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Community News

If you are aware of some new happenings in the Exchange District, whether it be community events, business changes or things to do, please send us an email with a couple of lines of detail and we will post it here.


Faster Snow Clearing?

Recognizing that "the Exchange District is a highly pedestrian traveled destination in the City of Winnipeg", and its historical designation, the City has made changes to make the Exchange District easier to travel in winter by car and on foot.

On January 16, 2012, city council has approved a change to upgrade the snow clearing of streets and sidewalks within the Exchange District from Priority 2 to Priority 1.

We have had such little snow so far this year, the change many not be noticeable this year, but it will no doubt have a positive effect on getting around.

First Fridays in the Exchange

First Fridays is a year-round event where artists, artist run centres, galleries, cafés and businesses open their doors to the public every first Friday of each month from 5:00 p.m.– 9:00 p.m. It has proven to be wildly successful in a number of North American cities’ historic districts in creating a wider appreciation and promotion of their arts and cultural community.

In a Free Press article, volunteer organizers Sue Gordon and Karen Schulz say they are putting the word out that First Fridays could involve any art form, including dance, theatre, music or comedy.

A volunteer group has started a First Fridays initiative here in the Exchange District.  Check the First Fridays website for details and a list of participants.

The new Peter Nygard?

For those who regularly walk down Lily Street (behind the Concert Hall or across from MTC), the huge mural on the side of the former Nygard store looks relatively unchanged.  However, the property is no longer owned by Nygard, having been purchased by Qualico and is being developed by Streetside Development into residential condos.

If you looked closely in the past, the mural, a concept of an atrium covered walkway between the buildings on Market and James Avenues, used to prominently display the smiling face of Peter Nygard on a white sign attached to a pillar in the painting.  For a couple of weeks, the face of the former owner was replaced with a new face -- click on the picture below for a better look.



 







Mayoralty Candidates Speak

The front-runners in Winnipeg's election for Mayor spoke to Exchange residents to elaborate on their election platform.  Both were very willing to answer questions, and our members did not disappoint -- there were about 45 minutes of Q&A on both occasions.






Neither candidate revealed any new policies, but CBC TV cameras were in attendance at the two Exchange Cafe events to capture a snippet for the news.  Check our pics of the events here.

Thanks to both candidates for recognizing the importance of the Exchange District and speaking to our group!

Race to the Mayor's Chair

In the fall of 2010, we had quite the race going on for mayor of Winnipeg, with the incumbent Mayor Sam Katz running even in the polls against his main challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis. 

While a lot of the city's voters are quite apathetic about civic elections, our members were not.  The nature of the Exchange District, as a downtown area, with its heritage status, development issues, growth problems, vast surface parking lots and an abundance of opportunity to create a vibrant place to live, all contributes to it being subject to the policies of the people in power in city hall and the legislative building.

To help members with their voting decision, we hosted a presentation by each of the main candidates for mayor.

Mayor Sam Katz spoke to us on Monday October 18 in the evening and Judy Wasylycia-Leis spoke on Saturday October 23.  Both made a brief speech on their platform and their vision for the Exchange District and left a lot of time for a Q&A after the speeches.

This was a great opportunity to hear these two speak in a small setting on issues that are relevant to us and an easy forum to ask a few questions.

Our thanks to both candidates for taking time from their busy schedules to devote a few hours to the Residents of the Exchange District.

Earth Day Cleanup

the R:ED residents organized our own Earth Day cleanup on Saturday April 24th.  With a turnout of more than a dozen eager residents, we spread out to cover off Stephen Juba park / riverbank area, Waterfront Drive and the streets leading west including Bannatyne, John Hirsch, Market and James.

After filling a few dozen garbage bags (donated by the Exchange Biz) we gathered and enjoyed coffee and some great freshly baked treats that residents had donated.

Thanks to all who came out, those who donated baked goods, and a special thanks to Mavis  Bollman, David Thompson and Merv  Pritchard who organized this event -- their third!

