A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Winnipeg as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting offices in Winnipeg.
History & Geography
Winnipeg is the capital city of the Canadian county of Manitoba, and is located in central Canada at the bottom extreme of the Red River Valley. The valley is a low-lying floodplain on the eastern edge of the great prairies of Western Canada, which lends it its name, the ‘Gateway to the West’. Many of Canada’s indigenous people lived and travelled around the area due to its location at the confluence of the Red River and the Assiniboine, which made it a natural trading point. The Sioux, Cree, Ojibway, and Anishinaabe were among the tribes who frequented the area. In the early 18th century Pierre Gaultier, a French officers, opened a fur trading station in the area. The British, in the form of the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company followed soon after and built Fort Gibraltar and Fort Douglas. Many of the European settlers took native wives and mistresses and their offspring were called the Metis. In 1869 the Metis revolted against British rule in the Red River Rebellion, which was soon squashed by British general Sir Garnet Wolseley. With the advent of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881 the commercial importance of Winnipeg increased greatly. However when the Panama Canal opened in 1914 this greatly reduced the reliance on Canada’s railway system and Vancouver overtook Winnipeg as the most important and prosperous city in the region. The early 20th century saw hard economic times for the city which were only eased by the advent of WWII. Later in the century during the 1970s, the City of Winnipeg Act incorporated all the surrounding towns into the city, including Transcona, St Boniface, West Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood and St James. Today Winnipeg is the seventh largest city in Canada with a thriving, varied economy.
Winnipeg has an unusually diversified economy consisting of finance, manufacturing, transportation, food and beverage production, tourism and retail. Among Canada’s largest city’s Winnipeg currently has the third-fastest growing economy. Currently almost half a million people are employed in the city and the surrounding area. Among the largest employers in the area are the local city government and outfits funded by the government such as The University of Manitoba, the Health Sciences Centre and Manitoba Hydro. Among the largest of the private sector employers in the city are Manitoba Telecom Services, Ipsos Reid, Palliser Furniture, Great-West Life Assurance, Investors Group, Bristol Aerospace, Boeing Canada Technology and New Flyer Industries. The Royal Canadian Mint is also a large employer in the area and is located in southeastern Winnipeg. Recently the city was ranked by the accounting giant KPMG as one of the least expensive cities in Canada to do business. Winnipeg also has a growing film and TV industry and is the home of numerous TV and film production companies, including Farpoint Films, Frantic Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures and Eagle Vision, among others. The city is also gaining in popularity as a filming location and has already been the setting of several major Hollywood films, including Capote, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Horsemen.
Tourism & Culture
Winnipeg has a thriving tourist industry which in a large part is due to its beautiful natural setting. Over four million visitors come to see the Forks, where the Red River and Assiniboine rivers meet. The Forks were a much used meeting place between native tribes as well as fur traders for hundreds of years. Today it is the site of a busy marketplace, an esplanade, skate park and a theatre and selection of bars and restaurants. Every year thousands of visitors also come to Winnipeg for the Festival du Voyageur, the largest Winter festival in western Canada. The Manitoba Museum is the largest in the city and displays the history of the city and the province. Currently the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is being built in Winnipeg at the Forks. When finished its aim will be to foster understanding and awareness of human rights. Winnipeg also has a lively nightlife scene, with a selection of bars, clubs and restaurants, mostly located in the downtown area of the city. Winnipeg does have a fairly high crime rate compared to other Canadian cities of similar size, however this has been declining steadily over the last few years.
Winnipeg is served by the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, which is currently in the middle of a massive CAD 500 million redevelopment. The airport is the eighth busiest in Canada. Winnipeg is still a major rail hub and is served by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Burlington Northern and the Central Manitoba Railway. The main form of public transport in the city itself is the bus network run by Winnipeg Transit. However ideas are being discussed to implement a new rapid transit link, either in the form of bus or rail.
The province of Manitoba’s economy has performed strongly over the past year or so and this has been reflected in Winnipeg’s office market which has been expanding. Unemployment in the city is at approximately five percent and many have made positive forecasts about the future of the city’s economy. Currently the vacancy rate for Class A office space in the city’s CBD stands at 4.7 percent, while Class B overall vacancy in the same area is at 10 percent. It has been projected that the vacancy rate in the CBD will continue to fall over the next year or so.