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

summerevents

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

timessquare

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

1297908578670_original

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

manyfest

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

2016-cdlf

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

portagemain

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

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

truenorthsquare

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.

Manyfest – and Food Truck Wars – starts tomorrow!

So Manyfest – and Food Truck Wars! – start tomorrow! I’ve been doing my advance research and looked at the trucks lined up for tomorrow – it starts at 11AM, so that’s my lunch plan made – and I’ve realized I need to stop eating from now until I get there tomorrow, because I’m going to need the extra stomach room. There are a mind-boggling 25 food trucks setting up on Memorial Blvd to participate this year. I didn’t actually realize we HAD that many in the city – that’s more than twice as many as last year! It got so popular last year the lineups got crazy massive – so doubling the trucks should speed it up a whole lot! (plus it looks like you don’t need tickets this year – just walk up and pay at the truck)

Returning from last year for a second shot at the title:

And below – 15 trucks that are ALL new to Food Truck Wars this year! Some of these are old faves around the city – hello, Red Ember and your epic wood-fired pizza – and some I’ve never tried before! Up South BBQ, which I’m assuming is southern food? Waki Temaki, a sushi food truck – awesome and MAYBE a little crazy-sounding, but in a good way. And Simba Safari Grill…I’ve definitely never tried an African food truck before!

Behold the full list of newcomers that will be at Food Truck Wars starting tomorrow at 11:

 

Part 2: ManyFest has families covered all weekend long

UP_Poster1500If you’ve got little ones in your life (or you’re just young at heart), Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ManyFest will keep your kidlets entertained. Bring your blanket and lawn chairs down to Memorial Park on Friday night for the Giant Movie in the Park, with the charming animated feature “Up”. It starts at sundown (about 8pm), but come a little early to get a prime spot. Your kids (and let’s admit, you, too) will enjoy watching the pre-show canine entertainment–the Diamond Disc Dogs. (Why is it so much fun to watch dogs doing tricks?! Maybe partly because they look so darn happy while doing them!) The dogs are trained Border Collies who leap and catch and do all sorts of fun tricks. Plus, the Food Truck Wars will be running throughout the movie, so you can grab a bite to eat before the show, too.

Diamond Disc Dogs

On Saturday the family fun continues with MiniFest Kids’ Zone, from 11am to 11pm. (I guess if you’re having that much fun at the Big Dance, you might let your kids stay up way past their bedtime?!) It continues on Sunday from 11am to 6pm. The Manitoba Children’s Museum knows kids, and they’re heading up the activities for the first time this year. Expect festival favourites like bouncers, face painting, colouring and sandboxes.

Giant Movie in the Park: Friday, September 6, at sundown (about 8pm)

MiniFest Kids’ Zone: Saturday, September 7, 11am-11pm; Sunday, September 8, 11am-6pm

Wine, Beer & Food Trucks: Festival Perfection! September 6 to 8

Manyfest Food Truck Wars
Manyfest Food Truck Wars

OK, let’s talk food.

After all, what is a festival without tasty food and libations? Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ManyFest promises to serve up both with a flourish this year. I myself prefer wine, but beer drinkers will be happy this year to enjoy a brewski at the newly expanded Wine & Beer Festival, located in Memorial Park. Buy a roll of tickets and you’ll be set to sample a variety of wines and beers, in support of Keeping Abreast. Plus, those same tickets are also good at 12 food trucks. If you’ve been on Broadway over the lunch hour on a summer weekday, you’ll have noticed the number of mobile dining options has exploded. This year’s ManyFest lets you sample the best of them, and with such names as On a Roll, Habanero Sombrero, Pimp My Rice and The Poutine King, you’ll want to try a few. With a fun twist dubbed “Food Truck Wars,” you can actually cast your vote at the festival for your favourite. Sign me up!

The Wine & Beer Festival and Food Truck Wars open at 5pm this Friday and 11am on Saturday, running through to 11pm both days. Sunday’s hours are 11am to 6pm. Tickets available for purchase on site. 

manyfest.ca

The Many Events of ManyFest! Coming September 6 to 8

Manyfest MusicIt’s hard to know where to begin when talking about this year’s Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ManyFest; I suppose it’s aptly named! Calling it “downtown’s biggest street festival” does paint a pretty good picture. One thing I do know: I know what I’m doing next weekend! For those of you new to ManyFest and feeling a little overwhelmed by the many happenings, here’s the lowdown on the festival, running September 6 to 8 on Broadway, with Memorial Park as the hub:

ManyFest kicks off on Friday at 5pm, so head to Broadway after work for the Wine & Beer Festival, on until 11pm. There’s nothing like sipping a chardonnay under the stars. If you’ve become enchanted like me this summer with watching movies outdoors, you’ll want to bring a blanket or lawn chair to watch the Giant Movie in the Park, “Up”, in Memorial Park, beginning at sundown (about 8pm).  And don’t worry, your food cravings will be answered with a variety of munchies –you can even vote for your favourite with the new-this-year Food Truck Wars (not to be confused with food fights?!) A dozen different trucks will be out the whole weekend, starting Friday at 5pm, so you’ll have a chance to taste at least a few.

Now, my personal favourite is Saturday’s Big Dance on Broadway coupled with Lights on Broadway (and a dash of the Wine & Beer Festival, of course! ) The Big Dance is just that: music and dancing in the streets. As the sun sets, the lights come on. The organizers like to change it up each year, but it’s always an awe-inspiring experience strolling down Broadway with a few thousand of your closest friends and the soft glow of lights and candles – yes, real candles!

Throughout the whole weekend, don’t forget to save time (and money) to peruse the Farmers’ and Artisan’s Market. It’s the perfect time of year for fresh veggies.

ManyFest is all about being open to everyone, so it’s no wonder there’s something for all ages. Kids can have fun at their very own festival: MiniFest Kids’ Zone, this year including some activities done by the Manitoba Children’s Museum, on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11am.

After two days of food trucks, wine and beer, you can work it all off on Sunday. (And after a night of dancing on concrete, you’ll be happy for an excuse to wear your runners all day.) For you fitness buffs, there is still time to sign-up for the Winnipeg 10 and 10, which offers various race options–even for a fair-weather runner like me. Anyone wanting to try their hand at yoga or zumba or a variety of other fitness activities can do so for free right on Broadway during Ciclovia. This healthy-living, eco-friendly event runs all day Sunday (11am-6pm), with a bunch of cool activities like a climbing wall, soap box derby and street hockey.

All weekend long you can do as I plan to do: ride my bike to Broadway, use the free bike valet, then feel perfectly justified in partaking in the Wine & Beer Festival and more Food Truck War goodies (after all, in the interest of fair judging, I will have to sample them all!)

The Wine & Beer Festival runs all weekend long, and with no admission fee, you’re free to come and go (though your bevvie is not free to “go” with you!) So those are the many events of ManyFest! Can’t wait to see you there!

For more info, visit http://www.manyfest.ca