Thinking about making a major move to a new city? There are so many things to consider before you take the leap on such a deep commitment in starting a brand new life, but it’s certainly an exciting decision to make in your life. First things first you’ve got to take into account where you’d like to move and why, the costs of everyday living, the average salaries for the area, the change in weather compared to where you are now, everyday traffic patterns, and frankly any other pros and cons that may affect you personally before making any life-long commitments.
Have you ever considered moving not just to another city but an entirely different country? If so, and if you’ve ever wondered what life in Winnipeg, Canada could really be like, I’ve created a detailed guide with everything you need to know before saying yes to the majestic Great White North.
The Peg’s Living Costs
Winnipeg or “The Peg” as it’s fondly known by its current residents is a busy city full of incredible surprises. Not lacking at all in outdoor or indoor activities (even with the immense amount of daily snowfall) there will always be something interesting and different to do. Forget the mall and movies, it’s time to get into the wild for a change! There is no lack of outdoor space in Canada and The Peg is no exception.
Now, if you google Winnipeg you may find some surprising results. Winnipeg is the coldest Canadian city with daily winter temperature averages of – brace yourself here – negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you enjoy watching or playing ice sports like hockey, warming up inside a steaming hot outdoor spring bath, and would truly enjoy participating in an outdoor winter festival complete with dazzling snow sculptures, Winnipeg is the snowy haven for you. But what if you’re not completely sold on the snow? If you are considering starting a new job, relationship or just looking for a fresh start in The Peg, you’ll be happy to note that it does boast some of the most sunshine per year out of all of the major cities in Canada. With a tourist website listing more than 100 interesting things to do, I am sure anyone could find happiness in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Coupled with a booming tourism niche, Winnipeg is also profoundly inexpensive for first-time home-buyers, something incredibly important for those currently considering making a first-time commitment to a home, or those looking to finally make the leap to a new city.
While other major cities in Canada like Toronto are on the rise with home and living costs, Winnipeg is the smart choice for families or those who are looking to stay within a budget. According to The Globe and Mail, Vancouver’s real estate comes with a hefty ticket price average of over $1 million compared to Winnipeg’s cool $300,000 – which is much more realistic for the average home-buyer. Not only is Winnipeg a better bargain for housing than competitor cities in Canada, but it is also priced well below the national average for homes. Due to this statistic, Winnipeg offers the absolute lowest housing prices in the entire country of Canada.
Canadians are flocking from the well-known and established cities such as Toronto and Vancouver to start fresh in smaller, more affordable cities which allow them to distribute their wealth more efficiently versus being burdened by one large bill of crippling debt. It’s safe to say that if you are concerned with the cost of living, Winnipeg is an ideal location to consider moving to.
Is it Safe to Move to a New City Alone?
New families or single women moving may especially want to take general safety into account no matter where they plan to be living. Compared to other Canadian cities, Winnipeg does not have the best reputation for safety, however, that statistic is changing for the better.
According to The Winnipeg Sun, “It’s impossible to explain why crime rates go up and down in any city because there are so many factors that go into them. Not even the most clever criminologist can prove with evidence why crime rates fluctuate.” The Sun goes on to say that crime rates could be going down due to an aging population, but that no one knows or can prove that for certain either. According to TripAdvisor, some “Areas to be avoided at night are the North and West Ends of the city bordered by Portage Avenue North to Burrows Avenue North and Strathcona Street West to Main Street East. The Exchange District is a safe area with regular police patrol.” Every city has its questionable areas, we are just familiar with our own local streets and places we purposefully avoid on a regular basis. The important thing is to remain aware of potential danger no matter where you travel, and avoid walking alone at night and carrying flashy jewelry and purses when visiting an unfamiliar area. Always research the area before you go so you can be completely vigilant of your surroundings.
Winnipeg’s Indigenous Problem
Winnipeg means “Muddy Waters” in its native Cree language, but unfortunately, the indigenous peoples are not being treated with the respect and resources they deserve. Community reserves for natives are dwindling as powerhouse symbols like the North End Community Center, and the Thunderbird House limit their supplies or are forced to close their doors.
Homelessness in the indigenous communities is rampant and represents more than 60% of the entire native population. According to Vice, “Years of poverty and discrimination have driven Aboriginal street gangs to make Winnipeg the murder capital of Canada” and it’s only getting worse. According to Canadian Mayor Brian Bowman, “Winnipeg has a responsibility right now to turn this ship around and change the way we all relate – aboriginal and non-aboriginal, Canadians alike from coast to coast to coast. To do so, we have to shine a light on the problem we do have in Winnipeg, and the problem we share with communities across this nation because without the light, we can’t see what we’re fighting.” Brian Bowman is of Aboriginal descent so it’s obvious as to why this cause is important to him, however, the deeper issue lies in the fact that this is an issue at all, and that it spans the entire world.
