Yes, we're aware of the winters, thanks
July 9, 2022 4:41 PM   Subscribe

There's a non-zero chance we may end up moving to Winnipeg in the fall. What is living there like?

We are DINK, pet owners, and in our late 40s. We currently own a home in small city outside the GTA and would want to purchase a home in Winnipeg if we decide to move.

1. What are the artsy or funkier neighbourhoods to look at?

2. How would we look at real estate remotely, or go about househunting remotely?

3. What is cost of living like?

4. Public transit and car share? Where we live, we use public transit and haven't owned a car in years because car shares exist.

5. Your own personal pros and cons?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
1) Woosley is the progressive, smallish, but sort of bougie. The exchange disctict is devolped downtown industrial area. St Boniface is pretty great and largely francophone. I also liked Norwood Flats.
3) Either it or Halifax are where people are moving bc they cannot afford everything, food costs spike in Winter, but It's really quite cheap.
4) I don't know about car share, but the buses downtown were efficent, and low key. Loved the buses.
5) It's a great muisc town, a good culture space, I love the indingeinous renisassnce that is in the middle of it, it's just a lovely town.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:59 PM on July 9, 2022 [5 favorites]

Winnipeg is One Great City!
posted by baseballpajamas at 6:05 PM on July 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

1. For artsy neighbourhoods, maybe Osborne Village (now mostly gentrified), Corydon (fancier and higher end), West Broadway (still pretty rough and a bit more authentically artsy). Funky - check out Wolseley (old-school hippies and families). Agree with PinkMoose on St Boniface which is a great spot and close to downtown with some cool French influences although I would say Francophones are a small minority.

2. Probably your best bet is to ask a real estate agent that question directly. I dealt with Tracy McLachlan before and she was excellent.

3. Pretty reasonable - decent small houses in nice neighbourhoods are available for $300-350k and will probably settle to $250 soon. Taxes, bills, food, entertainment, all pretty reasonable.

4. Public transit will get you downtown okay. Other than that it is very limited and you’ll always pass through downtown to change buses. Winnipeg is a car city and pretty much everyone drives or relies on friends and family to drive them. There’s a good sized car sharing coop although I haven’t used it myself. Transit has just received a grant and is planning to redraw their bus routes, though, so this may improve soon.

5. Pros: the cultural scene is excellent. Lots of music, lots of tours come through town, good sports scene. The food scene is amazing and punches way above its weight - I’ve been to some pretty hip restaurants in big cities and Winnipeg stands up to most of them. You get the big city stores like Costco and Ikea. It’s small enough that 30 minutes is a long commute and many areas are quite walkable. Real estate is decent and you won’t get priced out of all the good areas. People are generally friendly. You can bike a lot of places and cycling paths are being put in many areas.

Cons: the location is isolated - the nearest big city is Minneapolis 8 hours away. Public services aren’t great because we tend to elect a lot of conservatives (healthcare is in a real bad spot right now and the roads are falling apart from years of neglect.)

Winnipeg also has a serious anti-indigenous racism problem. A ton of the boomers here (and a lot of non-boomers) hate Native people and don’t try to hide it. Discovering that toxic shit in neighbours, coworkers, random strangers - it can be hard to take.

Feel free to drop me a memail if you have specific questions or anything I can help with.
posted by pocams at 6:18 PM on July 9, 2022 [8 favorites]

I am in Winnipeg right now!! If you buy in the downtown core your property taxes are lower (per my mom in Wolseley.) I agree about the racism, I grew up here and it can be pretty intense. Lots of hard edges around town. But! I sort of envy my friends who stayed or moved back from away, it is a lovely city with lots of possibility.

Move here and don’t vote PC, they have absolutely fucked the healthcare system over the last decade or so.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:04 PM on July 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

I don't want to discount the racism the racism is bad, but I also want to reitierate that the most exicing work in music, visual art, and writing coming out of the colonial state of Canadia for me, is indingeious work in Manitoba and the Territories.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:52 PM on July 9, 2022

Lots to do. Tons of festivals in the summer; music of many kinds, plays (Fringe and main stage) and the first Friday of each month is open doors at many galleries and creative spaces. Several farmers markets, lots of community dinners and fall suppers. Block parties in various neighbourhoods, a large multi week multi country cultural festival (Folklorama) and Nuit Blanche / culture days in the fall.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:59 PM on July 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I lived there for four years, and miss it every day. I love Winnipeg.

