Winkler, Manitoba

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City of Winkler
Official seal of Winkler
Motto(s): Yes, Winkler!
Winkler is located in Manitoba
Location of Winkler in Manitoba
Coordinates: 49°10′54″N 97°56′23″W / 49.18167°N 97.93972°W / 49.18167; -97.93972Coordinates: 49°10′54″N 97°56′23″W / 49.18167°N 97.93972°W / 49.18167; -97.93972
Country Canada
Province Manitoba
Region Pembina Valley
 - Village 

May 9, 1906
 - Town April 7, 1954
 - City April 7, 2002
 • Mayor Martin Harder
 • Governing Body Winkler City Council
 • City Manager Barb Dyck
 • MP Candice Bergen (C) (Portage—Lisgar)
 • MLA Cameron Friesen (PC) (Morden-Winkler)
 • City 17.02 km2 (6.57 sq mi)
Elevation 259 m (850 ft)
Population (2016 Census[1])
 • City 14,311 (6th)
 • Density 466.7/km2 (1,209/sq mi)
 • Urban 12,005
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Forward sortation area R6W
Area code(s) 204
Demonym Winklerite
Website City of Winkler

Winkler is a small city with a population of 14,311 (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.

Winkler is Manitoba's sixth-largest city (as of 2011) and the second fastest growing city out of nine in the province.[2]


Winkler's history dates back to 1874 when German speaking Mennonites from Russia began settling in the area. 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 Winkler in 1888 as a result of mission work from the United States. In 1892, Winkler was officially founded by Valentine Winkler, a lumber entrepreneur and politician who owned and operated his own lumber business in nearby Morden. 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.

Winkler was incorporated as a village on May 9, 1906. 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.

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.

In 1985, the Habitat for Humanity movement spread to Canada with the first Canadian build in Winkler.[3]

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. The city celebrated its centennial anniversary in summer 2006.

Geography and climate[edit]

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 kilometres northwest of a 24-hour United States border crossing at Emerson, and about 20 kilometres north of the 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.

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, canola, beans, 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, while winter temperatures average between -15 and -25 °C. The Winkler area obtains the most heat units for crop production in Manitoba. Winkler receives an annual average of 416mm of precipitation (most of which falls during the spring and summer months) and 119.7 cm 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.

Government and politics[edit]

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, Don Friesen, Andrew Froese, Michael Grenier and Don Fehr.[4]

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–US border. A 4-lane divided highway connects Winkler and the other major city of the region, Morden.

Winkler Airport (KZ7, 49°10′N 097°55′W / 49.167°N 97.917°W / 49.167; -97.917) is located in the city's industrial park. It has two runways: an 2,900 ft (884 m) grass/paved runway (08/26), and a 1,540 ft (469 m) grass 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.[5]

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.[citation needed] Thus, although the most recent census (2006) states that Winkler has a population of 9,106 it is estimated[by whom?] that, as of 2010, the population is 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).

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%). 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.

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.[9]

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.

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.

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.

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. 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. 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.


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 (gvctec) 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, published weekly and distributed by carrier to Winkler area households, and The Winkler-Morden Voice, 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 is provided by Valley Cable Vision. 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 goaltender Ed Belfour, who 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. There is also a minor league hockey in Winkler. The local high school has a hockey team named the Zodiacs. The Zodiacs draw hundreds of high school students to their home games.

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.[5]

Notable people[edit]

Neighbouring communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population Centre Date for Winkler". 
  2. ^ Population and dwelling counts (Manitoba). 2011 Census. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  3. ^ [ANNUAL REPORT 2011. Habitat for Humanity Canada]
  4. ^
  5. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 19 July 2018 to 0901Z 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ [1], Censuses 1871-1931
  7. ^ [2], Census 1941-1951
  8. ^ [3], Census 1961
  9. ^ [4], Statistics Canada. 2013. Winkler, CY, Manitoba (Code 4603050) (table). National Household Survey (NHS) Profile. 2011 National Household Survey. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-004-XWE. Ottawa. Released September 11, 2013

External links[edit]