YouCube - Extending WaterFront Drive

Phase I is nearing completionOn June 25th, it was ribbon cutting time for the new YouCube development at the end of WaterFront.  John Giavedoni (R:ED Chair) was invited to represent local residents and say a few words at the ceremony.

Developer Mark PennerThe developer, a young entrepreneur named Mark Penner was beaming with pride showing off his latest development (although the biggest smile was when he held his tiny baby after the ceremony!)

The development, with nine units in phase I will effectively extend Waterfront Drive towards Johanna Herme, Scott Fielding & Sasa Radulovik on rooftop terraceHiggins.  The bright, airy condos were designed by 5468796 Architecture.  Architects Sasa Radulovik and Johanna  Hurme (both R:ED members) were in attendance.

Councillor Scott Fielding spoke on behalf of the city, and Ross McGowan on behalf of CentreVenture.

CUBE - Unveiled

"Cube", the new stage in Old Market Square was unveiled on June 17.  The new stage has been designed by two R:ED members: Johanna Hurme and Sasa Radulovik of 5468796 Architecture an Exchange District architecture firm that has been winning some very prestigious awards.  The new design has create some WOW in the newly refurbished Old Market Square and some contraversy (Global video).

You can decide for yourself by checking it out in person, or viewing these images taken during the unveiling.


Solid Brick

A recent Winnipeg Free Press article, highlighted the amazing 41 year career of Cynthia and Fred Brick in the furniture business.  Brick's Fine Furniture started on Princess, then moved to Lombard Avenue, and this past year, to their current location at 145 Market Avenue. 

Cynthia BrickIn spite of the location changes (always wanting to be downtown), the economy and a long naming battle with The Brick, Cynthia has thrived.  Her passion for downtown goes beyond her store location, Cynthia and Fred live in the Exchange District too.

If you have not been to the new location of Brick's Fine Furniture -- you should, it is large, gorgeous and filled with elegant furnishings. 

Cynthia is a devoted R:ED member, and has volunteered to host our next meeting at her store.  The meeting will feature a talk by Martin Maykut of StreetSide (a Qualico company) about the new development of a whole block of buildings on Market Avenue (including the building that houses Brick's Fine Furniture) and a block on Market Avenue.  Register now for the R:ED event on June 9th.

City Ignores Heritage

Without any review, announcement or public input, the City has approved demolition of the oldest portion of the Smart Bag Co. building, built in 1884, just on the fringe of the Exchange District National Historic Site.

Sport Manitoba purchased a 5 story building on Pacific Ave, and have just recently opened their doors.  They initially announced plans to demolish the Grade III heritage building next door to make room for a sports complex.  Now through some clever maneuvering, they have managed to avoid any public input and even prevented Heritage Winnipeg from having any say -- it was all internal to the City and the planning, property and development department has just given the okay to tear it down (Winnipeg Free Press article).

Along the way, and engineer's report and fire officials report were supposedly obtained that said the building was "unsafe."  Is that sufficient reason to tear it down?  How many of the heritage buildings in and around the Exchange District could fail to meet today's code and thus be considered "unsafe?"  And why is it unsafe -- did the owner not maintain it?  How much would it cost to make it "safe?"  Well, as this demolition order was issued without any involvement of the public or heritage officials, we will never know the answers.

What we do know is that the City as recently as 2008 felt there were many elements of this building that deserved the level III heritage status. Listed on the City's conservation list, their heritage assessment of this, the oldest portion of the Smart Bag Co. building stated:

"Elements of the building that would require approval if alterations were planned are:
Exterior-

• The three masonry walls (north, south and west) of the three-storey, north facing structure
• The metal decorative cornice of the main façade
• The paired and arched second and third storey windows with continuous stone sills and brick accenting
• Other main façade details including pilasters with decorative metal caps and decorative brick panels
• The railway track lintels on the ground floor windows and the original windows on the third floor of the west façade

Interior-

• The structural elements (wood beams and posts) and wood floors of the second and third floors"
Soon the building will be gone, replaced with a new fieldhouse / gym.  Will the new building respect the historic nature of the area and adjacent building?  Given what we see in terms of new construction along Main Street, the United Way, and the WRHA building (both incidentally still in the "character zone" as defined by the City), their appears to be little precedent to pay homage to the past.  If the City felt this building's facade was of worthy of protection, why did they not mandate that Sport Manitoba retain part of the facade -- perhaps as Red River College did.

