|City of Steinbach|
Clockwise from top: The Steinbach Millennium Clock Tower to the right in downtown Steinbach, the Steinbach Post Office during Winter, and the historic Stony Brook.
The Automobile City
|Incorporated||1946 (town) |
|• City mayor||Earl Funk|
|• Governing body||Steinbach City Council|
|• MP (Provencher)||Ted Falk (CPC)|
|• MLA (Steinbach)||Kelvin Goertzen (PC)|
|• City||25.59 km2 (9.88 sq mi)|
|Elevation||253.6 m (832 ft)|
|• City||15,829 (3rd)|
|• Density||618.60/km2 (1,602.2/sq mi)|
|• Metro||15,829 (126th)|
|• Change 2011-16||17.0%|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Forward sortation area|
|Area code(s)||204, 431|
|Website||City of Steinbach|
Steinbach (// (listen); German: [ˈʃtaɪnbax]) is a city located about 58 km south-east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. According to the Canada 2016 Census, Steinbach has a population of 15,829, making it the third-largest city in Manitoba and the largest community in the Eastman region. The city is bordered by the Rural Municipality of Hanover (north, west, and south), and the Rural Municipality of La Broquerie (east). The name of "Steinbach" is translated from German as "Stony Brook" and was first settled by Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites from the Russian Empire in 1874. The city continues to have a strong Mennonite influence today; more than 50 percent of the residents claim Germanic (including both Dutch and German) heritage. Steinbach is found on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, while Sandilands Provincial Forest is a short distance east of the city.
Steinbach is primarily an agricultural community; however, as the regional economic hub of southeastern Manitoba, Steinbach has a trading area population of about 50,000 people. The city also has many service and commercial businesses to serve the population. Steinbach is the third fastest-growing census agglomeration in Canada. Out of the top eight fastest-growing agglomerations, Steinbach is the only one located outside Alberta. The city had a population growth of 17% between the 2011 and the 2016 census periods. The city has gained national recognition as an immigration destination of Canada and a model for immigrant integration in the country.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Economy
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Infrastructure and public services
- 7 Education
- 8 Media
- 9 Sports and recreation
- 10 Notable people
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The areas of southeast Manitoba where Steinbach was later founded, were originally lands of the nomadic Ojibway-speaking Anishinabe people. They used their traditional lands for hunting, fishing, and trapping. The Anishinabe knew no borders at the time and their land ranged both north and south of the US–Canada border, and both east and west of the Red River. On 3 August 1871 the Anishinabe people signed Treaty 1 and moved onto reserves such as the Brokenhead Indian Reserve and Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation Reserve. Shortly thereafter the government began surveying and staking out the land for the East Reserve (now the R.M. of Hanover).
Steinbach (meaning "Stone Brook" in German) was founded in 1874 by Plautdietsch-speaking Russian Mennonites. Many of Steinbach's 18 original settler families came directly from the Borosenko colony in Imperial Russia, now Ukraine. They took the name "Steinbach" from the village they lived in there. At the time they left for Canada, Borosenko was just ten years old, an off-shoot of the larger Molotschna (or Milk River) colony. However, Russia was not their ancestral homeland. Originating in the Netherlands, the ancestors of Steinbach's Mennonite settlers also lived in Prussia before their time in Ukraine. Within the settlement of Molotschna were a group of people following the Kleine Gemeinde, known for practise of the New Testament teachings of non-resistance, community of sharing and the publication of the first inspirational books. This group was a small minority in Molotschna but its farmers were known as the best in the community. Mennonites from Russia sent delegates to Canada to investigate and negotiate terms of immigration. In 1873 a Privilegium was signed, and a year later Mennonites started to arrive in the region. The document guaranteed, among other things, military exemption, freedom of religion, private schools, and land, known as the East Reserve. Mennonite immigrants were attracted to Canada by the promise from the Canadian government of military exemption; in the Russian Empire they were subject to requirements for army service.
