Verde Is My New Favourite Colour

You would have no idea that it was Winter outside after walking into Verde Plant Design. The bright, beautiful shop, located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg is green (verde) and full of life! Owner Dominika Drawta, is passionate about all things plants and is committed to sharing this passion with others through her workshops – floral arranging and plant design consultations.

Before becoming a permanent space on Graham Avenue, Verde was part of CentreVenture’s Pop-Up Shop Hop Program and was located on Main and Bannatyne. Its success in the program steered Dominika to start a shop of her very own and in June 2016, she did just that! Her designs can now be seen across the city in places such as Thom Bargen which is located just down the street, where she installed a gorgeous, Instagram-worthy living wall!

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Once inside the shop, you are surrounded by dazzling displays of succulents, tropicals, and air plants. It’s literally a breath of fresh air! Dominika and her staff are also very welcoming and ready to help with all of your plant needs.

Plants have an amazing ability to make any indoor environment, whether it be your home or office, feel fresh and can even help with your mood and concentration. I definitely felt that over the weekend when I visited the shop and joined in on a workshop!

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The Succulent Bubble Terrarium Workshop

The workshop started off at the back of the shop where everything was beautifully set up for participants to begin. Friends, family and strangers alike joined in on the fun and made THE best plant masterpieces.

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First, you pick a spot.

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Then, you grab soil with your bare hands and insert it in the bubble terrarium.

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Next, choose your succulents, stones and get ready decorate!

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Here’s what the Succulent Bubble Terrarium Workshop includes:

  • guided terrarium instruction
  • all supplies & materials (6″ hanging glass bubble, soil, tender succulents, decorative materials)
  • tea
  • care card
  • 15% off items in the shop

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As an alternative, you can also come into the shop at anytime to do a DIY terrarium or planter. They have all the materials you’ll need to create your special piece for your home or office.

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Verde is a one-of-a-kind shop and its uniqueness makes it an inspiring place that allows people to get creative with plants, while also providing an opportunity to learn more about them. Make sure you visit the next time you’re downtown!

For more information about workshops that Verde offers, visit their website at: http://www.verdeterrariums.com/workshops/.

See you downtown,

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Delicious Honey, Coming Straight from your Neighbourhood

For centuries, honey has been known as “nature’s gold” for its great taste and amazing health benefits such as the prevention of heart disease, reducing throat irritation, and the healing of wounds. How amazing is that! Honey is definitely a favourite of mine and when I found out that we had hives here in downtown Winnipeg, I was super excited to find out more!

Chris Kirouac, the founder of Beeproject Apiaries, started his company as an experimental project, as the bee community and the ability to extract a pure and natural food from them, piqued his curiosity. He now refers to it as his out of control hobby!

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Chris initially started out with five hives and he and his wife now maintain over 140 in the Gimli/Winnipeg area, including some in our very own downtown. Last year, Beeproject produced Neighbourhood Honey by beehives kept on the Manitoba Hydro Place rooftop, where they fit perfectly with the sustainability mindset that the building was created with. While downtown, these bees discreetly pollinated local flowers in their search for local pollen and nectar.

One of the many great things about Beeproject is that they promote urban beekeeping and are committed to using sustainable methods by using organic techniques of hive management whenever possible.

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With its great taste and amazing health benefits, it is sad to see that the honey bee population is globally declining with over a third of the population disappearing over the last five years. What this means is that our agriculture is in serious danger. More than 130 fruits and vegetables that make up a nutritious diet, depend on the cross-pollination of honey bees.

Urban settings such as the rooftop of the Manitoba Hydro Place are ideal for honey bees, as they are shielded from the many bee-killing pesticides linked to industrial agriculture, while also gaining more days for pollinating due to warmth and wind protection.

The Urban Pollination Project, an initiative created by the Beeproject, is generating awareness about these issues and continues to promote urban beekeeping which is so great for these honey bees and our downtown! Find out more by visiting their website at http://www.beeproject.ca.

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WHERE TO FIND BEEPROJECT HONEY: Beeproject’s creamed honey can be purchased at a number of retailers throughout the city, while their Neighbourhood Honey can only be purchased directly through their website or exclusively through Parlour Coffee and Chew Restaurant.

We also have some exciting news to share! Beeproject will be opening a storefront in the Osborne area this Spring (launch is TBA). Be sure to check them out!

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FUN FACTS:

  • Neighbourhood honey which is produced in urban settings has subtle fruity and floral notes and both the flavour and colour changes throughout the season as the dominant type of flower changes.
  • Natural raw honey will crystallize over time and if you prefer your honey to be softer or liquid in consistency, simply warm your honey to the desired consistency. You can also enjoy it in the solid form with all its flavour and health benefits fully intact.
  • If stored appropriately (with the lid on and only clean cutlery used in the jars), it should last forever!
  • Honey is great to include in hot beverages like tea or coffee, on fresh baking or paired with soft/ fresh cheeses. Raw honey easily replaces refined sugar in many recipes.

