Little known facts about Winnipeg

  • The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.

 

  • Winnipeg was the first city in the world to develop an emergency number (999, now 911).

 

  • Manitoba is called the curling capital of the world, and has more clubs than Ontario and Quebec combined.

 

  • The Winnipeg Press Club, established in 1887, is the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in the world.

 

  • The first-ever around-the-world broadcast originated from the second-floor library of Government House in Winnipeg. King George VI, while visiting Winnipeg in May 1939, spoke to the Commonwealth about the darkening clouds of war gathering over Europe.

 

  • The first Mercedes-Benz dealership in Winnipeg was established by a woman, Erna Hartman, in 1955.

 

  • Winnipeg got its first streetlight in 1873.

 

  • Winnipeg’s Le Cercle Molière is Canada’s oldest active theatre and has been in continuous operation since 1925.

 

  • There are more than 30 bridges in Winnipeg.

 

  • Winnipeg painter Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald was the only western member of Canada’s famous Group of Seven.

 

  • Lake Winnipeg is the 12th-largest lake in the world.

 

  • The green garbage bag was invented in Winnipeg in 1950 by Harry Wasylyk

 

  • The longitudinal centre of Canada is approximately 15 kilometres east of Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada Highway.

 

  • The Assiniboine Park Zoo officially opened on Victoria Day in 1909.

 

  • The “boler” trailer was invented in 1968 by Ray Olecko and, although long out of production, it has become a cult classic for campers all over North America.

 

  • The St. Boniface Museum was completed in 1851 and is the oldest building in Winnipeg and the largest existing oaklog structure in North America.

 

  • Winnipeg-born comedian, actor, writer and director David Steinberg appeared onThe Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson 140 times, second only to Bob Hope.

 

  • Hans Kraus from Winnipeg is a hero in these parts for inventing the Command Start remote vehicle ignition system.

 

  • The Winnipeg Art Gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art.

 

  • Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park is Canada’s oldest continuously operating outdoor theatre.

 

  • The Royal Canadian Mint produces coins for more than 70 countries around the world.

 

  • The Golden Boy atop the Legislative Building stands for equality for all and freedom forever.

 

  • The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, two of the most successful TV programs in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, were produced by Winnipeg’s Allan Blye.

 

  • Winnipeg’s Union Station was designed by the same architects responsible for New York’s Grand Central Station.

 

  • People have been meeting at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine for more than 6,000 years.

 

  • Winnipeg was home to Coca-Cola’s Canadian headquarters until 1923. Overwhelming sales in the 1910s kept the local operation so busy it outpaced the company’s U.S. bottling plants.

 

  • Winnipeg city councillor Albert E. Bennett organized the first air cadet corps in Canada, in 1938. He was also involved in the development of the Disraeli Freeway and implementation of the 999 emergency telephone number.

 

  • Thomas Garnett (Gar) Gillies invented the Garnet-Herzog preamp, a six-channel recording-studio mixer associatedwith songs such as the GuessWho’s American Woman

 

  • The Principal Meridian is the reference point from where all land in Western Canada is surveyed. It is located west of Winnipeg.
  • In 1875, Winnipeg police chief John Ingram was forced to resign after he was found patronizing a local brothel.

 

  • Edith Rogers (1876-1947) was the first woman to serve as an MLA, representing Winnipeg as a Liberal for 12 years, beginning in 1920, four years after legislation extended the vote to women. Rogers was Métis.

 

  • In 1919 Earl Grey School was established as Canada’s first junior high.

 

  • Irvine Robbins of Baskin-Robbins ice cream fame was born in Winnipeg in 1917.

 

  • The Union Stockyards in St. Boniface was once the site of the largest operation of its kind in the British Empire.

 

  • The first woman to work as a physician in Manitoba was Charlotte Whitehead

 

  • Louis Slotin, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, worked as a physicist and chemist on the Manhattan Project in 1946 in Los Alamos, N.M. He died when he threw himself on a fission reaction, which saved the lives of seven other scientists.

 

  • Harlequin Enterprises was founded by Richard H. G. Bonnycastle of Winnipeg in 1949 and went on to become the world’s largest publisher of romantic fiction, and is printed in more than 25 languages.

 

  • Dickie Dee was founded by the Barish family of Winnipeg in 1959 and grew to become one of the largest ice cream vending companies in North America.

 

  • The first golf course in Winnipeg was the Winnipeg Golf Club. It opened in July of 1894 with 73 members, one-third of whom were women.

 

  • Clara Hughes is the only Canadian athlete to have won Olympic medals in both Summer and Winter Games.

 

  • The Winnipeg Falcons were the first hockey team to win an Olympic gold medal, at the 1920 Games.

 

  • Susan Thompson was the first woman to serve as mayor of Winnipeg, serving two terms from 1992 to 1998.

 

  • Winnipeg-born Billy Mosienko, while playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, scored three goals in 21 seconds in 1952, a record that has never been broken.

 

  • In 1963 Margaret Konantz became the first Manitoba woman elected to the House of Commons. She is the daughter of Edith Rogers, Manitoba’s first female MLA.

