The city of Winnipeg is a place rich in culture and history. Today, On This Spot is featuring its Winnipeg content as a part of the nation-wide initiative of Culture Days. Get outside this week before the weather turns cold and explore this beautiful city through On This Spot’s selection of historical then-and-now photos. Step into the past and learn about Winnipeg throughout two eras of its history. Our self-guided walking tours are available free online and through the On This Spot app.
Our first tour of Winnipeg follows the city’s early development from 1870 to 1912, looking at the rise and fall of Winnipeg’s popularity and prosperity in its first years of existence. For thousands of years, Aboriginal peoples have come to the area where Winnipeg now stands to meet and trade. Yet at the end of the 19th Century and the start of the 20th, the area was the scene of one of the great dramas of Canadian history. Forces in motion thousands of kilometres away—empire and nation building, capitalism and commerce—brought hundreds of thousands of people here. What drove this boom? This walking tour charts that remarkable journey. Beginning at Portage and Main Street, where Winnipeg as we know it began, it continues north up Main Street through the railway booms and busts and the establishment of Winnipeg as the metropolis of the Canadian West. Finally, the tour ends near City Hall, where we will experience the wild exhilaration people felt at the peak of the boom, when anything seemed possible and Winnipeg’s potential was without limit.
Our second Winnipeg tour follows the city throughout its next era, from 1913 until 1945, looking at the turmoil Winnipeg faced as it dealt with the challenges of modernity. When Winnipeg’s remarkable period of expansion came to an end in 1912, most believed that this was merely a pause in the city’s relentless path to prosperity. Few could have conceived of the decades of war, civil strife, and economic depression that lay ahead. Yet in the face of adversity the people of Winnipeg rose to the occasion and emerged stronger from the experience. Overseas, Winnipeg units fought with uncommon distinction in both world wars. At home, the city produced the ideas and leaders that boldly showed all of Canada the way to a more equitable and just society. This ten-stop tour begins at Princess and McDermot Avenue and heads northeast before performing a loop on William, Main, James, and King Streets. The route then travels through Old Market Square and heads south on Albert Street before ending at Portage and Donald Street.
Stay tuned for more content coming this month in celebration of Culture Days! On This Spot will be featuring one city or town each day this month, so get ready to go exploring!