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Media Releases

August 28, 2020


Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responds to fire on McDermot Avenue

Released: 8:15 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – At 12:55 a.m. on August 28, 2020, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responded to reports of a fire in a vacant, two-and-a-half storey duplex in the 500 block of McDermot Avenue. Upon arrival on scene, crews encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the structure.

An offensive attack was launched but due to deteriorating conditions, crews were forced to exit the building. They transitioned to a defensive attack, using aerial ladders to apply water to the fire. A neighbouring home was evacuated as a precaution. One firefighter was injured but did not require transport to hospital.

Crews remain on scene at this time and are expected to be fighting this fire well into the day. McDermot Avenue between Juno Street and Isabel Street will remain closed until their work is complete.

The cause of the fire will be under investigation. No damage estimates are available at this time but the structure is believed to be a complete loss.

A special thanks to the Salvation Army food truck, staffed by volunteer retired firefighters, for responding to the scene to provide refreshments to the crews. The truck, commonly referred to by WFPS members as unit 7-11, attends when crews are expected to be on scene for a lengthy time or during extreme weather conditions where regular rehabilitation breaks are required.

Face masks required in City-operated facilities and vehicles, including onboard Transit vehicles

Released: 1:26 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – As part of our commitment to ensure the health and safety of our residents and employees, effective Saturday, August 29, 2020 the City of Winnipeg is requiring that all individuals entering City-operated facilities or using City vehicles, including Winnipeg Transit or Winnipeg Transit Plus, must wear a face mask as a means to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

While not a replacement for social distancing or hand-washing, the use of face masks is increasingly recognized by public health officials as a tool to provide protection against the spread of COVID-19, particularly in settings where social distancing may be a challenge. Our decision to require the use of non-medical face masks in our facilities and vehicles is in keeping with this recognition, and was contemplated due to the increasing number of cases in the community.

“As we approach the fall season and children are returning back to school, higher volumes of people are expected on Winnipeg Transit and in City of Winnipeg facilities, and with those higher volumes of people, it will be increasingly difficult to maintain physical distancing,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “I would like to thank Manitoba Health for their collaboration as the City moves toward mandatory masks on Winnipeg Transit and in City of Winnipeg facilities as a measure that will help protect the safety of Winnipeggers. I hope to see Winnipeggers embrace this new measure and continue to support each other as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic.”

The authority to mandate the use of face masks in City-operated facilities is within the CAO’s existing authority. The Director of Winnipeg Transit has authority to require face masks on Winnipeg Transit vehicles, including Winnipeg Transit Plus vehicles.

“Wearing a face mask in these settings is a reasonable measure in combination with other precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Jason Shaw, Manager of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. “We’re asking Winnipeggers visiting our facilities and using public transit to do their part and wear a face mask to protect our most vulnerable residents.”

Employees will be informing residents who are not wearing a face mask that they are required to wear one. However, residents will not be denied service for refusing to wear a face mask. Note, while our primary focus is on education as we introduce these new measures, Transit riders could face a $100 fine for non-compliance. The City may implement enforcement measures if wide-spread non-compliance becomes an issue. We also ask that Winnipeggers not judge others who may not be wearing a face mask, as there are a number of reasons someone may not be able to wear one.

The Public Service is requesting an over expenditure of $325,000 in a report being considered at an emergency meeting of Council on Monday, August 31, 2020 for the purchase of face masks for distribution to members of the public who are using Winnipeg Transit or Winnipeg Transit Plus, or visiting City-operated facilities, as well as all City employees who do not have their own.

It is expected that the City will provide masks to members of the public for approximately two weeks, or until such time as supplies have been exhausted, to allow residents to become familiar with the requirement.

Single-use disposal face masks will be available at public City-operated facilities where masks are required, including City Hall, recreation and leisure facilities, libraries, and administrative office buildings until supplies are exhausted. A limited number of face masks are currently available at public City-operated facilities where masks are required. A limited number of face masks are also currently available for Transit riders to pick up at Transit kiosks and City libraries during regular operating hours. On Council’s approval, additional masks will be made available.

Included in the over-expenditure report are costs related to a public awareness campaign.

As the expense of masks is related to a public health and safety concern, the Public Service will make a request to the Province of Manitoba to provide funding for these additional expenses should the administrative report be approved by Council.

The administrative report is publicly available through the Decision Making Information System (DMIS).

Additional City of Winnipeg recreation and leisure facilities to re-open, services expanded

Released: 2:51 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Beginning Tuesday, September 8, additional recreation and leisure facilities previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will re-open.

