Winnipeg Trivia – Streets

One of just a few books on the subject, Mosaic of Winnipeg Street Names, by Jaroslav Bohdan Rudnyckyj, was published by the Canadian Institute of Onomastic Sciences (now the Canadian Society for the Study of Names) in 1974, as a way of marking Winnipeg’s centennial year. Rudnyckyj was a Canadian linguist whose speciality was etymology and onomastics (or onomatology; the study of names). While Mosaic of Winnipeg Street Names, which inspired this post, contains the history and explanations behind many street names in Winnipeg, this post will go beyond that; it will also consider statistical and geographical properties of streets.

In keeping with the previous Winnipeg Trivia post, some of the questions that have come to mind are the extremes – the shortest and longest street names, the shortest and longest streets, the most valuable street. Some questions depart from that theme, of course. There are any number of questions that can be considered, but I have again limited myself to a fairly standard ten items.

As with the previous post, one of the obstacles of determining these kinds of facts is having adequate data. Thankfully, again, the City of Winnipeg has created an Open Data Portal ( which provides sufficient data for producing answers.

The data used to arrive at the ten facts below is from the road network (City of Winnipeg, 2020a) and assessment parcel (City of Winnipeg, 2020b) datasets. Given that these datasets are updated every so often, it should be noted that the road network and assessment parcel datasets I used were downloaded on April 12, 2020.


Longest street name

Jean-Baptiste Lavoie Place, the longest street name in Winnipeg.

Jean-Baptiste Lavoie Place, the longest street name in Winnipeg.

The longest street name in Winnipeg is Jean-Baptiste Lavoie Place, in the Maginot neighbourhood, at 20 characters long excluding the street type. Dr. Michael K. Grace Way, in the Peguis neighbourhood, is also 20 characters long without the street type. However, including the street type in the length calculation allows for the tie to be broken (26 characters versus 24 characters, including spaces). According to the City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property & Development document on street naming (2018a, para. 8): “street names should not generally exceed 20 characters in length, including spaces between words, but not including cardinal direction letters and abbreviations for street types.”

In contrast, the longest street name in the world is possibly Dwudziestego Pierwszego Praskiego Pułku Piechoty imienia Dzieci Warszawy, in Warsaw, Poland, at 72 characters long, including spaces (Mason, 2005; Portal Płock, 2017). The approximate translation from Polish is “Twenty First Prague Infantry Regiment named after Children of Warsaw.” That said, the street appears on Google Maps as “21 Pułku Piechoty Dzieci Warszawy”.


Shortest street name

Rh Way, the shortest street name in Winnipeg.

Rh Way, the shortest street name in Winnipeg.

The shortest street name in Winnipeg is Rh Way, at the University of Manitoba, at 2 characters long excluding the street type. It’s also the only street with two letters in its name. Rh Way is named for the research conducted by Bert Friesen, which was directed towards eliminating Rh disease, where blood Rh factors differ between a mother and her baby (Davies, 2019).

The shortest street name in the world is technically 0 characters, and belongs to any number of streets lacking official names. A good example of that would be streets in Arctic communities in Canada, such as Sanikiluaq (CBC News, 2015, para. 2). The next shortest would be a single character. There are a number of examples worldwide, but a notable one would be several streets in Washington, D.C., USA. Washington, D.C. uses an alphabet system (though, skipping some letters) for its east-west streets (Johnson, 2009) – for example, K Street.


Longest street

Waverley Street, the longest non-contiguous street in Winnipeg.

Waverley Street, the longest non-contiguous street in Winnipeg.

This depends on what is considered a street. Under consideration are streets that are entirely within city limits, maintained by the city, and without name changes (e.g. Grant Avenue to Roblin Boulevard).

The portion of the Perimeter Highway (Provincial Trunk Highways (PTH) 100 and 101) within city limits is the longest non-contiguous length of road in the dataset. However, it is not maintained by the City of Winnipeg, but rather Manitoba Infrastructure. It is also not entirely within city limits. The longest non-contiguous street maintained by the City, and entirely within city limits, is Waverly Street at 18,455 meters long. The longest contiguous street maintained by the City, and entirely within city limits, is Lagimodiere Boulevard at 18,279 meters long.

