Winnipeg (wĭnˈĭpĕg) [key], city (1991 pop. 616,790), provincial capital, SE Man., Canada, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. It is the province's largest city and one of the world's largest wheat markets. A railroad, commercial, industrial, and distribution center, it has an international airport, railroad shops, grain elevators, stockyards, meatpacking and automobile plants, flour and textile mills, and breweries.
The city's history reflects the history of early French and British explorers and fur traders. In 1738, the sieur de la Vérendrye built the first post on the site, Fort Rouge, but it was later abandoned. Other posts were built in the Red River region, which was fiercely contested by the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. The conflict reached its height in the struggle over the Red River Settlement. The two companies were merged in 1821. Fort Gibraltar, a post of the North West Company on the site of present-day Winnipeg, was renamed Fort Garry and became the leading post in the region. In 1835 its name was changed to Winnipeg. Settlement was spurred by the construction of a rail line in 1881. Much of the city had to be rebuilt after the 1950 Red River flood, and the Red River Floodway was created in the 1960s to divert spring floodwaters around the city to the east. In the 1970s and 80s many new developments (a new city hall, hotels, a convention center, office buildings) were constructed.
In the city are the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Manitoba Theater Group, and a symphony orchestra. The Univ. of Manitoba and the Univ. of Winnipeg are also there, and the city has National Hockey League and Canadian Football League teams. An annual festival, the Folklorama, is dedicated to celebrating the city's increasingly cosmopolitan character.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.