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For other uses, see Manitoba (disambiguation).
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Latin: Gloriosus et Liber
("Glorious and free")
Largest city Winnipeg
Largest metro Winnipeg
English, French (de facto), (de
Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard
Premier Gary Doer (NDP)
in Canadian Parliament
House seats 14
Senate seats 6
Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th)
Area Ranked 8th
Total 647,797 km2 (250,116 sq mi)
Land 553,556 km2 (213,729 sq mi)
94,241 km2 (36,387 sq mi)
Population Ranked 5th
Total (2008) 1,207,959 (est.)
Density 2.14 /km² (5.5 /sq mi)
GDP Ranked 6th
Total (2006) C$44,757 million
Per capita C$38,001 (8th)
ISO 3166-2 CA-MB
Time zone UTC-6, (DST -5)
Postal code prefix R
Flower Prairie Crocus
Tree White Spruce
Bird Great Grey Owl
Rankings include all provinces and territories
Manitoba (IPA: /ˌmæ.nɨˈ.to.bə/, pronunciation (help·info)) is a prairie province in
Canada, which has an area of 647,797 square kilometres (250,116 sq mi) and a
population of 1,207,959 (according to 2008 estimates), with roughly 60% living within
the Winnipeg Capital Region (population of 730,305). Manitoba's largest and capital city,
Winnipeg is also Western Canada's 4th largest CMA, and has Canada's 7th largest
municipality. Other major cities, in order of size, are Brandon, Thompson, Portage la
Prairie, Steinbach, Selkirk, and Winkler. Manitoba entered Confederation on July 15,
1870; and it's provincial flower is the Prairie Crocus, its provincial bird is the Great Grey
Owl, and it's provincial tree is the White Spruce.
• 1 Geography
o 1.1 Climate
• 2 History
o 2.1 First Nations
o 2.2 Rupert's Land
o 2.3 Confederation
o 2.4 20th century
• 3 Demographics
o 3.1 Religion
• 4 Transportation
• 5 Economy
o 5.1 Historic economy
o 5.2 Economy
• 6 Government
o 6.1 Official languages
• 7 Municipalities
• 8 Professional sports teams
• 9 Military
• 10 See also
• 11 Notes
• 12 References
• 13 External links
Main articles: Geography of Manitoba and List of Manitoba parks
Manitoba is located in Western Canada and borders Saskatchewan to the west, Ontario to
the east, Nunavut and Hudson Bay to the north, and the U.S. states of North Dakota and
Minnesota to the south.
The province has a large coastline bordering Hudson Bay and contains the tenth-largest
fresh-water lake in the world, Lake Winnipeg, along with two other large lakes: Lake
Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis. Manitoba's lakes cover approximately 14.5% or
94,241 km2 of its surface area. Lake Winnipeg is the largest lake within the borders of
southern Canada, and the east side has some of the last remote and intact watersheds left
in the world. The large rivers that flow into the east side of Lake Winnipeg's basin are
pristine, with no major developments along them. Many uninhabited islands can be found
along the eastern shore of this lake. There are over 110,000 lakes spread throughout the
Important watercourses include the Red, Assiniboine, Nelson, Winnipeg, Hayes,
Whiteshell and Churchill Rivers. Fishing along the Red River is an important part for
tourism and the economy of Manitoba. Most of Manitoba's inhabited south lies within the
prehistoric bed of Glacial Lake Agassiz, or the Red River Valley. The Red River Valley
region is extremely flat because it was once the lake bottom of the ancient Lake Agassiz,
which once covered the large area. However, there are many other hilly and rocky areas
throughout province, along with many large sand ridges left behind by receding glaciers.
Relief of Manitoba
Baldy Mountain is the highest point at 832 m above sea level (2,727 ft) and the Hudson
Bay coast is the lowest at sea level. Other upland areas include Riding Mountain, the
Pembina Hills, Sandilands Provincial Forest, and the Canadian Shield regions. Much of
the province's sparsely-inhabited north and east lie within the irregular granite landscape
of the Canadian Shield, including Whiteshell Provincial Park, Atikaki Provincial Park,
and Nopiming Provincial Park. Birds Hill Provincial Park was originally an island in
Lake Agassiz after the melting of glaciers.
