Youthful Manitoba bucks national age trend: Winnipeg is its millennial-welcoming heart
New census data from Statistics Canada shows a rapidly aging population across Canada, but less so in Manitoba, where young professionals say they feel at home.
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In the age-old battle of the ages, seniors are making a strong push across Canada, but youth is winning out around these parts.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada released a number of age demographic findings from the 2016 census, concluding most notably that, from coast-to-coast, seniors outnumber children for the first time in history.
However, StatsCan also found the Prairies to be an exception to the national trend.
In Manitoba, children outnumber seniors, and millennials aged between 15 and 34 outnumber baby boomers between the ages of 51 to 71.
With an average age of 39.9, Winnipeg is ‘younger’ than Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, and other major cities—which StatsCan also said attract almost 30 per cent of Canada’s millennial contingent.
And while Winnipeg may not have a reputation for being a millenial hotspot, young movers and shakers say it’s well suited to folks their age.
“I know for me, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, this is one of the best cities to get a start in,” said Corey King, who founded the creative tech company ZenFri Inc. in the city.
“Cost of living here is cheap, there’s lots of institutions to help people get funding, and it’s a community that really cares about getting you started,” he said.
Looking around Winnipeg, he notes an “increased optimism” stemming from renewal projects and new developments he said “bodes well for millennials sticking around here too.”
There are a few items on his wishlist to make Winnipeg the best possible, notably improved transportation as he said his generation “cares less about cars and commuting.” But he said he gets the sense it’s moving that way.
“Winnipeg might not be a home where you turn the key and it has the furnishings, it needs some work maybe, but it’s moving in the right direction,” he said.
Jordan Meagher, who was a finalist in the 2016 Future Leaders of Manitoba awards, said she returned to the province after eight years in Toronto because there are “tons of opportunities” for young people to live and thrive.
“Personally I loved Toronto, but when I moved back to Winnipeg I found it has all the same opportunities,” Meagher said. “The downtown especially is just starting to boom.”
Meagher works with a team that has been transforming a key part of that core, The Forks, through renovations and developments that have brought new life to the area.
Stacked next to other major cities, she thinks, “Winnipeg isn’t lacking anything.”
“I guess it depends on the individual, but I would say for savvy, young under-34-year-olds, there’s so much (in Winnipeg), so many ways to get involved,” she said. “We have some of the best restaurants in Canada, as well as a great nightlife if you know where to go… and we’re on the verge of so many cool and up-and-coming events, especially this summer.”