There were two groups coming from the Molotschna colony to settle in the East Reserve: Mennonites from the Bergthal and the Kleine Gemeinde churches. When the Kleine Gemeinde families arrived in 1874, they found that much of the better land had already been settled by some of the other Bergthaler and Kleine Gemeinde families. The earlier settlers and families had come to realize the area suffered from excessive moisture and settled upon much of the higher lands and gravel ridges. So Steinbach's earliest Mennonite settlers settled in the northeast corner of the East Reserve. The 20 homesteads were laid out on the northeast side of present-day Main Street along the Steinbach Creek.
Contrary to the preferences of the Canadian government, the early settlers of Steinbach, like other Mennonite villages, organized the village in long narrow strips known as Wirtschafts. Most of the settlers were farmers, but in a somewhat urban setting, who lived, to some degree, communally, and shared a common pasture at the end of the village. They started a school in the first year, and in the following year of 1875 built a school and teacherage. A few years later, the first and original windmill in the town was built in 1877 by Abraham S. Friesen. Entrepreneurs took advantage of the business opportunities at the time and several small businesses sprang up. Many other important and large businesses developed as well, helping to establish Steinbach as a regional service centre for the area. In 1881, John Holdeman visited the area and many locals from the Kleine Gemeinde joined his new church, Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. This was the first of many schisms and revivals in Steinbach and eventually the town would be known for having dozens of churches, many of them different variations of Mennonite, a dynamic that has shaped the city's character to this day.  After a period of eight years, in 1882, Mayor Gerhard Giesbrecht said that the village had grown to 28 families with a population of 128.
The Mennonite Heritage Village museum, located in the city, provides a glimpse at the life of these settlers and their Wirtschaft system through a reconstructed village and interpretive displays. Its Dutch windmill, which was rebuilt (with help from Dutch millwrights) after the 1972 replica was destroyed by arson in 2000, is a recognized symbol of the city.
End of the Wirtschaft
In 1910, the linear settlement village design, or Wirtschaft, for the community ended. Prior to this time, the settlers of Steinbach lived in long narrow strips along the Steinbach Creek. Following the lead of neighbouring Mennonite village of Blumenort who had abandoned the Wirtschaft system a year earlier, the village of Steinbach was surveyed and land was redestributed with individual titles to open-field properties. Those who were given inferior land were financially compensated by the others. Although a communal pasture for cattle was maintained for some decades after this, the end of the linear settlement meant the end of the traditional communal lifestyle of the Mennonites in this area, but also opened the area up to greater capitalist enterprise. In 1912, a Ford auto dealership was started, the first Ford dealership in Western Canada.
Steinbach had grown to a population of 463 by 1915, and it continued to attract immigrants from Europe. Many of the new immigrants continued to be Bergthaler Mennonites, but Steinbach also was the destination for new German and Lutheran settlers, as well as some British families who had previously settled in the Clearspring Settlement slightly to the north. The growth of Steinbach and area was stalled for a few years after the Canadian government first banned Mennonites from voting, in 1917, and then banned Mennonites, and other pacifists, from immigrating to Canada from 1919 to 1922.  Another factor that slowed Steinbach's growth at this time was the out-migration of the more conservative Mennonites, who were leaving the area for Mexico and Paraguay, after the Canadian government required them to learn English and attend public schools, issues which seemed to be in violation of the Privilegium signed in 1873.
After the Mennonite immigration ban was lifted in 1922, a second wave of Mennonite immigration occurred due to the Russian Revolution, and many of the "Russlander" Mennonites took over farms and land left unoccupied by the Mennonites leaving for Latin America. During the 1920s, thousands of Mennonite refugees fled the Soviet Union, many of them arriving in the Steinbach area. 
