As the largest city in the world-renowned Canadian Prairies, Winnipeg is often affectionately referred to as the Heart of the Continent. Winnipeg’s cold and long winters mean that the city of almost one million people is also home to the slightly less-charming moniker of Winterpeg. However, despite the harsh winters that Winnipegers have to endure, their spirit and hospitality remains strong. This friendly and welcoming reputation is one of the main reasons why an increasing number of newcomers to Canada have chosen to make Winnipeg their Canadian home. So, let’s learn more about living in Winnipeg, Canada’s most centrally-located city.
Where is Winnipeg, Manitoba?
Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba. The city is located towards the eastern end of the Canadian Prairies. As far as Canadian cities go, Winnipeg is about as central as it gets, and the city sits at the meeting point of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.
Population and immigrant communities
In terms of employment, Winnipeg was recently ranked as the third-fastest growing economy among Canada’s major cities, and is also considered to be one of the most diversified across the country, but that’s not the only thing attracting newcomers to the heart of the Canadian Prairies.
Winnipeg has been a magnet for immigrants to Canada for decades. The city may be one of the isolated in North America, but its appeal among immigrant communities from across the world means that it has become a diverse and multicultural place to call home. One of the strongest immigrant communities in Winnipeg is made up of newcomers from the Philippines.
Winnipeg witnessed its first major influx of Filipinno immigrants in the 1980s, and the multi-generational community has grown from strength to strength since then.
Today, Winnipeg has the third largest Filipino population in Canada, as well as the largest in terms of per-capita population with just under 10 percent. In 2016, there were over 57,000 Filipino citizens living in Winnipeg as either permanent residents or naturalized Canadian citizens. However, it isn’t just the Filipino community that is thriving in Canada’s sunniest city.
In 2019, 14,745 permanent residents were admitted to Canada and settled in Winnipeg. The total figure for Manitoba as a whole was 18,905, meaning that almost 80 percent of all permanent residents who settled in Manitoba in 2019 chose Winnipeg. Furthermore, the 2016 census data indicates that there were approximately 180,000 immigrants based in Winnipeg, representing almost 24 percent of the city’s total population. This is an increase from 20.6 percent in 2011, and 17.7 percent in 2006. As a province, Manitoba was the province with the second youngest population in 2019, thanks in no small part to the many immigrant families who settled in the province through Express Entry, or through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), , or via the Family Class sponsorship route. Other newcomers to Winnipeg include refugees and some business immigrants, but the majority arrive through Express Entry, the MPNP, or the support of a loved one.
Aside from the established Filipino community in the city, Winnipeg is also home to a growing Indian community, as well significant British and Chinese populations. But what is attracting so many newcomers to Winnipeg?
Housing in Winnipeg
When it comes to choosing a Canadian city or town to call your home, the cost of rent and property prices are important considerations. With that in mind, you’ll be glad to know that the costs of rent in Winnipeg are among the lowest in Canada, making the city ideal for newcomers who want to find their own place after arriving in Canada without having to share an address with roommates.
According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Winnipeg should set an individual or couple around $1,027 CAD per month. An equivalent sized apartment in the suburbs will about 57 dollars less at $970 CAD per month. If you plan on living in Winnipeg with a family or simply want a larger place, then you can expect to pay about $1,490 CAD per month for a three-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg’s city centre neighbourhoods. The same apartment a little further out will cost around $1,455 CAD per month. For some additional context, it should be noted that rental prices in Winnipeg are around 12 percent cheaper than equivalent properties in Hamilton, Ontario. This comparison is important because many immigrants in Canada feel that the outer cities of the GTA, as well as other urban centres elsewhere in Ontario, are the only options for affordable city-living in Canada. Living in Winnipeg proves that this is not the case.
If you are moving to Winnipeg with some savings and a solid job, you might want to think about buying a home. The price per square metre to buy an apartment in downtown Winnipeg is about $3,133 CAD, and approximately $2,793 CAD in the suburbs. This compares favourably with another city popular with newcomers, Calgary. In fact, the cost to buy a property downtown Winnipeg is 32 percent cheaper than an equivalent property in Calgary’s city centre.
Transport in Winnipeg
Like many Canadian Prairie cities, Winnipeg is not renowned for its public transport system. The simple fact of the matter is that the cold winters and somewhat-spread-out nature of the city means that many Winnipeggers opt for a car before the bus. To that end, in 2019 a litre of gas costs around $1.11.
If you do choose to use public transport in the city then you should know that the Winnipeg transit system offers a pretty comprehensive bus service and a monthly transport pass will set you back approximately $100 CAD per month.
Finally, if you are a cycling enthusiast, then you will be pleased to learn that there is an extensive bike path network covering large sections of the city. And, with so much flatland, you can rest assured that you won’t have to navigate any tricky or calf-crippling climbs!