Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the provincial capital and one of the nation's largest cities. It lies on prairie land at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, about 60 miles (97 km) north of the Minnesota border. Winnipeg is the oldest city west of Ontario and is sometimes called the "Gateway to the West." The name Winnipeg is of Cree Indian origin and means "murky water."
Winnipeg is a major industrial, transportation, and distribution center, serving primarily a broad farming, ranching, and mining area in central Canada. One of the world's largest grain markets, it has extensive facilities for storing, shipping, and milling grain.
There are also large stockyards and meatpacking plants and a variety of manufacturing enterprises. About 80 per cent of Manitoba's manufactured goods are produced in Winnipeg. Banking, insurance, and wholesale and retail trade are also important to the city's economy. Both of Canada's transcontinental railways pass through the city and have large marshalling yards and repair shops there. Winnipeg is also on the Trans-Canada Highway and has an international airport.
Among the most popular recreational attractions are Assiniboine Park, Assiniboine Park Zoo, and Kildonan Park. In Kildonan Park is Rainbow Stage, an outdoor summer theater. Winnipeg is the home of the Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
Cultural organizations include the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Opera, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Many of the city's cultural organizations perform at the Centennial Centre, a complex of buildings commemorating Canada's centennial in 1967 and Manitoba's in 1970. Winnipeg has several outstanding museums. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is noted for its extensive collection of Inuit art. The Museum of Man and Nature has exhibits pertaining to the natural and human history of Manitoba. St. Boniface Museum, which was built in 1846 as a convent, is the oldest building in Winnipeg. It now houses exhibits devoted to the city's history.
The leading educational institutions are the University of Manitoba (founded in 1877) and the University of Winnipeg (founded in 1871 as Manitoba College).
Winnipeg was the site of a number of fur-trading posts before permanent settlement was made. The first post, Fort Rouge, was built in 1738 by Sieur de la Vérendrye, a French explorer and fur trader. Scottish and Irish immigrants, sponsored by Lord Selkirk, were the first settlers. They arrived in 1812. Six years later, on the opposite side of the Red River, the French mission of St. Boniface was founded. It eventually became the largest French community in western Canada. After the first Fort Garry was built in 1821 the Selkirk settlement became known by the fort's name.
Winnipeg acquired its present name and was made the capital of Manitoba in 1870, following the Red River Rebellion. Winnipeg was incorporated in 1873 and grew rapidly after the arrival of the railways around 1880. Large numbers of immigrants, especially Ukrainians, Germans, and Poles, came to Winnipeg during the 1880's and 1890's. The population reached 42,000 in 1901 and 192,000 in 1921. Thereafter the city grew more slowly. A devastating flood occurred in 1950. Winnipeg was host to the Pan American Games in 1967. In 1972 the city and the suburbs merged, more than doubling Winnipeg's population.