Incorporation as a Town
Steinbach continued to grow in the decades that followed was incorporated as a town on 31 December 1946. After World War II, in which many Steinbachers served as Conscientious Objectors, a third major wave of immigration boosted Steinbach's population, with thousand of Mennonites again fleeing Europe. As the regional service centre for the area, Steinbach developed manufacturing, trucking, and retailing, particularly in automobile sales. Steinbach became known regionally as the "Automobile City". In 1960 the last traditional Mennonite housebarn in Steinbach was torn down by car dealer (and later mayor) A.D. Penner.
The town was surprised with a visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in 1970, the year of Manitoba's centennial. A crowd of 10,000 waited along the streets of Steinbach as the royals visited, coming from the east along Highway 52 after their visit to La Brouqerie. The Carillon described the visit saying "It was the most memorable and exciting moment in the history of the Southeast. For the first time since the earliest European settlers arrived in the 1860s and 1870s, a member of the British royal family paid a personal visit to the communities of La Broquerie, Steinbach, Sarto, Grunthal and St. Pierre. For these communities and their people the visit by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles on the eve of Manitoba's 100th birthday highlighted a century of economic and cultural development."
The City of Steinbach
Over the next decades Steinbach continued to grow, and would eventually be incorporated as a city on 10 October 1997. Steinbach attracted prominent attention in 2004 when Miriam Toews, who was born and grew up there in a Mennonite family, published her novel A Complicated Kindness. This became a bestseller, exploring a fictionalized city modeled on this one. It won the 2004 Governor General's Award for Fiction, It was selected as the 2006 book for Canada Reads, the first book by a female writer to be chosen.
In 2011 Steinbach was officially announced as Manitoba's third-largest city, with the release of the population data from the 2011 Canadian Census. The growth was attributed to immigration from such countries as Germany, Russia, and the Philippines. Steinbach gained national recognition from such newspapers as The Globe and Mail, which described the city as an immigration "hotbed" of Canada and a model for immigrant integration.
During March 2013 the city gained national attention for religious and social issues related to gay rights and religious freedom, when several community members such as the Southland Community Church and Steinbach Christian High School expressed opposition to the provincial NDP Bill 18, an anti-bullying bill that would require the accommodation of Gay-straight alliance groups in schools, including faith-based private schools. On 13 September 2013 Bill 18 passed without amendments. Partially in response to this issue, the city's first Steinbach Pride parade was held in 2016. While initially expecting about 200 people, approximately 3,000 people attended the event. This was brought about in part from the fact that not a single elected official from the area attended or endorsed the event.
Ongoing rapid growth meant that the city needed more land and space in order to sustain itself. This led the city to negotiate an annexation of 7,300 acres (30 km2) from the R.M. of Hanover in 2015, which would have doubled the city from 6,000 acres (24 km2) to 13,600 acres (55 km2) in total land area. This would be the first major annexation for the city since 1979. This plan was rejected by the provincial government, leading the Steinbach and Hanover to scale back the annexation to 2,800 acres (11 km2). As part of the annexation deal, Hanover no longer had to abide by a mile and half buffer zone with Steinbach, and could now build right up to the city's borders. This paved the way for neighbouring communities like Mitchell, Manitoba to be able to take advantage of development opportunities for their own growth.
Liquor and Cannabis Licence Referendums
Since the 1970s, Steinbach has had 7 separate referenda on whether liquor sales should be allowed within the confines of the city; Steinbach citizens had voted in 1950 to prohibit all liquor sales. In a local 2003 referendum, Steinbach residents narrowly voted to end liquor prohibition in the city, but passed only a dining room license, permitting alcohol to be sold and served only with sales of food. In 2007, the issue of serving alcohol in restaurant lounges was defeated by only 9 votes. In the same referendum, voters approved, by a slightly wider margin, allowing sports facilities such as the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Course to serve alcohol. In February 2008, Steinbach Council voted in favor of opening a liquor store on Main Street, as prohibition had been lifted. Eventually, the first Liquor Mart in Steinbach opened in March 2009, on PTH 12 North, operated by the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. The most recent public vote was held in October 2011. In this referendum, voters agreed to accept, by a large margin, the following three licences: beverage rooms, cocktail lounges and private club licences. In 2018, after the Canadian government legalized cannabis, Steinbach residents voted to deny the licensing of retail cannabis stores in the city.