Extensive agriculture is only found in the southern half of the province, although there is
some grain farming found in the Carrot Valley Region (near the The Pas). The most
common type of farm found in rural areas is cattle farming (34.6%), followed by other
grains (19.0%) and oilseed (7.9%). Manitoba is the nation's largest producer of
sunflower seed and dry beans; and one of the leading potato producers. Altona is the
"sunflower capitol of Canada". Around 12% of Canadian farmland is in Manitoba.
The eastern, southeastern, and northern reaches of the province range through boreal
coniferous forests, muskeg, Canadian Shield and a small section of tundra bordering
Hudson Bay. Forests make up about 263,000 square kilometres (or 48%) of the
province's 548,000 square kilometre land area. The forests generally consist of pines
(mostly jack pine, some red pine), spruces (white, black), larch, poplars (trembling aspen,
balsam poplar), birch (white, swamp) and small pockets of Eastern White Cedar. The
great expanses of intact forested areas are considered by many naturalists, hikers, and
hunters as pristine wilderness areas. Some of the last largest and intact boreal forest of the
world can be found along the east side of Lake Winnipeg, with only winter roads, no
hydroelectric development, no mines, and few communities. There are many clean and
untouched rivers, many that originate from the Canadian Shield in neighbouring Ontario.
These pristine and intact areas have only been used as native fishing, hunting, and
gathering grounds for thousands of years. Some traditional land use areas of the east side
of Lake Winnipeg are now a proposed United Nations Heritage Site that is approved by
the First Nation communities of those particular traditional lands.
Main article: Climate of Manitoba
Because of its location in the centre of the North American continent, Manitoba has a
very extreme climate. In general, temperatures and precipitation decrease from south to
north, and precipitation also decreases from east to west. Since Manitoba is far removed
from the moderating influences of both mountain ranges and large bodies of water, and
because of the generally flat landscape in many areas, it is exposed to numerous weather
systems throughout the year, including cold Arctic high-pressure air masses settle in from
the north west, usually during the months of January and February. In the summer, the air
masses often come out of the southern United States, as the stronger Bermuda High
Pressure ridges into the North American continent, the more warm, humid air is drawn
northward from the Gulf of Mexico, generally during the months of July or August.
Manitoba is also a very sunny province; according to Environment Canada, Manitoba
ranked first for clearest skies year round. Manitoba also ranked second for most clear
skies in the summer and sunniest province in the winter and spring. Portage la Prairie
has the most sunny days in warm months in Canada; and Winnipeg has the second
clearest skies year-round and is the second sunniest city in Canada in the spring and
winter. Southern Manitoba has a fairly long frost-free season, consisting of between
120 and 140 days in the Red River Valley. This decreases to the northeast. Southern
Manitoba is also prone to high humidity in the summer months with the extreme of 53.0
°C (127.4 °F) in Carman, Manitoba, which set the highest humidex recorded in Canada.
There are three main climatic regions.
Canada's first Fujita Scale F5 tornado approaching Elie.
The northern sections of the province (including the city of Thompson) falls in the
subarctic climate zone (Koppen Dfc). This region features long and extremely cold
winters with brief, warm summers with relatively little precipitation. It is common to
have overnight lows as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) several days each winter, and have a few
weeks that remain below −18 °C (0 °F).
The central section of the province (including the city of Dauphin), has more of a
Continental climate type to the west and more of a boreal climate type to the east near
Little Grand Rapids.
The southwestern corner (Including the city of Brandon) has a semi-arid mid-latitude
steppe climate (Koppen climate classification BSk). The region is somewhat drier than
other parts of southern Manitoba and very drought-prone. It is very cold and windy in the
winter and is the region most prone to blizzards in the winter because of the openness of
the landscape. Summers are generally warm to hot, with low to moderate humidity.
The remainder of southern Manitoba (including the city of Winnipeg), falls into the
humid continental climate zone (Koppen Dfb). Temperatures here are very similar to the
semi-arid climate zone, but this region is the most humid area in the Prairie Provinces
with moderate precipitation.
