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Beginning in the early 1950s, large Canadian cities were experimenting with two-tiered or metropolitan governments whereby a Metropolitan Council would provide leadership over strategic functions such as planning, public transportation, housing and sewage and water and many financial activities (taxation and money borrowing). The smaller surrounding entities, municipalities, towns and cities, would come under the guidance of the new Council while retaining many of their traditional services - a system, many felt, was preferable to amalgamation because it retained some of the autonomy for older neighbourhoods and its citizens.
This system was introduced in Toronto in 1953 and in 1960 Winnipeg adopted a similar style of civic government. But a decade later, after a series of studies and reports, the City of Winnipeg began to move to a single tier system. On July 27, 1971, the City of Winnipeg Act received Royal assent, incorporating the rural municipalities of Charleswood, FortGarry, North Kildonan and Old Kildonan, Town of Tuxedo, and the cities of East Kildonan, West Kildonan, St. Vital, Transcona, St. Boniface, St. James-Assiniboine, Winnipeg and the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg into a unified City of Winnipeg, known as Unicity. The new City came into legal existence on January 1st, 1972. The new unified City Council consisted of 50 Councillors elected on the basis of one from each of the 50 wards, a Mayor elected from the City-at-large and 13 community committees. In 1977, the wards were reduced to 29 and the community committees to 6; further reduced to 15 and 5 in 1992.