown beautification projects. Murals can also be found on several of the downtown traffic light switch posts and fire hydrants.

Winnipeg also has a thriving film community, beginning as early as 1897 with the films of James Freer to the production of local independent films of today, such as those by Guy Maddin. It has also supported a number of Hollywood productions, including Shall We Dance? (2004), the Oscar nominated film Capote (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2006), The Horsemen (2008) and X2 (2003) had parts filmed in the province. Several locally-produced and national television dramas have also been shot in Winnipeg. The National Film Board of Canada and the Winnipeg Film Group have produced numerous award-winning films.

Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, an independent film released in 2008, is a poetic and comedic rumination on the city's history. It features archival footage and contemporary imagery blended seamlessly into an extended autobiographical goodbye letter.

There are several TV and film production companies in Winnipeg. Some of the prominent ones are Frantic Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures, Les Productions Rivard and Eagle Vision.

Winnipeg Bear, (also known as Winnie-the-Pooh) was purchased in Ontario, by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse cavalry regiment en route to his embarkation point for the front lines of World War I. He named the bear after the regiment's home town of Winnipeg.

An Ernest H. Shepard painting of "Winnie the Pooh" is the only known oil painting of Winnipeg?? famous bear cub. It was purchased at an auction for $285,000 in London, England, in 2000. The painting is displayed in Assiniboine Park.

Winnipeg is also associated with various music acts. Among the most notable are Neil Young, The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Streetheart, Harlequin, Chantal Kreviazuk, Bif Naked, Venetian Snares, Comeback Kid, The Waking Eyes, Econoline Crush, Brent Fitz, Jet Set Satellite, the New Meanies, Propagandhi, The Weakerthans, The Perpetrators, Crash Test Dummies, Christine Fellows, The Wailin' Jennys and The Duhks.

Winnipeg is mentioned in the song "Anywhere Under the Moon" by Canadian folk duo Dala, on their 2007 album Who Do You Think You Are, as well as in Danny Michel's song "Into the Flame".

Winnipeg is the subject of the song "One Great City!" by The Weakerthans. The song makes allusion to the slow growth and lost industry in the town. The title of the song is the slogan on signs welcoming visitors to Winnipeg. The city is also mentioned in Neil Young's "Don't Be Denied". Aaron Funk, a Winnipeg-based Breakcore artist better known as Venetian Snares, released a concept album in 2005 based on his hatred of Winnipeg.

Attractions

Winnipeg is home to many attractions, events, and festivals, year round. According to Guinness, Winnipeg claimed the title for the world's longest skating rink in the world, along the Red and Assiniboine rivers beating Ottawa's Rideau Canal.

The Forks (the location of a national historic site), where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, brings locals and visitors alike to its shops, river walkways and festivals. It is home to the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Winnipeg International Children's Festival, the Manitoba Children's Museum, a 30,000 square foot skate plaza, a 8,500-square-foot (790 m2) bowl complex, and the Esplanade Riel bridge.

Winnipeg is also the future home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The start of construction is contingent on continued efforts to raise money in 2008. It will be the first Canadian national museum outside of the National Capital Region. The museum will be located at The Forks.

Museums

* Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada
* Dalnavert
* The Fire Fighters Museum
* Fort Garry Historical Society "St Norbert Prov. Heritage Park"
* Fort Garry Horse Museum & Archives Inc.
* Gallery 1C03 University of Winnipeg
* Gallery One One One and FitzGerald Study Centre
* Hudson's Bay Company Archives
* Ivan Franko Museum
* Jewish Heritage Centre
* La Maison Gabrielle Roy
* Le Musee de Saint-Boniface Museum
* Living Prairie Museum
* Manitoba Children's Museum
* Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library
* Manitoba Electrical Museum
* Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
* Naval Museum of Manitoba
* Ogniwo Polish Museum Society
* Pavilion Gallery Museum
* The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada Museum
* Robert B. Ferguson Museum of Mineralogy
* Ross House Museum
* Royal Canadian Mint
* Seven Oaks House Museum
* St. Vital Historical Society
* St. Volodymyr Museum
* The Ed Leith Cretaceous Menagerie
* The Historical Museum of St. James - Assiniboia
* The Manitoba Museum
* Transcona Historical Museum
* Ukrainian Cultural & Educational Centre
* Western Canada Aviation Museum
* Winnipeg Art Gallery
* Winnipeg Police Museum
* Winnipeg Railway Museum

Theatre companies

* Celebrations Dinner Theatre
* Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (WJT)
* Le Cercle Moliere
* Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC)
* Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP)
* Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE)
* Rainbow Stage
* Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR)
* Black Hole Theatre Company

Festivals

* Brave New Words: The Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards
* Festival du Voyageur
* Folklorama
* Jazz Winnipeg Festival
* NSI Film Exchange Canadian Film Festival
* Winnipeg Comedy Festival
* Winnipeg Folk Festival
* Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival
* Winnipeg International Children's Festival
* Winnipeg Friendship Festival
* Winnipeg International Writers Festival (THIN AIR)

Local media

Winnipeg has two daily newspapers, numerous ethnic weekly newspapers, six English television stations, one French television station, 24 AM and FM radio stations (2 of which are French) and a variety of regional and nationally based magazines that call the city home.

