It is beginning to look a lot like election season in Winnipeg.
With just days before the writ is expected to drop, candidates around the province this week were slowly gearing up for the longest federal campaign in Canada's history.
While incumbents such as Winnipeg North Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux and Selkirk-Interlake Conservative MP James Bezan say they will likely wait until after Labour Day to ramp up their campaigns, candidates looking to oust incumbents have been out on the unofficial campaign trail for months.
Whether it is door-knocking or glad-handing with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the former mayoral candidate looking to oust veteran New Democrat MP Pat Martin in Winnipeg Centre, has barely skipped a beat between the two races.
"You have to build up capacity. You have to build up excitement and show what your vision is for the city and the province, and for the country," he said, speaking from the provincial Liberal headquarters on Broadway.
"People are still kind of away, but it puts it from the background in people's minds and pushes it to the forefront."
Ouellette has been using the Liberal party's home base as a campaign office, with hopes of finding an office of his own in the next month.
"They're expensive, and if you open up a campaign office, people aren't as motivated because it is the 'phoney campaign' and you have to do your door-to-door, its bricks and mortar, the real campaign is out on the street, pounding the pavement," Ouellette said.
If the writ drops Sunday as expected, bus benches and campaign offices won't be the only signs of an election. After Sunday, lawn signs will be allowed and will colour the city for the next 78 days of campaigning.
Around the city, campaign offices are beginning to slowly pop up, with many more expected to open today. Martin said the early election call would force him to rent space for August, as opposed to September, as he originally planned.
Another NDP candidate, Daniel Blaikie, who is running in Elmwood-Transcona against Conservative MP Lawrence Toet, said the early election call means he will be moving into his campaign office earlier than planned.
"There are few T's to cross and I's to dot, but we are in the position to do that quickly, so as a local campaign team we are pretty excited," Blaikie said when asked if he was ready for such an early official campaign launch.
"I don't know why it is formally beginning now, and I think there is some explaining to do, because there is a significant cost to the taxpayer to begin the official campaign so early."
Residents around South Winnipeg have probably noticed new faces plastered across bus benches thanks to the ad saturation by Conservative candidate Gordon Giesbrecht (better known as Professor Popsicle) and Liberal candidate Terry Duguid.
Giesbrecht had the good fortune of taking over the roughly 20 advertisement sites that had been occupied by Winnipeg South's current MP, Conservative Rod Bruinooge, who isn't seeking re-election.
"I do have some name recognition, quite a bit actually, and the only challenge I have with that is not everyone can recognize me and put Professor Popsicle with the name," he said. "So that's why we have those bus benches and silver boxes out there."
The man who once did a solo expedition across Lake Winnipeg when it was frozen said he isn't fazed by a 78-day campaign.
"I'm a little older than I was back then, but I think I'll have the energy," Giesbrecht said. "If I at one point considered a three-month solo expedition to the North Pole, I think I can door-knock in Winnipeg in the summer."
Suzanne Hrynyk, the NDP candidate for Kildonan-St. Paul, opened her office July 1 and has been delivering pamphlets and knocking on doors for the past three weeks.
The election in your inbox
Subscribe to The Writ for insight, analysis and commentary on all things political leading up to the Oct. 21 federal vote.
Hrynyk, a former school board trustee who unsuccessfully ran for city council in Old Kildonan, said she wasn't expecting an election call this early, adding the sheer size of her riding meant she wanted to get an early start on the campaign.
"Historically, you look at ramping up just over 30 days prior to the election date," she said.
"Definitely, people are not used to having a campaign that long, but I think in the end if you are a serious candidate, you are planning months and months ahead."
— with files from Mia Rabson
Where do the parties still need to nominate candidates in Manitoba's 14 federal ridings?
Conservatives: Churchill-Keewatinook Aski (held by NDP MP Niki Ashton)
NDP: Brandon-Souris (held by Conservative MP Larry Maguire), Portage-Lisgar (held by Conservative Candice Bergen), Provencher (held by Conservative MP Ted Falk), Saint Boniface-Saint Vital (held by Conservative MP Shelly Glover, who is not seeking re-election) Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman (held by Conservative MP James Bezan) and Winnipeg South (held by Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge, who is not seeking re-election)
Liberals: Nominated candidates in all 14 ridings
Green Party: Elmwood-Transcona (held by Conservative MP Lawrence Toet), Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman (held by Bezan) and Winnipeg South (held by Bruinooge)