The following indoor pool facilities and leisure centres will open on September 8:

  • Eldon Ross Pool
  • Transcona Indoor Pool
  • Kinsmen Sherbrook Pool
  • Elmwood Kildonans Pool
  • Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre
  • Mayfair Recreation Centre
  • St. John’s Leisure Centre
  • Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre

Based on facility capacities, limited services include public swim, free swim, fitness services, general facility reservation bookings, equipment loans and drop-in programming.

Residents are encouraged to book swim blocks and fitness blocks prior to arriving at the facilities, as there is no guarantee of available blocks for registration upon arrival. The blocks will be offered on a week-by-week basis and reservations can be made up to 30 minutes in advance of the pre-reserved time (space permitting). Every Thursday, another week of swim and fitness blocks will be added to what’s available for registration.

Register at leisureONLINE to reserve an available block, or contact 311 for assistance in registering. Residents can also register on-site for available blocks, as facilities open.
For more information, please visit

Capacity at these facilities is limited to ensure physical distancing guidelines are maintained. Individuals are asked to maintain a distance of at least two metres from every other individual who is not in their household. Pools and fitness areas will be closed to the public for 30 minutes between the two-hour blocks to sanitize and allow for reasonable time for public to vacate the facility prior to the next scheduled block.

Access to lockers and change rooms/showers will be limited and spaced out to follow social distancing guidelines. Please come dressed to swim and ready to use the fitness amenities. There will only be limited quantities of lifejackets on-site for public use; however, swimmers may bring their own lifejackets, flutter boards and toys. Permission to use toys will be left to the discretion of the lifeguard. Each pool will have posted signs and zone markings to follow. Hand sanitizing stations will be available at each entrance.

For more information, please visit

Swimming lessons and Leisure Guide programs
From Tuesday, September 8 until Saturday, September 26, the City will be offering condensed swimming lessons at the following locations:

  • Pan Am Pool
  • Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex
  • St. James Assiniboia Centennial
  • Elmwood Kildonans Pool
  • Seven Oaks Pool
  • Margaret Grant Pool

All swimming lessons will have staggered start and end times to help reduce congregations at the entrance/exit. Registration will begin on Monday, August 31 at 8 a.m. via leisureONLINE or by contacting 311.

It’s anticipated that Fall 2020 Leisure Guide programming will begin at the end of September. More information regarding registration and programs will be announced in the coming weeks.

Elm Bark Beetle Control Program begins

Released: 5:20 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The City’s Elm Bark Beetle Control Program will begin Monday, August 31, 2020, weather permitting.

The program intends to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease (DED) by controlling the beetles that carry the disease.

It will begin in Insect Management Areas 25 (Beaumont, Crescent Park, Maybank, Parker, Point Road, Wildwood), 31 (Crescentwood, North River Heights, Wellington Crescent), 33 (Lord Roberts, River-Osborne, Riverview), and 47 (Inkster-Faraday, Luxton, St. John’s, St. John’s Park).

Weekly public service announcements will be issued on Fridays throughout the program indicating which Insect Management Areas will be treated the following week.

Treatment will occur between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, weather permitting.

Treatment will be conducted using Pyrate 480 ECĀ® (chlorpyrifos), a chemical product sprayed directly onto the lower 50 centimetres of the tree trunk. This product has been approved for use in Canada by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and will be used in accordance with federally approved label directions by licensed pesticide applicators.

Register for notification
The City offers an automated telephone and email notification system. Residents who register for this service will receive daily phone or email notifications for elm bark beetle control activities. Residents can register for notification online or by contacting 311.

More information
For more information, contact 311 or visit the City’s Insect Control website.

Lane closures in effect this weekend

Released: 5:50 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The following lane closures will be in place this weekend.

Ferry Road between Bruce Avenue and Ness Avenue will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic from 7 a.m. on Saturday, August 29 until 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 30 for sewer work. Pedestrian access will be maintained.

The Harry Lazarenko Bridge from Hespeler Avenue to Redwood Avenue will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 29 until 6 a.m. on Monday, August 31 for bridge maintenance. Pedestrian access will be maintained.

Motorists must use alternate routes during these times.

For Transit re-route and schedule information, visit or contact 311.

For regular updates on City of Winnipeg lane closures and to view lane closures on an interactive map, please visit City of Winnipeg - Regional Lane Closures.

Download and use the Waze app for real-time traffic and incident updates.

August 31, 2020