Southern parts of the province, located just north of Tornado Alley, experience a few
tornadoes each year, with 15 confirmed touchdowns in 2006. In 2007, on June 22 and
June 23, numerous tornadoes touched down, including an F5 Tornado that devastated
parts of Elie (that being the strongest officially recorded tornado in Canada), and an F4
tornado that was captured on video, near Pipestone. Temperatures exceed 30 °C (86
°F) numerous times each summer, and the combination of heat and humidity can bring
the humidex value to the mid-40's(C), (mid- 100's(F)), and the dewpoint to the upper
Main article: History of Manitoba
 First Nations
The geographical area now named Manitoba was inhabited shortly after the last ice age
glaciers retreated in the southwest. The first exposed land was the Turtle Mountain area,
where large numbers of petroforms and medicine wheels can be found.
The first human habitants of southern Manitoba left behind pottery shards, spear and
arrow heads, copper, petroforms, pictographs, fish and animal bones, and signs of
agriculture along the Red River near Lockport. Eventually there were the aboriginal
settlements of Ojibwa, Cree, Dene, Sioux, Mandan, and Assiniboine peoples, along with
other tribes that entered the area to trade. There were many land trails made as a part of a
larger native trading network on both land and water. The Whiteshell Provincial Park
region along the Winnipeg River has many old petroforms and may have been a trading
centre, or even a place of learning and sharing of knowledge for over 2,000 years. The
cowry shells and copper found in this area are proof of what was traded as a part of a
large trading network to the oceans, and to the larger southern native civilizations along
the Mississippi River and in the south and southwest.
In Northern Manitoba some areas were mined for quartz to make arrowheads. The first
farming in Manitoba appeared to be along the Red River, near Lockport, where corn and
other seed crops were planted before contact with Europeans. For thousands of years
there have been humans living in this region, and there are many archaeological clues
about their ways of life. Ongoing research will be needed to uncover more artifacts and
rock art to lend to a more detailed understanding of past peoples and cultures in
 Rupert's Land
In 1611, Henry Hudson was one of the first Europeans to sail into what is now known as
Hudson Bay. In 1619, explorer Jens Munk in search of the Northwest Passage, wintered
on the Churchill River. Most of his crew died and only three, including himself, made the
return trip back in July of that year. The Nonsuch ship that sailed into Hudson Bay in
1668-1669 was the first trading voyage to reach the area; it led to the formation of the
Hudson's Bay Company. The Hudson's Bay Company was given the fur trading rights to
the entire Hudson Bay watershed, covering land in what is now Alberta, Saskatchewan,
Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, North Dakota, and more. This watershed was named
Rupert's Land, after Prince Rupert who helped to form the Hudson's Bay Company. York
Factory was founded in 1684 after the original main fort of the Hudson's Bay Company,
Fort Nelson—built in 1682—was destroyed by France two years later. Other traders and
explorers from Europe eventually came to the Hudson Bay shores and went south
along the northern Manitoba rivers. The first European to reach present-day central and
southern Manitoba was Sir Thomas Button, who travelled upstream along the Nelson
River and Lake Winnipeg in 1612 and may have reached somewhere along the edge of
the prairies, where he reported seeing a bison. In 1690 to 1691, Henry Kelsey is the first
European fur trader known to have seen the prairie grasslands, the great buffalo herds, the
grizzly bears, and the many Plains tribes. Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la
Vérendrye, visited the Red River Valley in the 1730s to help open the area for French
exploration and the fur trade. Many other French and Métis explorers came from the east
and south by going down the Winnipeg River and the Red River. An important French-
Canadian population (Franco-Manitobains) still lives in Manitoba, especially in the
Saint-Boniface district of eastern Winnipeg. Fur trading forts were built by both the
North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company along the many rivers and lakes,
and there was often fierce competition between the two in more southern areas. The
territory was won by Great Britain in 1763 as part of the French and Indian War.
There are a few possible sources for the name "Manitoba". The more likely is that it
comes from Cree or Ojibwe and means "strait of the Manitou (spirit)". It may also be
from the Assiniboine for "Lake of the Prairie".
Most rivers and water in Manitoba eventually flow north and empty into Hudson Bay.
The Hudson's Bay Archives is located in Winnipeg and preserves the rich history of the
fur trading era that occurred along the major water routes of the Rupert's Land area.
The founding of the first agricultural community and settlements in 1812 by Lord
Selkirk, north of the area which is now downtown Winnipeg, resulted in conflict between
the British colonists and the Métis who lived and traded near there. Twenty colonists,
including the governor, were killed by the Métis in the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816, in
which the settlers fired the first shots. There was also one Métis man killed. Many fur
trading forts were also attacked during this period.
