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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 12:16 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Welcome to Winnipeg - Population 5 million

According to the WFP book, City Beautiful - How Architecture Shaped Winnipeg's DNA by Randy Turner, the 1911 City Planning Commission expected Winnipeg's population to reach 4.5 million by 1984. Assuming it actually reached this goal and continued to grow afterward,
What would our cultural scene look like?
What would our economy be like?
How urbanized would surrounding municipalities be?
What would our architecture be like?
How might our demographic/racial make-up be different?
Would currently disadvantaged neighborhoods still be that way?
What effect would a Winnipeg of 5 million have on nearby cities (Brandon, etc.)?
Would the nickname "Chicago of the North" still be relevant today and not just in a historical concept?

Last edited by balletomane; Mar 31, 2017 at 5:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 3:27 PM
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reading this makes me feel like i have a school project to complete now.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 3:38 PM
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Think about Winnipeg.
 
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Originally Posted by rkspec View Post
reading this makes me feel like i have a school project to complete now.
Remember to cite your sources!
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 3:39 PM
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if wpg kept growing like that canada would be a far different country
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Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 4:10 PM
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^Indeed. In the early 1900s Canada's population growth rate was between 2 and 3% annually. Now it is less than or around 1%. Over 100 years that kind of difference on 100,000 population is in the scale of 270,000 versus 1,2000,000 people. Between 1901 and 1911, Winnipeg's population skyrocketed by 12% a year. A year. It's why we don't take growth projections based on past performance very seriously. Sure, it can continue for a few years, but it usually doesn't. Every place is like that.

If Calgary had continued with its growth rate between 1901 and 1911, it would have 334,000,000 people give or take many million. Taking what it had done and halfing that growth rate to be...realistic as it appears Randy's numbers indicate he did.

For comparison
Wininpeg 42,000 -> 136,000, doubling about 1.5 times
Calgary 4,000 -> 44,000 doubling about 3.2 times

All Randy needed to do was look at the growth pattern of older Canadian cities to realize basing estimates as he did is not very meaningful.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 5:06 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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The early-1910's in Manitoba was certainly a little too optimistic, anticipating a Winnipeg of 4.5 million a few decades down the road, laying down a city plan for a Churchill of 500,000 and hoping that The Pas would be our "third city", connecting the metropolis of the south with the metropolis of the north.

Had Winnipeg continued the tremendous growth of that decade a little longer, its possible that Memorial Blvd. would have been our equivalent to Washington's mall. There was a plan for the Bay building to be about 10 stories, extending all the way from Portage to St. Mary - topped with a massive dome that would've dwarfed the Legislature's. Even the massive Eaton's building was meant to be temporary, eventually to be replaced by a new 10 story structure extending from Portage to St. Mary, with Graham forming a tunnel like York does with the WCC. There was even a competition to design a new city hall, some inspired by Greek architecture like the Parthenon. Even our Legislature was built to have enough MLAs for a province at least 2-3 times Manitoba's current size.

I love "what if" situations like this. Hypothesizing what could've been is so intriguing.
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Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 5:15 PM
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^ When we think about what might have been, let's not lose sight of the fact that it's a minor miracle that today's Winnipeg exists in its current form. This is literally a city that sprang up out of nowhere on scrub land. I'm sure the earliest Winnipeggers of the 19th century would be utterly blown away if they could see what their humble burg would become barely 150 years later.
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 5:15 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Unbuilt design for the HBC:

http://archiseek.com/2009/1919-hudso...ipeg-manitoba/

William Bruce’s plan for Roblin City (Churchill):

http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history...blincity.shtml

Eaton’s replacement:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-z4d3Aqy6k_...%2BTribune.bmp
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 9:16 PM
blueandgoldguy blueandgoldguy is offline
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If the panama canal had not been built I wonder what the population of Winnipeg would be currently? Maybe double or triple it's current base?
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Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 9:32 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Originally Posted by blueandgoldguy View Post
If the panama canal had not been built I wonder what the population of Winnipeg would be currently? Maybe double or triple it's current base?
I'm sure the city would at least be double its current size, speculating the Panama Canal never opening.
Winnipeg is the only major Canadian city that never came to reach its full potential, with Toronto and Montreal being the hubs in the east and Vancouver and Winnipeg being the hubs in the west. Looking at Canada's largest cities a century ago one would assume the "Big Five" today would be Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Of course looking at that same list Montreal would still be the largest today.
I wonder, if Winnipeg was double its current size would it be more of an aerospace hub than it already is?
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
Winnipeg is the only major Canadian city that never came to reach its full potential,
I'm sorry but I don't understand you here. What do you mean Winnipeg never reached its full potential? How do you define potential and qualify standards saying you've met it?

