Where is Winnipeg?—this is perhaps one of the harshest questions that a Winnipegger would possibly hear from an acquaintance who, at least, lives outside of Manitoba or, at most, one who lives outside of Canada. Such question may carry with it the negative undertone that the city is “not famous enough” outside of the Manitoba circle, and that it is far overshadowed by Canada’s “super” cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. Hence, Winnipeg plays the role of a “lesser” city.
Of late years, however, Winnipeg has been taking strides towards joining the rank of Canada’s supercities. Grounded largely on its overwhelming demographic and economic growth, the city of Winnipeg has so far accomplished the following: the return of Winnipeg Jets in the National Hockey League, the elite status of Blue Bombers in Canadian Football League, the new James Richardson International Airport, the building of the Canadian Human Rights Museum, the new Bombers Stadium (Investor Group Field), an IKEA store, Maple Leaf’s Ham-processing plant, and the forthcoming establishment of a World Trade Center, Hampton Inn at the airport, and, if approved by the city council, a world-class water park. In addition to that, of course, are the accolades that the city received such as “the most cost-effective city for aerospace manufacturing in the Western United States and Canada (KPMG),” “one of the top-10 best places to live in Canada (Moneysense),” “one of the top-10 intelligent communities in the world (Intelligent Community Forum’s Smart21 Communities), and “the lowest cost of electricity of major metro area in the United States and Canada (Hydro Quebec).”
In the Economic Development Winnipeg’s latest report, the government agency responsible for promoting and marketing the city for business and promoting tourism, CEO Marina James claimed that “the city’s visitor traffic was up by 7 percent last year and is forecast to grow by 4 percent this year. After that, she also claimed that annual increases of between 6 and 8 percent are expected for the next few years.”
All these accomplishments can fairly be taken as “good news” to the city and to Winnipeggers, in one way or the other. To the question as to what such accomplishments means, it means economic growth for the city, better employment opportunities for Winnipeggers, international recognition for Manitoba and Canada, and, ultimately, that sense of pride in a Winnipegger.
While there is so much that there is to say about Winnipeg’s economic development, the city must also take strides in curbing the city’s crime as it has been on an increasing rate, and must provide solution to the city’s worsening road conditions. These concerns must never be considered as trade-off to an economic growth. For a case in point, Toronto and Vancouver are economically robust and, at the same time, have relatively low crime rates and have the better roads in Canada.
Perhaps, sooner rather than later, Vancouverites, Torontarians and non-Canadians would consider Winnipeg a “good place to be.” Perhaps, Winnipeg can join the conversation on the super cities of Canada and would be among the cities well-desired by Canadians for a long drive. And, that there will be lesser people who would raise the question—Where is Winnipeg?