If you want to see what the Smart Bag Co. Building (N.W. portion) looks like or read about its soon-to-end history, check out the City's heritage document (short version or long version with more pictures).

Grocery Update: Bay Food Mart

HBC has announced that a Zellers store will be opening in the basement of the downtown flagship Hudson's Bay store.  Many downtown dwellers are aware that the Bay has a full grocery store in the basement. 

Will the grocery store be wiped out to make room for Club Z?  No, in a recent Free Press article, it was said that "Chief among changes will be the introduction of a "full-convenience food market," which will feature fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, breads, meats and dry goods such as cereals, cookies and granola bars."  I'm not sure how this new full-convenience food market will veer more towards convenience items versus grocery store items.

The new Zellers store in the Bay downtown basement is scheduled to open November 4th.

The still unanswered question: what will happen to the Bay's Malt Shop?

The TIF of the Iceberg

Katz & Selinger at press conferenceAfter a year of speculation and waiting, the City and Province has unveiled their new "Downtown Residential Development Grant" program.  Premier Sellinger and Mayor Katz, in a press conference on Waterfront Street, announced that $20 million would be available over the next three years to developers to help stimulate residential housing in the downtown.

The announcement is a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program, that essentially recognizes that the new development will increase property values and taxes, creating higher tax revenues in the future; a portion of these increased tax revenues are granted to the developer at the time the building is finished to assist with the cost of the development.

Press Conf on WaterfrontRecognizing that the cost of development in downtown (and especially in the Exchange District) is high due to existing buildings, new building codes, heritage restrictions, etc, the grant will make available to the developers up to $40,000 per residential unit.

To qualify, the developments must meet minimum requirements for "affordability" and accessibility to the disabled.  Details were not released.

At the maximum payout of $40,000 per door, the three year program could help finance 500 units, or maybe 1,000 - 1,500 new downtown residents.

Its not a lot, but its a start.

The way to maximize the benefit is to focus the funds.  The "downtown" is too big - 500 units will have negligible effect on creating vibrancy.  We need to focus the $20 million on the Exchange District and Portage Ave.  When the first 500 units are built, let's fund the next 500 and 500 after that...

This $20 million is not a cost.  Its an investment, one that will be easily repaid in 10 - 15 years through the higher property taxes that will result from the development.  Its a good investment, not only from a financial point of view, but from the social aspect as well.

Many Winnipegers want to live downtown.  Those that don't want to at least feel proud of their downtown.  Downtown residential investment is the single best way to build an urban environment that is vibrant, fun, funky and alive.

We need to build a community.

(News reports: Free Press story, CBC story, CBC video)

Forks Announces Residential Development

The Forks has announced plans for residential development.  It is still very preliminary, but plans call for a 10 story residential building to be built across from the new museum.  The main floor and promenade area will be commercial.  The building will hold about 350 residential units.

Hidden between the building and the train track will be a parking structure that will hold 600 - 700 cars.  While that sounds like a good addition to the Forks parking needs, the building of the structure will result in the loss of about 350 existing surface parking spots.  Even if not all of the 350 new residential units get a single parking spot, it will not leave more than a few net new spots for the museum or Forks use.

There has been controversy about having residential development at the Forks site.  I was interviewed on CBC Radio on April 19th where I voiced general support for having more residents "downtown."  My one caution -- the $100+ million project could take away from the funds for downtown development.  The recent City / Province announcement of the TIFF program was for only $20 million over three years to build over 500 residential units. 

