Your Thoughts Wanted: Have you moved to or moved away from Manitoba?

Manitoba Flag

Source: Wikipedia

Happy Manitoba Day!

No, you don’t get the day off, unfortunately.

Manitoba Day — May 12 — has hosted various small history-related events every year since 1986 as a way of marking the anniversary of the proclamation of the Manitoba Act.

It was the Canadian parliament’s Manitoba Act which paved the way for Manitoba to become a full-fledged Canadian province when it was given royal assent 141 years ago today, on May 12, 1870. Official provincehood followed two months later, with Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province on July 15, 1870.

To mark what many Manitobans consider to be the province’s 141st birthday, let’s hear from those who’ve moved to Manitoba from elsewhere, those who were raised or lived a long time in Manitoba before moving on, and those who moved away and then moved back to Manitoba.

If you came to Manitoba from elsewhere, how did you end up living here and how do you feel about life in Manitoba — good, bad or both — after living here for a while as a “Manitoban by choice”?

If you moved away,  how did you end up leaving — do you feel you were ‘pushed’ or ‘pulled’ away? — and how does life in Manitoba appear in retrospect?

And if you moved away and then moved back, how did you end up leaving and end up coming back, and how does life here compare to life in your other homes?

Feel free to leave your comments here. Names optional.


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

10 Responses to Your Thoughts Wanted: Have you moved to or moved away from Manitoba?

  1. Emma says:

    I grew up in Alberta, and after having lived in Vancouver for five years, I moved to Winnipeg in the summer of 2008. What brought me here? I’d always been somewhat inexplicably drawn to Manitoba. My parents met and married here, I have a lot of relatives here, and after spending lots of time during my summer vacations here, I just had a sense that it would be a great place to live. I was right – phew!

    I’m coming up on my 3-year mark, and am glad about my choice to move here for all sorts of reasons. I like that Winnipeg feels like a small town but has the conveniences of a big city. I love my neighbourhood, though I wish it were walking-distance to more amenities — Winnipeg’s car-dependence is one thing I don’t like about the city. I’ve written a fair amount about my thoughts on Winnipeg at my blog, so I won’t go on here… but I am excited to read others’ thoughts!

  2. I am originally from Nova Scotia and moved to Manitoba 4 years ago for work opportunities. Prior to moving here I had never been to Manitoba. It was a hard adjustment at first. Everything is very spread out compared to the east coast smaller provinces. Winnipeg seems huge compared to Halifax, Charlottetown, etc. I miss the ocean, crazy east coast accents and customs, small fishing communities, the taste of salt in the air, old historic properties everywhere you look, fresh seafood and farmers markets on every other corner, warmer winters, and family and friends.

    Now that time has passed and I have settled into Manitoba life I do enjoy it here and will stay here for at least a few more years. I have made some wonderful friends here that I consider to be my “Manitoban family”. The cost of housing in many areas of Manitoba is fantastic compared to the rest of Canada and that is a huge selling point for the province.

    This province is great for people that love the outdoors, which I do. There are lots of neat attractions and things to see but you have to actively look for them and make a point of getting out and exploring all this province has to offer. I find a lot of Manitobans don’t explore their own province enough and that makes me sad. The process of exploring Manitoba and getting to know its heritage, customs, and people is what makes me smile and excited about living here. There is a lot of diversity in Manitoba and so much to learn and appreciate. Things like the Spirit Sands Desert, The Forks, ziplines, snake pits, fishing and hunting, hiking, provincial parks, Riding Mountain National Park, etc are all reasonably priced and provide great day trips or overnighters but it seems like a lot of people don’t take advantage of them and they should – they are fantastic! It has become a goal to see as much of Manitoba as possible while living here and take in as many attractions and communities as possible.

    Some things that could improve Manitoba would be a better government run compost and recycling program. For example in Nova Scotia there is a strong focus on the environment and Manitoba should follow their example. Another improvement for Manitoba would be to better market themselves to the rest of the country. For the most part very few Canadians other than Manitobans seem to visit here for pleasure. Stragetic marketing would help highlight Manitoba attractions and communities. East Coast provinces run advertisements all the time showing off their heritage and attractions and I think Manitoba could do the same thing and be very effective. This would drawn more people to Manitoba to explore, which could help the economy, etc. and also boost morale for Manitobans who should be proud of their province and heritage.