When Rupert's Land was ceded to Canada in 1869 and incorporated into the Northwest
Territories, a lack of attention to Métis concerns led their elected leader Louis Riel to
establish a provisional government as part of The Red River Rebellion. Negotiations
between the provisional government and the Canadian government resulted in the
creation of the Province of Manitoba and its entry into Confederation in 1870. However,
Louis Riel was pursued by Garnet Wolseley because of the rebellion, and he fled into
exile. The Métis were blocked by the Canadian government in their attempts to obtain
land promised to them as part of Manitoba's entry into confederation. Facing racism from
the new flood of white settlers from Ontario, large numbers of Métis moved to what
would become Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Originally, the province of Manitoba was only 1/18 of its current size and was square in
shape—it was known as the "postage stamp province". It grew progressively, absorbing
land from the Northwest Territories until it attained its current size by reaching 60°N in
1912. The creation of Manitoba out of the Northwest Territories was quick because of the
settlements in the Red River area by the Métis and the Lord Selkirk settlers. The Red
River colony and Fort Garry area were the only colony in the west, and the Métis set up a
provisional republic government prior to joining with Canada. Saskatchewan and Alberta
went through a longer period as part of the Northwest Territories until their creation as
provinces in 1905.
The decision to make Manitoba a full-fledged province in 1870 resulted from three
• A misunderstanding on the part of the Canadian authorities.
• The formation of a provisional government of the Métis by Louis Riel.
• Fears of manifest destiny sentiments in the United States, ignoring American
denials of any such goals.
Initially, the subject of provincial status did not come up during the negotiations between
Canada, the United Kingdom and the Hudson's Bay Company. It was assumed that
territorial status was granted in the Act for the Temporary Government of Ruperts' Land
in 1869. Louis Riel first introduced the subject of provincial status to the Committee of
Forty appointed by the citizens of Red River in 1870. Riel's proposal to Donald Smith,
emissary for the government of Canada, was rejected by the government of John A.
Macdonald. The list of demands from Riel did goad the government of Canada into
acting on a proposal of its own regarding Red River's status. John A. Macdonald
introduced the Manitoba Act in the Canadian House of Commons and pretended that the
question of province or territory was of no significance. The bill was given royal assent
and Manitoba joined Canada as a province.
It was a significant leap of faith imposing responsible government on Manitoba in 1870
without any adjustment period. It went against all conventional wisdom of the time.
However, Macdonald's misunderstanding of territorial versus provincial status, the rise of
the Métis people and the burgeoning growth of the United States all compelled him to act
in a nation-building initiative. In the years that followed, much like the years that
preceded, Manitoba went through many upheavals. However, parliamentary government
and the Province that was created in 1870 prevailed.
Numbered Treaties were signed in the late 19th century with the chiefs of various First
Nations that lived in the area. These treaties made quite specific promises of land for
every family. This led to a reserve system under the jurisdicion of the Federal
Government. There are still land claim issues because the proper amount of land
promised to the native peoples was not always given.
The Manitoba Schools Question showed the deep divergence of cultural values in the
territory. The French had been guaranteed a state-supported separate school system in the
original constitution of Manitoba, but a grassroots political movement among Protestants
in 1888-90 demanded the end of French schools. In 1890, the Manitoba legislature passed
a law abolishing French as an official language of the province and removing funding for
Catholic schools. The French Catholic minority asked the federal Government for
support; however, the Orange Order and other anti-Catholic forces mobilized nationwide.
The Conservatives proposed remedial legislation to override Manitoba's legislation, but
they in turn were blocked by Liberals, led by Wilfrid Laurier, who opposed the remedial
legislation on the basis of provincial rights. Once elected Prime Minister in 1896, Laurier
proposed a compromise stating that Catholics in Manitoba could have Catholic teaching
for 30 minutes at the end of the day if there were enough students to warrant it, on a
school-by-school basis. Tensions over language remained high in Manitoba (and
nationwide) for decades to come.
 20th century
Winnipeg was the 4th largest city in Canada by the early 20th century. A boomtown, it
grew quickly around the turn of the century. There were a lot of outside investors,
immigrants and railways. Many old mansions and estates attest to Winnipeg's growing
wealthy class. When the Manitoba Legislature was built, it was expected that Manitoba
would have a population of 3 million quite soon. Around the beginning of World War I,
the quickly growing city began to cool down as large amounts of money were no longer
invested to the same degree as before the war. Winnipeg eventually fell behind in growth
when other major cities in Canada began to boom ahead, such as Calgary today.