Steinbach is located on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, and is also located directly east of the Red River Valley. Because of this the topography around Steinbach is extremely flat and the soil very fertile. Due to higher levels of precipitation received than in the areas of western Manitoba, the natural prairie of Steinbach is defined as tallgrass prairie. Some of this original prairie can still be viewed at the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve south of the city near Vita. The areas to the west and north of Steinbach are defined as flat tallgrass prairie, and part of the Lake Manitoba Plain. The areas south and west of the city progress steadily into treed Aspen segments, eventually growing into Sandilands Provincial Forest and the large boreal forest region extending east and north of the city.
Steinbach is close to many Canadian Shield lakes, such as those located in Whiteshell Provincial Park and the Lake of the Woods in Kenora. Lake Winnipeg (the Earth's 11th largest freshwater lake) is located north of the city. Although no rivers flow through Steinbach, the city is sandwiched by the Seine River to the north and the Rat River to the south. Both are tributaries of the Red River, which flows into Lake Winnipeg.
|Climate data for Steinbach 1981-2010|
|Record high °C (°F)||7.2
|Average high °C (°F)||−11.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−16.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−22.0
|Record low °C (°F)||−42.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||22.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||0.0
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||22.2
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||8.9||6.0||6.8||6.6||10.9||13.4||12.4||10.9||10.3||9.5||7.3||8.2||111.1|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||0.0||0.5||2.0||4.8||10.7||13.4||12.4||10.9||10.3||8.3||1.9||0.3||75.5|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||8.9||5.7||5.2||2.5||0.33||0||0||0||0.4||1.6||5.9||8.0||38.1|
|Source: Environment Canada|
As the economic centre of Southeastern Manitoba, service/retail industries employ the majority of the working population. Large manufacturing plants, especially those operated by Valeant and Loewen Windows (which is also based in Steinbach), create a significant number of jobs. Steinbach has a diversity of jobs and industries within the community. Its rapid growth rate, combined with the lowest taxes in the province by mill rate, has made the community an increasingly popular place for both workers and employers. This combination has helped many different mid-sized and large-sized businesses in manufacturing, transportation, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, retail, and financial services such as the Steinbach Credit Union, to grow with the city. As a result, the city of Steinbach now has the third-highest assessment value among cities in the province, trailing only Brandon and Winnipeg.
Agriculture, the traditional industry in the region, continues to play a significant role in Steinbach's economy as well. The agricultural industry in the area is notable for many of the large commercial pig, and poultry farming operations. Aside from intensive pig and chicken barns there are numerous small, family, dairy farms that dot the area. Crops grown on the fertile farmland surrounding Steinbach primarily include canola, corn, alfalfa, as well as barley, soybeans, oats, and wheat.
Steinbach had a population of 15,829 people in 2016, which was an increase of 17% from the 2011 census count. This places Steinbach as the 3rd largest city in Manitoba in 2016. The average age of people in Steinbach is 37.8, below the provincial average of 39.2, while 52% of the population are female and 48% are male.
Steinbach residents primarily claim German ancestry, though this may include those from Germany itself or of Mennonite background, which would more accurately be described as Dutch. 30% of Steinbach residents claim German as their mother tongue, which includes both High German and Plautdietsch, while nearly 80% of those with a second language claim knowledge of the German languages. As a whole, 39% of residents claim some mother tongue other than the official languages of French and English. Steinbach has an immigrant population of 21.39% or about 2,890 people, which is slightly above the provincial average of 18.33%.
Census data from 2011 shows that Steinbach has a higher than average rate of religious affiliation of 88.73%, which is above the provincial average of 73.51%. Of those with a religious affiliation, 74.58% are Protestant, and 12.44% are Catholic. Less than 1% belonged to either Buddhism, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism combined. In the total population surveyed, 11.27% claim no religious affiliation.
