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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2017, 9:53 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
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".
This was a great read. Thanks for this.
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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 12:55 PM
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This was a great read. Thanks for this.
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I've always thought about how different our city would be had the City Planning Commission had its way.
I'm not saying that our city would be better, as esquire mentioned on the previous page, its amazing how Winnipeg has been so successful. With temperatures ranging from +40 to -40, being threatened by flooding every other year and having grown to 800,000 (and 10,000 more annually), well its nothing to sneeze at.
But, viewed from an outsider, a Winnipeg of 5,000,000 would be far more impressive, just because its a bigger number.
I'm a little surprised that not many people have their own "storylines" for the Winnipeg that could've been, maybe this thread was only interesting to a few of us.
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 3:02 PM
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I'm not sure that a population of 5 million would make Winnipeg a better place to live. My main concern would be the pressure that number of residents would put on our natural resources, lakes, beaches etc. I have, however always imagined a Winnipeg built on Lake Winnipeg, rather than the confluence of the 2 rivers. Specifcally that area say starting at Scantebury, Northwards to Victoria Beach. Would be nice to have the Lake on the West side, Traverse Bay and the Winnipeg River on the East side, Ringed by sandy beaches, Elk Island as the city's main park to the North, and a nice, gently rolling hilly terrain to build on. Would look great on Postcards! And no flooding!
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 5:43 PM
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^That would make for a very sprawled city, even with 5 million people. Still, I've thought something similar: a large city at Grand Beach. Skyscrapers surrounding the lagoon, which would be a large marina.


Anyway, this has been a fun thread. I didn't know about the old plans for Churchill (we shouldn't have given up on them!) or for that massive domed version of the Bay.

The most important thing that most of you have at least alluded to is the question, where do these people come from? There are a couple of counterfactuals that you folks have already brought up: If the Panama Canal weren't built, or if Alberta never had its oil boom. Either scenario pads Winnipeg's population with people otherwise destined for points west. I'm not sure I want to think about Canada--or the world--without the Panama Canal. The Allies losing the Pacific theatre of WW2 would have been ugly. As for Alberta, I guess it's nice there's something between here and the mountains.


One thing about Winnipeg having over 5 million people is that it would be Canada's second largest city. Unless Winnipeg's gain came at Toronto's expense. If Winnipeg really were the Chicago of the North, it's not that much of a reach to think that Toronto could be the Buffalo of the North. Winnipeg would be the seat of English Canadian commerce and culture and a far-flung partner dance partner for Montreal in the English-French tension within confederation. How would Franco-Manitoban culture fare--as a Frenchifying force in English Canada, or completely subsumed by a much more dominant English culture. On Canada's other great schism, less Ontario would be good for the west, and pull a lot more attention to the legacy of Canadian colonialism in the west that the Laurentian Elites are completely oblivious to.

Another way that Winnipeg could have reached 5 million is in a country that is much larger, and never put the breaks on immigration. Winnipeg would hold a similar national importance, but being a far larger city may have more international sway. It would probably be even more diverse a city than now, and maybe Churchill would be a great port city, connected to Winnipeg by highspeed rail.


Anyway, balletome, you mentioned Winnipeg as the only Canadian city to not reach its potential. Before confederation, the maritime cities enjoyed brisk trade with the American coast. Once Ontario and Quebec brought them into the fold, in order to boost central-Canadian industry, the big 2 foisted some stiff tariffs on trade with the States causing the Maritimes to stagnate. I have a hard time believing the tariffs helped anyone, but that's another topic.

I don't believe that the Maritimes would have produced a NYC or even a Boston--there isn't much of a hinterland to support very large cities, and with Montreal easily accessible from the Atlantic, there's little reason for them to have become that large. But they should have at least produced a Providence, a Hartford, and a Syracuse.
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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 9:49 PM
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It really is a shame that the Maritimes doesn't have one "metropolis". I think it would be ideal if Halifax had a population closer to 1 million and Saint John around 500,000. Fredericton and Moncton maybe around 250,000.

I think had Winnipeg reached 5 million, than we could also assume Canada would've reached Laurier's vision of a Canada of 100 million by 2000. In that case our "Big Five" would probably be Toronto (10 million), Montreal (7 million), Vancouver (5 million), Winnipeg (5 million) and Ottawa (3 million). I could see Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Windsor, Hamilton, Halifax and Quebec City all having about 1 million.
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  #26  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
It really is a shame that the Maritimes doesn't have one "metropolis". I think it would be ideal if Halifax had a population closer to 1 million and Saint John around 500,000. Fredericton and Moncton maybe around 250,000.