Craving some honey yet? I have the perfect solution. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag both @BeeProjectCa and @DowntownWpgBIZ. You will receive one free jar of Beeproject’s Neighbourhood Honey (produced on the rooftop of Manitoba Hydro Place) while supplies last!

See you downtown,

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Downtown Holiday Shopping for Kids

Spend the day downtown, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find amazing gifts for your kids! Here are some of our favourite spots to look out for.

 

Kite and Kaboodle

Start your day at The Forks! Get some breakfast and head over to Kite and Kaboodle, which has an impressive selection of books, toys, kites, and games. The store is bursting with over 25,000 items, and 5,000 are added each year.

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The staff at Kite and Kaboodle attend trade shows and constantly search for new products, so you get to choose from the best.

 

Pylon

While you’re at The Forks, pop in to Pylon. If you lose to your kids on every pop-culture quiz imaginable, you’ll want to see their selection.

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With Superman socks, Sonic the Hedgehog toques, Doctor Who figurines, and thousands more, this is your one-stop pop-culture shop!

 

Living in the moment: Experience art and culture downtown

One way to give a gift that lasts all year is to gift a family membership so you can experience your favourite places over and over again and get exclusive invites and sneak peeks to upcoming events. Another way is to gift tickets to show or special presentation from one of the many iconic cultural and arts organizations within downtown Winnipeg.

If you’re looking for a family membership, have a look at the Manitoba Museum or the Manitoba Children’s Museum.

If you’re interested in taking in a play or art display with the family, how about Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Centennial Concert Hall, or any of the programming events put on by the Winnipeg Art Gallery or the Winnipeg Railway Museum at the Forks.

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Books and more!

Downtown Winnipeg has plenty of stores for the bookworms in your family.

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Located on the main floor at cityplace, Coles features a wide selection of new books and gifts. If your kids are Harry Potter fanatics, get them Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay. If they love hockey, pick up 99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky.

 

If you’re looking for quality, pre-owned books, check out Book Fair Winnipeg. This Portage Avenue bookstore has books and comics that you may not find at Coles.

 

If you’re looking for even rarer books, head over to Bison Books on Graham Avenue. They have 20,000 used, old, and out-of-print books that you won’t find anywhere else.

Mother’s Day gift guide

If you’ve dropped the ball on your Mother’s Day present, no worries! That’s why I’m here! I’ve made a little list of things you could pick up for mom!

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Citrus Kissed flowers from Freshcut Downtown

Flowers: A go-to gift that never fails – say ‘I love you’ with fresh, custom bouquets of your mom’s favourite flowers or choose from a variety of Mother’s Day bouquets at Freshcut Downtown.

Jewellery: Head down to The Forks Market for a variety of jewellery options for your mom – many of the stores have handmade and one-of-a-kind gifts as well.

Spa Day: Turn your Mother’s Day gift into a full-day experience and head to Ten Spa for a mother-daughter (or mother-son) day. Or give her a gift card and turn your gift into a day away for mom.

Athletics: If your mom likes to get outdoors and be active, you can’t go wrong with a gift from Mountain Equipment Co-op. They have a huge selection of outdoor sporting goods, so you can be sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Perfume: Switch up your Mother’s Day gift this year by giving your mom a new signature scent from Perfume Paradise. With lots of options to choose from, you’re sure to find one that suits your mom’s personality.

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Coal & Canary – The Cafe Collection candles

Sweets: Take your mom out for a sweet treat at Dessert Sinsations! Choose from a wide variety of menu options or get a gift card so your mom can sample more than one!

Candles: Coal & Canary candles are available at a variety of downtown stores and are the perfect gift for moms who love a good scent. Check out some of their new scents, Crème Brûlées & French Berets and Baguettes & Sunsets!

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but downtown has so much more to offer! Make sure you really take your time to look around and find the perfect gift!

Something’s Happening on Graham

Graham’s a street that sometimes gets overlooked – it’s not as prominent as Portage, not as big and full of food trucks as Broadway, and because a lot of it is designed for transit and bikes, not that many of us drive down it every day. But over the last little while, I’ve seen it changing piece by piece around Kennedy – and it’s gradually transforming into one of my favourite little blocks downtown! If you’ve never explored it, go check it out on your lunch hour – it’s worth checking out these spots that are new to the block.

Seeing the downtown grow doesn’t always mean massive exciting skyscrapers – although I love seeing those go up too! It’s the building of these little intimate neighbourhoods too, places that draw people to walk around that make the sidewalks fill up with people, and I think their successes are worth celebrating.

