Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

What's a newcomer to think?

Quiz sheds light on Winnipeg's mysteries

  • Print

If there’s one mistake lifelong Winnipeggers tend to make, it’s assuming everyone else has lived here their entire lives.

Thanks to decades of relatively slow population growth, it’s easy to assume the only people who choose to live here simply haven’t bothered to go anywhere else. This self-deprecating sentiment, so famously parodied on The Simpsons ("Welcome to Winnipeg. We were born here. What’s your excuse?") can actually wind up being annoying if you are in fact a newcomer trying to figure out the place.

Every year, the population of metropolitan Winnipeg actually grows by 10,000 or 11,000 people, according to Statistics Canada, and not all of this growth can be explained away by births.

But many of these new arrivals complain they find the city a bit impenetrable, on a cultural and historic level, which is ironic considering the overwhelming sense of place that characterizes the Winnipeg mindset.

The city’s new-found chauvinism, which can be felt in everything from the pride over the return of the Jets to the advent of Louis Riel Day, should go a long way toward helping newcomers "get" Winnipeg.

But in the meantime, we could all hone our sense of geographic self. To that end, I’ve devised a quiz to help acclimatize recent arrivals to this town.

I’ll publish the answers in the online comments section later on in the week. And as per usual, the person who sends me the most creative (as opposed to most accurate) set of annotated answers, via email, will receive a Really Lame Prize.


1. The City of Winnipeg was once situated:

A) At the bottom of a warm, shallow sea, about 300 million years ago.

B) Below several kilometres of Wisconsin glacial ice, about 20,000 years ago.

C) At the bottom of Lake Agassiz, about 9,000 years ago.

D) Below a Red River crest of 30.3 feet, during the 1950 flood.

E) Underneath four metres of snow, at the end of the 1997 blizzard.

F) As a pawn in the Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga, in 2010.

G) In what geographers and hydrologists now consider one of the worst possible locations for human habitation, given the potential risk of natural disasters.


2. Manitoba’s founder, Louis Riel, can be credited with which of the following actions?

A) Allowing the execution of Thomas Scott during the Red River Resistance.

B) Declaring the bison the official symbol of Manitoba.

C) Winning three elections to the House of Commons in Canada. D) Campaigning on behalf of the Republican party in the United States.

E) Acquiring U.S. citizenship.

F) Stopping Métis commander Gabriel Dumont from employing guerilla tactics against the Canadian military.

G) Refusing to allow his lawyer to argue he was not guilty of treason by reason of insanity.


3. Francis Cornish, Winnipeg’s colourful first mayor, is believed to have committed which of the following misdeeds?

A) A physical assault of a military commander in London, Ont.

B) A verbal assault on Winnipeg’s police chief, who was called a "toad-eating Communist."

C) The burning of electoral records at a St. Boniface polling station during an anti-Catholic, anti-Métis riot.

D) The ransacking of three Winnipeg newspaper offices as part of the same riot.

E) An incident where the Speaker of the Manitoba legislature was dragged out of his carriage and tarred.

F) Widespread ballot-box fraud during Winnipeg’s first municipal election.

G) An attempt to burn an effigy of Prime Minister John A. MacDonald.


4. Which of the following transportation factoids are correct?

A) The first human beings in southwestern Manitoba ventured here by foot about 10,000 years ago.

B) The first ship from England arrived at the mouth of the Nelson River in 1612.

C) The first rail link between Winnipeg and Vancouver was completed in 1886.

D) Stevenson Aerodrome, Winnipeg’s first international airport, opened in 1928.

E) The gap in the Trans-Canada Highway between Winnipeg and Toronto was completed in 1960.

F) The Winnipeg section of the Trans-Canada Trail was completed in 2000.

G) James Richardson International Airport opened on time and on budget in 2011.


5. Which of the following professional-sport factoids are correct?

A) The Winnipeg Victorias won their last Stanley Cup 99 years ago.

B) The WHA Winnipeg Jets last won their last Avco Cup 32 years ago.

C) The original NHL Winnipeg Jets won their last playoff series 24 years ago.

D) The Winnipeg Blue Bombers last won a Grey Cup 21 years ago.

E) The Winnipeg Goldeyes last won a league title 17 years ago.

F) Winnipeg sports fans are desperate people.

G) True North Sports & Entertainment brought the NHL back to Winnipeg so we can use Dustin Byfuglien as a scapegoat.


6. Which of the following rock-music factoids are correct?

A) Neil Young’s Down By the River was inspired by the flood of 1950.

B) The Guess Who’s American Woman is about Janis Joplin’s visit by train in 1970.

C) Harlequin wrote Innocence after being asked to pen a jingle for Clifford’s Ladies Wear.

D) Propagandhi named their breakthrough album Less Talk, More Rock on a dare from former 92 CITI FM DJ Brother Jake Edwards.

E) Chantal Kreviazuk recorded a cover of Leaving On a Jet Plane as a tribute to Teemu Selanne.

F) Doc Walker took its name from political-science professor and former Winnipeg North-Centre MP David Walker.

G) The Weakerthans’ One Great City includes references to the Guess Who, the Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg Transit and Winnipeg Square.


7. Of the many myths uttered about Winnipeg, which one has a basis in fact?

A) Winnipeg is the world’s coldest city with more than 500,000 people.

B) Winnipeg is the most multicultural city in Canada.

C) Winnipeg has the largest number of francophones in any Canadian city west of the Quebec-Ontario border.

D) Winnipeg’s population was shrinking at one point during the latter half of the 20th century.

E) Winnipeg has more restaurants per capita than any other city in North America.

F) Winnipeg has the most days of sunshine of any Canadian city.

G) Winnipeg is Canada’s snowiest city.


— additional sources: Manitoba Historical Society, City of Winnipeg

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Four Little Games

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google