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Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)

Last modified: 2018-07-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: manitoba | winnipeg |
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[Winnipeg Manitoba] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

See also:


Winnipeg

Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of the province of Manitoba in Canada. It is near the longitudinal centre of North America and is 110 kilometres north of Canada–United States border. It is also the place of the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.


Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.

Design

The flag of the City of Winnipeg is divided diagonally by a narrow white stripe running from the lower hoist to the upper fly; its imaginary centre line intersects the flag’s corners. The upper left triangle is medium blue, the lower right golden yellow. Surmounting the centre is a white disc more than three-fourths the height of the flag, bearing a modified version of the city’s coat of arms in full colour.

The shield has a horizontal top with points at the upper corners, straight sides and base, and a small point at the bottom. It is divided slightly above its mid-point by a narrow horizontal line of golden yellow. The upper panel is light blue with thirteen five-pointed stars in golden yellow, arranged horizontally 4-5-4. The lower panel is green with a large naturalistic prairie crocus flower in white, blue, golden yellow, and dark and light purple. Above the shield is a three-quarters profile of a stone structure in golden yellow and red-brown with green trees on its right side. Above the seal is a dark blue ribbon with swallow-tailed ends, outlined in golden yellow, and inscribed CITY OF WINNIPEG, in sans-serif letters of golden yellow. Below and curving up both sides of the shield is a white scroll, outlined in golden yellow, with UNUM CUM VIRTUTE MULTORUM in red-brown serif letters.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Symbolism

The blue in the upper shield and the field of the flag represents the clear blue prairie skies. The golden yellow in the field of the flag represents agriculture, especially wheat farming, the original basis of Winnipeg’s economy. Although official colours have never been adopted by the city, blue and yellow were adopted as the official colours of the Winnipeg Centennial held in 1973. They may have influenced the design of the city’s flag two years later. The thirteen stars represent the thirteen former municipal governments which amalgamated on 27 July 1971 to create the “Unicity” of metropolitan Winnipeg: Transcona, St. Boniface, St. Vital, West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Tuxedo, Old Kildonan, North Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, St. James, Old City of Winnipeg, and Winnipeg. The prairie crocus (Anemone [or Pulsatilla] patens) is Manitoba’s provincial flower, and symbolizes Winnipeg as a prairie city and the provincial capital. It was adopted in 1906 by the Manitoba Legislature after winning an informal vote in the province’s schools. The stone structure depicted over the shield is a gatehouse, the remaining portion of Fort Garry, the original Hudson’s Bay Company trading post established at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg in 1822. Winnipeg’s motto, Unum Cum Virtute Multorum (Latin for “one with the strength of many”) has two meanings. It indicates that peoples of all races form the city and it recalls how modern Winnipeg was created by the amalgamation of thirteen municipalities.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Selection

The city flag was designed “in house” utilizing the city’s coat of arms.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Designer

Unknown. The full arms were granted by the College of Arms in London, England, on 12 January 1979.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Detail of arms

[Winnipeg Manitoba]

I found online a meaning of the colours of the City of Winnipeg coat of arms. The url is http://winnipeg.ca/clerks/pdfs/manuals/municipal/MMPart_1.pdf:

The City has had two official coats of arms or crests in its history. The original bore the motto, “Commerce, prudence, industry.” Elements shown on the crest included a bison, once very common on the prairie, a steam engine to represent the coming of the railroad to Winnipeg, and sheaves of wheat to symbolize the staple crop that brought prosperity to a young city. Winnipeg’s current official Coat of Arms was granted by the College of Heralds in London, England. On January 24, 1973, Council adopted this crest, which symbolizes both the events of unification and the traditional heritage of the combined areas.

The significance of the emblazonry upon the crest is as follows:

The Fort Garry Gate at the top represents Winnipeg’s early history as a Hudson’s Bay fur trading centre. Beneath the gate is a shield divided into two parts. The top part contains thirteen gold stars on a blue field, symbolizing the thirteen former municipal governments that were unified to create the new City.

The blue background depicts Winnipeg’s clear blue skies. Below the sky, a prairie crocus upon a plain green field represents Winnipeg’s location as a prairie City. The ribbons at the top and bottom represent the ribbon that ties the community together.

The motto of the crest, “UNUM CUM VIRTUTE MULTORUM” is Latin for “One with the strength of many”. Two thoughts lie behind this motto. Firstly, Winnipeg is perhaps uniquely one city formed of people of all races; and secondly, it is one city formed from many cities.

David Kendall, 23 January 1998


Logo Flag

[Winnipeg logo flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The logo, adopted on Jan. 18. 2001, as per http://winnipeg.ca/clerks/pdfs/manuals/municipal/MMPart_1.pdf is used "as a symbol of the city", but I've seen it more and more used as a flag, even more than the "official" flag. (Again, as per the above website: "The current flag with its crest will remain in place as an official representation of the City of Winnipeg for ceremonial and official purposes. The new logo will be placed on banners and flags for promotional purposes. ") For example, a few weeks ago, I talked about the main downtown intersection of Portage Ave. and Main Street, vexillologically significant because of the 39 flag poles placed there during the Pan Am Games in 1999 and never taken down. They often fly the Canada, Manitoba, and Winnipeg flags, but, oftentimes for Winnipeg, the "logo flag" is used instead.

From http://winnipeg.ca/clerks/pdfs/manuals/municipal/MMPart_1.pdf:

The Winnipeg Logo captures the spirit, energy and diversity of our City while balancing a sense of our heritage with our progressiveness. It is also an interpretive depiction of our character, our people and our landscape, making it uniquely Winnipeg. Though each person who sees the symbol will ultimately apply his/her own set of values and meanings, each of the logo elements carries with it a theme that represents Winnipeg.

The two crescents atop the sweeping plane symbolize an embrace reminiscent of the caring, friendly and welcoming nature of the people here. The depiction of movement in these two elements alludes to the momentum and dynamism that is evident throughout the City. The sweeping line that supports the two crescents represents the vast horizon line and open sky that is characteristic of Winnipeg. The red circle in the centre of the logo symbolizes the heart of our community and our people. It is also suggestive of the fact that Winnipeg is located at the centre of the country and the continent. The rich colour palette symbolizes the diversity that exists in our cultures, our seasons and our crisp, clean, beautiful landscapes.

As a whole, the graphic resembles a rising sun above the horizon and also mimics the form of a leaping figure. These combined elements depict the energy and momentum of our forward-looking nature, while the positioning line speaks to the strength of our character.

David Kendall, 12 June 2005

Transcona

In 1972, Winnipeg amalgamated its suburbs into the city proper (what the stars on the city's crest on the city's flag stand for). I currently live in the area of Transcona, which, like the other areas of the city, was its own town, then city, before amalgamation (in fact, in 1972, Transcona was the third largest city in Manitoba). We recently visited the Transcona Historical Museum, and I asked if there was a town flag when Transcona was its own city. Attached is the response.

I received your research request and our records indicate that the Town of Transcona did not have its own specific flag. Rather, the Union Jack Flag and the old Canadian Flag were present. The earliest document of a flag in Transcona was in 1915 where the Union Jack Flag flew on top of Southside School. In 1931, the Transcona Golf Club Clubhouse flew the old Canadian flag. In 1936, we have documentation suggesting that the Union Jack Flag was flown at the Transcona Jubilee Parade.
Morgan Dziad, Research Assistant, Transcona Historical Museum
David Kendall, 25 August 2010


 
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