Art:

There are murals tucked in between the buildings, including a cute mural tucked away beside Second Cup with adorable helicopter bees (I really don’t know what else to call them). It’s also the street when the incomparable Kal Barteski installed her Love Every Body interactive artwork – I went down to take a selfie, and you should too!

There’s an amazing farmers market:

The Downtown Farmers’ Market started here last year. The plaza behind Manitoba Hydro Places is already a great place to sit for lunch when it’s sunny, but when the Thursday market comes out, it’s packed with people like looking for an excuse to leave the office for lunch and buy fresh-baked cookies!

Constantly changing menus at Sana SoupHouse:

They’ve been there less than a year and already I’m not sure what I’d do without their soup of the day list when it’s a rainy day and I need a cozy lunch. Plus, how many places in the city actually have soups like Chilled Strawberry, West African Peanut, and Pumpkin Apple Spice?

Rare finds at Bison Books:

This used & rare book shop relocated here a few years ago, and I never get tired of visiting it to see what literary oddities they’ve dug up. My favourite recent find, courtesy of their Facebook page: Elvis’ Favourite Recipes.

A new shop has popped up:

Pop-up events and pop-ups shops are all over the downtown this year, and I can’t get enough of it! The latest – Chook, at the corner of Graham & Vaughn, which has clothing, skateboards, and comes complete with a skateboard ramp inside! It wasn’t open when I was there, so I shamelessly peered in the windows to take pics.

 

The Urban Bakery is back home on Graham:

After nearly 10 years on Portage Ave, the Urban Bakery renovated a space on Graham and added a ton of creative touches, from a shoe wall to a handcrafted wood slab checkout counter, to an entrance that leads off the back alley!

It’s coffee heaven:
Alright, these aren’t new, but they’re essential! There are no fewer than 3 coffee places within this block: Starbucks, Second Cup, and the independent coffee house Twist Cafe. Second best of all, they all come with patio areas to sit and sip in the sun. Best of all – the Second Cup names their plants.

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Discovery of the Day: The Vinyl Vault

Just when I think I’ve explored all the hidden gems around me, I find a new one. Yesterday I discovered the Vinyl Vault for the first time, and I can’t believe I’ve never been there before. It turns out that the basement of the Power Building at 428 Portage holds the city’s largest used record collection – and the Vinyl Vault sale is your chance to rummage through it!

It’s run by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, but the music spans all genres. I saw rock, jazz, country, Broadway, even kids’ music there – and all the records are priced at $2!

To find the Vault, you go to 428 Portage – a very ordinary-looking office building across from Portage Place –  and you’ll see a little stand-up sign outside advertising it. Go in and take the elevator down to the basement, and as soon as it opens you’ll see a rack of records and a table where a lovely gentleman will take your payment when you’re done. But where you really want to go is to the right just past his table. That’s the Vault – walls of floor-to-ceiling records carefully sorted by genre for your browsing pleasure! If you’re a vinyl fan, it’s way too easy to lose track of time – I spent most of my lunch hour there before I even realized it.

The Vault only opens once a month – it’s open right now 10 – 3 and will be again tomorrow, and then it shuts down again until September. Dates for the rest of the year/next year are: September 27, October 25, November 29, January 31, February 28, March 28, April 25, May 30, June 27

Happy hunting!

 

The Urban Bakery version 3.0* – they’ve got a new location!

The Urban Bakery might be the only shop in Winnipeg that’s put their front entrance in the back alley.

The Urban Bakery (aka TUB) is a streetwear clothing boutique – brands include Raised By Wolves, Publish, and Stussy – that’s had a location right on Portage Avenue for almost 10 years. But last February when their lease was up, they decided to pack up shop and move around the corner to Graham, and they did an amazing job renovating their new shop!

First, the entrance: There’s a small entrance on Graham too, but the big storefront leads off the back alley behind them – it’s an idea that they came across in Gastown in Vancouver and decided to try out here! Apparently they’ve been getting lots of traffic and compliments on it too – maybe it’ll inspire some other creative entryways downtown!

Inside, their front counter is a stunning slab of wood they’ve suspended from the ceiling in a seriously impressive DIY project. There’s great clothing, hats, and accessories to pick from – including some great tank tops I’ve got my eye on after this weekend’s crazy heat – but to me, the real showpiece is the shoe wall. Floor-to-ceiling wood, with rows and rows of covet-worthy shoes.

If you want to see more of them, check them out on instagram here or go see them in person!

(FYI – two of the owners of TUB also own Union Sound Hall – so you can sometimes buy tickets for shows there as well!)

*Correction thanks to @EricaGlasier – this used to say 2.0, but apparently this is actually the 3rd location for Urban Bakery! They were on Graham first, THEN they moved to Portage, now back to Graham. It’s the ciiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiife…..

 

403 Graham Avenue

Mon, Tues, Wed 11 – 7pm
Th & Fri 11 – 9pm
Sat 11 – 7pm
Sun 12 – 5pm