I think had Winnipeg reached 5 million, than we could also assume Canada would've reached Laurier's vision of a Canada of 100 million by 2000. In that case our "Big Five" would probably be Toronto (10 million), Montreal (7 million), Vancouver (5 million), Winnipeg (5 million) and Ottawa (3 million). I could see Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Windsor, Hamilton, Halifax and Quebec City all having about 1 million.
this to me is a dystopian nightmare. the habitable parts of Canada are already getting overcrowded
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  #27  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:35 PM
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The real question is would we have a waterpark?
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:38 PM
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The real question is would we have a waterpark?
lol
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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2017, 10:49 PM
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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.
In some ways, MSP seems like a Calgary/Winnipeg hybrid.
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  #30  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2017, 12:54 AM
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this to me is a dystopian nightmare. the habitable parts of Canada are already getting overcrowded
Maybe not for the prairies or maritimes, but Southern Ontario might feel a bit crowded!
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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2017, 5:28 PM
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this to me is a dystopian nightmare. the habitable parts of Canada are already getting overcrowded
What? Have you ever been outside a "city" in Canada?

That's a serious question because there's nearly no place in Canada that I would ever consider overcrowded. At most, maybe a mall during Christmas or some festival or another. Canada is far, far, FAR from crowded. Even our cities barely qualify as such to the rest of the world.
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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2017, 6:31 PM
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^ Relative to the amount of infrastructure, Toronto and the GTA feels crowded. It feels like a city of 5 million with a highway and transit system for a city half that size.
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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2017, 8:13 PM
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Ha, Regina is home to Canada's third largest legislative building. Now ask yourself why that might be.
It certainly wasn't because of planners thinking it was going to be a huge city. Regina was a planned city and only planned to ever be around 150,000 people. It is why Broad and Albert Street are so narrow. We were never meant to be 250,000. Regina is going to either be a transit genius or a planning disaster if we ever hit 500,000 people. Winnipeg compained about Pembina Highway, but it will be nothing in comparison to Albert Street and the completely crippled Lewvan drive not to mention the Broad Street stupidity that was the rebuilding of the bridge.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2017, 7:44 PM
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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.

The replacement stores for Eaton's and the Portage ave was 12 full floors
Same for the Eaton's catalogue Building.12 floors as photographed in the Winnipeg Tribune.
The Bay building was to be about 11 full floors but up to 14 in certain spots such as a dome on top and would have run all they way to St Mary avenue. It was to be spectacular.
Both plans were ambitious and had they gone through, it might have made quite the difference in Winnipeg retaining its regional and national importance with regards to retail in general.

Last edited by BAKGUY; Nov 28, 2017 at 4:50 PM. Reason: edit
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  #35  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2017, 6:36 AM
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I will expand on my alternate history of Winnipeg and Manitoba, but instead of using the 5 million figure that reflects the optimism of the times I will use what I believe to be more realistic.

Despite the opening of the Panama Canal, Winnipeg suffered only a minor blip in its boom, growing to 300,000 by 1921. The 1920's saw a resurgence in growth, many of the city's older skyscrapers were built during this era, including the four at Portage and Main that rise to about 30 floors each. By 1931, the city had grown to 500,000. The city struggled during the Depression years, but rural flight increased the population still to 600,000 by 1941. The Second World War saw a manufacturing boom occur in the city, with the effects of this boom most visible in and around St. Boniface and Transcona. The post-war baby boom also increased the city's population during the 1950's so that by 1961, the city had grown to 1 million. By the mid-1960's, the area within the city limits had been entirely developed, most of these neighborhoods dated to before the Second World War. Waverley West, Wilkes South and Old Kildonan were the main developments in the city after the war. During the 1960's the migration to the suburbs began, this saw Headingley and both East and West St. Paul to develop, and these suburban municipalities are part of the city's continuous built up area. The Manitoba Capital Region composes of Winnipeg's metropolitan area and is home to 2.5 million people. The population within the city itself is 800,000, up from its low of 750,000 in 2001.

