Winnipeg: a stable, diverse and innovative city in the centre of North America

Winnipeg continues to prosper due to the strength, capacity and diversity of its economy

Winnipeg is the capital of the province of Manitoba and is ideally located at the geographic centre of North America. With a census metropolitan area (CMA) population of 778,400, Winnipeg is a culturally diverse and multilingual city.

An affordable, vibrant, four-season playground, Winnipeg is celebrated for its friendly spirit, multiculturalism and excellent quality of life.

Diverse and flourishing business sectors, geographic and time zone advantages, and an ample, affordable and reliable energy supply — with among the lowest published hydroelectricity rates on the continent — make Winnipeg an attractive location for business. Also significant are Winnipeg’s tri-modal transportation assets, its R&D environment, its highly skilled and abundant workforce, and its low business costs.

Recent investment activity has been strong. Winnipeg’s ten-year average for building permit values totaled $9.7 billion, with phenomenal growth witnessed over the last five years.

Why Winnipeg

Located at the intersection of the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor and Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway, Winnipeg’s geographic location allows for fast, flexible and cost-effective service to all times zones in North America — a distinct advantage when conducting business across the continent and around the world. The city is home to Canada’s only tri-modal inland port and foreign trade zone, CentrePort Canada. With up to 20,000 acres of available land and tax increment financing options, CentrePort is a unique gateway to international markets.

Winnipeg’s thriving advanced manufacturing sector is supported by one of Canada’s biggest composite materials manufacturing clusters, which helps drive targeted innovation within the industry, at several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based in the city. Bus manufacturers like New Flyer Industries Inc. and Motor Coach Industries Int’l Inc. are situated here, as is MacDon Industries Ltd., a manufacturer of farm implements. 

The third-largest aerospace centre in the country, Winnipeg is ranked by KPMG and IBM as among the most cost-effective cities for aerospace manufacturing in North America. The sector is anchored by four companies that are either headquartered or have a significant presence in Winnipeg: Boeing Canada Operations Ltd., StandardAero, Magellan Aerospace and Cormer Aerospace.

Over 30 R&D institutions and one of the best R&D tax regimes in the world form the foundation of Winnipeg’s life sciences sector. The city boasts cutting-edge R&D centres, including the National Centre for Agri-Food Research in Medicine and the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health —  the only facility in the world with level four biocontainment capability for the study of both human and animal disease.

Agriculture has always nurtured Winnipeg’s growth. Thanks to its historic strength in food products manufacturing and commercialization as well as agricultural production and R&D, the city is emerging as a major player in functional foods and nutraceuticals, biocomposites and biofuels. The Canadian Grain Commission, the Canadian International Grains Institute, the majority of Canada’s grain handling companies and ICE Futures Canada (Canada’s leading agricultural exchange) are all based in Winnipeg. 

Business advantage

Winnipeg’s stable and growing economy offers a broad range of businesses abundant opportunities to succeed within a low cost and geographically strategic North American location. The province’s immigration policy and with it the capacity to target and attract a skilled workforce also set the city apart.
Embracing collaboration and innovation is an integral part of Winnipeg’s business culture. Chosen from a field of more than 300 cities around the globe, the Intelligent Community Forum recognizes Winnipeg as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities for three consecutive years (2011 to 2013) for its use of broadband technology to facilitate social and economic development.
In addition, KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2012 ranked the city as having the lowest overall business costs across the North American Midwest. Complementing this unique advantage is Winnipeg’s virtually carbon-free electricity provided by Manitoba Hydro, which offers among the lowest published electricity rates on the continent. 

Future plans

Winnipeg continues to grow and prosper. Major projects currently in development include the following:

  • Opening in 2014, the $357.5 million Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada’s first national museum located outside the nation’s capital
  • The CentrePoint development in downtown Winnipeg features the ALT Hotel, the Glasshouse — a residential tower of 21 stories, and four floors of class A office space anchored by Stantec Inc.
  • Ongoing investment in CentrePort Canada, prompted in part by the $212.5 million CentrePort Canada Way expressway expected to open in 2013
  • The Winnipeg Convention Centre’s $180 million expansion — totaling more than 23,300 square metres, doubling existing capacity

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