Winkler, Manitoba

Winkler is a small city with a population of 12,660 (2016 federal census) located in southern Manitoba, Canada surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Stanley. It is one hundred kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. As the largest city in the Pembina Valley, it serves as a regional hub for commerce, agriculture and industry.

City of Winkler
Top: Bethel Heritage Park: Bottom Left:Winkler Fire Station Bottom Right: Winkler City Downtown

Yes, Winkler!
Location of Winkler
Winkler (Canada)
Coordinates: 49°10′54″N 97°56′23″W
RegionPembina Valley
 - Village 

May 9, 1906
 - TownApril 7, 1954
 - CityApril 7, 2002
  MayorMartin Harder[1]
  Governing BodyWinkler City Council
  City ManagerBarb Dyck[1]
  MPCandice Bergen (C) (Portage—Lisgar)
  MLACameron Friesen (PC) (Morden-Winkler)
  City17.00 km2 (6.56 sq mi)
259 m (850 ft)
  Density740.50/km2 (1,917.9/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)204
WebsiteCity of Winkler

Winkler is Manitoba's sixth-largest city (as of 2011) and the second fastest growing city out of nine in the province.[3]


Pre-European settlement

The land in southeast Manitoba upon which Winkler sits, was the traditional lands of the nomadic Ojibway-speaking Anishinabe people. They used their lands for hunting, fishing, and trapping. The Anishinabe knew no borders at the time and their land ranged both north and south of the US–Canada border, and both east and west of the Red River. On 3 August 1871 the Anishinabe people signed Treaty 1 and moved onto reserves.[4]

Early history

European settlement in the Winkler area history dates back to 1876 when Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites began settling in the area known as the West Reserve, which had been set aside exclusively for the Russian Mennonites.[5] These first Mennonite inhabitants were part of deeply religious communities, for the most part, but did not establish confessional churches. The first official Mennonite Brethren congregation was founded in Burwalde, near Winkler in 1888 as a result of mission work from the United States. Its first minister was Gerhard Wiebe.

In 1892, Valentine Winkler, a lumber entrepreneur and politician who owned and operated his own lumber business in nearby Morden founded the village of Winkler. Because Winkler's many customers from the Mennonite settlement wanted him to build a market in their vicinity, he persuaded the Canadian Pacific Railway to build a spur route on the northeastern edge of the settlement where Winkler had been established.

Incorporation as a village

Winkler was incorporated as a village on May 9, 1906.[6] By that time, the flourishing village had become home to a number of German, Jewish and Anglo-Saxon merchants. The Mennonites began moving into the village soon after; by World War I, they outnumbered all other groups.

Winkler experienced significant floods in 1916, 1917, 1933 and 1966. On Tuesday, March 22, 1966, several merchants in Winkler closed down their shops for the day when they found the street flooded and water up to their doorsteps. Most of the business section was covered with two feet of water. Shopkeepers sandbagged their store front entrances while homeowners had flooded basements. A spokesman for the Emergency Measures Organization, said that about two-thirds of the town was under water. A tornado and accompanying cloudburst passed a mile west of Winkler on May 23, 1933, resulting in the worst flooding that locals could recall.[7] The twister struck late in the afternoon, and on May 24, the whole town was flooded.[8]

Incorporation as a town

During the early 1900s, a large number of Jewish and German merchants emigrated from Winkler, causing a decline in population. However, the village's population increased after World War II, and on April 7, 1954, Winkler was incorporated as a town.[6]

In 1985, the Habitat for Humanity movement spread to Canada with the first Canadian build in Winkler.[9]

Winkler becomes a city

Following a halt in growth during the 1960s, the town's rapid growth in population resumed and continued into the 1990s. On April 7, 2002, Winkler was officially granted city status.[6] The city celebrated its centennial anniversary in the summer of 2006.

Geography and climate

Located on the western edge of the Red River Valley, Winkler is located at the corner of provincial highways 14 and 32. It is 70 km (43 mi) northwest of a 24-hour Canada–United States border crossing at Emerson, and about 20 km (12 mi) north of the Canada–United States border crossing at Walhalla, North Dakota.

