28 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Winnipeg
Winnipeg is a city that Canadians love to hate. It’s rare that you hear a kind word spoken about the place. When I told my brother-in-law, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, that I was heading off to visit Winnipeg in January he said REALLY? In January? Are you nuts?
Maybe I am but I plan to discover the charms of the city and see what keeps the 730,000 residents from leaving.
Winnipeg at dusk
So here are 28 fun, weird and interesting facts I have learned about Winnipeg.
- Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba – and the geographical center of North America. It was incorporated as a city in 1873.
- There are 730,018 people living in Winnipeg according to the 2011 census.
- The city sits at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers – a place referred to as The Forks.
- The closest city to Winnipeg with a population of over a million is Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota – 700 kilometers away.
- The coldest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was -47.8 C (-54 F) in December 1879. For a long time Winnipeg was the coldest city in the world with a population of 600,000 or more. Ulan Batar in Mongolia has moved into first place. Winnipeg – because of its geography – is susceptible to polar highs which are in effect Arctic high pressure systems bringing in lots of cold air.
- Winnipeg is covered in snow 132 days of the year.
- Winnipeg averages 27 thunderstorms per year.
One of the many thunderstorms in Winnipeg
- There is measurable sunshine on an average of 318 days of the year.
- The hottest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was 42.2 C (108 F) on July 11, 1936.
- Winnipeg has been called the Windy City but that is incorrect. It is the 12th windiest city in Canada. Hamilton is first.
- On the shortest day of the year the sun rises at 8:24 am and sets at 4:29 pm. On the longest day of the year the sun rises at 5:20 am and sets at 9:41 pm.
- Famous people who hail from Winnipeg include Carol Shields, Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen, Phil Fontaine, Fred Penner, Monte Hall and Izzy Asper.
- Winnipeg’s train station was designed by the same architects who designed New York City’s Union Station.
- Winnipeg was the first city in the world to develop the 911 emergency number.
- The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest dance company. It’s also the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.
- The Winnipeg Art Gallery has the biggest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
- Winnipeg has four major rivers – the Red, Assiniboine, La Salle and Seine. The city is extremely flat and is at risk for major flooding. In April and May of 1997 the biggest flood since 1826 occurred. Although the flood affected Winnipeg it was Grand Forks and East Grand Forks that were most affected.
- The LONGEST skating rink in the world – that freezes naturally is found in Winnipeg – and not in Ottawa as was recently reported in Outside Magazine. The skating takes you along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers over a length of 8.5 kilometers.
Skating on the river in Winnipeg
- Curling is big – so big it might be the curling capital of Canada.
- Winnipeg was the first city in North America to build a stand-alone ice tower. Its 20 meters high and within sight of downtown Winnipeg. Its open to experts and novices alike.
- The Festival du Voyageur celebrates Canada’s fur trading past and French heritage and culture. It’s the biggest winter festival in western Canada. Every year it takes place over 10 days in February. This year it runs from February 15-24th.
- Winnipeg is the headquarters for Canada’s grain industry. It is home to the only commodity exchange in the country – the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange.
- The Winnipeg Jets – one of the professional hockey teams in the NHL – has an amazing fan base. Although they have the smallest market of all the NHL teams they sold more merchandise than any others.
- Other professional sports teams include the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (football) and the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball).
- Winnipeg has mosquito issues in the summer (that’s why I’d rather visit in the winter) and in fact boasts 51 insect management areas on their public works website.
- And one of the best diners in town according to Debra Smith a Winnipeg born writer – is the White Star Diner in the Exchange District. (Check out more diners of note around the province on her Toque and Canoe guest post)
- Universities in Winnipeg include the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, the Canadian Mennonite University and the University of St. Boniface.
- Canada’s newest National Museum – the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – is the first national museum to be located outside of the capital region. It is expected to open in 2014.
The Canadian Museum of Human Rights – under construction
Do you have any other fun, weird or interesting facts about Winnipeg that you’d like to share?
Other posts in my fun, weird and interesting facts series you might enjoy.
- 145 Weird, Fun and Interesting Facts About Canada
- Weird and Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
- 30 Fun, Weird & Interesting Facts About Victoria
- 26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
- 38 Fun and Interesting Facts About Calgary
- 26 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Halifax, Nova Scotia
- 50 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Toronto
- 28 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Yellowknife, NWT
- 35 Fun, Weird and Interesting Facts About Ottawa
- 27 Fun, Interesting and Useful Facts About Quebec City
- 11 National Parks in Canada You Probably Haven’t Heard of
Photo credit: Dusk,thunderstorm, Skating, museum
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