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Why we choose to live and work in Winnipeg?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of UofW business students (thank you Abhijeet Ranga) about my profession (marketing), our agency (6P Marketing) and my career path (corporate to entrepreneurship).

One of the interesting dynamics to this group of students is that, for the most part, they were international students but what that meant is that these are amongst the most capable, smart and forward thinking students from their areas, which are fairly populous (meaning they are among the best of the best).  I say this because amongst their questions was the topic of where they should work and whether Winnipeg was a location that offered opportunity for them. An interesting question from an interesting group.

At the time, I could only think of two very important and valid answers:

1.Diversified economy

    • Winnipeg’s economy does not experience crashes like others. It is stable.
    • Winnipeg has a plethora of industries (aerospace, tech, ag / food, manufacturing, professional services, construction, NGO/associations, etc).
    • Related to this, in concert with a diversified economy, it has a diversified ethnicity which is welcoming to all faiths and ethnicities.  More than this, it is also home to one of the most harmonized class systems (ie. it is really really hard to tell who is rich / powerful and who is not; everyone here is treated the same).

2. Work Life Balance

    • Very few places can you earn an income (with hard work and education) that enables you to buy a home (that is nice / not burdensome to you), a cottage and travel periodically.
    • Employers generally understand that a 40 hour work week is not a 50 hour work week and take pride in your having a life outside of work.
    • Winnipeg’ cultural organizations are amongst the best in the world (CMHR, RWB, MB Opera, Fringe Festival, Folk Festival, Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg Art museum, etc).
    • Did you know that Winnipeg is home to world class fisheries; many of which are an hour drive from the city!

But a third, and maybe more important, but often unappreciated / sneaky answer came to me this morning.  It stems from our “Friendly Manitoba” and why we are so friendly!  You see, one of the things about living and working in Winnipeg are the harsh winters and many that come here experience it like hitting a cement wall! It is harsh and cold and one quickly questions ones sanity in living and working here.  As with most things in life, while there is a simple answer there is actually more depth to the topic.

You see, one of the things I note about Winnipeg is how much people “wake up” in the spring.  They come alive and truly embrace life and each other; I may call it a Jubilant celebration of life.  More than this, the harsh winter creates appreciation!  Not just for spring, but for each other and all things. (re-read those last two sentences because they are important).  If people get warm weather year round, I expect that one would get complacent and comfortable with the weather and all things; you normalize to it. You don’t experience toughness because you really don’t have to.  In Winnipeg, after 5 or 6 months of winter (where only 2 or 3 may be harsh), people really come alive.

So, my third answer is “Joie de vivre” (aka joy for life).  Very few places can offer such a balance of these three elements.

If you need more reasons to choose Winnipeg, I’ve sourced a few helpful articles that may help:

Prepare for Canada article

Winnipeg Specifics article

Top 6 things about Winnipeg article

Live in Winnipeg website

In conclusion, many places offer great living and working conditions.  Winnipeg is one of those great places to live, even if we are humble and apprehensive to defend our home, which is a part of our charm of keeping it a secret from those that may ruffle that secret!

By: Paul Provost
February 2023