Crowd gathered outside old City Hall during the Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919.
In the 1917 election in the midst of the conscription crisis, the Liberals were split in half
and the new Union party carried all but one seat. As the war ended severe discontent
among farmers (over wheat prices) and union members (over wage rates) resulted in an
upsurge of radicalism. With Bolshevism coming to power in Russia, conservatives were
anxious and radicals were energized. The most dramatic episode was the Winnipeg
General Strike of 1919 which shut down most activity for six weeks. It began May 15
and continued until the strike collapsed on June 25, 1919; the workers were gradually
returning to their jobs, and the Central Strike Committee decided to end the strike.
Government efforts to violently crush the strike, including a charge into a crowd of
strikers by the Royal Northwest Mounted Police that resulted in 30 casualties and one
death and the arrest of the strike leaders, contributed to this decision. As historian
William Morton explained:
The strike, then, began with two immediate aims and two subsidiary but
“ increasingly important aspects. One aim was the redress of legitimate ”
grievances with respect to wages and collective bargaining; the other was the
trial of a new instrument of economic action, the general strike, the purpose
of which was to put pressure on the employers involved in the dispute
through the general public. The first subsidiary aspect was that the general
strike, however, might be a prelude to the seizure of power in the community
by Labour, and both the utterances and the policies of the O.B.U. leaders
pointed in that direction. The second subsidiary aspect was that, as a struggle
for leadership in the Labour movement was being waged as the strike began,
it was not made clear which object, the legitimate and limited one, or the
revolutionary and general one, was the true purpose of the strike. It is now
apparent that the majority of both strikers and strike leaders were concerned
only to win the strike. The general public at large, however, subjected to the
sudden coercion of the general strike, was only too likely to decide that a
revolutionary seizure of power was in view. [Morton 365-6]
More recently, many historians have disagreed with Morton's interpretation of the strike
and have written considerably different histories of it.
In the aftermath of the strike eight leaders went on trial, and most were convicted on
charges of seditious conspiracy, illegal combinations, and seditious libel; four were aliens
who were deported under the Immigration Act. Labor was weakened and divided as a
result. Farmers, meanwhile, were patiently organizing the United Farmers of Manitoba,
with plans to contest the 1920 provincial elections. The result was that no party held a
majority. The Farmers, running against politics as usual, won in 1922, with 30 seats,
against 7 returning Liberals, 6 Conservatives, 6 Labour, and 8 Independents.
Since 1969, the New Democratic Party (NDP) has been the most successful provincial
political party, winning seven of the eleven elections during this period.
Main article: Demographics of Manitoba
According to the 2001 Canadian census, the largest ethnic group in Manitoba is
English (22.1%), followed by German (18.2%), Scottish (17.7%), Ukrainian (14.3%),
Irish (13.0%), First Nations (9.9%), Polish (6.7%), Métis (5.2%), French (5.1%) Dutch
(4.7%) and Icelandic (2.0%) - although almost a quarter of all respondents also identified
their ethnicity as "Canadian".
Population of Manitoba since 1871
Five Year Ten Year Rank Among
% change % change Provinces
1871 25,228 n/a n/a 8
1881 62,260 n/a 146.8 6
1891 152,506 n/a 145 5
1901 255,211 n/a 67.3 5
1911 461,394 n/a 80.8 5
1921 610,118 n/a 32.2 4
1931 700,139 n/a 14.8 5
1941 729,744 n/a 4.2 6
1951 776,541 n/a 6.4 6
1956 850,040 9.5 n/a 6
1961 921,686 8.4 18.7 6
1966 963,066 4.5 13.3 5
1971 988,245 2.3 7.2 5
1976 1,021,505 3.4 6.1 5
1981 1,026,241 0.4 3.8 5
1986 1,063,015 3.6 4.1 5
1991 1,091,942 2.7 6.4 5
1996 1,113,898 2.0 4.8 5
2001 1,119,583 0.5 2.5 5
2006* 1,177,765 5.2 5.7 5
*Preliminary 2006 census estimate.
