Wolseley: The “Granola Belt” of Winnipeg

Wolseley is an organically sound and celebrated neighbourhood located within the West End of Winnipeg. An enterprising generation of Wolseley residents flipped the area into a bohemia in the 1970s and 1980s. Artists and socially-conscious young adults added lifeblood to the area and it became affectionately known as “The Granola Belt.” It was no longer just a neighbourhood; Wolseley became a way of life.

Century-old trees line the quiet streets punctuated by 1900s Queen Anne-style homes. Indie shops like Prairie Sky Books and the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company have been rooted in the community for decades, demonstrating Wolseley residents’ support and commitment to supporting local businesses.


Did you know?

Wolseley was the home of Nellie McClung (1911-1914). She was a powerhouse in the 20th century suffrage movement and social reform. Her house can be found at 97 Chestnut Street and is one of the properties listed on the Memorable Manitobans tour, in partnership with the Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Manitoba Historical Society.

In 1906, Wolseley wowed visitors with Happyland Park, an amusement park that closed due to financial strife just eight years later. Happyland’s entrance was a spectacle with 90-metre Doric-style columns. Happiness was easily found hanging tight on the figure-eight roller coaster, Ferris wheel or 240-metre circular swing. Those with queasy stomachs were entertained by vaudeville shows, a ballroom, miniature steam railway and Japanese tea gardens.

The storied Wolseley Elm was originally planted in the 1860s on a river lot farm. In 1957, the City of Winnipeg wanted to remove it for road construction. Neighbours rallied around the grand ol’ tree and won their case. The road was built around the tree but in 1960, further attempts by the City to remove it were successful.


Housing market

First-time home buyers will feel confident and inspired by Wolseley’s reasonable market. Parents of university students can make a sound investment by purchasing here, providing housing for their child while earning some passive income from their roomies. The University of Winnipeg is a short bus ride or within walking distance from Wolseley. Two-bedroom, one-bath units can be found for as low as $127,900. Many of these former rooming houses have 10’ foot ceilings, pocket doors and private patios.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, “housing affordability is a real strength of Winnipeg REALTORS® market region.” Based on 2019’s fourth quarter, the National Bank’s Housing Affordability Monitor indicated that only Vancouver and Winnipeg saw income increase faster than housing prices during this quarter. “In Winnipeg’s case, an income of $68,780 allows you to buy a median priced home of $324,094 while an income of $47,793 is enough to buy a median priced condo at $225,203.”

In November 2018, the highest price paid for a property in Wolseley was $534,000 for a home on Dominion Street while the lowest sale price was $250,000 for a house on Dundurn Place. The average home price was $392,000, up 25% from November 2017.


Where to live

In the 1950s, Wolseley’s charms were dismissed by middle-class families eager to settle in Winnipeg’s fancier suburbs. Several of the neighbourhood’s imposing homes were subdivided into profitable rooming houses. However, those same large houses and Wolseley’s central location, coupled with low real estate prices, lured a new crowd back to the area in the 1970s and 1980s.

Wolseley continues to be regarded as one of Canada’s most intact pre-1930 residential areas. It’s pedestrian-friendly and loved by university students who enjoy the peace of the cul-de-sacs and proximity to transit, groceries and groovy restaurants.


What to do

Immerse yourself in the shelves of Prairie Sky Books. Since 1978, the store has been dedicated to ‘conscious lifestyle’ titles and Indigenous kids’ books. Whether you’re new to the New Age or a sage, there’s lots to explore from Buddhist philosophies, yoga, tarot or veganism — plus funky socks, incense and vintage pop-up sales!

To properly experience the “Granola Belt”, make a beeline for Verde Juice Bar where cold-pressed juices are de rigueur. A perfect Wolseley-kinda day would involve picking up a bottle of Summer Camp, an emerald blend of celery, cuke, chard, spinach, broccoli, kale, lime, ginger and turmeric. Enjoy your own summer camp itinerary and head to Assiniboine Park and crack the spine on a new book from Prairie Sky.

No matter how eclectic your grocery list, De Luca’s Speciality Foods will surprise you. Stock up with genuine gourmand delights from Manitoba’s BeeBoyzz Honey to Barzula Turkish coffee to a 4.5 kg wheel of Tennessee Whiskey cheese.

Ready to call Wolseley home? Work with a REALTOR® to help you find your dream home or investment property in Winnipeg.

— Realtor.ca