 

  • In 1984, Sharon Carstairs, a Liberal, became the first female leader of a Manitoba political party.

 

  • Pearl McGonigal became the first female lieutenant-governor in Manitobain 1981.

 

  • In 1930, the Winnipeg police introduced Canada’s first radio-equipped patrol cars.

 

  • In 1952, Henry Malanik, who was convicted of murdering a Winnipeg police officer, was the last person hanged in Manitoba.

 

  • The Red River Floodway was derisively dubbed Duff’s Ditch after premier Duff Roblin, who championed its construction as opposition leader despite its massive cost. Winnipeg suffered more than $500 million in damages in the 1950 flood (about $4.2 billion in 2020 dollars), but critics argued against the need for the $72-million, 47-kilometre-long insurance policy that diverts floodwater into Lake Winnipeg that opened in 1966.The “ditch” has proven its worth several times since, and the name became one of affection and respect.

 

  • The 1950 flood caused the evacuation of 100,000 people, the largest such undertaking in Canadian history.

 

  • Winnipeg-born Edna Mae (Deanna) Durbin moved to Los Angeles with her parents and eventually became the highest-paid actress in theworld well into the 1940s.

 

  • Groucho Marx saw Charlie Chaplin for the first time while on the vaudeville circuit at the Orpheum Theatre on Fort Street.

 

  • Douglas Rain was born in Winnipeg in 1928. He starred in many roles at the Manitoba Theatre Centre but, is best known as the voice of HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s film2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as the sequel 2010.

 

  • In 1936, Winnipeg teacher Louise Staples devised school safety patrols, an innovation at Greenway School that was adopted across Canada.

 

  • Victor McLaglen won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1935 but first gained public attention as a boxer and wrestler in Winnipeg.

 

  • The Winnipeg Foundation was established by William Forbes Alloway in 1921 with a donation of $100,000. It celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021.

 

  • Ben Batsford, who worked for the Free Press in the 1920s, was believed to have had a hand in the designing of Edgar Bergen’s famous puppet Charlie McCarthy.

 

  • Martin Cooper, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, is credited with creating the first mobile phone.His inspiration, he has said, was Dick Tracy’s wrist radio.
  • Beginning in the late 1800s, the area of Logan Avenue off Main Street was often called Little Sweden because of the large number of Swedish immigrants who found a new life in that part of Winnipeg. It was also affectionately called Snus (Snuf) Boulevard.

 

  • Yvonne Brill was an aerospace engineer and rocket scientist who invented a fuel-efficient rocket thruster that keeps satellites in orbit today. She was born Winnipeg in 1924.

 

  • Winnipeg is on a similar latitude as Paris and a similar longitude as Dallas.

 

  • Phillip James Edwin (Jim) Peebles was born in St. Boniface in 1935.Among his many achievements in the world of astrophysics, he is known for his contributions to what is referred to as the Big Bang Theory. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2019.
  • Crown Royal whisky was first introduced in 1939 by Samuel Bronfman for the 1939 royal tour. It is produced in Gimli and is the top-selling brand of Canadian whisky in the United States.

 

  • A monument outside the Buller Building at the University of Manitoba contains the remains of the man whose name adorns the building — A.H.R. Buller, a professor known for his research in fungi and wheat rust.

 

  • Among his many achievements, Dean Gunnarson set two Guinness World Records escaping from handcuffs, chains and a straitjacket.

 

  • A&W, the first quick-service restaurant in Canada, opened it’s first location in the country on Portage Avenue in 1956.

 

  • In 1956, Stephen Juba became the first non-Anglo-Saxon mayor of Winnipeg.

 

  • The International Brotherhood of Magicians was founded by Len Vintus from Winnipeg in 1922. It is the largest magic organization in the world, with approximately 15,000 members worldwide.

 

  • The largest collection of Ukrainian-language books outside of the Ukraine is housed in the Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre in Winnipeg.

 

  • Winnipeg’s riverboats were the first in Canada, in the 1960s, to hire female captains.

 

  • Carpathia Road in River Heights was named after the ocean liner that came to the rescue of the Titanic in 1912.

 

  • In 2006 Winnipeg speedskater Cindy Klassen became the first Canadian to win five medals in one Olympic Games.

 

  • Winnipeg has the sunniest winter season in Canada, with about 358 hours of sunshine and, overall, 316 sunny days per year.

 

  • The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first national museum built outside of Canada’s capital region.

 

  • Paul Faraci invented Pizza Pops in Winnipeg in 1964.

 

  • Winnipeg-born Oscar Brand hosted a weekly folk-music show on WNYC in New York City credited as the longest-running radio program with only one host in broadcasting history.

 

  • Manitoba was the site of Canada’s first major curling bonspiel in 1859.

 

  • Charles Thorson, who grew up in Gimli (north of Winnipeg), was the creator of many animated characters, including Snow White and Bugs Bunny. He also created Elmer the Safety Elephant and Eaton’s sad little bear Punkinhead in 1947.

Winnipeg has been mentioned in the movies many times here are two clips from You-tube
Clip one
Clip two