Continuity and Change Throughout

To determine if something from the past has affected present day society, we must ask ourselves 3 questions. From this, we can determine if Winnipeg has changed or remained the same. Here are 3 pictures of Main Street from to see the changes throughout the years to help us determine if Winnipeg has changed or remained the same. Here are 3 pictures of Main Street from 1879, 1911, and 2011 to see the changes throughout the years to help us conclude if Winnipeg has transformed.

Red River side looking onto Main Street, 2011

Firstly, how have things stayed the same and how have they changed?

Before the railway came to Winnipeg, you can see in the picture from 1879 that the streets are very barren. The buildings are made of mostly brick or wood, and only consist of 1 – 2 stories. The dirty roads indicate that the main method of transportation were carriages. However in 1911, Winnipeg seems to be a changed city, as it has industrialized considerably. Many people pack the streets and there are 4 – 5 story high buildings. Trolleys and early cars have also been created. In the distance, we can also see telephone wires and streetlights showing that the technology has also improved. In the picture from 2011, we can see the obvious development of the surrounding buildings, most of which are from 10 – 40 stories. Also, there are not as many people walking the streets. As for similarities, some of the buildings from the 20th century still exist, such as Union Station and the Fort Garry Hotel. The only other resemblance between the 3 photos is that they were taken of the same street.


Secondly, were the continuities and changes positive or negative?

Between 1880 to the end of the 20th century, the changes seem to be mostly positive. The area was becoming more industrialized and many immigrants came, which helped support more buildings to be created to keep up with the rapidly increasing population. The technology improved, with the invention of telephones and other transportation methods, such as cars and trolleys. Though, the changes from the 1911 to 2014 seem to be minimal, and slightly towards the negative side. There are not a lot of people walking up and down Main Street anymore, making it appear dull.


Thirdly, how rapid or slow were the changes?

Between the 1880’s and 1911, Winnipeg appears as a totally different city. The urbanization happened over approximately 30 years, which is quick considering the state that Winnipeg was in in 1880. Although between 1911 and 2014, the changes appear to have slowed down. Winnipeg is still an industrialized city, but many things still seem to be the same.


And finally, did any of the changes mark turning points?

All of these changes were very important. With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, there was now an easier way to get around Canada faster. This brought many immigrants to settle in Winnipeg and to find jobs in the railway business selling merchandise, improving the economy and the city began to grow. However, when the Great Depression hit Winnipeg in the mid 1930’s, the city lost plenty of revenue and agricultural manufacturing. Also, many other Canadian cities were discovering many other resources that weren’t available in Winnipeg, such as different crops, oil, and coal.


From these questions, we can see that Winnipeg has drastically changed from the beginning of the 20th century up until now. The railway has helped urbanize and shape the city, as well as other major events, such as World War I, the Winnipeg General Strike, and the Great Depression. Union Station symbolizes a different era at the turn of the century, and the start of an urbanized city. Some features of Winnipeg have stayed the same, while a lot has changed.

What do you think? Answer the poll below!


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