    I guess overall I started out disliking Manitoba but I am learning to love it. It is definitely growing on me. Will I live in Manitoba the rest of my life? No. The east coast is my true home and I will return there eventually. But will I enjoy and explore Manitoba while I continue to live here? Absolutely.

    Happy Manitoba Day!

  3. Meghan says:

    I was born and raised in Winnipeg. My adventures, and my education, have taken me away from here many times.

    When I left to go to school in Montreal, I didn’t really think about where life after school would take me… but when I graduated, I looked at all the possibilities – staying in Montreal more permanently, moving to where my first job would take me and go from there, or choosing a place to go and moving there – and I realized one thing: Manitoba will always be home.

    It’s more than the fact that my family and many of my friends are here, more than the memories that I have. To paraphrase Stuart MacLean: Winnipeg is my mother tongue (Yes, he said it about Montreal, but it applies here too).

    There are parts of the city that I love (the inordinate amount of sunshine, the four beautiful distinct seasons, the friendliness of the people, to name a few) and, of course, there are things that I don’t like (the bitter cold of late January, the mosquitos, and others), but I can say that about many of the other things (and people!) that I love too.

    This city is ingrained in me, deep in my bones. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  4. Mike says:

    I moved away from Winnipeg at the age of 16 exactly 20 yrs ago this June. I live in Ontario now and when i first got here i wanted nothing more than to go back. Wpg was a great place to grow up. Cold harsh winters yes, but it was a shared experience and we just played hockey. Gorgeous summers, full of mosquitoes sure but we boated along the Red River headed for Lake Winnipeg as often as possible. I lived in various neighborhoods throughout my childhood, the north end, west and east kildonan…the latter being my fave.
    Eventually though my memories of Wpg being the best faded away with all the sights and sounds Ontario, specifically what living in the Niagara Region has to offer. I even started thinking how Wpg was a bit bush league for awhile but after seeing the city grow up from afar, all the interesting developments and construction projects the city has undertaken i view the city in an extremely favorable light. I would move back given the right opportunities and always speak highly of the ‘Peg.

  5. lairdkeir says:

    I left when the Jets did, living in the Mother Country, Greece, Spain and Italy, eight years in China and now I teach history just outside Dachau. I had a specially-made Manitoba flag sewn for me you can check out; with all the changes I don’t feel at times I recognise my country, but they better not change my flag (again)!

  6. theviewfromseven says:

    Thanks, lairdkeir, for the comments. FYI, there’s rarely much discussion about changing flags: most people are happy with the Canadian flag as it is, and provincial flags are largely an afterthought outside of Quebec — few people have strong opinions on them either way.

    “Mother Country” — now that’s a term you don’t hear much anymore, even from the growing British immigrant community in Winnipeg. 🙂

  7. Kerri says:

    I’ve only been here for a few months so I can only offer initial impressions. I moved here from Vancouver, but have lived in a number of Canadian cities. I won’t lie, I miss my salt-air, sandy, misty paradise of a city – there is a reason Vancouver is consistently named the best (or sometimes 2nd best) city in the world to live in. And as I settle in to what I imagine will be home for a while, I realize that Winnipeg will never be Vancouver. Ok, that seems obvious – prairie town known for unbelievably hard winters – coastal town in the middle of a temperate rainforest where it usually hovers between 3C and 8C in January. But that’s not what I mean. I mean that I have to completely abandon all comparisons if I am to make the most of, and appreciate this new place I call home.

    So far so good. I am a mountain and ocean girl. Sometimes I feel like that sea courses through my veins, and when I am seaside, as though the rhythm of the waves is my very own breath. Hopefully that doesn’t sound like a lame attempt to be poetic, I have no skill for that. It’s just the truth. So, when I say that I am struck by the beauty of this place, I mean it. Ok, not Winnipeg, but the province. Winnipeg, you’re not so beautiful. But that’s ok, you’re pretty interesting, which is not the same as being called “nice” rather than beautiful. Interesting is cool. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the heritage and history of this place. The working-class ethos that seems constitutive of so much of the architecture. I haven’t explored the city as much as I want to, and I am looking forward to that.