The TIFF program is expected to spur considerable development in the Exchange, but it is just a start -- it will need to be expanded and extended.  I would hate to think that a "mega-project" at the Forks could dry up available government funding, but we know that governments love mega-projects.

Olympic Torch Run: Exchange District

The on its way through Winnipeg, the Olympic Torch run weaved its way through the Exchange District.  The runners made their way down Waterfront to Bannatyne, then Bannatyne to Rorie where the flame was transferred to a new runner who when down Rorie and them Market toward Main Street.

Olympic_torch4.jpgOlympic_torch2.jpg

A small crowd of excited residents awaited the torch arrival, some sipping on hot chocolate from the Exchange Cafe.  Others lit sparklers while they waited the entourage, preceded by what seemed like 20 police cars, closing off streets and ensuring the run was unimpeded.

Olympic_torch3.jpgOlympic_torch5.jpg


Downtown Retail Strategy

retailThe Exchange District BIZ along with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Centreventure and the City of Winnipeg and Forks North Portage Development Corp have released the results of a study on a new retail strategy for downtown Winnipeg.

The report notes that "The Exchange District was identified through its "cool factor", "casual-chic" atmosphere and the need to balance its hipster (creative pioneers of the revived Exchange) demographic with an emerging yupster (a yuppie hipster hybrid) population."

For details of the retail strategy, see the Executive Summary (18 pages!) or the Full Report (109 pages).

Free Pass for Residents?

In a December 5, 2009 Winnipeg Free Press article, columnist Morley Walker notes that while the MTS Centre has been very successful, it has, through no fault of its own, done little to stimulate downtown development.  He does mention one interesting idea -- maybe the MTS Centre should reward (and attract) downtown residents by offering a Downtowners' Pass.

admitoneticket.gifThe pass, given to residents of downtown, would allow free admittance to any MTS Centre event that is not sold out.  Like flying standby, residents could fill unused seats.

It sounds like a great idea, that would benefit downtown residents, provide a small attraction to those considering moving downtown, be simple and easy to administer and would cost the MTS Centre nothing.

I'm sure many R:ED members would be more than happy to participate!

Exchange Foot Patrol

The Exchange Patrol program helps to provide a safe and friendly environment for everyone in the district. Members of the Exchange Patrol are always ready to help, whether you need a safe walk to your car or bus stop, directions around the area or to report an issue of concern.  Exchange Patrols are easily identified in their black and yellow uniforms. Their constant, dependable and uniformed presence sends a positive message to merchants, citizens, and tourists that the Exchange District is a welcoming destination where safety is valued.

 Exchange Foot PatrolCurrently there are two full time personnel: Lisa Knievel and Josiah Cook.  During the busy summer months, volunteer Exchange Patrol personnel will be added.

The goal of the Exchange Patrol program is to enhance the quality of life in Winnipeg’s Exchange District by placing a uniformed presence on the street, and by providing visitors with ambassadors who can be of service in a variety of situations. Patrols address issues such as panhandling, litter and nuisance behaviour, and they are trained in mediation, conflict resolution and first aid.

Josiah and Lisa were in attendance at our recent R:ED Meeting: Safety on the Streets to talk about their experiences walking the Exchange 'beat' every day.

Exchange Residents are "Green"

Some statistics from the 2006 Census that are very interesting, and illustrative of how living in the Exchange is very "green":
  • 51.2% of Exchange residents walk as their primary mode of transport vs 6.2% for the City as a whole
  • More than twice as many Exchange residents (10.9%) work from home vs the City overall (4.5%)

Visitor Parking

Although residents of the Exchange District are clearly living a green lifestyle, we do have visitors who bring their cars.  Sometimes parking can be a problem for those visitors, with all the nearby spots taken up by office workers, business patrons and theatre-goers.

Dave.jpgDavid Hill, COO of the Winnipeg Parking Authority spoke at our April 21st R:ED meeting.  Dave outlined many of the initiatives the Parking Authority has undertaken to make parking easier.

