Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada)
Winnipeg, the capital (1959 population, 243,287; population in 2006, 633,451) of the province of Manitoba, incorporated in 1873 with a population of 1,869, is situated at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, 40 miles south of Lake Winnipeg, and 60 miles north of the United States border, almost midway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (coordinates: 49° 53′ 42″ N, 97° 8′ 20″ W). The metropolitan area of Greater Winnipeg had a population of 354,069 out of a provincial total of 776,541 in the late 1950s (694,668 out of a total provincial population of 1,148,801 in 2006). The total Mennonite population of Manitoba, including Hutterites, was 44,667 in 1957, the majority of whom are descendants of the immigrants from Russia of 1874-1880, although a considerable number are from the immigrations of 1922-25 and 1948-53. The Mennonite population of Greater Winnipeg was over 7,000 in 1957, constituting the largest Mennonite city population in the world.
Mennonite church work in Winnipeg began in 1907 when the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church began a mission there. The second work was a General Conference Church mission begun in 1921. Other missions have been established by the older Manitoba groups in later years as follows: Evangelical Mennonite Brethren in 1949, Chortitz in 1952, Evangelical (Kleine Gemeinde) in 1954, and the Church of God in Christ Mennonites (discontinued). The first three missions have developed into regular congregations for Mennonites, while the latter two serve as unorganized Mennonite fellowship groups; the missions have as a whole not won many non-Mennonites, and would have remained small had it not been for the immigration from Russia beginning in 1922. This latter movement was intended to go to the farming territory of southern Manitoba, but only a part of the immigrants have remained on the land. Large numbers, lacking capital, moved to the city to secure work. The later immigration after World War II (1948 ff.) went largely directly to the city. Of the present Winnipeg Mennonite population of over 7,000, at least 90 per cent is composed of immigrants since 1922.
In 1957 Greater Winnipeg had ca. 4,000 baptized Mennonites distributed as follows: General Conference Mennonite (GCM) - 2,215 in 4 congregations (First Mennonite or Schoenwiese founded in 1926, 1,291; Sargent Avenue in 1928, 323; Bethel in 1938, 379; Bergthal Winnipeg Mission in 1950, 222); Mennonite Brethren - 1,521 in 4 congregations (Elmwood, formerly North End founded in 1913, new building in 1954, 460; North Kildonan in 1928, 499; Portage Avenue, formerly South End in 1936, 521; Gospel Light, 41); Evangelical Mennonite Brethren - 71 in one congregation, the Christian Fellowship Chapel (founded in 1949), plus a mission; and four missions (a total of 180 members) as follows: Chortitz (1952, 43), Evangelical (Kleine Gemeinde 1954, 50), Church of God in Christ Mennonite (Holdeman) (15), and Rudnerweide. The GCM group also operates the St. Vital Mission in North Winnipeg, begun as a Sunday school in 1947.
The Mennonite Brethren and General Conference Mennonites have both developed educational institutions in Winnipeg. In the mid-1950s the Mennonite Brethren had the Mennonite Brethren Bible College (est. 1944 on the north side at 77 Kelvin St.) and the near-by Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (1945). The General Conference Mennonites had the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (est. 1947) on the far south side in Tuxedo at 600 University Boulevard East, and Mennonite Educational Institute (1958). Other charitable institutions during the mid-1950s (all General Conference Mennonite) included Concordia Hospital (est. 1929), an 80-bed institution, Bethania Home for the Aged and Infirm with 84 beds (est. 1946 on 108 acres 11 miles north of Winnipeg), Ebenezer Girls' Home (est. 1926). The Christian Press, an Mennonite Brethren publishing agency, publisher of Die Mennonitische Rundschau, with a bookstore, was established by Herman Neufeld in 1923, and taken over in 1945 by a board which was partly conference controlled.
During the mid-1950s Mennonites also owned and operated many private business institutions, a few of which follow. The Konrad Conservatory of Music, operating under this name since 1950, employed 17 teachers and had about 300 students in instrumental and vocal music and music theory, of whom about 65 were Mennonites. C. A. DeFehr and Sons, Ltd. (est. 1925), with a branch of equal size in Edmonton, Alberta, was a wholesale distributor for larger appliances, small implements, heating units, and fuel, with about 2,000 dealers. Monarch Machinery Co., Ltd. (est. by J. J. Klassen in 1935) had a turnover of over $1,000,000, and engaged over 100 employees in the manufacture of pumps and farm equipment. John Martens & Co., Ltd. (est. in 1947), a wholesale sporting goods company, had 11 employees and a turnover of about $500,000. C. Huebert Lumber Co., Ltd., reached a peak turnover of about $900,000, but since 1952 the owner had gone over into the fiberboard manufacturing business.
Table 1: Mennonite Congregations in Winnipeg, 2008
Enns, J. H. “Winnipeg, Manitoba." Mennonite Life XI (July 1956).
Driedger, Leo. Mennonites in Winnipeg. Winnipeg: Kindred Press, 1990.
Lohrenz, Gerhard "The Mennonites in Winnipeg." Mennonite Life (1951): 16-25.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 961-962. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Janzen, David. "Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2008. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/winnipeg_manitoba_canada.
APA style: Janzen, David. (2008). Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/winnipeg_manitoba_canada.