Great places to live: Manitoba

As a part of our series on great places to live across Canada, we offer two of the greatest places in Manitoba.

Neepawa: Home to author Margaret Laurence
Named the world lily capital, Neepawa has a population of about 3,500. It has a small-town feeling with lots of big-city amenities.


• Average Jan temp (mean): –17 C
• Average July temp (mean): 19 C
• Annual rainfall: 406 mm
• Annual snowfall: 111 cm

House facts

• Bungalow: $99,840 (average); $190,000 (new).
• Two-storey: $74,500
• Condominium: $125,000 to $185,000
• Monthly rent for two-bedroom apartment: $705
(Average prices provided by Bruce Fleger, Century 21 West-Man Realty Ltd.)

Neepawa boasts a Handi-Transit Bus Service and one taxi company.

Great things to do
Margaret Laurence based her fictional town Manawaka on her hometown of Neepawa. Her family’s house is noa museum open only in the summer.

The Manawaka Gallery usually changes its art exhibits monthly. Classes to develop creative skills are organized by the Viscount Cultural Council. An art club and writer’s group in town are active. The Tangled Threads Quilt Guild hosts a quilt show before the town’s annual Lily Festival, held in July. 

Forget DVDs. A community group operates the Roxy, a renovated movie house that features film, theatre and concerts. Readers can borrow books at the Neepawa Library, part of the Western Manitoba Regional Library system. Local history can be gleaned at the Beautiful Plains Museum, located in Neepawa’s former railway station.

The Neepawa Natives Junior A hockey team plays at the Yellowhead Arena, which claims the title for the best burgers in southern Manitoba.

In addition to the Neepawa No-Stars, a recreational hockey team, the town has a baseball team known as the Neepawa Farmers in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League.

Town sporting opportunities also include tennis courts, a running track, ball diamonds, hiking and cross-country trails, curling clubs, bowling, as well as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

Southeast of town, Lake Irwin, which was created when the Whitemud River was dammed, is the place to water ski, boat and fish for northern pike and pickerel. The Whitemud escarpment provides the setting for the 18-hole Neepawa Golf and Country Club.

If you get sick
Neepawa District Memorial Hospital is a small community hospital with 38 beds offering some surgical services, physiotherapy and chemotherapy services. There are also three fully staffed medical clinics in the city, with a total of five doctors and three specialists.

The town’s one nursing home has a capacity of 120 beds.

From the horse’s mouth
“Neepawa is renowned for its beautiful, tree-lined streets and majestic buildings. The town has received The Most Beautiful Town award more often than any other community in Manitoba.” – Bruce Fleger

Next page: Winkler

Winkler: industry, agriculture and shopping
With a population of 8,000, Winkler is one of the fastest growing towns in Manitoba. It has a large German population and is the regional shopping centre for a large area.


• Average Jan temp (mean): –19 C
• Average July temp (mean): 20 C
• Annual rainfall: 473 mm
• Annual snowfall: 120 cm

House facts

• Bungalow: $140,000
 Standard two-storey: $170,000
• Condominium: $130,000 (only for 55+)
• Monthly rent for two-bedroom apartment: $600
(Average prices provided by J. Peters, @Home Realty)

Great things to do
Pembina Thresherman’s Museum is the setting for the Thresherman’s Reunion each Labour Day. While the guys might relish the collection of steam or gas engines, others will enjoy the historic buildings and artifacts. The Harvest Festival and Exhibition includes a parade, rodeo and entertaining performances as well as agricultural fair activities.

The aquatic centre is a legacy of the Manitoba Summer Games, featuring an outdoor pool with water and speed slides and hot tubs. Other outdoor activities in town include soccer, baseball, tennis, basketball and horseshoe games. The Winkler Arena accommodates figure skating and hockey and is home ice for the Winkler Flyers of the MJHL. It’s situated next to the town’s five-sheet curling rink. Snowmobile enthusiasts join the Border Valley Snow Goers.

Black lights give 10-pin bowling a whole different twist. Valley Bowling Lanes features glow bowling on Friday and Saturday nights, when bowlers, too are encouraged to dress brightly for maximum effect under the lights.

Continuing education classes are offered at the Winkler campus of Red River College.

The town mall has a five-screen cinema, and a branch of the regional library. Take older grandchildren to the Meadows Golf and Amusements for go-carting, mini-golf, par-three golfing and beach volleyball. There is also an 18-hole public golf course on the edge of town.

The town boasts two taxi companies.

If you get sick
Boundary Trails Health Centre is a 94-bed acute care regional facility offering many specialty services including chemotherapy, dialysis, speech and audiology, and rehabilitation/occupational/physical therapy. Winkler also has a community-owned non-emergency medical clinic with a staff of more than 25 doctors. Visits are scheduled on an appointment or walk-in basis. Twenty-seven family physicians, 10 local specialists and a team of four visiting specialists service the area.

From the horse’s mouth
“Winkler in the past 20 years has built a large number of retirement condominiums and apartments, including four high-rise buildings. These downtown high-rise buildings have become popular for the 55-plus folks and are nearly full.” – Jake Peters