He also described residential parking permits, and told us that there is now a permit available for Exchange residents.  For those who were not at the meeting, check out Dave's parking permit FAQ.

Winnipeg's First Ciclovia

CicloviaOn Sunday, September 13 from 8am until 6pm, the entire north side of Broadway was closed to motorized vehicles from Main to Osborne connecting Assiniboine Park to The Forks for Ciclovia.


The event featured a hay maze, a farmers’ market, street vendors, a kids’ zone, buskers, horse drawn wagons, outdoor fitness classes and other non-motorized fun.


Ciclovia, meaning “bike way,” began in Bogotá, Colombia, where every Sunday major roads are blocked off and millions of people fill them running, walking, biking while enjoying free outdoor fitness classes like yoga and aerobics.


CicloviaThe Winnipeg event was well attended – many blocks of Broadway were packed with people cycling and walking past the vendors and entertainment.  It was a beautiful day, and people were relaxing on the boulevards, and taking in the bands and polo game (where the players were on bikes!).


After starting at the Forks, and taking in all that Ciclovia had to offer, it was clear riding through the regular Sunday bike-restricted roadways through Wolsley and down Wellington Crescent to get to Assiniboine Park.  After a pit-stop at Sargent Sundae’s (a sunny day requirement), an easy return ride along the bike trail ending at the Forks.


Our congratulations to the organizers – it was well planned and attendance was outstanding, especially for a first time event.  The only suggestion for improvement, maybe next year continue the marked bike path through the Forks and down Waterfront, continuing the route along the scenic Red River.


Exchange District Razed for Parking?

Uptown Magazine, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, has published a story by James Howard alleging that our City Planners have gone over the edge.  An excerpt:

The city's historic Exchange District has been a headache for civic planners in recent years, with many of its signature character buildings either demolished for newer projects or left to 'demolition by neglect' by owners. The sweeping new proposal, passed 12 to four by council yesterday, will see the entire region bulldozed and paved to make room for a district-wide parking complex. Construction estimates were set at $150 million, then immediately declared out of date and bumped to $215 million.  (full story)

New Market / Deli to Open on Portage

Marcellos' Market and Deli, a Canadian company that specializes in locating their European style market store in busy office buildings will open a new location in the Manitoba Hydro building on Portage Avenue. 

While the focus is to provide busy professionals with a healthy and delicious alternative for food-on-the go, there will be much to appeal to local residents.  According to their web site, each of their locations features:
  • Hot fresh muffins and pastries every morning
  • Large hot and cold buffets daily
  • A large coffee bar, including self-serve choices, cappuccino, espresso, and more
  • Wide variety of cold beverages: milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, water, sodas, and more
  • Fresh bread, pastries and baked goods
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Superior-quality meats
  • Imported and domestic cheeses
  • Deli-fresh sandwiches
  • Soups and Salads
  • Pasta dishes
  • Meat dishes...
Unfortunately, its focus on serving the downtown worker means that it will close by 5:30 daily.  While it will be a welcome addition to the downtown scene, unfortunately it will not be the grocery solution Exchange residents seek.

Winnipeg Parking Rates Soar

ParkingA recent Free Press article quotes from a Colliers International annual global parking survey that Winnipeg parking rates have increased 72% over last year -- one of the highest increases in the survey.  The huge increase contrasts with the Canadian average of 9.9% for monthly rates.

The survey reports the median daily rate is now $18 and the monthly median is $190 ($110 last year).

Espresso on Bannatyne

Abby Mann, co-owner Exchange CafeAs summer nears, new life springs into the Exchange District.  The Exchange Café has opened in the 126 year old Swiss Building at 137 Bannatyne.  The café features authentic Italian espresso, cappuccino, American coffee and teas.  The bright café serves an assortment of panini, soups, salads and desserts.  For a refreshing taste, try their assorted flavours of Italian gelati.

