You can't win a Manitoba election without doing well in the city of Winnipeg, home to 31 of 57 provincial ridings and 55 per cent of the population.
And the New Democratic Party continues to own Manitoba's capital after winning all but five seats inside the Perimeter Highway -- 25 seats, up from 24 in 2007.
Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives had high hopes for growth inside the city, but wound up holding on to the four seats it carried into the 2011 election: Charleswood, Tuxedo, Fort Whyte and River East.
Manitoba's Liberals, which won two Winnipeg seats in 2007 but left one up for grabs when Kevin Lamoureux resigned to run for federal office, are left with a single seat in River Heights.
Here's how the Winnipeg ridings broke down:
Northwest (12 seats)
2007 result: 11 NDP and one Liberal 2011: 12 NDP
Changes last night: The NDP picked up the vacant Tyndall Park seat from the Liberals.
North of the Assiniboine River, the Progressive Conservatives hoped to knock off three NDP-held seats on the western edge of the city. They appeared to have failed.
In Kirkfield Park, NDP incumbent Sharon Blady led Tory Kelly de Groot by 29 votes in what will certainly wind up being a recount.
The Tories also hoped speedskater Susan Auch would unseat Jim Rondeau in Assiniboia, but the incumbent wound up holding the riding by more than 1,500 votes.
"It was amazing to have a great competition and that I beat Susan Auch," said Rondeau. "And thank God it was summer so she couldn't skate faster than me."
Rookie NDP MLA Deanne Crothers held on to St. James, which was a wide-open battle after the retirement of Bonnie Korzeniowski. Crothers was familiar to St. James voters after making a run against St. James Coun. Scott Fielding in the 2010 civic election.
The NDP picked up one northwest seat in the new riding of Tyndall Park, where Ted Marcelino swept a riding essentially vacated by Liberal Lamoureux.
Marcelino credited a hard-working team of volunteers from across the new riding for the victory, adding many wrongly believed the highly touted Liberal machine would hold on.
"I'm elated with the victory," the Canada Revenue Agency clerk told reporters before thanking his supporters. "The people of Tyndall Park have spoken."
The NDP also held on to Burrows, where rookie Melanie Wight held on to a seat held by Doug Martindale until his retirement.
In Wolseley, where the Green Party of Manitoba hoped to win its first seat, the NDP's Rob Altemeyer easily held off Green Leader James Beddome.
"We've got another four years to chip away at it," said the 27-year-old leader, who likened the challenge the Greens faced in this election to an independent organic grocery store going up against Safeway and Superstore.
"We more than doubled our slate of candidates this year, and I'm confident we'll have a full slate in the next election," he said.
Southwest (8 seats)
2007 result: Four NDP, three PC and one Liberal
2011 result: No change
In a race that was indicative of the Tories' fate all night, the Winnipeg seat the PCs expected to most easily steal from the NDP turned out to be a squeaker.
After former MP Marilyn Brick's resignation and a messy nomination process to select a successor, Tory Karen Velthuys was expected to trounce the NDP's Dave Gaudreau in St. Norbert. At press time, however, Gaudreau was leading by 85.
The only other change south of the Assiniboine River was the election of City of Winnipeg public servant James Allum as the NDP MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview, where former NDP MLA Diane McGifford stepped down.
But the most poignant victory in the southwest belonged to Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard, who held off a challenge from Tory Marty Morantz in River Heights.
As the sole Liberal in the legislature, Gerrard hinted he may not remain leader for long.
"This is a night to celebrate," Gerrard said. "There will be plenty of time to discuss that in the days ahead."
He hinted he may serve as MLA for River Heights, just not as the party's leader.
"I'm not going to talk about my future tonight except to say I am committed to serving the people of River Heights for four more years," he said.
East (11 seats)
2007 result: 10 NDP, one PC
2011 result: No change
Manitoba's Conservatives believed they would make deep inroads into Winnipeg by reclaiming several suburban ridings in the southeast from the NDP and stealing at least one northwestern seat.
But in the end, the NDP held on to every one of their seats east of the Red River.
In the marquee matchup of the night, NDP Health Minister Theresa Oswald staved off a challenge from Tory Gord Steeves, the former St. Vital councillor, to hold on to Seine River.
A tearful Oswald admitted she was tense before the poll results from the race rolled in. She praised Steeves as a politically savvy and experienced opponent who mounted a challenging campaign.
"I'm just so proud today to be standing here and so incredibly honoured to be in this role," she said, flanked by her husband, Sam, and son, Jack.
Steeves, who sat on city council from 2000 until this August, is good friends with Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen and resigned his seat in an attempt to unseat Oswald. He acknowledged he gambled his council seat and lost.
"It has been a long time since I was on this side of the ledger," Steeves told his supporters during a concession speech. "You just never know how it is going to go... We felt we were moving towards change. Obviously, that wasn't the way it went."
Steeves must now decide whether he will throw his hat into the Nov. 26 byelection for the vacant St. Vital council seat, where four would-be successors are already registered.
Steeves said he would mull his options over the next two days. "Here's a hint: I'm looking forward to starting off in a new direction," he said. "Perhaps this loss will make victories in future feel sweeter."
Also in the southwest, the Tories hoped to reclaim Southdale, which the NDP's Erin Selby won in 2007. But the former broadcaster proved she was no fluke when she dispatched Judy Eastman, a real estate appraiser.
New Democrat Erin Selby proved her first-time win in the Tory stronghold of Southdale was no fluke. She did it again Tuesday night.
"Going door to door, I didn't feel a lot of appetite for change," Selby said at her campaign party at a Pizza Hut outlet. "The NDP has consistently renewed itself, bringing in new people with new ideas."
Selby won despite seeing Windsor Park, an NDP-friendly neighbourhood, become part of the Radisson riding. The wild card in Southdale was new subdivision of Sage Creek, home to many young families.
NDP Education Minister Nancy Allan will also remain the MLA for St. Vital as she won her fourth straight election, this time dispatching former broadcaster Mike Brown.
"My mother ran in 1953 and 1958. She was with me when I won in 1999 and it would be nice if she was here this evening, so we won this one for her. The campaign team has been awesome and it's just a very exciting night," said Allan, who won all but two of the 54 polls.
In a consolation for the Tories east of the Red, Bonnie Mitchelson held on to River East after winning a squeaker over Kurt Penner.
"Last election at this time, we lost on election night and won on the advance poll," Mitchelson told at her campaign party. "River East is not a seat you can ever take for granted. This is a 50-50 riding. You have to work and work and work."
- With files from Martin Cash, Dani Finch, Erica Johnson, Geoff Kirbyson, Bill Redekop, Kevin Rollason, Aldo Santin, Jen Skerritt, Jordan Thompson and Randy Turner