The South Broadway neighborhood functions as the city's business district and is composed of primarily midrise office buildings. A few skyscrapers over 150 metres are located in this neighborhood, the tallest building in the city soars to 60 floors.
The Exchange District is much larger on its west side and relatively intact and a tourist draw. The east Exchange was razed in the 1960's and 1970's as a result of "modernization".
West Broadway and Point Douglas are some of the hottest neighborhoods in the city. Many of the blighted houses were demolished in the 1990's and have been replaced by new low to midrise condo and apartment buildings. These neighborhoods are popular among the "artsy" community.
The area around Central Park is seeing the construction of many new condo and apartment towers (picture Glasshouse and Dcondos).
The North End is the most blighted area in the city and has the highest crime and poverty rates. The area east of main is gentrifying and property values are increasing as young families move in.
Elmwood and Transcona are also quite blighted, however there further distance from the resurgence happening downtown means they will continue to decline for the next few years.
The city's wealthiest neighborhoods are those located along the rivers on the south side of the city.
Imagine Winnipeg being similar to Minneapolis / St. Paul.

Brandon
As Manitoba's population boom continued for a longer period in the early 20th century, it became the hub for a larger area and main city in between Winnipeg and Regina. By WW2, the city had grown to 50,000 and has continued to have healthy growth since, exceeding 100,000 by the 21st century. Imagine Brandon being similar to Fargo.

The Pas
With the construction of the HBR to Churchill, the city population boomed and by WW2 was Manitoba's "third city". The city has been in relative decline for the past few decades, but the population has remained stable at 50,000 thanks to a growing urban Aboriginal population. Unfortunately, the city is plagued by the highest crime rates in the province and has one of the highest poverty rates among all communities in the province. Imagine The Pas being similar to Prince Albert.

Churchill
Churchill was little more than a remote outpost at the mouth of the Churchill River until the 1930's when it's port opened. The city boomed in it'd early years, despite the port being unusable foruch of the year. The city became a strategic location during the Cold War which gave boost to its economy when it would've been in decline. The city has approximately 50,000 residents. Imagine Churchill being similar to Thunder Bay, but half the size.

Portage la Prairie
Portage la Prairie is the hub city in between Winnipeg and Brandon. It has been relatively stagnant since the 1960's, but has grown to 50,000 in the past few years.

Other important cities in Manitoba would be Selkirk (pop. 30,000), Dauphin (pop. 30,000), Emerson (pop. 20,000), Neepawa (pop. 10,000), Carman (pop. 10,000), Morden (pop. 10,000), and Souris (pop. 10,000).

The following communities would have about 5,000 residents:
Beausejour, Gimli, Virden, Swan River, Roblin, Manitou, Killarney, Boissevain, Deloraine, Melita, Carberry, Glafstone and Minnedosa.
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  #36  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2017, 10:42 PM
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^^^ It's nice to dream of what-ifs, but I question how any planner could seriously suggest that Churchill would grow to 50,000, or even the more laughable 500,000 that someone quoted earlier in this thread.

The port is locked in by ice for 8 or 9 months a year. What would such a large population do when the port is inactive? Pogey only goes so far.

Is there an equivalent comparison anywhere on the globe, of a port locked in by ice for 8 or 9 months, where the population is even above 10,000?

The ice-bound port is just one issue... so I won't bring up the problems that building on muskeg, marshy land and permafrost would pose.
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  #37  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 1:15 AM
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Why would Transcona be blighted? Certainly Transcona is far less blighted now than much of Fort Rouge or East St. James.

I highly doubt if Winnipeg had grown to 2.5 million that Selkirk would have only 30,000 people, and the population within city limits would be much more dense and far greater than 800,000.
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  #38  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 3:57 AM
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Even at 2.5 million, Winnipeg would pretty much stretch to Selkirk (since cities tend to develop along natural waterways) so that city would have to have far in excess of 30,000. It would be an exurban center with probably more like 100,000.

Actually, allow me to amend that. 100K is too optimistic.
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Last edited by Spocket; Nov 29, 2017 at 4:02 AM.
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  #39  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:43 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
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.
The replacement stores for Eaton's and the Portage ave was 12 full floors
Same for the Eaton's catalogue Building.12 floors as photographed in the Winnipeg Tribune.
The Bay building was to be about 11- 12 full floors but up to 14 in certain spots such as a dome on top and would have run all they way to St Mary avenue.
Try to imagine how that might have positioned Winnipeg in possibly remaining more of a head office for retail buying and cementing how important for mercantile reasons we would have been?We also would have had enough people living and working in the vicinity to keep the stores going.

Last edited by BAKGUY; Jan 11, 2018 at 5:27 PM. Reason: Edit
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2018, 8:39 AM
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