The heritage decor is a throw back to a provincial café found in Southern Europe.  Co-owners Abby Mann (pictured above) and Mario Aiello are “excited to be in the Exchange District and provide Heather Boyd sits in front of her painting at Exchange Cafea comfortable gathering space for residents.”  The café will be open 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 pm Monday to Thursday.  Friday and Saturday this will be open until 11 pm.  They will also be open in conjunction with special events happening in the Exchange.

Exchange Café is supporting local artists. R:ED member Heather Boyd (pictured at right) is the first to display her art (all of it offered for sale) on the brick walls.

R:ED members received an exclusive after-hours access as we will hosted our Summer Cocktails 101 event at the Exchange Café.  Check our gallery page for pictures of the event.

The District is Open

The District Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge is open!  The former Liberty Grill restaurant and Bull and Bear lounge space have been updated looking fresh Glen Tate & Doug Vossen, co-owners of The Districtand new while retaining its heritage glory.  The bright open restaurant features a wide assortment of high-end offerings. 

The lounge is dark and inviting with lots of cushy lounge seating, jazzy art and subtle music -- a great backdrop for conversation.  There are six full size billiard tables making it a great place to spend a casual evening.

Co-owners Glen Tate (pictured, left) and Doug Vossen (right) are thrilled to be open and to be part of the community. 

Survey Says ... Barriers Down!

A question that keeps popping up every few years: how to make Portage and Main pedestrian friendly.  The concrete barriers may help traffic, but how do they affect pedestrians or residents who need to get around the area but don't want to go subterranean.

We asked the survey question: Should the barriers at Portage and Main come down on our home page over the past many weeks.  78% of the over 40 respondents said 'yes':
Poll Results

Exchange District - Downtown of the Month

The International Downtown Assn has named Winnipeg's Exchange District as Downtown of the Month. (article)

Concert Season begins in Exchange

Rockn the DistrictThe opening event in the Exchange District summer outdoor event calendar was the Rockin' the District Block Party.  The event drew a large crowd who took in a fashion show, wake and skate demos and a big evening concert featuring Shiny Toy Guns.

Shiny Toy Guns performsNow the newly upgraded Old Market Square prepares for the week long Jazz Festival with a weekend of free concerts at Old Market Square in addition to some lunch concerts. 

July 15 - 26, the focus will shift to the very popular Winnipeg Fringe Festival.  This is the 22nd year of the Fringe, and it will feature 146 theatre companies from around the world.

Yes, another busy summer in the Exchange.

Over Weight in the Exchange

Looking to lose some of that "winter weight" now that the promise of spring is upon us?  A recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press suggests that we should walk for groceries.

Apparently a University of B.C. study reports that "people who live within a kilometer of a grocery store are half as likely to be overweight, compared to those living in the neighbourhoods without grocery stores."  And more is better: each additional store within a kilometer meant a further 11% reduction in the likelihood of being overweight.

Residents of the Exchange District (R:ED) have been vocal in our need for local grocery stores.  We are able to walk to work, to theatres and coffee shops, and to restaurants.  But the true urban lifestyle eludes us as we have to hop into our cars (or board a bus) to go for groceries.

We are aware of one young entrepreneur's plan to open a small grocery store by summer, and there is no doubt that residents will support it. 

It would be great to see a second option, not just for choice, but apparently it would help keep the weight off!

Winnipeg Parking Rates Soar

A recent Free Press article quotes from a Colliers International annual global parking survey that Winnipeg parking rates have increased 72% over last year -- one of the highest increases in the survey.  The huge increase contrasts with the Canadian average of 9.9% for monthly rates.

The survey reports the median daily rate is now $18 and the monthly median is $190 ($110 last year).

Exchange Income Levels Highest in City

CBC TV has reported on the one of the finding of the 2006 Winnipeg Census -- the Exchange District has the highest income level of any neighbourhood.  Is the Exchange a gated community, only open to those of high income?  Well, no and yes.