The median household income in 2015 for Steinbach was $59,936, which is below the Manitoba provincial average of $68,147.
|Visible minority and Aboriginal population |
|Population group||Population (2016)||% of total population (2016)|
|Visible minority group||South Asian||160||1.1%|
|Visible minority, n.i.e.||30||0.2%|
|Multiple visible minorities||20||0.1%|
|Total visible minority population||1,605||11.1%|
|Aboriginal group||First Nations||415||2.9%|
|Multiple Aboriginal identities||0||0%|
|Total Aboriginal population||1015||7%|
Steinbach is represented by 6 councilors and a mayor. The city is a single-tier municipality, governed by a mayor-council system, the mayor and council are elected every four years. The current mayor is Earl Funk.
Currently the city is represented federally by the Conservative Party of Canada and provincially by the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. Steinbach is represented in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly by MLA Kelvin Goertzen for the riding of Steinbach since 2003, while federally the city is part of the Provencher riding and represented by MP Ted Falk since 2013.
Infrastructure and public services
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Steinbach is unique in that there are no railways or rivers passing through town, so transportation to and from Steinbach has always been via road. The city is located approximately 50 kilometers southeast of Winnipeg, in a direct line. There are two principal highways serving the city, Provincial Trunk Highways (PTH) 12 and 52, which intersect at downtown Steinbach. Travelers coming from Winnipeg can take the Trans-Canada Highway (PTH 1) east for 40 kilometers, turning south at PTH 12 and continuing for 20 kilometers. This entire route consists of four-lane limited-access highways. Alternatively, travelers can also take PTH 59 south from Winnipeg and then take PTH 52 east to Steinbach. PTH 12 south from Steinbach is single-lane and ends at the American border at Sprague. Steinbach is situated on an alternate route between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, Ontario which is named MOM's Way.
The City of Steinbach owns and maintains a federally licensed airport (Steinbach Airport). The main runway is 914 m in length by 23 m in width (3000 ft x 75 ft) and has an asphalt surface. The runway is serviced with lighting and a beacon for night-time use. Fuel and servicing are available on site and are provided through the Steinbach Flying Club. The airport also features aircraft tie-downs, a heated lounge building and restroom facilities.
Additionally, Harv's Air Service operates a private airfield to the south of the city (Steinbach (South) Airport). The main runway is 945 m in length by 30 m in width (3100 ft x 100 ft) and has an asphalt and turf surface. An additional runway measuring 559 m in length by 30 m in width (1835 ft x 100 ft) intersects the main runway to the north.
Steinbach has had a public library since 1973, although serious efforts to establish a regional library began in 1968 when Mary Barkman organized a Friends of the Library group. In 1997, the library moved into its own newly constructed building and was renamed Jake Epp Library. Jake Epp, former MP of Provencher, had appointed the very first Library Board in 1973. Mary Barkman, a key figure in the founding of the Library, was also honored at the opening ceremony. A major library expansion was completed in 2012.
Steinbach is part of the Hanover School Division, which is one of the 37 school divisions in Manitoba. This is also the largest school division outside of the city of Winnipeg. The school system in Manitoba is dictated by the province through the Manitoba Public Schools Act. Public schools follow a provincially mandated curriculum in either French or English.
The schools in Steinbach consist of three Early Years Elementary Schools: Woodlawn, Southwood and Elmdale which provide education from kindergarten through Grade 4. Grades 5 through 8 are currently provided by 2 newly formed Middle Schools: Stonybrook Middle School (formerly Steinbach Junior High School) and Clearspring Middle School (established 2012). Steinbach Regional Secondary School provides Grades 9 through 12 for Steinbach and the surrounding region. Steinbach Christian Schools, a private school, offers all grades (Kindergarten – Grade 12), and shares a campus with Steinbach Bible College. Steinbach has a post-secondary learning campus called Eastman Education Centre, which offers courses from Red River College, University of Winnipeg, Assiniboine Community College and Providence College.
