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AAA/Katie Broome

From Fur Trading to Founding The real estate agent's cry of “Location, location, location!” could have been invented in Winnipeg; the position of Manitoba's capital has determined the city's past and present. Archeological evidence shows that Winnipeg has been an important place of settlement for more than 6,000 years.

AAA/Katie Broome
The confluence of the Red River, which flows south to north, and the Assiniboine River, whose eastward flowing waters were a main route of Western exploration, led to the founding of fur-trading posts in the early 18th century near Winnipeg's present site. The fertile lands created by the rivers later drew farmers and other settlers.

Still later, the area's position south of the rocks and peaks of the Canadian Shield meant that roads and railroads were forced to meet at Winnipeg, making it the point through which the eastbound raw materials of the West and the westbound manufactured goods of the East passed. Profiting by the hydroelectric power generated from its rivers, the city emerged in the 20th century as a manufacturing center.

French Canadian explorer and trader Pierre Gaultier de la Vérendrye founded Fort Rouge at the confluence of the rivers in 1738. This fur-trading post was succeeded by Fort Gibraltar, built by the North West Co. in 1804, and Fort Garry, founded by the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1821. In the same year, Lord Selkirk brought a party of Scottish settlers to these lands, a move that greatly disturbed the trappers and voyageurs who feared the destruction of their livelihoods.

The settlement managed to survive, shifting from trapping and hunting to agriculture. Because of aggressive Canadian advertising campaigns in Europe and a homestead policy similar to that being used to settle the plains of the United States, large numbers of immigrants began to move into the area in the 1860s.

In 1873 the village was incorporated and named for the Cree words win (“muddy”) and nipee (“water”). The railroad helped Winnipeg's growth still further: In 1876 the city began to ship wheat east, and when the Canadian Pacific Railway connected the coasts in 1885, freight and passengers began to flow through the city in both directions.

AAA/Katie Broome
Winnipeg's diversity mirrors the many nationalities of its settlers, drawn by agriculture, the railroad or industry. From countries throughout Great Britain and Europe they came, creating a cultural mix reflected in the city's skyline, which includes the neoclassical splendor of the Manitoba Legislative Building, the century-old buildings of the Exchange District and the rounded spires of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral.

Archeological digs have uncovered evidence that The Forks' current site was a seasonal meeting place for Aboriginal peoples more than 6,000 years ago. Tools, bones, footprints and pottery have been unearthed at the site located at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Still a meeting place, The Forks now has amenities like a food hall, a playground, entertainment venues, a skate park and a hotel. The Manitoba Children's Museum, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Assiniboine Riverwalk are three highlights.

The Golden Boy, sculpted by Georges Gardet of Paris, is a 5.25-metre-tall (17.2-ft.) statue sheathed in 24 karat gold leaf atop the dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building. The statue was diverted on its journey from a French foundry during World War I, while the vessel carrying it transported troops for 2 years. After crossing the Atlantic many times, the golden immigrant was finally placed where he stands today, one hand holding aloft the torch of progress, the other cradling a symbolic sheaf of wheat.

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Winnipeg, MB

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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350 St. Mary Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3C 3J2

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Travel Information

City Population

663,617

Elevation

229 m/763 ft.

Sales Tax

Manitoba's provincial sales tax is 8 percent. A 5 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied in Canada on most sales and services. There is a 5 percent accommodations tax on hotel/motel rooms where there are four or more letting rooms.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(204) 986-6222

Temperature

(204) 983-2050

Hospitals

Concordia Hospital, (204) 667-1560; Grace Hospital, (204) 837-0111; Health Sciences Centre, (204) 787-3661; St. Boniface Hospital, (204) 233-8563; Seven Oaks General Hospital, (204) 632-7133; Victoria General Hospital, (204) 269-3570.

Visitor Information

Suite 810, One Lombard Pl. Winnipeg, MB R3B 0X3. Phone:(204)943-1970 or (855)734-2489

Air Travel

Cheap airline flights can be found from cities all over the country as well as internationally.

Rental Cars

Hertz, (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members. Winnipeg locations are at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, phone (204) 925-6625, and 1577 Erin St., phone (204) 925-6629. Contact your AAA travel agent to add rental car reservations to your vacation packages.

Rail Service

The VIA Rail Canada depot is downtown at Union Station, 123 Main St.; phone (888) 842-7245.

Taxis

Cab companies include Duffy's, (204) 925-0101; and Unicity, (204) 925-3131. Winnipeg rates start at $3.50 plus an average rate of $1.71 per kilometre or $2.02 per mile.

Public Transportation

Winnipeg Transit, the public bus system, serves downtown Winnipeg and its suburbs. Route maps and route information are available by phoning 311 (within Winnipeg) or visiting the Winnipeg Transit website. Bus fare is $2.95, $2.45 (ages 6-16, ages 65+ and students with ID); riders must have exact change. More than 500 of the buses have accessibility features including low floors, electric ramps and priority accessible seating.

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