Source: Statistics Canada
Manitoba holds the distinction of being the only Canadian Province or Territory with
over 60% of its population located in a single city (Winnipeg).
The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were the
Roman Catholic Church with 292,970 (27%); the United Church of Canada with 176,820
(16%); and the Anglican Church of Canada with 85,890 (8%).
See also: List of bridges in Canada and List of Manitoba provincial highways
Transportation and warehousing contributes approximately $2.2 billion to Manitoba’s
GDP. Total employment in the industry is estimated at 34,500. Manitoba has a rail, air,
road and marine component to its transportation industry.
The Trans-Canada Highway built between 1950 and 1971 crosses the province from east
to west. Trucks haul 95% of all land freight in Manitoba, and trucking companies account
for 80% of Manitoba's merchandise trade to the United States. Five of Canada's twenty-
five largest employers in for-hire trucking are headquartered in Manitoba, and three of
Canada's 10 largest employers in the for-hire trucking industry are headquartered in
Winnipeg. $1.18 billion of Manitoba's GDP directly or indirectly comes from trucking.
Around 5% or 33,000 people work in the trucking industry. Domestic and international
bus service from the Winnipeg Bus Terminal is offered by Greyhound Canada and
Manitoba has two Class I railways. They are CN and Canadian Pacific Railway.
Winnipeg is centrally located on the main lines of both of these continental carriers, and
both companies maintain large intermodal terminals in the city. CN and CP operate a
combined 2,439 kilometres of track within Manitoba. Via Rail Canada offers
transcontenial and northern Manitoba passenger service from Winnipeg's Union Station.
The first railway through Manitoba was the CP Railway, and the tracks were diverted
south to make Winnipeg as the capital and centre, and not Selkirk, which is located
Numerous small regional and shortline railways exist in the province. They are the
Hudson Bay Railway, the Southern Manitoba Railway, Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Manitoba, Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway, and Central Manitoba Railway.
Together, they operate approximately 1,775 kilometres of track within the province.
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is one of only a few 24-
hour unrestricted airports in Canada and is part of the National Airports System. It has a
broad range of passenger and cargo services and served over 3.5 million people in 2007
which is over the maxium capacity of 600,000 the current terminal was to handle. The
airport handles approximately 140,000 tonnes of cargo annually which makes it the 3rd
largest in the country. Currently the airport is going under major redevelopment, with a
new terminal (phase 1), parkade (already built), and luxury hotel. The new bus terminal
and Canada Post plant which are moving from downtown will be located at the airport
Eleven regional passenger carriers and nine smaller/charter carriers operate out of the
airport, as well as 11 air cargo carriers and 7 freight forwarders. Winnipeg is a major
sorting facility for both FedEx and Purolator. It also receives daily transborder service
from UPS. Air Canada Cargo and Cargojet Airways use the airport as a major hub for
The Port of Churchill, owned by OmniTRAX, is Canada's main window to the Arctic
ocean, to Russia, and inland to China. The port of Churchill is nautically closer to ports in
Northern Europe and Russia than any other port in Canada. The port is the only Arctic
deep water port in Canada and a part of the closest shipping route between North
America and Asia. It has 4 deep-sea berths for the loading and unloading of grain,
general cargo and tanker vessels. The port is linked by the Hudson Bay Railway (also
owned by OMNITRAX). Grain represented 90% of the port’s traffic in the 2004 shipping
season. In that year, over 600,000 tonnes of agricultural product was shipped through the
 Historic economy
Manitoba's early economy depended on mobility and living off of the land. Many
Aboriginal Nations (including the Cree, Ojibwa, Dene, Sioux and Assiniboine) followed
herds of bison and congregated to trade among themselves at key meeting places
throughout the province.
The first fur traders entering the province in the 17th century changed the dynamics of
the economy of Manitoba forever. For the first time, permanent settlements of forts were
created and communities evolved over time. Most of the economy centred around the
trade of beaver pelts and other furs. Many native scouts and native maps were used to
help the fur traders make their way through the region. Some of the best early maps were
made with the help of natives who knew the river routes within their traditional home
territories. The natural rivers, creeks, and lakes were the most important routes for trade
The first major diversification of the economy came when Lord Selkirk brought the first
agricultural settlers to the area just north of present day Winnipeg in 1811. The lack of
reliable transportation and an ongoing dispute between the Hudson's Bay Company
(HBC), the North West Company and the Métis impeded growth. The eventual triumph
of the Hudson's Bay Company over its competitors ensured the primacy of the fur trade
over widespread agricultural colonization. Any trade not sanctioned by the Hudson's Bay
Company was frowned upon. It took many years for the Red River Colony to develop
under HBC rule. The Company invested little in infrastructure for the community. It was
only when independent traders such as James Sinclair and Andrew McDermot (Dermott)
started competing in trade that improvements to the community began.