If I'm correct then you're saying that because the Panama Canal was built, Winnipeg never got as big as it could have been in a specific era. This completely ignores a few things.

For one thing, people look at early Winnipeg and say "Wow! Look at our growth in that time period. Had we continued along that trend, we'd be a city of millions by now." Yet that's patently ridiculous. Winnipeg went from what we'd call a town to a city in a short period of time. In raw numbers, that kind of growth is matched today. As a percentage, of course it's going to be smaller. If you go from $1 to $2 then you've witnessed %100 growth. That's the same for everything. To go from $2 to $3 you've seen %50 growth. It's the law of diminishing returns applied to population growth.

Secondly, it's not like Alberta would have simply missed out on the oil boom. Rail is only important for freight today. While having yards in the city certainly helps out the economy, there are no rail towns cum urban conglomerates extant today. Air travel and freight have taken a big chunk out of rail's importance, so it's important to factor that in as well.

Nobody ever thought Winnipeg was going to be the only city between Toronto and Vancouver. While people thought it could have been bigger, the most hardcore boosterism came from people looking to sell cheap plots of land. Eventually something would have taken a chunk out of Winnipeg's regional importance. Maybe the canal, air travel, or simply the growth of cities to the west. As it happens, it turns out it was all three. Some day, Winnipeg's geographic location may indeed prove fortuitous again. Suggesting that Winnipeg didn't reach its full potential is to say that the city has died and did so about a month after the canal opened.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2017, 11:40 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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All I really meant is that we are not as big as city planners in the early-1900's would've expected us to be, and as a result, our position economically is less than what it could've been.
Winnipeg has by no means died, and I hope the future is brighter for our city. It has so much potential to really be known internationally (to the point where we aren't really excited that we were featured in Vogue or National Geographic article). With good planning, our downtown could be an example for other cities in the future, there are so many surface parking lots to build on to get things right this time around!

Last edited by balletomane; Apr 1, 2017 at 12:31 AM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:37 AM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
Winnipeg is the only major Canadian city that never came to reach its full potential
Ha, Regina is home to Canada's third largest legislative building. Now ask yourself why that might be.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:43 AM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Ha, Regina is home to Canada's third largest legislative building. Now ask yourself why that might be.
I was just thinking about metros with over 750,000 residents (ones currently over 1 million and those that will likely reach that mark in the next 2-3 decades).
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:51 AM
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IMO if Winnipeg gets to 5 million, it will probably look something like Minneapolis-St.Paul is in the US experience.

Actually, considering the location and importance of Winnipeg in the Canadian context, a comparison the Minneapolis is fairly apt. They're not (and will never be) New York/Toronto or Washington/Ottawa, or California/Vancouver. They will be regionally important cities with their own distinct character, but overshadowed by their more prominent counterparts in other points of the country.
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  #16  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 3:19 AM
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A little food for thought.....

First off, if you want to have an idea of why Winnipeg was being predicted to have such an amazing future ahead of itself, you have to understand just how big of a deal railroad transportation was back then. In those days absolutely EVERYTHING in society revolved in perfect circles around the extensive continental wide railroad network. It was a miracle of technology that the average person or goods now had the ability to cross the continent in less than a few weeks rather than well over several months by horse and carriage, and that is only if you had the government funding to carry out such a disorienting journey in the first place. If your town didn't have a railroad going through it then it's relevance would be completely obliterated into obscurity. PERIOD.

Now imagine this. You have a town that's situated in a part of the continent that is absolutely perfect for a massive cross road of main rail lines coming from all 4 directions. To the west, you had a sea of grain fields the size of France. To the south you had direct railroad access to the booming American cities of the Midwest, one of the most rapidly growing regions on the continent. To the North, you had the massive natural resources of St. Ruperts Lands right at your doorstep, and to the east you had the rest of the world flooding in to take advantage of an entire continents worth of opportunities.

And that was all Winnipeg basically was. A giant transportation intersection that everything and everyone traveling across the continent couldn't avoid passing through. All roads really DID lead to Winnipeg. But of course, any economy based on only one singular enterprise is an incredibly fragile ecosystem, and all you needed was an end to the monopoly that railroad technology held on the world's transportation network to do Winnipeg in
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  #17  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:24 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Answering my own questions above,
Our cultural scene would be like that of today, except our world-class institutions like the WSO and RWB would be more internationally recognized and far-reaching. The Exchange District would be the location of the theatre scene, much like today, except there would be world-class schools like Julliard located there. Some of the older warehouses immediately off of North Main would have been demolished, making way for some historic high-rises, perhaps reaching about 30 stories. It would be the same with Portage Ave., historic skyscrapers lining the street up until about the location of the former Eaton's store.
Aboriginal culture would still be very important in the city, but the proportion of First Nations people would be less, since the city would be much larger.
Winnipeg would have a WHL team, as well as MLB.