The CBC report, featuring R:ED resident Justin Friesen (flash player required for video):



No gate, no need to flash your personal equity statement, and no secret handshakes.  The high incomes should come as no surprise -- almost all of the housing available in the Exchange are condo buildings.  There are very few rental units available.  As for the condos, they are expensive meaning only the higher end of the income scale can afford them; hence the census report (report) of high incomes.

Development in the historic exchange district is expensive.  The only way we can get affordable housing is if the government stops trying to revitalize downtown with mega-projects and instead support 20 or 30 small developments.  With government assistance, many of the existing heritage buildings can be converted to affordable housing: rental and condo units that young professionals and students can afford to rent or buy.

This is the only way to create a vibrant downtown -- fill it with vibrant people.  Not a difficult concept, but one that has avoided our political leaders.

Planning for a Sustainable Winnipeg

On Saturday April 25th R:ED attended the “Mayor’s Symposium - A Sustainable Winnipeg.”  The full day session brought together 200 people representing various groups as well as individual citizens.  The morning started with participants speaking about their vision for a sustainable Winnipeg.  Yes, that was 200 speeches!

Sustainable Wpg Expert PanelWhile that sounds like it could have been a disaster, the carefully orchestrated event allowed each person only 30 seconds each to give their vision, which was to be crafted in 90 words or less. 

I must say it was quite interesting to hear the wide-ranging views.  It was easy to pick emerging patterns -- most people were thinking along the same lines, looking for the same things.

The vision stated for the Residents of the Exchange:

"The Residents of the Exchange District have a unique perspective on a Sustainable Winnipeg.   We see first hand how our city has grown at the edges but has allowed its core to rot.

Our vision is a city that through its planning, bylaws and tax structure, encourages a green downtown lifestyle where residents live in energy efficient multi-family buildings, walk or use public transit to get to work and play and are part of a vibrant downtown community that is the pride of Winnipeg and the envy of tourists."


Following the first 200 mini-speeches, an expert panel gave their views.  Then the participants spent 20 minutes each at three round table discussions.  Detailed notes were quickly analyzed and the discussions were summarized into a single PowerPoint slide on each topic.  At the end of the busy day, these were presented back to the group.

While this strategic planning exercise was interesting, it will take a year for the City to complete the new plan.  It is only after this, will we see if the new plan is parked on the shelf like the current one, or if it indeed is used to guide the decision making process.  Time will tell.

Downtown Living

Downtown LivingThe Downtown BIZ sponsored "Downtown Living" on May 8 and 9.  This two day event included exhibitions as well a tours.  R:ED hosted an exhibit -- who better to talk to about living downtown than people who live downtown?  Other exhibitors include: CentreVenture, Forks/North Portage, 5468796 Architecture, The Bay, Hosteling International, Residences on York, Sky condos, etc. (full list).

Downtown Living coverage in the Winnipeg Sun included a quote from R:ED member Heather Boyd who was at our booth: "I don't find [living downtown] dangerous at all. I'm quite comfortable wandering around the Exchange District and downtown.  It's a big misperception that people have about the downtown area."  The full article can be found here.


Building Facade Saved -- Parking Added

Ryan Block c1895 Heritage Wpg   After threats by the City to expropriate, and temporary work last year to prevent the building from falling down, Bedford Investments has announced a deal with the City of Winnipeg and CentreVenture to save the facade of the crumbling building and build a parking structure on the empty lot next door.

Ryan Now   The 112-year-old King Building at the corner of King St. and Bannatyne Ave. will be turned into an 186-stall parkade with 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the main floor.

   The parking is much needed in the area and will be a boom to residents, local businesses and visitors to the area. 

While the press release notes that the facade will be removed then reassembled in exact detail, there is no detail on what the parkade next door will look like.  Here's hoping that the new structure will fit well withing the historical nature of the surrounding buildings.  (News article)

Residents Know Best

   Everyone lately seems to have an opinion on downtown development, demolition, design, parking issues, etc. but who has the best handle on the problems?  We, the residents, do!