By 1849, the HBC faced even greater threats to its monopoly. A Métis fur trader named
Pierre Guillaume Sayer was charged with illegal trading by the Hudson's Bay Company.
Sayer had been trading with Norman Kittson who resided just beyond the HBC's reach in
Pembina, North Dakota. The court found Sayer guilty, but the judge levied no fine or
In 1853, a second agricultural community started in Portage la Prairie.
The courts could no longer be used by the HBC to enforce its monopoly. The result was a
weakening of HBC rule over the region and laid the foundations of provincehood for
Manitoba's economy relies heavily on tourism, energy, agriculture, oil, minerals, mining,
forestry, and many more. Agriculture is vital to Manitoba's economy and is only found
only in the southern half of the province, although there is some grain farming found as
far north as The Pas. The most common type of farm found in rural areas is cattle farming
(34.6%), followed by other grains (19.0%) and oilseed (7.9%). Manitoba is the
nation's largest producer of sunflower seed and dry beans; and one of the leading potato
producers. Altona is the "sunflower capitol of Canada". Around 12% of Canadian
farmland is in Manitoba.
Portage la Prairie is the North American potato processing capital. It is also home to the
McCain Foods and Simplot potato processing plants, which provide french fries for
McDonalds, Wendy's, and various other commercialized restaurant chains. Can-Oat
milling, one of the largest oat mills in the world, is also located in the municipality.
Churchill's arctic wildlife plays an important part in Manitoba's tourism industry, having
acquired the nicknames of "Polar bear capital of the world" and "Beluga capitol of the
Manitoba is the only Canadian Province with an Arctic deep water sea port, located in
Churchill, along Hudson Bay. Manitoba's sea port is the only link along the shortest
shipping route between North America, Europe, and Asia.
See also: List of companies based in Manitoba and List of hospitals in Manitoba
Main articles: Politics of Manitoba and Monarchy in Manitoba
Like all other provinces, Manitoba is governed by a unicameral legislature, the
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, which operates under the Westminster system of
government. The executive branch is formed by the majority party and the party leader is
the Premier of Manitoba, the head of government. The head of state is represented by the
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, who is appointed by the Governor General of Canada
on advice of the Prime Minister of Canada. The head of state is mainly a ceremonial and
a figurative role today.
The legislative arm of the Government of Manitoba consists of the 57 Members elected
to represent the people of Manitoba. The horseshoe arrangement of the members seats
within the Chamber is unique in Canada.
Manitoba's primary political parties are the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, the
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and the Liberal Party of Manitoba.
The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba was established on July 14, 1870. Originally, it
was named a Parliament and was later named a Legislature. Manitoba attained full
fledged rights and responsibilities of self-government as the first Canadian province
carved out of the Northwest Territories, control over which had been passed by Great
Britain to the Government of Canada in 1869 because of the sale of Rupert's Land by the
Hudson's Bay Company.
The current premier of Manitoba is Gary Doer of the NDP (New Democratic Party). He
is presently serving his third mandate with a majority government of 36 seats. The
Progressive Conservative Party holds 19 seats, and the Liberal Party (which does not
have official party status) has 2. The last election was held Tuesday, May 22, 2007.
