Modernity and Movement: Transportation in Early-Modern Winnipeg

‘The Chicago of the North,’ Winnipeg entered the 20th century confident of its bright future as a major metropolis of North America. Yet, this expansion brought with it urban segregation, racism, and economic disadvantage that persists to this day. In charting the growth of Winnipeg during the boom years of the 1900s, this exhibition seeks to examine the material conditions which manifested from the spatial inequalities which existed in this rapidly developing city. The geographic segregation between the North Side and South, divided by the rail yards of the CPR engendered material inequalities which fostered an atmosphere of difference. This atmosphere of the Other was accelerated by the massive inflow of immigrants from lands considered exotic by the Anglo-Canadian elites that controlled Winnipeg. Winnipeg’s infrastructure development is thus examined to engage with the intersections of political and economic power, and its effect on the material conditions of urban life. In examining the material culture of Winnipeg roads, both the physical and spatial dimensions of this object will be examined. In addition, aspects of transportation heavily associated with the roads like the proliferation of bicycles and expansion of streetcars will also be integrated into this work. The integration of these aspects is carried out to provide a deeper understanding of examining the material deficiencies found in early-modern Winnipeg.  


Chris Pihlak