Winkler is situated on the prehistoric beaches of Lake Agassiz. The lake's shores were formed over 10,000 years ago by the Pembina Escarpment, located a few kilometres west of Winkler. A secondary beach known as the Emerado Beach lies to the west of Winkler. This gentle rise in elevation was formed thousands of years ago when the draining of Lake Agassiz temporarily stalled.[10]

The rich soils of the area are separated by the Emerado Beach. Coarser textured loamy sand soils, located to the west, are suitable for irrigation and produce potato, corn and bean crops. To the east, finer textured clay soils produce sugar beets, beans, canola, corn and small grains.

Winkler's climate is typically continental, resulting in dry cold winters and hot, frequently dry summers. Summer temperatures typically range from 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F), while winter temperatures average between −15 and −25 °C (5 and −13 °F). The Winkler area obtains the most heat units for crop production in Manitoba. Winkler receives an annual average of 416 mm (16.4 in) of precipitation (most of which falls during the spring and summer months) and 119.7 cm (47.1 in) of snow. Winkler's average frost-free period is 125 days.


Winkler is the economic hub of southern Manitoba. The retail trading area serves an estimated 17,000 households. 4,380 people are employed in Winkler. Approximately 30% of the work force is employed in the industrial sector. The city's second-largest employer, employing 20% of the work force, is the health and education sector.

A number of industries have grown and developed in Winkler throughout the years. One of Winkler's largest employers is Triple E Recreational Vehicles, a recreational vehicle manufacturer. Other products manufactured in Winkler include mobile homes, houseboats, farm equipment, windows and doors. Two foundries, a straw fibre plant and a tire recycling plant are also located in Winkler.

Winkler's agricultural sector is one of the most productive and diversified in Manitoba. The area surrounding Winkler is home to rich, fertile soils which are especially suited to growing potatoes. However, many other crops are grown in the area, including wheat, canola, corn and beans. The area's livestock operations also continue to grow; hogs and cattle are raised, while dairy farms contribute to the making of cheese.

Business development in Winkler has boomed in the years since incorporation. On average, the city becomes home to 10-20 new businesses per year. In 2002, 55 new businesses were established in Winkler. The increase in new businesses can be attributed to low taxes, reasonably priced real estate and cooperation between the city and entrepreneurs. One example of this is the recently established Incubator Mall, a city-owned, five office facility that gives new businesses the opportunity to rent office space at moderate rates. Once those businesses outgrow the space, they relocate, making room for new startups.

A recent development is the rise of and competition in the technology industry in Winkler with startup internet service provider Valley Fiber and Bell MTS installing fiber optic cabling (fibre to the home) throughout the city.[11][12]

Government and politics

Winkler is governed by a mayor and six councillors who are elected by residents. The current mayor of Winkler is Martin Harder. The current Winkler city councillors are deputy mayor Henry Siemens, Marvin Plett, Andrew Froese, Michael Greiner, Karina Bueckert, and Don Fehr.[1]

Winkler is represented in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (as part of the Pembina riding) by Progressive Conservative MLA, Cameron Friesen, and in the House of Commons of Canada (as part of the Portage—Lisgar riding) by Conservative MP, Candice Bergen.


Winkler's chief transport connection to other communities is the highway system. Winnipeg is accessible from Winkler either via PTH 14 and PTH 3 or via PR 428 or PTH 23 and PTH 75 or PTH 14 and PTH 75. PTH 32 leads directly to the Winkler Port of Entry on the Canada–United States border. A 4-lane divided highway connects Winkler and the other major city of the region, Morden.

Winkler Airport (CKZ7, 49°10′N 097°55′W) is located in the city's industrial park. It has two runways: an 2,900 ft (884 m) turf/paved runway (09/27), and a 1,540 ft (469 m) turf runway (17/35). Aircraft which need a longer runway are advised to use the Morden Regional Aerodrome which is located 9 km (5.6 mi) from Winkler.[13]

The city has one taxi service, Pembina Valley Taxi. Purolator and DHL courier services also serve Winkler.

