Renter's Guide to Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg, named for the nearby Lake Winnipeg, is the capital of Manitoba and its largest city. Commonly known as the “Gateway to the West”, modern Winnipeg still maintains its status as an important trading hub for Western Canada.
Located inland in the heart of Canada, the weather in Winnipeg is very seasonal compared to other Canadian cities. You’ll experience the full range of temperatures and seasons with the average January low reaching -6°F and the average July high reaching up to 79°F. Winters in Winnipeg are severe and summers bring frequent thunderstorms and tornadoes. Luckily, Winnipeggers enjoy almost 100 days of sunshine per year.
Cost of Living in Winnipeg, MB
If you're moving here, the low cost of living in Winnipeg is definitely an advantage. A monthly adult transit pass costs a very reasonable $90.50 and is the preferred option for commuters living in the city. Monthly spending for groceries and household items are also very reasonable at around $300. Cellphone plans are a bit more expensive here, so expect to pay at least $70 per month for a cellphone plan with a reasonable amount of data.
While many choose to cook, eating out is becoming more of a regular occurrence in Winnipeg. A 3-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant should cost about $60, not including drinks.
It's important to look and feel good and Winnipeggers take their health and fitness very seriously. Gym memberships will vary depending on what you're looking for but expect to spend at least $25 a month for a membership at a decent gym.
For families with young children and two working parents, childcare for a toddler should cost around $450 per month, while that for infants can go up to $650.
Living in Winnipeg, MB
Living in Winnipeg has its pros and cons. Full of natural beauty, Winnipeg has a better work-life balance than many other Canadian cities.
The city is also very diverse, with over 200 languages spoken and a majority of citizens of European, Aboriginal, Filipino, and South Asian descent. Regardless of your ethnic background, you’ll find a city very open to newcomers. As an added bonus, the province offers settlement support services for newcomers and their families.
Things to Do in Winnipeg, MB
Although not as well-known as some other Canadian cities, Winnipeg offers many world-class entertainment options. It hosts multicultural festivals throughout the year, but some top attractions in Winnipeg would have to be the Festival Du Voyageur, celebrating French culture, Jazz Winnipeg, Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and Folklorama, celebrating cuisines from many different cultures and ethnic groups.
Speaking of food, the dining scene in Winnipeg is unique due to Aboriginal, European and Asian influences. Some unique hybrid dishes that can only be found in Winnipeg include the schmoo torte and the wafer pie.
For the artistically inclined, you might be surprised to discover that the Winnipeg Art Gallery, founded in 1912, is the oldest public art gallery in Western Canada. It’s home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.
Some must-see attractions and points of interest in Winnipeg include The Forks (a historic meeting place that Aboriginal people have used for at least 6000 years) and the Esplanade Riel Bridge.
Sports are a big part of life in Winnipeg. The city is home to many successful sports franchises like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team, the Winnipeg Jets hockey team and many others. It was also the first Canadian city to host the Pan American Games.
Employment & Economy in Winnipeg, MB
True to its name as the “Gateway to the West”, Winnipeg is a transportation hub known for its railways and diverse economy. The province in general is considered by many to have one of Canada’s strongest and most diversified economies owing primarily to its low-cost education, quality job opportunities, and low barriers to starting a business. In 2012, KPMG ranked Winnipeg as the least expensive place to do business in Western Canada.
Home to approximately 21,000 employers, jobs in Winnipeg are pretty evenly distributed across sectors like trade, manufacturing, education, and healthcare.
The government is a large employer here, but other large private sector employers include Manitoba Telecom, Shaw Communications, Great-West Life Assurance, New Flyer Industries, Boeing Canada, and Canada Goose.
Education in Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg has a very well-developed school system. There are seven school divisions in Winnipeg and a handful of religious and private schools. The top university in Winnipeg is the University of Manitoba, but the city is also home to a French university called Université de Saint-Boniface.
Top private schools in Winnipeg include St-John’s Ravenscourt School and Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute known for its German bi-lingual program. Recognized for excellence in sports and language learning, another notable school is Vincent Massey Collegiate. This school also holds the distinction of being one of the first National UNESCO schools in Canada.
For younger children, the top elementary school in Winnipeg is St-John’s Ravenscourt School, which offers schooling from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Unless you plan to attend a private or religious school, most students are assigned to the school in their catchment area, so be sure to plan ahead and choose an area with a good school.
Tips for Renting in Winnipeg, MB
Like in many Canadian provinces, Manitoba has a Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) enforced by the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB). Their office provides information to landlords and tenants, as well as conducts investigations to help protect renters’ rights in Manitoba.
If you’re planning on moving to Winnipeg, make sure you visit the Manitoba RTB website and get familiar with your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
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