The Forks Market area down by the river is great. Festival du Voyageur every winter is really fun. The Human Rights Museum and Manitoba Museum are top notch, as is the WAG (especially their focus on Inuit art). Winnipeg has an opera, ballet, and symphony, as well as NHL and CFL teams. It’s home to the permanent offices for the national centre for truth and reconciliation and offers so many great opportunities for exploring Indigenous cultures. There’s great public art and good restaurants and great locally owned businesses. It’s cheap. It’s big enough to feel like a vibrant city but the people are small-town friendly and you will not be sitting for hours in traffic.

We moved away in 2018, but there was at least one car share service active at the time.

As DINKs with no car to worry about parking who want close access to public transit, I think you’d probably really like Osborne Village, Wolseley, St. Boniface (heart of the Franco-Manitobain community - many French-language businesses there), the Exchange District or Corydon. St. Vital has some cool spots (and more options if what you really want is a detached house) but is more geared towards residential family life.

As much as I love the city in general, I would not live in the downtown core; I never felt fully safe there after about 7pm. And the only public transit is the bus. The bus schedule is fairly good/reliable there, but it’s not like Toronto where you have the options of the bus AND the subway AND streetcars AND the train.

Overall, I really recommend it. Best of luck to you!
posted by oywiththepoodles at 1:10 AM on July 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm not from Winnipeg but my partner's extended family are from there and a couple of my family members from Northern Ontario moved out there. So I've been many many times and if I needed to move out of the Southern Ontario Golden Horsehoe it'd be my first choice. I love the art and film scene there, I think the restaurant options have really improved in the last 20 years with some really great options that would rival larger areas. The Métis and indigenous culture right now is incredible and rewarding so definitely explore that (if you don't know the history I strongly suggest you read Jean Teillet's The North-West Is Our Mother). I love also how vital, despite being small, the French language community can be there.

I'd agree with a lot of neighbourhood suggestions above, I'd probably go with St Boniface personally, and I'd add that a good way to think of Winnipeg is to think of it as a city of fairly distinct neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods are also surprisingly diverse which is great especially if your coming from a town that has a strong monoculture. No car will be a challenge I think if you're coming from a walkable town. Some neighbourhoods are just not that walkable. Also watch out for neighbourhoods that tend to flood. So definitely go and check the neighbourhoods before you buy. Maybe talk to people who live in them. Also worth looking at the ridings and see how they voted in provincial and federal elections.

Think the summers in Manitoba can be really great. I love up by Lake Winnipeg, sort of their cottage country. Gimli especially but a lot of the cute towns remind me so much of the towns in Haliburton and Muskoka when I was a kid, in the late 70s/early 80s, before the property got all bought up. And Clear Lake and Riding Mountain National Park (sort of like their Algonquin Park) is great as well. One of our favourites things to do when we are there is to do a tour of all the ice cream shops in the various neighbourhoods - an absolutely great way to spend an early summer evening in 'Peg.

I'm from Northern Ontario so you should take this with a grain of salt but I like the winters in 'Peg and in fact I think they are better than the wet and endlessly damp, hovering around zero Southern Ontario Winters. Saying that, it's good to be aware that there's gonna be days where you just won't be able to go out of your place due to the extreme cold so it's good to prepare for that. Also the racism and bigotry are definitely something to be aware of - I got it even as a French Canadian which was something. I have Southern Manitoban Russian Mennonites & evangelicals among my in-laws and... let's just say if you have "progressive" views (that includes vaccines by the way) or you look "different" you're gonna want to avoid them (living in 'Peg you can largely avoid the worst of them).
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:11 AM on July 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

I lived in Winnipeg while I went to university, so I can’t speak to current housing prices and neighborhoods. But there are definitely cool, relaxed neighborhoods where you could feel comfortable. However Winnipeg is very much a car city - it will be very difficult to lead a „normal“ life without one. There are a lot of social problems and racism related to the sizeable indigenous population. The city is also very isolated, and as you know, the winters are long and brutal… I think this actually contributes to the strong cultural creativity of the city!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:22 AM on July 10, 2022

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