If you’ve enjoyed the recent winter weather and are thinking about a future in Canada, Winnipeg might be the place for you. Canada has increased the number of visas available for Irish citizens, and if you considering moving to Canada, you should learn a little about Winnipeg. This modest city doesn’t get as much attention as Toronto, Quebec or Vancouver, but it offers a lot including affordable housing and a diverse economy with a wide range of career possibilities in aerospace, transportation/ distribution, energy/ environment, finance, communications/ information technology and tourism. And with more than 1,100 restaurants, it’s a great place to be a chef. The Royal Canadian Mint is in Winnipeg.
While you probably haven’t heard loads about Winnipeg, it’s a major city. Don’t confuse low profile with small or uninteresting. Winnipeg is the capitol of Manitoba, the province between Saskatchewan and Ontario. It is just north of the American states of North Dakota and Minnesota. Nearly 800,000 people live in the Winnipeg metro area, and while 99% of the population speaks English fluently, you can expect to hear 99 other languages there.
Life in Winnipeg, Manitoba
In a way, Winnipeg is the opposite of Ireland. We are an island with dramatic cliffs, and Manitoba is the heart of the Canadian prairies. The region is flat with vast fields. Irish people moving to Manitoba can’t help but be struck by the vast openness. And while we have four seasons in one day, they have genuine and dramatic seasonal extremes. Winters are freezing. The snow and ice make one grateful there aren’t any hills to navigate. The average winter temperature is -13C, and you can expect to see 100 cm of snow every winter, although perhaps not all at once. Summers have an average temperature of 25C. And here’s a powerful pull – Winnipeg can brag that it is Canada’s sunniest city with 2,727 hours of clear skies every year. They get 2,372 hours of sunshine a year on average.
Canada’s stunning scenery is a big part of the draw. While Winnipeg can’t boast of any mountains or ocean beaches, it does have a lot of lakes. Grand Beach Provincial Park offers soft white sand to rival any tropical island, and it’s a great place to go windsurfing. Winnipeg Beach is only 45 km from the city, making it a popular and quick getaway for urbanites. If you really want to get away, try hiking Turtle Mountain park’s 65 km of trails. Riding Mountain is a 3,000 sq km nature reserve where you can see black bears, moose, bison and white-tailed deer at home. Moving to Winnipeg puts you close to nature.
But there is more than natural splendour in Winnipeg. The biggest cons to moving to Winnipeg are the mosquitos and the crime, but violent crime is mostly a problem in the inner city. The crime rate has also been decreasing in recent years. While it doesn’t grab headlines, this is vibrant, worldly city with a first-class arts scene. Every July, the Winnipeg Folk Festival is one of the largest and oldest folk music festivals in the world. In August, Folklorama celebrates cultures from all over the world with festivities that have been held since 1969. It’s a big world out on the prairie.