I love living in Winnipeg, but let’s be honest, there are also things I don’t like in Winnipeg. Let’s talk about some negative aspects of Winnipeg!
I tried to select here 5 things I don’t like in Winnipeg and to limit myself to purely Winnipeg things – that means I excluded Canadian things in general, because I would have different things to say.
Public Transportation in Winnipeg is bad
Let’s start with Winnipeg’s worst negative point: public transportation and the public transport network overall are bad and generally inefficient. There are only bus lines and no other forms of transportation today. Indeed, Winnipeg had a century-old streetcar system that was taken out of service in 1970 and would have been great today, had it been maintained. The bus network that replaced it is inefficient and has not kept up with the latest urban developments.
If you live in a residential area and have to go to work in Downtown Winnipeg from Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, no problem. But as soon as your bus route falls outside this pattern or contains a correspondence, it’s horrible. Not to mention Sunday, when the majority of bus lines simply do not run. I spent hours, without exaggeration, waiting for buses that were always late, unreliable, inconvenient, in all temperatures. Note also that only a handful of bus shelters – when there are any, because a bus stop is generally marked by a bench or a post – are heated. The bus shelters are been used as shelters by the homeless people as well.
Winnipeg is a car city and I am really hoping public and active transportation start being more funded and improved.
I will not put “the cold” on this list of things I don’t like in Winnipeg. Because in fact, the cold is not bothersome. I embrace winters at minus 40 degrees and their counterpart of more than 300 days of sunshine per year without any problem. But if you think the one week of the year when it’s minus 50 degrees is Winnipeg’s worst week of the year… Think again. Every year, between late May and early-mid June, there is a cankerworm apocalypse.
The worms hang from the trees, they devour the leaves. When you walk they spring up in front of you, cling to your hair and your clothes. It is disgusting and very annoying. Infestations vary each year and in each neighbourhood, depending on the type of the trees and the residents’ acceptance to chemical pesticides (see this CBC article for more information about the cankerworms). It really is for me the worst time of the year in Winnipeg.
So, chronologically, it is minus 50 degrees in February, then a few months later the awful cankerworms appear and when they’re finally gone because they’ve morphed into moths… Mosquito season begins. Canadian mosquitoes are nasty and unlike their European cousins at all: they bite day and night, through fabrics and layers.
At the time of writing this post, this is my fourth summer in Winnipeg and the mosquitoes are worse than ever. It is due to the the rain, heat, humidity and wind that kept the pesticides from spreading (yes, there are actually a lot of pesticides in Winnipeg).
A lack of consideration for pedestrians
Due to poor public transportation, pedestrians are rare in Winnipeg. Things seem to be looking up: some streets have become pedestrian only during the pandemic to encourage people to be active, and more bike lanes are springing up every year.
But the path for the recognition of pedestrians will be long. Drivers don’t care at all (especially when turning right on a red light), the city doesn’t plow sidewalks after snow storms, slippery sidewalks are left as they are for days, and when the roads are plowed, the snow is piled up on the sidewalks and not removed. Snowdrifts or puddles make pedestrian crossings inaccessible. There is work to do so that walking in Winnipeg become enjoyable.
The absence of sewers in the streets
I’ve lived all over the world and I’ve never seen a city anywhere without street holes. The Prairies have a capricious weather, it is very common to oscillate between minus and plus 25 degrees in the space of a few weeks. Spring snowmelt and summer storms bring a certain amount of water to the streets.
But… There are no manholes anywhere. The water can’t get away and sometimes piles up tens of centimeters, transforming each storm into a doomsday scene in Winnipeg. Why not evacuate the water through the ground? I couldn’t find any explanation.
There you have it, these are the 5 things I don’t like in Winnipeg!
More posts about things to do in Winnipeg?
– the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
– the Manitoba Electrical Museum
– the Cement Cemetery
– the St-Boniface Museum
– Back Alley Arctic, polar street-art
– the Manitoba Museum
– Winterlude, an ice-carving competition
– all the museums in Winnipeg
– the West End Murals