top of page

Media Release: Winnipeg celebrates 150th anniversary

Canadian Museum for Human Rights - Credit: Bill Bennett (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

In 2024, Manitoba’s provincial capital Winnipeg, located in the heart of Canada, celebrates 150 years as a city. This milestone was officially marked on January 19, 2024, with the anniversary of the first meeting of City Council.

Winnipeg derives its name from the Cree word of “win” for muddy and “nippee” for water. The land around the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers – known present day as The Forks – has been a sacred meeting place for First Nations for commerce and celebration for 6,000 years prior to the arrival of Europeans.

With settlement, Winnipeg became the heart of the country’s fur trade and instrumental in developing Canada’s gateway to the west.

In 1812 a group of Scottish crofters, the Selkirk Settlers, arrived along the Red River and eventually formed a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870. With a population of 1,869, Winnipeg promoted itself from a small village nestled within the larger Red River Settlement to a city in 1874 - with all the aspirations of growth and importance it could muster. The city saw a 30-year period of growth and prosperity, particularly linked to the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. Winnipeg became a financial centre in Western Canada at the turn of the 20th century thanks to a flood of European settlers, high wheat prices and improved farming techniques.

The theme for the Winnipeg 150 celebrations Our shared stories. Our shared future. captures the essence of the city. "The 150th anniversary of Winnipeg serves not just as a reflection of our cultural richness and enduring spirit but also as a spotlight on why Winnipeg is a must-visit destination," said Ryan Kuffner, President & CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW). "This celebration is an invitation for visitors to explore the creativity, community and unique experiences that define Winnipeg, one of Canada’s hidden gems. Winnipeg is a city teeming with world-class attractions—a place where every visit offers memorable experiences and where the warmth of our community makes every visitor feel part of our story." 

Today, Winnipeg is a culturally diverse city with more than 100 languages and nationalities represented throughout the region. Winnipeg is known for its unique winter experiences, flourishing arts scene, colourful festivals, and character neighbourhoods, as well as its green spaces and access to outdoor activities. The city features more than 1,100 restaurants as well as numerous world-class attractions, museums, theatres, sports venues and night clubs. 


Known as the “cultural cradle of Canada”, Winnipeg is home to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and so much more. Festivals abound in Manitoba’s capital with a year-round slate of activity including Festival du Voyageur, Folklorama and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Newer attractions include Qaumajuq, the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit Art, or the world-class Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada’s first national museum built outside the capital region, also marking an anniversary in 2024 of 10 years. It celebrates Winnipeg 150 with its new exhibit Beyond the Beat: Music of Resistance and Change, discovering the transformative power of music as a way to influence pop culture and change.

Qaumajuq - Credit: JP Media Works (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Historic Winnipeg seems to come alive in the city’s Exchange District. This National Historic Site is one of Canada’s architectural marvels and known for its historic collection of warehouse buildings, financial institutions, and early terracotta-clad skyscrapers. The 20-block district boasts North America’s most extensive turn-of-the-20th-century buildings. While walking its charming streets, you’ll find some of the city’s trendiest and tastiest spots including small plate restaurants and bistros, up-and-coming and established galleries, and some of the best the city has to offer in coffee and café culture.

Exchange District - Credit: Salvador Maniquiz via Tourism Winnipeg

A great place to explore the fascinating history of the city is the new Winnipeg at 150 exhibit at the Manitoba Museum. The gallery includes a seven-metre-long wall of artifacts, related to seven themes that run through the history of Winnipeg, including Indigenous Homeland, City of Newcomers, and Celebrations, to name a few.

History buffs will get more unique historical insights at the new Winnipeg 150 History Exhibit at Millennium Library. The exhibit showcases images from the City of Winnipeg archival collection, the Winnipeg Public Library, Manitoba Museum, Archives of Manitoba / Hudson’s Bay Archives, and other sources.

Across Canada, Winnipeg is known for the music it creates and for its exceptional number of singers and choirs. Fittingly, the Winnipeg Arts Council will celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary through a year of song. Featuring the best of the community spirit and artistic excellence, City of Song is a showcase for the best of Winnipeg’s local talents, with guest performers from across Canada, and countless opportunities for Winnipeggers to engage in the power of singing with friends and neighbours.

The City of Winnipeg is planning a variety of other events and celebrations for Winnipeg 150 throughout 2024. An official logo to commemorate the celebration was designed by local Indigenous designer Jordan Stranger.


Logo "Winnipeg 150"


bottom of page