Canadian Pacific Railway has a spur line going into Winkler's industrial park that connects to the La Riviere subdivision, a secondary feeder line on the CPR network.


Historical population

Winkler has long been and continues to be one of Manitoba's fastest growing cities.[18] Thus, although the most recent census (2006) states that Winkler has a population of 9,106 it is probable, judging by census data and population increase rates, that as of 2010, the population was closer to approximately 10,000. The city had a population increase of 14.6% between 2001 and 2006.

As of the Canada 2001 Census, there are 2,885 households and 2,135 families residing in the city of Winkler. The population density is 466.7/km² (180.2/mi²). There are 2,890 housing units at an average density of 170.0/km² (65.6/mi²).[19]

The most common ancestries in Winkler (as of 1996) are German (65.2%), Dutch (Netherlands) (24.7%), Canadian (23.0%), Russian (10.0%), Ukrainian (2.1%), French (1.5%), Aboriginal (1.2%), Scottish (1.0%), Irish (0.9%), Polish (0.8%) and Icelandic (0.2%).[20] Most Winklerites are of Mennonite descent. The racial makeup of the city (as of 2001) is 98.8% White, 0.4% Chinese, 0.38% Aboriginal, 0.1% Black, 0.1% South Asian and 0.1% Southeast Asian.[19]

There are 2,885 households out of which 36.2% are married couples living together with children, 30.8% are married couples living together without children, 25.5% are one-person households and 7.6% are multiple-family households, single parent family households or non-family households other than one-person households. 90.2% of Winkler's 2,135 families are married couple families, while 1.4% are common-law couple families and 8.2% are single parent families. The average household size is 3.0 and the average family size is 3.3.[19]

In the city the population is spread out with 21.6% under the age of 15, 8.5% from 15 to 19, 8.1% from 20 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 12.1% from 45 to 54, 7.1% from 55 to 64 and 17.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34.3 years. For every 100 females there are 94.8 males.[19]

The average income for a family in the city is $44,227. The average income for all workers is $22,423, with males earning an average income of $27,787 and females earning an average income of $16,061. The average income for full-time, full-year workers is $30,779. Males who work full-time for a full year earn an average of $34,326 while females who work full-time for a full year earn an average of $23,546.[19]

15.9% of Winkler's population is foreign-born. 1,832 immigrants settled in Winkler from 1999 to 2004, with 465 arriving in 2004 alone.[21] Due to the city's German linguistic and religious linkages, most immigrants to Winkler are ethnic Germans from the former Soviet Union, Germans originating from Germany, or returning Low German Mennonites from Latin America.[21] Ethnic German immigrants from the former Soviet Union are also drawn to the similarity of the region's geography to that of Russia.

According to Statistics Canada's 2006 census data for Winkler residents over the age of 25, 66% have high school diplomas, of which 9% also hold university certificates, diplomas or degrees.[22]

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 93.4% of the Winkler population report being of Christian faith, 6.3% report no religious affiliation, and 0.3% report being religious but of non-Christian faith.[23]


The Pembina Thresherman's Museum is situated on Highway 3 between Winkler and Morden. It includes a number of historical buildings in a village setting and a collection of agricultural machinery, tools and household items, as well as a meeting hall.

Winkler's main festival is the Harvest Festival and Exhibition. Held at the Winkler Parkland in mid-August, it features a parade, midway, live stage entertainment, fireworks, rodeo and more. Canada Day celebrations are held at the Winkler Parkland on July 1. The Cripple Creek Music Festival takes place on the fourth Sunday in July.


Winkler's public school system is the Garden Valley School Division, which consists of four elementary schools - Winkler Elementary School, Parkland Elementary School, J.R. Walkof School, Emerado Centennial School, and two high schools, Garden Valley Collegiate and Northlands Parkway Collegiate, which opened in September 2013. As of July 2005, Garden Valley School Division had a total enrollment of 4,121 students. There are no private schools operating within the city.

