The original Kildonan riding was created at the time of the province's establishment in 1870. It was dominated by Manitoba's "old settler" population (i.e., English-speaking families who had lived in the Red River Settlement for many years before the province's creation). There was a large "mixed blood" aboriginal population in the riding, and many of its residents were also of Scottish or partly Scottish ancestry. From 1886 to 1888, the riding was incorporated into "Kildonan and St. Paul" riding.
Kildonan was a hotly contested riding between the Conservatives and Liberals following the establishment of party government in 1888. In 1899, it was dissolved into the riding of "Kildonan and St. Andrews".
A riding with the name Kildonan was reestablished in 1957, and formally came into being in the provincial election of 1958. It was located in the northeastern part of the current City of Winnipeg, The Kildonan riding that existed from the 1958 election up to the election of 1981 was located in the East Kildonan area on the east side of the Red River. The present riding of Kildonan existing since 1981 in northwest Winnipeg has completely different boundaries from the old Kildonan riding as this new Kildonan riding was carved out of the old Seven Oaks riding on the west side of the Red River
The seat is generally regarded as safe for the New Democratic Party. The Progressive Conservatives won the former Kildonan on the (east side of the Red River) in 1962 (by 4 votes in the 1962 election) and the Liberals won the Kildonan riding on the (west side of the Red River) in 1988. In both cases, the NDP recaptured the seat after a single term.
Kildonan's current MLA is Nic Curry, a young former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve.
The riding's population in 1996 was 19,522. In 1999, the average family income was $54381, and the unemployment rate was 6.80%. Almost 18% of the population is above 65 years of age.
Kildonan has a large immigrant population (23% of the total population in 1999), and is ethnically diverse. Ukrainians make up 14% of the riding's population; a further 11% are Jewish, 7% are Polish and 3% are Italian.
Kildonan's residents are primarily middle and upper-income. Manufacturing accounts of 16% of industry in the riding, with a further 15% in the service sector.