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Red River Floodway

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Anchor 1


Research by: Samantha Miller

Edited by: Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2019


Project: Red River Floodway

Type of Urban Strategy: Water

Type of ProjectFlood Protection Infrastructure

LocationWinnipeg, Manitoba

Date Designed/Planned: 1962

Construction Completed: 2014

Designer: City of Winnipeg, HTFC


Winnipeg and its surrounding regions have had a long history of massive floods, ever since 1826. Governments at all levels have invested millions of dollars in flood protection infrastructure, to minimize the risk of devastating damage to Winnipeg. The Red River Floodway is the second-largest earthmoving infrastructure project in the world, next to the Panama Canal. The Floodway is estimated to have prevented billions of dollars in potential damage in Winnipeg since it was initially built in 1962. In 2005, the Province invested hundreds of millions in expanding the Floodway to accommodate for and protect Winnipeg from a 1-in-700-year flood. In addition to the expansion of the Floodway, HTFC was hired to conceive a landscaping design plan for the Floodway’s surrounding areas. 


Although this project has been a topic of controversy, it has been a significant milestone in the protection of Winnipeg. The project is representative of the Canadian tradition in cooperation between all levels of government to protect and sustain the growth of Canadian communities. The landscaping plan includes recreational trails, vegetation improvements, and consists of the largest tall-grass restoration projects in North America. This case study is quite different from the other case studies relating to water because it doesn’t aim to reinforce the connection between people and the waterfront. It does quite the opposite; it was not designed to bring people to water or as a gathering place. Its sole purpose is the protection and prevention of the impact of disastrous natural forces.

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