- Winkler History
Click here to view the Winkler Heritage Society website.
As early as 1874, there was a mass migration of Mennonites from Russia moving into the area. Winkler was officially established in 1892, by lumber entrepreneur and politician Valentine Winkler. Winkler owned and operated a lumber business in nearby village of Morden, and his many customers from the Mennonite settlement convinced him to construct a market nearby.
He convinced the CPR, to construct a spur on the northeastern edge of the West Settlement (named for being west of the Red River), and this is the location on which Winkler was founded. The Mennonites, a pacifist protestant group, had left Russia due to the loss of freedoms from military service, could be seen as the founding group of Winkler.
By the time it was incorporated as a village on May 9, 1906, Winkler had become a bustling community of German, Jewish and Anglo Saxon merchants. The predominantly agricultural Mennonites began moving into the town and by the First World War the Mennonites outnumbered all other groups. Winkler was incorporated as a town on April 7, 1954.
An exodus of Jewish and German merchants during the 1930's caused a decline in Winkler's population, but after the Second World War, Winkler began growing again. A stagnation in the 1960's was again followed by rapid growth in the 1970's. Local manufacturing entrepreneurs such as Triple E Canada and the establishment of numerous light manufacturers and two foundries drove this expansion. Winkler continued growing into the 1990's and was officially given city status on April 7, 2002.