For several years, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Yonge Street, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as being the longest street in the world, at 1,896,290 meters (Young, 1998, p. 81). In 1999, however, this record was removed (Perra, 2011, para. 3). In reality, the portion of Yonge Street within Toronto city limits is 17,811 meters long. Other claims as to the longest street in the world include Western Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, at 38,463 meters long (e.g. Leroux & Reardon, 2008).


Shortest street

Riverside Drive East, the shortest street in Winnipeg.

Riverside Drive East, the shortest street in Winnipeg.

This again depends on what is considered a street. The streets under consideration are entirely inside city limits and are maintained by the City. Streets that do not have an exit (i.e. only one inlet or outlet) are included. In the dataset, cul-de-sacs are represented by a single line (as opposed to a loop, particularly in the case of those with central ‘islands’). This tends to under-measure the length of the street. Streets that are cul-de-sacs (denoted by e.g. “Court”, “Place”, “Cove”) were re-measured as loops.

The shortest street is Riverside Drive East, in the Point Road neighbourhood (Fort Garry), at 36.06 meters. A close second is Habitat Place in the Lord Selkirk Park neighbourhood (Point Douglas), at 38 meters.

The shortest street without addresses is Wood Street, in the Osborne Village neighbourhood, at 41.55 meters. (The street signs for Bell Ave and Wood St appear to be switched, going by the dataset.) A close second is Behnke Road in the Worthington neighbourhood (St. Vital), at 41.8 meters. The dataset reports the length as 21.95 meters, though the paved area is quite a bit longer than that.

There is another short street in the dataset that lacks addresses: Moody Street. However, it does not, strictly speaking, exist. It was amongst a number of streets created in 1907, in preparation for a housing development but, as a City of Winnipeg Rights-of-Way Closing (DAC) application notes, the “rights-of-way have never been paved or used for any other public purpose” (City of Winnipeg, 2007, p. 7).

In comparison, the shortest street in the world is Ebenezer Place in Wick, Caithness, Scotland, UK, at 2.05 meters (Glenday, 2008, p. 83). Despite its length the street has one address, 1 Ebenezer Place, which is home to a restaurant called No 1 Bistro (BBC News, 2006, para. 2; Reincke, 2013, p. 532).


Single length of road with the most name changes

A map of the name changes along the road.

A map of the name changes along the road.

A continuous length of road not broken by any turns that also has the most name changes. Turns are departures from the flow of traffic requiring the use of a turn signal. Lane changes are not counted as turns, but merges are. A simple example of this is the transition from Grant Avenue to Roblin Boulevard. More substantial examples are Riddle Avenue to Denson Place to Wolever Avenue, or Brookside Boulevard to Oak Point Highway to King Edward Street to King Edward Street East to Century Street to Academy Road to Sherbrook Street. The most name changes for a single length of road is the sequence of: Dakota Street, Dunkirk Drive, Osborne Street, Osborne Street North, Memorial Boulevard, Colony Street, Balmoral Street, Isabel Street, Salter Street (for a total of nine names, excluding bridges).


Number of street types

The Glen, one of a number of streets in Winnipeg without a street type.

The Glen, one of a number of streets in Winnipeg without a street type.

The Statistics Canada Road Network File Reference Guide lists a total of 170 street types (2019a, pp. 10-14). There are quite a few street types that Winnipeg does not have, though some may be used in the future (e.g. knoll), while others are unlikely to ever be used (e.g. wharf). In total, there are 40 street types currently used in Winnipeg (though, the dataset lists 35). The most common are (unsurprisingly) Street (788), Avenue (758), and Place (528). The least common include Common (1), Freeway (1), Garden (1), Hill (1), Run (1), Cercle (1), Green (1), Meadow (1), Stroll (1), and Mews (1).

There are a number of streets in Winnipeg that do not have a street type. A notable example is Broadway. A webpage of the Manitoba Historical Society notes that Broadway was created in 1873 and was “named by the Hudson’s Bay Company as the primary east-west thoroughfare through its Reserve in Winnipeg” (Goldsborough & Kramer, 2020). Rudnyckyj seems to refer to Broadway as Broadway Avenue (1974, p. 42), as do several maps of Winnipeg in the first half of the 20th century, however, its official name is still simply Broadway. Other streets that do not have a street type include: Sturgeon Access, Wayfarer’s Haven, Blairmore Gardens, Kingsway, The Glen, The Promenade (denoted on signs as “Portage Place Promenade”), or the one-way streets Eastway and Westway. Despite their names, West Gate, Middle Gate, and East Gate (all in Armstrong Point) do not have a street type – both the dataset and the street signs indicate that “Gate” is part of the street name. On the other hand, Appleford Gate is an example of a street that does in fact have a street type of “Gate”.

