In a move to own its Winterpeg nickname in an overt and advantageous way, Winnipeg is now an accredited member-city of the World Winter Cities Association for Mayors (WWCAM), a network of over 20 northern cities worldwide dedicated to promoting winter technologies and experiences. This designation resulted from a submission by the City of Winnipeg and Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. (EDW), and it’s a snowshoe-sized step in the right direction in showcasing the city as a leading cold-weather economy and an exciting winter wonderland.   

“I’m very pleased to begin collaborating with my counterparts in other WWCAM cities as Winnipeg works to leverage its vast expertise on what it’s like to innovate and thrive in a place renowned for its swinging temperatures,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Winnipeg’s reputation as a chilly city is a cause for celebration, and I want everyone from here and elsewhere to join me in discovering everything our city does to welcome Old Man Winter every year. Whether you’re a business owner, resident or visitor, Winnipeg’s cool climate contributes to the city’s sensational and singular appeal.”

Concerted efforts over the years have been made to maximize and promote Winnipeg’s winter identity. From a recreational standpoint, attractions like The Forks (Winnipeg’s No. 1 tourist spot), Festival du Voyageur (Western Canada’s largest winter celebration), Assiniboine Park Zoo and FortWhyte Alive all highlight winter in one-of-a-kind ways. Whether gliding along the Red River Mutual Trail, becoming immersed in Franco-Manitoban culture, exploring the Journey to Churchill exhibit or going wild at FortWhyte’s 640-acre urban nature reserve, Winnipeg’s wintry allure is an open invitation to all. 

But recreation is just a fraction of the exhilarating subzero scene in Winnipeg. The many economic windfalls enjoyed as a consequence of the city’s winter climate are crystalized in the GE Aviation Engine Testing, Research and Development Centre; the new MTS data centre (cold weather reduces cooling costs); New Flyer Industries’ manufacturing plant (its locally built electric buses undergo cold-weather testing to ensure reliability); and Red River College’s imminent MotiveLab, a highly specialized extreme-weather testing facility set to be the first of its kind in Western Canada. 

Added to this list are the many other local businesses, industries and city services providing creative, sustainable and innovative solutions for cold-weather living. From residential, commercial and industrial construction techniques to road repair and water and waste management concerns, Winnipeg is a hub of meaningful innovation on multiple fronts. WWCAM membership is expected to expose the city to a wider audience with a vested interest in studying these city-based assets.     

“From both a recreation and economic perspective, Winnipeggers are increasingly embracing their winter-city reality with open arms, open minds and open wallets,” said Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. “We want to do more to capitalize on these Winnipeg strengths by connecting local ingenuity with like-minded external markets on the lookout for better strategies to address winter living. Becoming an accredited WWCAM member positions Winnipeg on a higher level as a smart city ready to share its know-how and elevates its appeal as a place that owns winter unlike anywhere else in the world.”