Wawanesa, Manitoba Canada

Discover Wawanesa, Manitoba: A Rich Blend of History and Community

Wawanesa, Manitoba, an unincorporated urban community in the Municipality of Oakland – Wawanesa, is a hidden gem within the Canadian province of Manitoba. Known for its rich history and vibrant community, Wawanesa is also the birthplace of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.

The Origin of Wawanesa, Manitoba

The community of Wawanesa was originally known as Sipewiski, an Indigenous word meaning "crooked river" or "light through the trees". However, during the temperance movement in 1890, the name was changed to Wawanesa. The name Wawanesa has various interpretations depending on the Indigenous language used as a source. It could mean whippoorwill in Ojibwa, goose nest in Cree, or land of no snow in Dakota-Sioux.

The Historical Journey of Wawanesa, Manitoba

The land in and around Wawanesa was initially inhabited by the Cree, Sioux, Blackfoot, and Lakota. The Souris River served as a trade and passage route, leading to the development of pemmican, a stable food supply that sustained both Indigenous peoples and the first European explorers. The first pioneers arrived in 1878, establishing a small settlement on the west side of the Souris River and Assiniboine River confluence. Over the years, the community continued to grow, with the establishment of businesses, churches, and schools. In 1909, Wawanesa was incorporated as a village.

Wawanesa, Manitoba: A Community Shaped by War

Like many communities across Canada, Wawanesa was greatly affected by the World Wars. During World War I, 189 men from the village enlisted in the military, with 47 losing their lives. World War II saw 220 people from the district enlist, with 14 not returning. A war memorial and cenotaph were erected in the community in their honor.

The Economic Evolution of Wawanesa, Manitoba

Wawanesa's economy has seen significant growth over the years. A flour mill established in 1895 helped build the economy, with flour and grains being shipped around the country and world. In 1896, village resident A.F. Kempton founded Wawanesa Insurance, which has grown to become one of the largest insurance companies in Canada.

Wawanesa, Manitoba: A Modern Community

In recent times, Wawanesa has faced challenges such as flooding, with significant floods in 1976 and 2011. Despite these challenges, the community continues to thrive and grow.

Demographics of Wawanesa, Manitoba

As of the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Wawanesa had a population of 653 living in 254 of its 266 total private dwellings, a change of 9.9% from its 2016 population of 594. The average size of a census family in Wawanesa is 2.9 persons, with 53.3% of couple census families living without children.

Wawanesa, Manitoba, with its rich history and vibrant community, is a testament to the resilience and spirit of its residents. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique place to visit, Wawanesa offers a unique blend of past and present that is sure to captivate.