Cuisine

Winnipeg has a broad selection of restaurants and specialty food stores. Many ethnic cuisines are well represented, including those of the local Ukrainian, Jewish, Mennonite, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Greek, Thai, French, Vietnamese, and Filipino populations.

Regional dishes include Winnipeg goldeye, a kind of smoked fish, fresh pickerel fillets and pickerel cheeks, and an East European style of light rye bread called Winnipeg rye. Also associated with Winnipeg are nips (hamburgers) from Salisbury House restaurant, Jeanne's cake, Russian mints from Morden's Chocolate, Old Dutch potato chips, and beer from Half Pints and Fort Garry breweries.

Sports

Winnipeg has a long and storied sports history. It has been home to several professional hockey, football, baseball franchises, and dirt track stock car racing; including the Winnipeg Jets, a National Hockey League team which was lost during the 1995-96 season to Phoenix, Arizona. There have also been many university and amateur athletes over the years that have left their mark. Winnipeg also has plans to replace Canad Inns Stadium. Winnipeg is the only Canadian city to ever host the Pan American Games, and the second city in the world to host the event twice, once in 1967 and once in 1999.

The MTS Centre, located downtown, is now the world's 19th busiest arena (its highest ranking ever), 11th among facilities in North America, and remains in the 3rd spot in Canada.

Professional sports teams

Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Goldeyes Northern League Canwest Park 1994 1
Manitoba Moose AHL MTS Centre 1996 0
Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Canad Inns Stadium 1930 10

Amateur and junior clubs

Club League Venue Established Championships
Winnipeg Saints MJHL Dakota Community Centre 1956 4
Winnipeg South Blues MJHL Century Arena 1930 9
Winnipeg Rifles CJFL Canad Inns Stadium 2002 0
Winnipeg Alliance FC CMISL MTS Centre 2007 0

Current University Clubs


Club League Venue Established Championships
Manitoba Bisons Mens Hockey CIS Max Bell Centre 1919 8
Mantioba Bisons Womens Hockey CIS Max Bell Centre 2000 0
Manitoba Bisons Football CIS University Stadium 1922 12
Manitoba Bisons Mens Basketball CIS Max Bell Centre 1967 ?

Law and government

Winnipeg's current mayor is Sam Katz and its former mayor was Glen Murray

In 1869?70, Winnipeg was the site of the Red River Rebellion, a conflict between the local provisional government of Metis, led by Louis Riel, and the newcomers from eastern Canada. This rebellion led to Manitoba's entry into Confederation as Canada's fifth province in 1870, and on November 8, 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city.

Municipal politics

Since 1992, the city of Winnipeg is represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor elected every four years. The present mayor, Sam Katz, was elected to office in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. Katz is Winnipeg's first Jewish mayor.

The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system. The structure of the municipal government is set out by the province of Manitoba in the City of Winnipeg Act. 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.

Provincial politics

Winnipeg is represented by 31 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)?25 of whom are members of the New Democratic Party, four are members of the Progressive Conservative Party, and two are members of the Liberal Party. In the provincial election in 2007, the NDP won two ridings from the Conservatives, rising from 23 to its present 25 seats in the city. All three leaders of the provincial parties represent Winnipeg in the legislature. Most Premiers of Manitoba are residents of Winnipeg.

Federal politics

Winnipeg is represented by eight Members of Parliament: four Conservatives, three New Democrats, and one Liberal. There are six Senators representing Manitoba in Ottawa. Only two list Winnipeg as the division they represent, although all of them were residents of Winnipeg when appointed to the Senate. The political affiliation in the Senate is three Liberals, two Conservatives, and one Independent.

Crime

In 2004, Winnipeg had the fourth-highest overall crime rate among Canadian Census Metropolitan Area cities listed, with 12,167 Criminal Code of Canada offences per 100,000 population; only Regina, Saskatoon, and Abbotsford had higher crime rates. Winnipeg had the highest rate among centres with populations greater than 500,000. The crime rate was 50% higher than that of Calgary, and more than double the rate for Toronto.

Statistics Canada shows that in 2005, Manitoba had the highest decline of overall crime in Canada, at nearly 8%. Winnipeg dropped from having the highest rate of murder per capita in the country; that distinction went to Edmonton but ultimately returned to Winnipeg as of 2007. However, given the relatively small number of annual murders, even a small increase or decrease in the absolute numbers can translate into a large increase or decrease in the percentage rate. Manitoba did continue to lead all other provinces in auto thefts, almost all of it centred in Winnipeg.

To combat auto theft, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) established financial incentives for motor vehicle owners to install ignition immobilisers in their vehicles, and now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install them.