There are a few streets that the dataset appears to incorrectly label as having no street type – that is, the street sign itself indicates a street type. For example: Cercle Moliere (the street type is “Cercle”), Kinsbourne Green (“Green”), Millwood Meadow (“Meadow”), Southlawn Stroll (“Stroll”), Ruines du Monastere (the street sign has “Rue Des Ruines du Monastere St”), and lastly both Craglea Corner and Crittenden Corner (“Corner”). Interestingly, “Corner” is not listed in the Road Network File Reference Guide (though, “Corners” is).


Total number of streets in Winnipeg

The number of streets in each Community Characterization Area (CCA) - some overlap in counts occurs.

The number of streets in each Community Characterization Area (CCA) – some overlap in counts occurs.

This question could be re-phrased as “how many unique street names are there?”, as an underlying assumption is that street names in Winnipeg are unique. Given that assumption, there are in total 4,729 streets in Winnipeg.

In comparison, New York City, New York, USA, has 10,522 streets (City of New York, 2020), Los Angeles, California, USA, has 11,096 streets (City of Los Angeles, 2020), Chicago, Illinois, USA, has 2,077 (City of Chicago, 2017), and Paris, France, has 6,513 (Ville de Paris – Direction de l’Urbanisme, 2020).


Total length of all roads in Winnipeg

The distance covered by the total length of Winnipeg roads.

The distance covered by the total length of Winnipeg roads.

There are few different ways this question could be answered.

A City of Winnipeg Public Works web page states that there are: “1720 lane-kilometers of Regional streets, 5030 lane-kilometers of Local and Collector streets, 900 lane-kilometers of alleys” (2020c, para. 1). (NB: A kilometer of road with two lanes is 2 lane-kilometers.) On the other hand, a City of Winnipeg infrastructure report stated that Winnipeg has 1,939 lane-kilometers of regional streets and 5,396 lane-kilometers of local streets, which excludes alleys (2018b, p. 6). This would indicate that the streets of Winnipeg have a total length of between 6,750,000 lane-meters and 7,335,000 lane-meters (excluding alleys).

Adding up the length of all streets in the dataset, which does not consider lanes, results in an answer of 3,164,107 meters. The mean street length is 669 meters and the median length is 345 meters. However, as an example, this does include streets that do not technically exist (e.g. Moody Street; see “Shortest street” above). Thus, the answer is not completely accurate.

As an approximate comparison, Canada as a whole has about 1,126,000,000 two–lane equivalent meters of public roads (Statistics Canada, 2019b, p. 99). Of that, Manitoba represents 7.8% (or 87,800,000 two–lane equivalent meters). Despite being 3.78% of the land area of Canada, Japan has 1,222,319,000 meters of public roads (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism – Road Bureau, 2018, p. 3).


Street with the highest mean value of residences

Kerslake Place, the street with the highest mean assessed value in Winnipeg.

Kerslake Place, the street with the highest mean assessed value (of residences) in Winnipeg.

The definition of a home used here is one whose property use code (PUC) was one of the following:


As could be expected, streets vary in the number of homes associated with them. To balance out that effect, several thresholds were examined. The values used here are the assessed values, from the parcel dataset. The results were the following:

1Palk Road1,067,00011,067,0001,067,000
> 5Kerslake Place1,362,0006821,0003,174,000
> 10Rose Lake Court1,209,28521870,0001,417,000
> 25Handsart Boulevard1,121,56844420,0003,330,000
> 100Park Boulevard1,070,280139479,0004,753,000
> 200Wellington Crescent807,133233241,0002,800,000

*The values of several homes on Wellington Crescent are not available.

Though not a direct comparison, what may be the most exclusive street in the world is that of 57th Street, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, USA (Warren, 2020, para. 3). 57th Street, which is considered as part of a “mini-neighbourhood” called Billionaires’ Row, has seen an average real estate sale value of $38.5 million USD since 2015 (Warren, 2020, para. 4).


