St. James-Assiniboia is a major district in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Located in the western part of the city, it is bounded on the north by the Rural Municipality of Rosser and the Canadian National Railway’s Oak Point line, on the south by the Assiniboine River, on the west by the Rural Municipality of Headingley, and on the east by the Canadian Pacific Railway’s La Riviere line
It is most often referred to as simply “St. James” and consists of the neighborhoods of:
- Old St. James
- Deer Lodge
- Silver Heights
- Sturgeon Creek
- Heritage Park
- Kirkfield Park
- St. Charles
It is primarily residential, and is mainly a middle class area but there are poorer pockets in the eastern part of St. James, in Brooklands, and in St. Charles, and wealthier areas near the St. Charles Country Club, and along the Assiniboine River.
There is some industrial development in the Murray Industrial Park in the north central part of the neighbourhood and near the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport which is located in St. James. There is substantial commercial development along Portage Avenue, the area’s main thoroughfare, and near the western edge of the community near the Perimeter Highway, where the Unicity Shopping Mall once stood. Although the Polo Park area is not considered part of St. James-Assiniboia for census purposes, it is considered part of the district of St. James on many maps.
Historically, the area was a farming community along the north bank of the Assiniboine River populated by an Anglo-Métis, or mixed Scottish/English and aboriginal population, compared to the French-speaking Métis people who settled further upriver at St. François Xavier, Manitoba and along the east banks of the Red River. The area eventually became the City of St. James, the RM of Assiniboia, and the Village of Brooklands. These communities’ development as residential suburbs of Winnipeg began in the early 20th century and was greatly enhanced by the extension of streetcar service to Deer Lodge in 1903, the opening of Assiniboine Park in 1904 and its location along Portage Avenue, and proximity to Downtown Winnipeg. By 1920 the eastern area of St. James and the Deer Lodge area were fully developed. The area grew rapidly from 1945-1970 with the construction of the Silver Heights and Birchwood subdivisions in the 1940s and 1950s, and Westwood, Crestview, and St. Charles in the 1960s. The three communities, just outside the City of Winnipeg, joined together in the 1960s; Brooklands was amalgamated into St. James in 1967, then Assiniboia was merged with St James in 1969 to form the City of St. James-Assiniboia. In 1972, the City of St. James-Assiniboia formally joined Winnipeg and other municipalities to create a unicity.