Steinbach's oldest media outlet is the Carillon News, an award-winning weekly newspaper that covers the news of Southeastern Manitoba. Steinbach also has three radio stations run by Golden West Broadcasting: AM 1250 is an easy listening station, Mix 96.7 FM plays current and classic hits, and CJXR-FM is a country station. The Daily Bonnet, a website that publishes satirical Russian Mennonite news stories, is also based in Steinbach.
Sports and recreation
Steinbach's T.G. Smith Centre is home to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's Steinbach Pistons. The Steinbach Huskies senior hockey club has been a fixture in the local hockey scene since the 1920s and currently plays in the Carillon Senior Hockey League. The Junior Huskies are eight-time champions of the Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League. Steinbach's minor hockey teams are known as the Steinbach Millers.
Steinbach gained national attention when it hosted the 2009 Allan Cup, the Canadian senior 'AAA' hockey championship. Competing in the tournament were two Steinbach-based teams, the host Steinbach North Stars and the Manitoba champion South East Prairie Thunder. The Prairie Thunder qualified for the championship game, which was broadcast nationally on TSN, but lost in double overtime. Three years later, the Prairie Thunder captured their first ever national title at the 2012 Allan Cup. The Prairie Thunder also hosted the 2016 Allan Cup in Steinbach.
The Steinbach Huskies qualified for the 1979 Allan Cup finals as Western Canadian champions, but lost the best-of-seven series 4–1.
Soccer is becoming increasingly popular, with more children in the city's soccer program than in any other sport. The men's Hanover Kickers play in Manitoba's Premier League Two, the Hanover Strikers play in Major League Two of Manitoba Major Soccer League, and the Hanover Hype playing in the Winnipeg Women's Soccer League. The city also has a Futsal league that operates during the winter. The city's main soccer complex was built in 2009.
The Eastman Raiders football club, based in Steinbach, was formed in 1991. There are now over 260 athletes, ranging in age from 7 to 22, playing in the Raiders program . In 2009, the Eastman Raiders midget team captured their first championship with a 20–9 victory over the St Vital Mustangs.
The Steinbach Fly-in Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course adjacent to the local airport. 
The Steinbach Curling Club opened in October 2014 and is located adjacent to the T.G. Smith Centre. It has five sheets and hosts a variety of different leagues, including a successful junior program. The current rink replaced the previous one that was built in 1948 and located across the street.
- Andrew Harris, Canadian football player for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL)
- Dale Krentz, former professional hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
- Ralph Krueger, former head coach of the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and the Swiss men's national team. Current chairman of Premier League side Southampton F.C.
- Chris Neufeld, curler
- Denni Neufeld, curler
- Jeff Penner, professional hockey player
- Vic Peters, curler, one-time Brier champion
- Michelle Sawatzky-Koop, Olympian, volleyball
- Ian White, former professional hockey player
- Julian Austin, country musician
- The Pets, rock band, forerunner of The Waking Eyes
- Royal Canoe, indie rock band
- Shingoose, Ojibwa folk singer
- The Undecided, pop-punk band
- The Waking Eyes, alternative rock band
- Robert Banman, former MLA, provincial cabinet minister
- Leonard Barkman, former MLA
- Albert Driedger, former MLA and cabinet minister
- Jake Epp, former MP and federal cabinet minister
- Ted Falk, MP
- Kelvin Goertzen, MLA and current provincial cabinet minister
- Russ Hiebert, MP
- Judy Klassen, MLA
- A.D. Penner, mayor
- Vic Toews, former MLA and MP, provincial and federal cabinet minister
Arts and literature
- Scott Bairstow, actor
- Arnold Dyck, writer
- Patrick Friesen, poet
- Allison Hossack, actress
- Royden Loewen, historian
- Robert L. Peters, graphic designer
- Miriam Toews, novelist 
- Erich Vogt, physicist
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