Street with the highest total value of property

Portage Ave, the street with the highest total assessed value.

Portage Ave, the street with the highest total combined assessed value.

The street for which the total combined assessed values of all addresses is the highest is Portage Avenue, at $2,691,032,000. The total number of addresses is 529. If the addresses from Portage Avenue East are excluded (removing 8 addresses), the total combined assessed values of all addresses on Portage Avenue is $2,666,321,000.

This sum is greatly increased by the presence of Polo Park shopping mall (CF [Cadillac Fairview] Polo Park) which, at an assessed value of $691,663,000, is the highest value property in Winnipeg. In comparison to other large malls, this is a relative bargain. As an example, West Edmonton Mall is currently assessed at a value of $1,266,911,500 (City of Edmonton, 2020).

Portage Avenue was named in 1880; Rudnyckyj writes of it: “According to Hislop, ‘Portage Avenue is said to be the longest street in the world, having a well defined tract of over 800 miles, being the oldest trail to Edmonton'” (Rudnyckyj, 1974, p. 245). According to the Manitoba Historical Society, however, Portage Avenue was named for the fact that “it was the road to the town of Portage la Prairie, west of Winnipeg” (Goldsborough & Kramer, 2020).



BBC News. (2006, November 1). Street measures up to new record. Retrieved from

CBC News. (2015, March 4). No street names, but Street View for Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. Retrieved from

City of Chicago. (July 11, 2017). Street center lines [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved from

City of Edmonton. (2020). Property assessment data (current calendar year) [CSV]. Retrieved from

City of New York. (September 3, 2020). NYC street centerline (CSCL) [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved from

City of Winnipeg. (2007, October 24). Council regular meeting minutes. Retrieved from

City of Winnipeg. (2018a, March 6). Street naming. Retrieved from

City of Winnipeg. (2018b). 2018 State of the infrastructure report. Retrieved from

City of Winnipeg. (2020a). Road network [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved April 12, 2020, from

City of Winnipeg. (2020b). Map of assessment parcels [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved April 12, 2020, from in new window.

City of Winnipeg. (2020c, February 7). Transportation. Retrieved from

City of Los Angeles. (September 4, 2020). Street centerline [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved from

Davies, J. (2019, February 7). Meet biotechnological entrepreneur, Bert Friesen. Retrieved from

Glenday, C. (2008). Guinness world records 2008. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Goldsborough, G., & Kramer, N. (2020, May 5). History in Winnipeg streets. Retrieved from

Johnson, M. (2009, August 7). Washington’s systemic streets. Retrieved from

Leroux, C., & Reardon, P. T. (2008, July 27). Taking city’s pulse on a 24-mile artery. Retrieved from

Mason, C. (2005, November 24). The world’s longest street name. Retrieved from

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism – Road Bureau. (2018). Roads in Japan 2018. Retrieved from

Perra, M. (2011, April 14). The ‘myth’ of Yonge Street being the world’s longest road lives on. Retrieved from

Portal Płock. (2017, July 14). Radna: Mieszkańcy nie chcą nowej nazwy ulicy. Jest za długa. Retrieved from

Reincke, M. (2013). Schottland. Germany: Baedeker.

Rudnyckyj, J. B. (1974). Mosaic of Winnipeg street names. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Canadian Institute of Onomastic Sciences.

Statistics Canada. (2019a, November 13). Road network file, reference guide, 2019. Retrieved from

Statistics Canada. (2019b). Transportation in Canada 2019 – Statistical addendum. Ottawa, Canada: Statistics Canada.

Ville de Paris – Direction de l’Urbanisme. (September 6, 2020). Linéaires des voies [ESRI Shapefile]. Retrieved from

Warren, K. (2020, January 8). The 10 most expensive streets in the world, ranked. Retrieved from

Young, M. C. (1998). Guinness book of world records 1998. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Winnipeg Trivia – Real Estate

One of the ideas that came to mind while browsing the Winnipeg Building Index was to establish the “extremes” of Winnipeg houses – the oldest, largest, smallest, most expensive, and so forth. There are any number of questions that can be considered, but I have limited myself here to a fairly standard ten items.