    The people are friendly. I’ve hard some say that they aren’t as friendly as they used to be. Perhaps, but there is a warmth here that my west-coast brethren just don’t exude. And that’s nice. It’s helped me, somewhat, adjust to things that I miss. Most of which are material superficial things that I am embarrassed to admit to, but I miss them just the same. I REALLY miss coffee culture. I would have thought that a city with winters like this would be full of cozy local coffee shops to curl up in. I haven’t found one. Ok, one, in Wolseley, which is nice, but doesn’t have great coffee or food. Food. I miss it. Yes, this city has a number of good restaurants, and I am told that it has much improved over the years, but this isn’t a city for foodies. More so in the lack of good grocery stores. Are vitahealth and Organza really my main options? I do enjoy the farmers market, but I am coming from a city where we have markets the size of St. Norberts in each quadrant of the city…. with locally produced cheese. And you can’t walk 50 feet without hitting an organic grocery store, many with bakery, deli and massive counters of prepared gourmet food – really great for potlucks and dinner parties. If there is such a place here, and I feel like I’ve tried hard to find it, I would love to know about it. And what happens in the winter when the markets shut down (Vic’s ok, but its not organic… doesn’t anyone in Winnipeg eat organic food?). And if anyone has a connection for accessing Granville Island micro-brew, I’d like to here about that too. Ok, I’ve disgusted myself sufficiently with my middle-class sensibilities; I warned you…

    Again, I realize, that Winnipeg is not going to be Vancouver – a city full of incredible wealth where so many can drop 5 bucks for a coffee and stupid amounts of $ for organic heirloom tomatoes without even thinking about. I’ll have to suck it up (though, I would really like to know where I can buy celery root).

    These superficial concerns out of the way, there are a few things that Winnipeg could learn from V-town. Urban density is one. If you live 5-10 walking minutes from downtown, you could probably sell your Explorer or F-150 and afford to by a coffee and some organic produce. I’m not an anti-car eco-freak, I drive, but, I’m just sayin… Along the same lines, it would be nice to be able to ride a bike where you want to go, if you so choose. I don’t choose to nearly as much as I should, but I bet with some better infrastructure, more people would. Yes, Vancouver does have the luxury of all-year riding, but when I lived in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, people, quite a few of them, rode all year there too. From what I can gather, Manitobans are pretty hardy, I bet they get a good 7 months in anyway.

    All of this aside, how can you not love a place where there are “socials”? I don’t really know what one is exactly, but it sounds like something only really friendly community-minded people do. And you people make the most out of summer I’m sure like no one else in Canada. I may never embrace T-ho’s, and always pine for my one-stop organic grocery store, but I am really looking forward to my explorations, seeing what makes Winnipeg a cultural hot-spot, and meeting more friendly folks that can guide me through winter survival.

  8. reinhardt says:

    Well after spending the bigger part of my life in Winnipeg, and procrastinating a fair bit, I pulled the pin and moved to Vancouver a couple of years ago. I still travel to Winnipeg for work occassionally so its easy to now make more objective comparsons. For years I’ve made excuses for living in Winnipeg, both to my colleagues and to my friends….so it’s now a great relief to not have to make those excuses anymore. I was just back last week and I am immediately drawn to the fact that there is so little change, and ‘life’.,…save for the two year delayed airport and the new financial sinkhole, the new HR Museum, which will at least keep my architectural senses tingling…but not much else.

    Vancouver is not perfect with it’s high prices and even higher traffic density but not a day goes by, grey or sunny,(rollerblading the seawall last night in Stanley Park as an example) that I can’t help but marvel at the beauty of this place and I regularly have to pinch myself to ensure this isn’t a dream I have to wake up from. It is a city of far more cultural, artistic, and lifestyle acceptance than Winnipeg could ever hope to be. Add to that a lower provincial income tax rate, roads you can actually drive your car on, weekend vacation destinations galore only 2 hours away, and lower property taxes, (the manicured public greenery is pro bono)…. why would anyone not live here?

    Winnipeg has been good to me from a business perspective and I appreciate that. I enjoyed Winnipeg as a child and teen, but I’m all grown up now, and I need more….and more is here.

  9. theviewfromseven says:

    I can understand that — it’s hard not to fall in love with Vancouver!

  10. Bonnie says:

    Vancouver might be nice if you have tons of money. How can you afford a nice place to live there? I hate rain with a passion. Give me 20- in winter anyday, than rain. Must be fun sitting in a traffic jam on a bridge for an hour. Yahoo!!!

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