Winnipeg is protected by the Winnipeg Police Service, which has over 1350 members.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Suburban Rapid Transit Co. interurban in Headingley, Manitoba. Note the misspelling on the train

Winnipeg has had public transit since 1882, starting with horse-drawn streetcars. They were replaced by electric trolley cars which ran from 1891 to 1955, supplemented by motor buses since 1918, and electric trolleybuses from 1938 to 1970. Winnipeg Transit now operates entirely with diesel buses. For decades, the city has explored the idea of a rapid transit link, either bus or rail, from downtown to the University of Manitoba's suburban campus.

Winnipeg is a railway hub and is served by VIA Rail, Canadian National Railway (CN), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Manitoba, and the Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR). It is the only city between Vancouver and Thunder Bay with direct U.S. connections.

The city is directly connected to the United States via Provincial Trunk Highway 75 (PTH 75) (a northern continuation of I-29 and US 75). The highway runs 107 km (66 mi) to Emerson, Manitoba, and is the busiest Canada ? United States border crossing between Vancouver and the Great Lakes. Much of the commercial traffic that crosses through Emerson, either originates from or is destined for Winnipeg. Inside the city, the highway is locally known as Pembina Highway (Route 42).

Winnipeg Bus Terminal, located in downtown Winnipeg, offers domestic and international service by Greyhound Canada, Jefferson Lines, Grey Goose Bus Lines, Beaver Bus Lines, and Brandon Air Shuttle. This terminal will move to a new location near the airport next year.

Winnipeg's airport, renamed Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in December 2006, is currently under redevelopment. A new terminal building is scheduled for completion by 2009, along with an office tower and a second hotel. The field was Canada's first international airport when it opened in 1928 as Stevenson Aerodrome. The airport is the 7th busiest in Canada in terms of passenger traffic and, along with Winnipeg/St. Andrews Airport, is among the top 20 in terms of aircraft movements.

A four-lane highway, called the Perimeter Highway, built in 1969, serves as a by-pass, with at-grade intersections, and a few interchanges. It allows travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway to completely avoid the city. Some studies on the highway have given it the name "Disaster By Design". Some of the city's major arterial roads include 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 city is also the starting point on the Yellowhead highway; as well the Trans-Canada Highway runs east to west through the city (city route), or circles around the city on the Perimeter Highway (beltway).

Winnipeg has also embarked on an ambitious wayfinding program, erecting new signage at strategic downtown locations; the intention is to make it easier for travellers, specifically tourists, to locate services and attractions.

Medical centres and hospitals

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 is Canada's front line in its response to infectious diseases and one of only a handful of Biosafety level 4 microbiology laboratories in the world. The National Research Council also has the Institute for Biodiagnostics laboratory located south of Osborne village.

Military

Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, co-located at the airport, is home to many flight operations support divisions, as well as several training schools. It is also the headquarters of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region Headquarters. The base is supported by over 3,000 military personnel and civilian employees.

17 Wing of the Canadian Forces is based at CFB Winnipeg. 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.

Two squadrons based in the city are:

* 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron. This squadron flies the Canadian-designed and -produced de Havilland CT-142 Dash 8 navigation trainer.
* 435 "Chinthe" Transport and Rescue Squadron. This squadron flies the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules tanker/transport in the airlift search and rescue roles. In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Canadian Forces Air Command squadron equipped and trained to conduct air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft.

Winnipeg is home to a number of reserve units:

* The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
* The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada infantry (along with the The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada Museum)
* 735 Communications Regiment
* 17 Service Battalion
* 17 (Winnipeg) Field Ambulance at Minto Armoury
* The Fort Garry Horse armoured reconnaissance regiment at McGregor Armoury
* HMCS Chippewa, original home to the Naval Museum of Manitoba

For many years, Winnipeg was the home of The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, or 2 PPCLI. Initially, the battalion was based at the Fort Osborne Barracks near present day Osborne Village. They eventually moved to the Kapyong Barracks located in the River Heights/Tuxedo part of Winnipeg. Since 2004, the 550 men and women of the battalion have operated out of CFB Shilo near Brandon.

Sister cities

The city of Winnipeg maintains trade development programs, cultural and educational partnerships in twinning or sister city agreements with these cities:

* 1970: Setagaya, Japan Flag of Japan
* 1971: Reykjavik, Iceland Flag of Iceland
* 1973: Minneapolis, USA Flag of the United States and Lviv, Ukraine Flag of Ukraine
* 1979: Manila, Philippines Flag of the Philippines
* 1982: Taichung, Taiwan ROC Flag of the Republic of China and Kuopio, Finland Flag of Finland
* 1984: Beersheba, Israel Flag of Israel
* 1988: Chengdu, China Flag of the People's Republic of China
* 1992: Jinju, South Korea Flag of South Korea
* 1999: San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico Flag of Mexico
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