One of the obstacles of determining those kinds of facts is having adequate data. Thankfully, the City of Winnipeg has created an Open Data Portal ( to “share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns” (Winnipeg City Council, 2012, p. 1). The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) defines “open”, in relation to data, as something that “anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness)” (2007, para. 3). This definition is a summary of a document published by the OKF, The Open Definition, currently version 2.1 (OKF, 2015). Further to that, Van Loenen, Vancauwenberghe, Crompvoets, and Dalla Corte (2018, p. 2) argue that data is “critical for a well-functioning society” and as such “access to the data should be optimised.” They go on to suggest that one way to achieve this goal is by making data freely available, namely, “open data.” To which end, Van Loenen et al. (2018, p. 2) note that in recent years, governments in particular have been setting up open data initiatives, making their ‘primary input and output’ available as open data on the Internet.

The data used to arrive at the ten facts below is from the assessment parcel dataset. Given that the dataset is updated every so often, it should be noted that the assessment parcel dataset I used was downloaded on May 16, 2019.


Smallest House

442 William Newton Avenue, the smallest house

442 William Newton Avenue

The Guinness Book of World Records has an entry for the “Smallest House in Great Britain” (also known as Quay House). The total floor area is 8.3 ft by 6 ft, presumably on each floor, for a total of 99.6 sq. ft (McWhirter, 1988, p. 111). The 1986 Guinness Book of World Records describes an even smaller house (the “Smallest Residence [in the world]”) belonging to Alexander Wortley, a British naval veteran, who lived in a “green painted box in the garden of David Moreau in Langley Park, Buckinghamshire, England” (McWhirter, 1986, p. 252). The dimensions of this box were 5 x 4 x 3 ft, “with an extension for his feet” (McWhirter, 1986, p. 252).

The smallest house in Winnipeg, on the other hand, is 442 William Newton Avenue, at 312 sq. ft. The house is a bungalow and was built in 1934.


Largest House

570 Park Boulevard West, the largest house

570 Park Boulevard West

The largest house in Winnipeg is 570 Park Boulevard West at 10,733 sq. ft. Located in the Tuxedo neighbourhood, the house was built in 1964 and is zoned as an estate.

This is fairly cozy compared to the largest (non-palatial) house in the world, called “Antilia”, which is 400,000 sq. ft. in a tower 525 feet tall (over 27 stories), with 3 helipads, a gym, a soccer field, and several other amenities (Crabtree, 2019, pp. 6-7). The house is owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani and is located in South Mumbai, India.


Smallest Lot

659 Minto Street

659 Minto Street

The smallest lot in Winnipeg is 1,005 sq. ft and is located at 659 Minto Street in the Minto neighbourhood. The house, built in 1925, is 787 sq. ft.


Narrowest Lot

641 Pritchard Avenue

641 Pritchard Avenue

The narrowest lot in Winnipeg, with a width of 16.51 ft, is 641 Pritchard Avenue, located in the William Whyte neighbourhood. A rental ad placed in the Winnipeg Free Press in 1953 referred to it as a “small furnished cottage”.


Least Expensive House

6 Rover Avenue

6 Rover Avenue

The CMHC defines overvaluation in the housing market as arising from house prices that “are elevated compared to price levels supported by personal disposable income, population, interest rates, and other fundamentals” (2019, p. 2). This can be due to speculation driving prices up or when prices decrease slowly in response to “deteriorating housing market conditions” (2016, para. 24). Overvaluation refers to prices in MLS listings, which are a reflection of market value, though market value tracks reasonably well with assessed value (given the former is used to calculate the latter).

The CMHC considers Winnipeg to have moderate overvaluation (2019, p. 6). Despite this, there are a number of homes whose assessed values are very low compared to the average assessed (and sale) price of all homes in Winnipeg. The lowest is 6 Rover Avenue, whose assessed value is $36,100. This is less than the property taxes of some homes in Winnipeg. The house was built in 1909 and is located in the North Point Douglas neighbourhood.


Most Expensive House

550 Park Boulevard West

550 Park Boulevard West

The most expensive (i.e. highest assessed) house in Winnipeg is 550 Park Boulevard West, with an assessed value of $4,377,000.00. The house was built in 1956 and is located in the neighbourhood of Tuxedo.