   A Winnipeg wish list in a local blog included the following item:  "Living downtown should be a job requirement for anyone involved in downtown revitalization organizations.  If you don't have a personal stake in the neighbourhood you're trying to improve, how can you fully understand the intricacies or connections or history that has made it what it is and will shape it in the future?"  

   We second the motion!

Church Purchases Building

(Nov 30/08 by Justin Friesen)  Exchange Community Church officially purchased 75 Albert St. (at McDermot Ave.) on Oct. 1st 2008. For the past 5 years we have leased a small space at 84 Albert Street, which is now The Haberdashery. We are currently occupying the 2nd floor of the building, while the main floor is leased by commercial tenants and the 3-5th floors are rented by artists for studio work spaces.

Exchange Community ChurchOur intent is to transform 75 Albert St. in to a self-sufficient building with community meeting space and affordable residential-zoned studios. With it becoming increasingly apparent that the Exchange District offers few options for affordable rental living and while many buildings are filled with artists' studios, the artists are being forced out by commercial developments. Most spaces inhabited by artists are not zoned as residential and are not necessarily fit for safe living quarters. The Exchange Community Church feels deeply connected to the artistic community and it is our hope that other organizations may follow this model.

The building is currently set up as a not-for-profit and the development of the building will take place over years through the acquisition of funding through various foundations and donations. We have established an on-line forum to acquire feedback from the community as we work towards developing the building (http://www.exchangeonline.ca/forum/index.php).

No Skating on the Red River this Year

Copyright 2008 John Giavedoni(Nov 26/08)  If you have looked at the ice on the Red River lately, there is a huge buildup of "frazzle ice" (see photo).  This will make it impossible to build a skating trail between the Forks and Waterfront Drive or Festival Park. 

The Forks has announced it will instead extend the river skating trail further down the Assiniboine River all the way to Assiniboine Park -- a 8.5 km skating rink!  This year, with a short walk to the Forks, Exchange residents will be able to skate all the way to the park, have coffee, lunch or a drink and skate back!

Kelly House -- Not a Parking Lot (yet)

(Nov 25/08) Kelly House at 88 Adelaide St. is the last intact house from the city's Exchange District building boom of 1882.  Left to deteriorate over the past 15 years, the owner has asked for permission to destroy the house to create yet another parking lot!  Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development decided to vote down the motion to remove the historical designation.  The Queen Ann style house has a 3 month reprieve as the owner is to work with CentreVenture to find a solution.  Further info:  Free Press Article   West End Blog with pics & history

Destination Stores Continue to Unfold in Exchange

(Nov 24/08) A new retail store opens today in the Exchange.  UnFold Apparel, with a focus on men's clothing has taken over the location at McDermot and Albert after Cake clothing moved to a larger location further up McDermot.  Finally a store for men to shop at!  Unfold Apparel is owned by R:ED member Mike Nava.  Mike also owns Connect Four Clothing at 223 McDermot Avenue.  Hats off to Mike, who lives in the Exchange and has opened two businesses!

Dash to haberdashery, guys and girls

(Nov 23/08) Speaking of hats, the Haberdashery, guys and girls opened just two weeks ago at 84 Albert Street.  With a great selection of hats for style, fun and warmth, Haberdashery is a welcome addition to the Exchange's expanding selection of clothing stores.  Luke Nolan, the owner, has moved his store from Corydon Avenue to take part in the Exchange District's blossoming as Winnipeg's fashion destination.

South Point Douglas - Open House for Secondary Plan

(Nov 22/08) Our neighbours in South Point Douglas have started the secondary plan process with the City of Winnipeg.  This is a process we hope to undertake shortly.  They are having an Open House and workshop on Tuesday Dec 2nd at 7 pm at Argyle School.  I would hope some of our members attend to learn about our neighbours and to better understand the secondary plan process.  Further details: meeting invitation(PDF)  secondary plan info

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