Protesters argue that Bowman is part of “the problem” and that all Aborigines are lazy drunkards. One would assume that residents would be more sensitive to the subject being that Winnipeg is the second-largest urban indigenous population, just behind Alaska. If you visit the city of Winnipeg official tourism site you’ll be greeted with an entire page full of “local indigenous itineraries” featuring historic artifacts, Inuit art collections, and native food, but is that enough to accurately not only represent but also support the Aborigines? Some residents think not.
Special to Winnipeg
The good news is, the crime rates in Winnipeg are dropping. Winnipeg is now beginning to become known for its Arts and History versus its crime rates. Aside from the notable crime rates, Winnipeg offers beautiful locations from the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden that offers stunning bronze sculpted pieces and the Red River Mutual Trail which is one of the largest natural ice skating rinks in the world, to the Prairie Legacy Bison Tour where you can actually be up close and personal interacting with the largest mammal in North America. These are just some pieces and parts that make Winnipeg, Manitoba worth moving to.
Most of the activities here are special to the area of Manitoba. In nowhere else in the world can you get up close and personal with wild Polar Bears and spend the night out in the wild surrounded purely by magnificent nature. If you live in Winnipeg you will certainly be able to enjoy Manitoba which offers more than 100,000 lakes and waterways making it a prime location for watching and experiencing exotic wildlife. You may also spot other Canadians kayaking with beluga whales, observing the large annual mating ritual for red snakes or even getting a glimpse of the ferocious polar bear!
Fun fact: Churchill, Manitoba is nicknamed the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” so don’t be surprised if you actually do see them. Churchill Wild also offers the only Polar Bear safari service with tours to not only see the great white bears but to eat dinner with them up close and personal too. Now that’s wild! Whiteshell in McGrilivay Park also offers stunning snow-covered nature trail views that a Polar Bear or maybe just your average explorer and photographer would find enjoyable.
You can also experience a rare Northern Lights appearance famously known for breathtaking views of natural dancing light patterns of Greens, Blues, Pinks, Oranges and many other colors in the dark night sky only in certain areas of the world. It’s safe to say that Manitoba is a province that has many extraordinary experiences to offer its residents as well as faster career advancement opportunities, higher salaries, rare and majestic wildlife and unique things to do alone or with the family.
Average Winnipeg Salaries
Another noteworthy reason to consider moving to Winnipeg is salaries. Entry-level jobs start off with around a $25,000 salary with no experience, up to the highest paying specialist jobs of over $130,000 per year. An average Winnipegger makes close to $80,000 per year which is much higher than America’s national average.
Some of the most common professions range from Cashiers and Customer Service Representatives to IT Specialists and Hiring Resource Managers. If you aren’t familiar with Winnipeg, it’s actually the largest city in the province (similar to a state) of Manitoba so there is a lot to offer near and in the city. It also harbors the only Human Rights museum in the world which gained a lot of momentum at its opening. According to Immigrate Manitoba, the average family saves close to $20,000 a year more than they would if they lived in a larger province such as Toronto, which certainly adds up. With that amount of money saved you and your family could do some seriously amazing things every year!
The Cultural Capital of Canada
Winnipeg has also created the reputation and holds the title for the ‘Cultural Capital of Canada’ since 2010 due to its ancient art and ballet museums, as well as its focus on an array of visual arts categories throughout the city. No matter when you look in the yearly calendar the city hosts regular art shows and exhibitions. Recognized for its weekly “Friday Art Nights,” Winnipeg has rightfully won that distinction and new collections are showcased frequently, just another reason to visit this unique city.
Winnipeg, Manitoba is a refreshing take on Canadian life. Few people think of Canada the same way they think of Antarctica: nothing to see but a frightening frozen abyss, but hopefully, after reading this article you can truly visualize what the different areas of Canada have to offer. Overflowing with rare wildlife, vibrant history, and color, Winnipeg is a place everyone should visit at least once and some should seriously consider moving to! With its age old charm, bustling exotic creatures, clear natural views, reasonable salaries, and endless activities to participate in Winnipeg is full of surprises that the entire family can appreciate.
There are not many cities offering such dynamic and dramatic experiences, cultural distinctions, wildlife visibility, salary sustainability, and a plethora of opportunities. The freezing cold is certainly a deterrent for some, but if you think you can handle the intense winters, Winnipeg will greatly reward you with truly amazing experiences so that you’ll want to get out and experience life instead of wanting to be bundled up on the couch and at home all day!