This is a bargain compared to “Antilia” – aside from being the largest house in the world it is also the most expensive; according to Thomas Johnson, the director of marketing at Hirsch Bedner Associates, one of the companies consulted in the design process, a potential dollar figure is $2 billion USD (Woolsey, 2008, para. 4).


Fewest Rooms

411 Desalaberry Avenue

411 Desalaberry Avenue

The single detached house with the fewest rooms appears to be 411 Desalaberry Avenue, with two rooms inside the 511 sq. ft space. The house is located in the Chalmers neighbourhood and was built in 1955.

The dataset is not entirely trustworthy though, when not critically analyzed. For example, 30 houses are tied with one room listed. None of the houses have one room – these appear to be errors (real estate listings for many of them indicate at least three rooms). Beyond that, a 1500 sq. ft house is unlikely to have two rooms (and a 6000 sq. ft house is especially unlikely to have one room). The dataset also had a 13-way tie for houses with two rooms though, again, some results are unlikely to be correct (e.g. two storey houses). The list of two-room houses was checked and only 411 Desalaberry had a plausible claim. 411 Desalaberry is also interesting in that it was previously a restaurant (called “Baron’s Lunch”), as noted in a Winnipeg Tribune article from February 29th, 1964 (“Window broken: man held”, 1964).


Most Rooms

1063 Wellington Crescent

1063 Wellington Crescent

The house with the most rooms is likely 1063 Wellington Crescent with 24 rooms in a space cited variously in a range of 18,000 to 27,000 sq. ft.

On the other hand, the world record holder, St. Emmeram Castle (or Schloss Thurn und Taxis), has over 20 times this with 517 rooms in a space of 231,000 sq. ft. (Matthews & McWhirter, 1995, p. 218). It was was originally a Benedictine monastery founded in approximately 739 in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany (Hourihane, 2012, p. 170) but was granted to the Princes of Thurn und Taxis in 1812 and subsequently converted into a residence, which is its current use.


Highest Street Number

6683 Betsworth Avenue

6683 Betsworth Avenue

The highest street number for a single detached home is 6683 Betsworth Avenue, in the Westdale neighbourhood of Charleswood.

In contrast, the highest street number in the world could be 986039 Oxford-Perth Road, located in Wilmot township, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, just south-west of Kitchener, Ontario (Marshall, 2019, para. 5). This address is, incidentally, a short distance down the road from the unincorporated hamlet of Punkeydoodles Corners (which is arguably second only to Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec on the list of strangest place names in Canada).


Lowest Street Number

1 Palk Road

1 Palk Road

The lowest street number in Winnipeg is “1”, which is shared by a total of 227 addresses across the city. One address that stands out is 1 Palk Road, which is also the only address on Palk Road. The dataset contains “0” street numbers (e.g. “0 Dominion Street”), but these did not appear to actually exist.

The lowest street number in the world is possibly Minus Two Woodend Lane, Cam, Dursley, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England (Plowman, 2018, para. 14).



CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation). (2016, May 12). Housing market assessment (HMA). Retrieved from

CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation). (2019). Housing market assessment Canada. Ottawa, Canada: CMHC. Retrieved from

Crabtree, J. (2018). The billionaire Raj: A journey through India’s new gilded age. New York, NY: Tim Duggan Books.

Hourihane, C. (Ed.). (2012). The Grove encyclopedia of medieval art and architecture (Vol. 1). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Marshall, S. (2019, June 10). Punkeydoodle’s Corners and the world’s highest numbered address [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Matthews, P., & McWhirter, N. (1995). The Guinness book of records, 1995. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

McWhirter, N. (1986). 1986 Guinness book of world records. Toronto, Canada: Bantam Books.

McWhirter, N. (1988). Guinness book of world records 1989. New York, NY: Sterling Pub. Co.

OKF (Open Knowledge Foundation). (2007, June 28). The open definition. Retrieved from

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Small furnished cottage cottage for rent. (1953, September 10). Winnipeg Free Press, p. 29.

Ubaldi, B. (2013). Open government data: Towards empirical analysis of open government data initiatives. OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 22. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/5k46bj4f03s7-en

Van Loenen, B., Vancauwenberghe, G., Crompvoets, J., & Dalla Corte, L. (2018). Open data exposed. In B. Van Loenen, G. Vancauwenberghe, J. Crompvoets, & L. Dalla Corte (Ed.), Information Technology & Law Series: Vol. 30 Open data exposed. The Hague, Netherlands: TMC Asser Press.