Garden Valley Technical School is the new vocational campus that has opened in Winkler.

Red River College also operates a regional campus in Winkler, serving 1,500 students each year.



Winkler is home to two radio stations of its own, both of which are owned and operated by Altona-based Golden West Broadcasting. COUNTRY 88, a country music station, was established in 1980 on the AM dial at 1530 kHz, then moved to 1570 kHz in 1987, and since 2013, broadcasts on the FM dial at 88.9 MHz. CJEL-FM, an adult contemporary music station branded as The Eagle 93.5, launched in 2000.

Though they are not based in Winkler, several other radio stations are notable in the Winkler area. The signal from Golden West's easy listening radio station in Altona, CFAM, reaches the Winkler area. Two North Dakota stations near the Canada/U.S. border also reach Winkler: KAOC 105.1 FM (Maverick 105), a country music station in Cavalier and KYTZ 106.7 FM (Z-106.7, Today's Best Hits), an adult contemporary music station in Walhalla.


Winkler's local newspapers are The Winkler Times,[24] published weekly and distributed by carrier to Winkler area households, and The Winkler-Morden Voice,[25] also published weekly and distributed by mail to households in both Winkler and Morden and many surrounding smaller communities. The Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Sun are available daily.


Cable television service was provided by Valley Cable Vision. Valley Cable Vision was acquired by MTS Allstream by September 12, 2006.[26] BCE acquired MTS in March 17, 2017.[27] So now Bell MTS Fibe tv is available in Winkler. Satellite television with Shaw and Bell is also available. Most Winnipeg-based television and radio stations can be picked up from Winkler. WDAZ-TV and KNRR can also be received in Winkler via antenna.


Winkler's primary ice hockey team is the Winkler Flyers, who compete in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The Flyers play their home games at the Winkler Arena. Perhaps the best known alumnus of the team is Ed Belfour, former goaltender in the National Hockey League. Belfour played with the Flyers during the 1985-86 season and recorded a 2.58 goals against average that year. Belfour went on to play in the NHL and win a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars and was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. There is also a minor league hockey in Winkler. The two local high schools have multiple sports teams under the names Zodiacs and Nighthawks. Winkler also has two men's soccer teams called the Winkler Storm, and the Riots. The women's soccer team is called the Hurricanes. Winkler was selected as host city for the 2008 edition of CBC Sports' day-long Hockey Day in Canada, which took place on February 9, 2008.

Notable people

Neighbouring communities


  1. City Council
  2. "2016 Census Profile for Winkler". Statistics Canada. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  3. Population and dwelling counts (Manitoba). 2011 Census. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  4. "History and Heritage of Roseau River First Nation". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  5. Francis, E.K. (1955). In Search of Utopia. D.W. Friesens and Sons.
  6. Winkler Incorporation
  7. "Western History Collections". Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  8. "A History of Winkler" (PDF). Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  9. [ANNUAL REPORT 2011. Habitat for Humanity Canada]
  10. "Manitoba Community Profiles - Community Profile:City of Winkler". Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  11. Sukkau, Steven. "Winkler making attempt to become the silicon valley of southern Manitoba".
  12. "Bell MTS expands all fibre broadband network in Winkler". August 1, 2018.
  13. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 10 October 2019 to 0901Z 5 December 2019.
  14. Censuses 1871-1931
  15. Census 1941-1951
  16. Census 1961
  17. Census 2011-2016
  18. 2001 Community Profile - Winkler
  19. 2003 Winkler Demographics
  20. "Microsoft Word - Winkler-Draft Pam feedback.doc" (PDF). Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  21. Census 2006
  22. National Household Survey (NHS) Profile., Statistics Canada. 2013. Winkler, CY, Manitoba (Code 4603050) (table). 2011 National Household Survey. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-004-XWE. Ottawa. Released September 11, 2013
  23. The Winkler Times
  24. The Winkler-Morden Voice


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