 Official languages
English and French are the official languages of the legislature and courts of Manitoba,
according to the Manitoba Act, 1870 (which forms part of the Constitution of Canada):
Either the English or the French language may be used by any person in the
“ debates of the Houses of the Legislature and both those languages shall be
used in the respective Records and Journals of those Houses; and either of
those languages may be used by any person, or in any Pleading or Process, in
or issuing from any Court of Canada established under the Constitution Act,
1867, or in or from all or any of the Courts of the Province. The Acts of the
Legislature shall be Printed and published in both those languages. ”
However, with the rise to power of the English-only movement in Manitoba from 1890
onwards, this provision was disregarded in practice and also by Manitoban legislation. In
April 1890, the Manitoba legislature introduced a measure to abolish the official status of
the French language in the legislature, in the laws, in records and journals, as well as in
the Courts of Manitoba. Among other things, the Manitoban Legislature ceased to publish
legislation in French but did so in English only. However, in 1985 the Supreme Court of
Canada ruled in the Reference re Manitoba Language Rights that §23 still applied, and
that legislation published only in English was invalid (so that Manitoba did not descend
into a state of lawlessness, unilingual legislation was declared valid for a temporary
period, to give the government of Manitoba time to issue translations.)
Although French is an official language for the purposes of the legislature, legislation,
and the courts, the Manitoba Act (as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada) does
not require it to be an official language for the purpose of the executive branch of
government (except when the executive branch is performing legislative or judicial
functions.) Hence, Manitoba's government is not completely bilingual, and as reflected
in the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, the only completely bilingual province is New
The Manitoba French Language Services Policy of 1999 is intended to provide a
comparable level of provincial government services in both official languages.
Services to the public, including public utilities and health services, official documents
such as parking tickets and court summonses, court and commission hearings, and
government web sites are accessible in both English and French.
See also: List of cities in Manitoba
Ten largest municipalities
City 2006 2001
Winnipeg 675,483 626,956
Brandon 48,256 46,273
Thompson 13,446 13,256
Portage la Prairie 12,773 13,019
Steinbach 11,066 9,227
Selkirk 9,553 9,772
Winkler 9,106 7,943
Dauphin 7,906 8,085
Morden 6,547 6,159
The Pas 5,765 6,030
 Professional sports teams
• Canadian Football League
o Winnipeg Blue Bombers
• American Hockey League
o Manitoba Moose
• Northern League (baseball)
o Winnipeg Goldeyes
Former professional sports teams
• National Hockey League/ World Hockey Association
o Winnipeg Jets (moved to Phoenix, Arizona and are now the Phoenix
• Northern League (baseball, 1902-71)
o Winnipeg Maroons (defunct)
o Winnipeg Whips 1970-1971 -Triple A Baseball/ Farm Team of Montreal
• World Basketball League / National Basketball League
o Winnipeg Thunder (defunct)
• International Basketball Association (1995-2001)
o Winnipeg Cyclone (defunct)
Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg (CFB Winnipeg) is a Canadian Forces Base located in
Co-located at the Winnipeg International Airport, CFB Winnipeg is home to many flight
operations support divisions, as well as several training schools. It is also the 1 Canadian
Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters. The base is supported by over
3,000 military personnel and civilian employees.
17 Wing of the Canadian Forces is based in Winnipeg near the international airport. The
Wing has three squadrons and six schools. It also provides support to the Central
The Wing also 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 Canada CT-142 Dash 8 navigation trainer in support of the
Canadian Forces Air Navigation School’s Air Navigators and Airborne Electronic
Sensor Operator training programs.
• 435 “Chinthe” Transport and Rescue Squadron. This squadron flies the powerful
Lockheed CC-130 Hercules tanker/transport in the airlift search and rescue roles.
In addition, 435 Squadron is the only Air Force squadron equipped and trained to
conduct air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft in support of operational and
training activities at home and abroad. The CC-130 Hercules tanker is a key asset
for the Canadian NORAD Region in its mission to defend Canada and the United
States against aerial threats that originate outside or within North American
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 Canadian Forces Base
Shilo near Brandon.
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada are
infantry reserve units based at Minto Armouries in Winnipeg. The Fort Garry Horse is
an armored reconnaissance and field engineer reserve unit based at McGregor Armoury
Canadian Forces Base Shilo (or CFB Shilo) is an Operations and Training base of the
Canadian Forces located 35 km east of Brandon, Manitoba. During the 1990s, Canadian
Forces Base Shilo was also designated as an Area Support Unit, which acts as a local
base of operations for south-west Manitoba in times of military and civil emergency.
CFB Shilo is the home of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery , the 2nd
Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI)—both battalions of the 1
Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group—as well as being the Home Station of the Royal
In addition, CFB Shilo lodges training units such as the Western Area Training Centre
Detachment Shilo and the Communications Reserve School.
It also serves as a base for some support units of Land Force Western Area, including 731
 See also