Window broken: man held. (1964, February 29). The Winnipeg Tribune, p. 22.

Winnipeg City Council. (2012, May 22). Minute no. 417, report – alternate service delivery committee, item no. 2 open and accessible data. Winnipeg, MB: City of Winnipeg. Retrieved from

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Visualizing Data From The Winnipeg Building Index

I have long browsed the Winnipeg Building Index (WBI), and have enjoyed the information and photos presented. I thought it would be interesting to see the information contained inside of it presented in a more visual way, e.g. in a plot, on a map. The end goal I had in mind was an animated heatmap of the geographic coordinates of the buildings in the index by decade. The idea behind the entire exercise was to practice web scraping and data visualization.

To collect the data, I used Python and a web scraping library called Beautiful Soup.

Once the data was collected, it was cleaned up. For example, there were many different year formats present in the approximately 2550 items collected:

  • 1906 (circa)
  • 1905 – 1906
  • 1950-1951
  • 1903 (1912?)
  • 1908?
  • 1885, 1904
  • 1946-
  • 1880s
  • 1971 circa

For years, the last complete (4 digits) and plausible (1830 < year < 2015) year found was used as the year for each building. Addresses were slightly less varied. For example, most suitable addresses (i.e. geocodable) took the form of “279 Garry Street” or “Main Street at Market Avenue” – simply a street (e.g. “Colony Street”) in the address column was removed. There were also a few addresses that don’t appear to actually exist. (The names of buildings aren’t important for this stage – though, they will be for a later project.) Once the data was cleaned up, it was saved again as a CSV file.

As there are a number of things that can be done with this data, I decided to do a simple task at first. Since most buildings had years associated with them, I decided to visualize the number of buildings in the WBI for each decade. To do this, I imported the ‘year’ column into and used the histogram plot type. After that, I created 19 ‘buckets’ corresponding to each decade from the 1830s to 2010s. The result is below:

Frequency Distribution of Years by Decade - made in

Frequency Distribution of Years by Decade – made in

There are other interesting things that can be determined. For example, the most common streets that appear in the WBI. To find that out, I wrote a simple script that removed numbers from addresses, added them to a Counter object, and then used the most_common() method to determine the most common streets. The result is below (the legend is ordered, with Main Street being the most common):

The ten most common streets in the resulting dataset.

The ten most common streets in the resulting dataset (most common is at the top).

Following this, I imported the data into QGIS as a csv file using MMQGIS. Once loaded, the addresses were then geocoded using the Google Maps API (via MMQGIS). Geocoding is a somewhat slow process at about 160 addresses processed per minute. The result was a shapefile layer:

All geocoded points, over a Stamen Toner base map.

All geocoded points, over a Stamen Toner base map.

The points have a large amount of overlap, which means the above image does not give a good sense of the actual density of building locations. To visualize density, I used QGIS to create a heatmap from the shapefile layer. The result is below (red areas are higher density):

A heatmap of all points.

A heatmap of all points.

And as an overlay over the points themselves on a map of Winnipeg:

A heatmap of all points overlaid over the original points.

A heatmap of all points overlaid over the original points.

With the data loaded into QGIS, I was also able to answer other questions – for example, determining the highest density areas. To do that I drew polygons in the densest areas (as seen in the heatmap) and used the ‘Points in polygon’ tool to count the total number of points (geocodable addresses) that were inside. Some of the highest density areas were:

  1. Exchange District – 146 addresses*
  2. Armstrong Point – 121 addresses
  3. University of Manitoba – 65 addresses

(*using the boundaries for the National Historic Site)

Adding polygons for counting points.

Adding polygons for counting points.

The last task was to create the animated heatmap. To do that, the years associated with each point (geocoded address) were categorized by decade (i.e. 1830-1839, 1840-1849, etc) and assigned a decade code (0-18). After that, separate layers were made for each decade using the query builder (that is, a set of points associated with each decade code). After that, a heatmap was produced for each layer and exported as an image. The exported images were imported into Adobe Premiere Pro and animated. The resulting video is the following:



Winnipeg Building Index:

Beautiful Soup:



Web Scraping:

Stamen Toner map: