A Resource Rich Province

A Resource Rich Province

Monday, June 07, 2010

Vienna Badiuk

Manitoba, once thought as "The Gateway to the West may as well be renamed "The Garnet of the West," based on a prediction, by The Conference Board of Canada, that Winnipeg’s gem of an economy will grow by 3.3 percent in 2002. The prediction more than doubles the 1.6 percent growth rate forecasted in the spring. Manitoba expects steady growth to continue over the next five years.

In the autumn of 2002, an article in The Winnipeg Free Press titled "City's economy comes roaring back," reported that next year Winnipeg will create 10,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate will stand at 4.5 percent.

Local consumers, suggests the article, continue to fuel the economy by purchasing homes, doing renovations, hitting the malls and taking advantage of cheap deals on cars and low interest rates. This consumer confidence will propel new housing stats 1,600 in 2002, from 1,480 in 2001.

Indeed, Winnipeg is open for business. The city boasts the most diverse economy in Canada, with competitive operating costs, and among the lowest hydro rates in North America. Its location in the centre of the continent means that the city and province benefit from North America’s Central Time Zone. Companies, to which response time is critical, find this to be a distinct advantage.

Manitoba is bordered by Ontario to the east, Saskatchewan to the west. North Dakota and Minnesota lie to the south, and Hudson’s Bay sits in the north. This central geographic location further strengthens trade links, as does the Winnipeg International Airport ‘s 24-hour operating schedule.
Top-ranked industries, in this resource-rich province of 1.1 million people, include: aerospace, agribusiness, apparel, environmental, film production, financial services, health and biotechnology, information technology, and transportation equipment manufacturing.

Notably the largest aerospace industry in Western Canada, Winnipeg houses major players like Air Canada Component Maintenance, Boeing Canada Technology, Bristol Aerospace, and Standard Aero Limited.
Almost all of Canada’s major grain companies reside in Winnipeg, and include Cargill Limited, James Richardson and Sons Limited, United Grain Growers, and Agricore Other companies include the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).

The CWB is the marketing board for western Canadian wheat and barley growers. With annual revenues of $6 billion, it is one of Canada’s largest export firms and one of the world’s largest grain marketing organizations.
Winnipeg’s agribusiness sector enjoys a global leadership position, especially in the areas of manufacturing and technology.
The third-largest garment-making centre in Canada is located in Winnipeg. The sector, driven by the strong use of advanced design and manufacturing technology, employs more than 8,000 workers at 100 firms. The Winnipeg industry boasts the ability to produce high-quality value-added products for niche markets.
Several garment-making factories list among the most technologically advanced on the continent. Approximately 90 percent of what is produced is shipped to markets in the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. Major companies include Gemini Fashions, MWG Apparel, Nygard International, Standard Knitting and Western Glove Works.
The service-based financial industry features the expertise of chartered banks, credit unions, venture capital funds, trust companies, investment and financial planning services, leasing industries and insurance companies. The companies located in Winnipeg include the Assante Corporation, Cambrian Credit Union, Ceridian Canada Ltd., Federated Insurance Companies of Canada Limited, Great West Life, Investors Group, National Leasing Group Inc., Rice Financial, The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, and Wellington West Capital Inc.

Culturally, Winnipeg is home to the world famous Royal Winnipeg Ballet – one of the most prestigious dance troupes found on the international circut. The Ballet’s cultural counterparts include:

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – which this year introduced its new maestro, Andrey Boreyko;
The Winnipeg Art Gallery – which houses one of the largest collections of Inuit art in the world;
The Manitoba Museum/Planetarium – keepers of the Hudson Bay Collection;
The Manitoba Theatre Centre – the oldest regional English-language theatre in the country;
Le Cercle Moilère – the oldest theatre company in Western Canada;
Artspace - an artist-run centre for a multitude of artists and arts organizations.
And when it comes to world-class musicians, Winnipeg has a long-standing tradition of producing top-notch popular musical talent, most recently Remy Shand. As Shand’s status grows throughout North America and beyond, it adds to the city’s monumental musical contributions by: The Guess Who, Neil Young, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Crash Test Dummies, Bachman-Turner-Overdrive, and The Watchmen.

Each summer, Winnipeg transforms into a city of festivals, visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is the largest folk music festival on the continent. The Fringe festival is the second largest in North America. Freeze Frame is an international festival of films for kids of all ages, and Get Together Downtown brings people together on the famous corner of Portage and Main. The Jazz Winnipeg Festival does what the title suggests, and the Winnipeg International Writers Festival puts you in touch with the written and the woven word. Almost half a million visitors converge on Winnipeg to enjoy the festive atmosphere every year.
Winnipeg annually holds the multicultural Folklorama festival, the largest and longest-running festival of its kind in the world. Dubbed an international “Super Event” by the American Bus Association, it lists as one of the Top Ten Super Events in North America.

Building upon the overwhelming success of the 1999 Pan American Games, in 2002 the city of Winnipeg hosted the North American Indigenous Games. The event saw some 7,000 top Aboriginal athletes from all over North America compete in 16 sports, supported by approximately 4,000 volunteers.

Winnipeg’s population of over 677,000 people enjoy a culturally rich and ethnically diverse lifestyle. Canada’s largest Francophone community, outside of Quebec, is located in St. Boniface. Vibrant German, Ukrainian, Greek, Italian, Phillipino, and Aboriginal communities also thrive in the city.

Admittedly, winter can be harsh, but Winnipeg is actually the sunshine capital of Canada with over 2,300 hours of sunlight annually. And, any one of a multitude of Lake Winnipeg’s gorgeous, white-sand beaches lay less than an hour drive away. Playboy Magazine rated Manitoba’s Grand Beach as one of the Top Ten beaches in North America.
During the winter, tobogganing along the Red River Floodway is always a favourite activity. The Red and Assiniboine Rivers are perfect for ice-skating and cross-country skiing, thanks to the city crews who keep the scenic stretches in rink-like condition. And, for those who prefer a more traditional setting for skating, try any one of the many rinks that are part of Winnipeg’s community centre system.

Every February, Manitoba holds the Festival du Voyageur – the largest winter festival in Western Canada. The Festival takes place over ten days, and celebrates the fur-trade era, complete with ice sculpture competitions, parades and lots of music, art, crafts, exhibits and authentic French-Canadian pea soup.
Whether it be winter, or summer, the Forks is a Manitoba hot spot. The public property, located at the historic junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, has been a gathering place for more than 6,000 years. The redevelopment of the 56 acres of waterfront property means there is always something to do, or see, or participate in. At the Forks, you can discover fresh produce markets, restaurants, buskers, arts and crafts kiosks, a children’s museum, archaeological digs, and plenty of outdoor concerts. MTM

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A Resource Rich Province

Vienna Badiuk | 6/7/2010

Manitoba, once thought as "The Gateway to the West may as well be renamed "The Garnet of the West"...