Downtown Winnipeg Highlights from 2016

2016 was a fantastic year for downtown Winnipeg. Reduced crime, increased cleanliness, and added community support have continued to shape the downtown into a great place to play, shop, and live. Here are ten highlights from 2016 to celebrate as the year comes to a close.


  1. Sizzling Summer Events


The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ hosted 230 events between June and October, attracting over 50,000 visitors to the downtown! From Zumba to movie screenings, festivals to concerts, there was truly something for everyone.


  1. Times Square Expert Takes On Portage and Main


This February, president and CEO of Times Square Alliance Tim Tompkins came to the Fairmont Winnipeg to discuss opening Portage and Main to pedestrians. Tompkins played a huge role in turning Times Square into the tourist destination that it is today, and his perspective on Portage and Main provided a proven vision for the future of this iconic intersection.


  1. Police Unveil New Downtown Safety Strategy


In mid-December, Winnipeg Police Service announced a new strategy to patrol the downtown. With a combination of modern technology and “walking the beat,” the new strategy will increase the presence of officers and foster a heightened sense of community. We look forward to seeing it in action.


  1. Manyfest Continues to Grow and Impress


Seventy thousand people enjoyed the sixth annual Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Manyfest from September 9 to 11. The event celebrates arts, entertainment, community, and healthy living. The Food Truck Wars, presented by ROYALE Tiger Towel, was a particularly tasty highlight again.


  1. Canada Day Living Flag Still the Biggest


Over 3,158 people gathered at Shaw Park on Canada Day to create a living flag, and we’re proud to say it was the biggest in the country! Shout-out to all the participants who made this event one for the record books.


  1. Pop-Up at Portage and Main


From June to September, all four corners of Portage and Main hosted pop-up events on the last Friday of the month. Pedestrians experienced an exciting variety of events and entertainment in Canada’s famous intersection.


  1. #finditdowntown


In May, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ won Marketing Campaign of the Year (over $2,500) at the Winnipeg Tourism Awards of Distinction. Our social media platforms are doing better than ever at informing followers, capturing moments, and celebrating all that downtown Winnipeg has to offer.


  1. Host it Downtown


The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s “Host It Downtown” program aims to increase the number of events downtown. It was founded in 2015, and in 2016, we attracted new and existing events like the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, SpaceLand, and Peg City St. Patrick’s Day Parade to our downtown. Perhaps we could host your next event?


  1. CHAT Program Better than Ever


The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT) received increased support this year, with an annual investment of $120,000 from Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries and $150,000 from the City of Winnipeg.


The CHAT program provides support to downtown Winnipeg’s vulnerable populations, including homeless people and/or people struggling with addictions or mental health issues.


  1. True North Square announced


In February, True North unveiled plans for True North Square, a $400 million development featuring businesses, hospitality and entertainment, residential space, outdoor rinks, and more.


Construction is already underway, and the end product will show again how much our downtown has to offer those who want to live, work, and play in this bustling area that continues to grow with opportunity.

Oh Canada, we’re ready to celebrate!

Winnipeggers participate in the 2014 living flag at the Forks
Winnipeggers participate in the 2014 Living Flag at The Forks

From far and wide, but especially downtown Winnipeg, we’re excited and ready to celebrate your birthday, Canada!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a pretty full day of festivities planned for July 1!

First-thing in the morning I’m meeting up with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ crew and over 2,500 Winnipeggers at Shaw Park (home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes!) to participate in the Canada Day Living Flag event! Winnipeg has been successful for three years in a row in assembling the largest Living Flag in all of Canada, but last year we were beat out by Calgary. Come out at 9:00 AM to get a free red or white t-shirt (while supplies last) and get in on the largest Living Flag in Canada as we reclaim our title this year (the 50th anniversary of our maple leaf flag!), plus entertainment by the Dirty Catfish Brass Band and fun for all!

Bonus: there’s a Goldeyes game later on in the day – grab tickets while you’re at the park (or buy them here)!

Next I plan on hopping next door to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – there’s going to be all kinds of family activities and guided tours throughout the day.

After that, I think it’ll be time for some refreshments – AKA time to hit up the Earls on Main block party for music, dancing and some festive drinks in the sunshine. Cheers to that!

Speaking of music and dancing, next up I plan on zipping over to The Forks – what better spot to be than the city’s most historical meeting place to celebrate our glorious and free country!

From 5PM onwards, there will be music and entertainment on the Festival Stage including Slow Leaves, Attica Riots and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as live music Under the Canopy and indoors on the Market Stage too. Additional perks: lemonade, mini donuts, and 11PM fireworks!


What are you planning to do for Canada Day? Let’s hear it!