We would still have a diversified economy, except manufacturing would've become much more dominant. The St. Boniface area, would have attracted other major meat packing plants, more than just Swift and Canada Packers. The aerospace industry would've looked to Winnipeg to have their national and international headquarters, because of our central location.

Winnipeg's highly urbanized area would reach mainly along the rivers, reaching northward until about Selkirk, westward including all of Headingley, southward to Ste. Agathe. The east side would've been the location of the industrial parks, so the residential areas wouldn't extend much past the Perimeter, all though industry would be built out closer to Dugald.
Oakbank, Lorette, Niverville and other nearby communities would all be much larger and would be home mainly upper class families.

The entire South Portage neighborhood would function as the Financial District, like Bay Street or Yonge Street in Toronto. Memorial Blvd. would be filled with beautiful limestone buildings on both sides, about 5 to 10 stories in height, framing the Legislature.

The north end would still be the most disadvantaged part of the city, River Heights still one of the wealthiest. St. Boniface would still be a separate city, perhaps amalgamating with St. Vital and Transcona only, with a population closer to 250,000. Although the percentage of French-speaking people would be less, St. Boniface would've bolstered about being one of the largest French-speaking cities in North America.

Crime rates overall would be lower, but still centralized in the areas north of Downtown. The concentration of crime in these areas would make them even more so than today an "area to be avoided by tourists".

Brandon and Portage la Prairie would have populations closer to 100,000. Other nearby cities closer to 50,000. A larger Winnipeg would've capitalized more than it did on the north, with The Pas and Churchill being hubs of the north, with populations around 50,000. Imagine The Pas like Prince Albert and Churchill like Thunder Bay. However, both of these cities would be in decline since the 1960's, with high crime rates and blighted areas.

Winnipeg would still be "Chicago of the North", and maybe Chicago "Winnipeg of the South".
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:30 PM
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Winnipeg is often mocked because of our reliance on agriculture and our abundance of relatively inexpensive land.

As the global population grows, now ~ 7 billion, agriculture becomes more and more critical. Just look at how expensive groceries are.

Availability of land: there simply isn't that much real estate in many urban centres. Climate change, whether human caused or natural cycle, may erode land along the coasts. The cost of real estate will continue to rise in the most desirable, mainly coastal cities. It becomes too expensive for many to live in these environs.

There is a lot to be said for a reasonably sized (1-2 million) city with availability of relatively inexpensive real estate.

I couldn't imagine living in Toronto or Vancouver, making the same or less salary, paying double or triple for housing, and spending double the time commuting.

I think all the prairie cities are poised for sustained growth. Calgary and Edmonton may lag because they have already experienced rapid growth, and oil will likely not reach $60 for another decade.

Winnipeg was crushed from 1950-90. Hopefully the progress of last 25 years will continue.
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
According to the WFP book, City Beautiful - How Architecture Shaped Winnipeg's DNA by Randy Turner, the 1911 City Planning Commission expected Winnipeg's population to reach 4.5 million by 1984. Assuming it actually reached this goal and continued to grow afterward,
What would our cultural scene look like?
What would our economy be like?
How urbanized would surrounding municipalities be?
What would our architecture be like?
How might our demographic/racial make-up be different?
Would currently disadvantaged neighborhoods still be that way?
What effect would a Winnipeg of 5 million have on nearby cities (Brandon, etc.)?
Would the nickname "Chicago of the North" still be relevant today and not just in a historical concept?

Interesting. Winnipeg would probably have a Major League Baseball team now, and Winnipeg would have had an NHL team at around the same time as the Maple Leafs and Canadiens started up, or at least shortly after (but it wouldn't have been called the Jets since jets didn't exist at that time).
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 2:39 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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It must have been absolutely fascinating living in Winnipeg during the boom years of 1900-1914. It was a time when the general mantra was "anything and everything possible" - Winnipeg's manifest destiny.

Today, it seems Winnipeg can be divided into three categories:

1. "Winnipeg will only get better" - these are the people who actually have a vision for the city, believing what lies ahead is a much more prosperous city. ~10% of the population falls into this category.

2. "Winnipeg is a third-world city" - these are the people who think Winnipeg is destined to go the way of Detroit (no I'm not saying Detroit is "third-world"). However, these are also the Winnipeggers who will most furiously defend the city against anyone who hates on it, especially Torontonians. ~15% of the population falls into this category.

3. "Winnipeg will always be Winnipeg" - these are the people who think Winnipeg will look little different 10 years from now. Most of our city politicians fall into this category, comprised of ~75% of the population.

Last edited by balletomane; Apr 1, 2017 at 6:28 PM.
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