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The basics
Canada: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Winnipeg

Winnipeg is the fourth largest city in Canada, yet also one of its cheapest. It offers a classic Canadian experience, from wide prairies and blue lakes to incredibly friendly locals, great food, and excellent universities.

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Winnipeg is climbing the ranks of the best student cities in Canada, and it’s no surprise to see the city and its welcoming residents getting the appreciation they deserve. With a vibrant international food scene, many green spaces and a packed calendar of incredible festivals and events, Winnipeg is a smaller city with a big heart.


Located in the state of Manitoba, the city’s home province is home to one of the best polar bear and whale watching towns in the world, crystal clear lakes, stunning waterfalls, and the chance to see the Northern Lights.


Though Winnipeg can get cold in the winter, its great infrastructure and warm people mean that it’s easy to enjoy the best parts of the season – including snow sports, hot drinks, and winter festivals. Spring and summer are always around the corner, bringing gorgeous warm weather for Winnipeg residents and many outdoor activities.


It’s growing quickly as a spot for nightlife, artistic innovation, and tech innovation. This runs through the culture of the city, showing itself in murals and graffiti art across walls and buildings.


Winnipeg has a long history, and you’ll still be able to visit two 19th-century forts from which the city grew, whether it’s the real stone remains of Lower Fort Garry or the impressive wooden replica of Fort Gibraltar that stands on the original site.


Find out how you can apply to study in Canada


What is Winnipeg like?


Location and demographics

Winnipeg is the provincial capital of Manitoba, roughly midway across Canada from east to west. The city is not far from the border with Ontario province, which is just over 150km to the east, as well as the U.S. border to the south, which is 110km to the south.


Winnipeg is a multicultural and multilingual city, and has a significant Indigenous population. Over 10 per cent of residents identify as Indigenous compared to a national average of just over four per cent. A variety of other nationalities make this a wonderfully diverse city.


Read more about why Canada is so unique


Culture and history 

Originally the homelands of Indigenous peoples for many generations, European settlers arrived in the area from 1738. Several forts constructed over the following period came together to form the city of Winnipeg, from the Cree Indian term for “muddy water”.


The city became a major hub for grain production in the Canadian prairie region, and it remains so today. It’s also a large centre for industry, finance, and commerce. It’s also a cultural hub, with events, festivals, and a diverse population.


Find out why Canada is such a popular destination for international students


Which universities are in Winnipeg?


Winnipeg has a range of highly rated universities and other higher education institutions. Combined with good part-time employment and placement options in the city, it’s a great choice for ambitious students.


The University of Winnipeg has a reputation for being a quality higher education institution in Canada. Its students benefit from a well-equipped campus blending modern facilities with historic architecture, small class sizes and an experience-based approach to learning. Additionally, almost 15 per cent of the student population is international. 


The University of Manitoba (UoManitoba) ranks within the top 650 universities worldwide according to QS World University Rankings 2023It was founded in 1877 and has developed a community of over 180,000 alumni living worldwide. It’s known for its research excellence and progressive approach to teaching.


Manitoba Institutes of Trades and Technology offers international students a wide range of career-focused courses that are designed to drive students to graduate success. It’s also known for its robust career support services.n the city, you’ll also find Red River College, the Canadian Mennonite University, and the International College of Manitoba.


Discover more universities in Canada.


What does Winnipeg offer students?


What transport is available? 

Winnipeg is served by a strong network of public transportation, as well as a range of private transport options, so you’ll never be short of a way to get around with ease. Buses, including a rapid bus link between UoManitoba and downtown, as well as excellent cycle paths and a compact city centre, are just some of the options.


What are the entertainment and food like?

Winnipeg often surprises visitors with the great food, nightlife, and entertainment scene in the city. The craft beer and bar scenes continue to thrive, offering a variety of unique drinks and venues to enjoy. Coffee culture is big too, plus all sorts of dining options are available, ranging from traditional Canadian and Indigenous-inspired fare to world foods of every kind.


Discover the top five things to do in Canada


What about accommodation?

There’s a wide range of student accommodation options to choose from as an international student in Winnipeg. Your chosen university will manage its on-campus student halls and residences in many cases, but if it doesn’t, you’ll be able to select from various private student residence companies. You may also consider a private rental through a landlord or letting agent, and your university will often be able to support you in finding the right place and managing the legal documents.


If you need financial aid, why not review the top scholarships in Canada?


How much does it cost to live in Winnipeg?


General cost of the city

Winnipeg has a great reputation for affordability, offering great value for money to students who choose to study there. The cost of accommodation can often be around 40 per cent lower than the national average. As a result, living here will be significantly cheaper when compared to cities like Toronto or Vancouver, and can even be slightly cheaper than Montreal.


Discover more about the cost of living in Canada


Student budget

As a single international student living in Winnipeg, you could expect to spend anywhere between CAD 250 and CAD 700 per week. This includes rent, utilities, food, transportation, and other living costs. Your budget will vary depending on your living arrangements, lifestyle, activities, and where in Winnipeg you live.


Find out what tuition fees in Canada cost


Financial requirements

The Government of Canada asks international students to demonstrate that they can access a minimum of CAD 10,000 per year before starting their studies in Canada. This is equivalent to CAD 833 per month.


Explore how to find a graduate career in Canada and the top five graduate jobs


What are the main attractions in Winnipeg?


Winnipeg is quickly becoming a popular Canadian destination, with a wide variety of sights and attractions to enjoy. The city has put itself on the map partly because of its world-class museums, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Manitoba Museum and St-Boniface Museum. The topics and treasures of these cultural centres range from human rights history to planetariums, Jurassic exhibits, and artefacts from the pioneering age. 


The landscape of Winnipeg and its surroundings is enchanting. Towards the centre of the city in a peaceful riverside park setting, Forks National Historic Site has been a meeting point for Indigenous First Nations people for hundreds of years and continues to be today. Out of the city, biodiversity gems like the Oak Hammock Marsh, the Wapusk National Park and the Riding Mountain National Park offer excellent opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, fishing, and other outdoor activities.


The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a hub of contemporary Inuit art, and thousands of other pieces of various styles and periods. Elsewhere in the city, the heritage area of the Exchange District has seen a vibrant neighbourhood of restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and clubs spring up among the well-preserved buildings. This area is home to the nationally famous Fringe Theatre and Winnipeg Jazz festivals.


Winnipeg is a buzzing city that enjoys being overlooked by many people. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy its festivals, food scene and first-class university courses at a much lower cost than in other Canadian cities. Explore more study options in Canada with our course matcher tool

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