The area known as Downtown Winnipeg has plenty to offer. The design of the Winnipeg area allows for it to be easily accessible from the various different neighbourhoods. Main Street and Portage Street are the core of the downtown area. To the South is the Assiniboine River. The Red River is located to the East. The West offers Blamoral Street and Colony Street. To the North are Logan Avenue and Princess Street.
There is plenty of diversity around the Downtown Winnipeg area. Both in terms of the overall heritage and the people that work or reside here. There are plenty of new developments in the works that add excitement to what is already offered. There are also plenty of older buildings with a long history that serve as landmarks in the area. Live entertainment takes place regularly in this part of Winnipeg.
The downtown area draws visitors from all over that come for the entertainment, the shops, the food, and to explore the culture. During the summer months, there are various guided tours through this area. It is a great chance for someone new to the area to find out the history and to be able to see all of the landmarks.
The downtown area is broken up into smaller parts. Knowing this information can make getting around the area easier. These sections include:
- Exchange District
- Central Park
There is plenty to see and explore along the main street here. This includes Manitoba Museum and the Planetarium. The downtown area offers plenty of shops, restaurants, and businesses. Over 60,000 people work in the downtown area of Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Walkway System is commonly referred to as the Skywalk. This offers various skyways and tunnels that connect to the most common areas of downtown. They are perfect for pedestrian traffic and for getting around during the colder times of the year.
The Manitoba Legislative Building is located downtown, and it has great significance to the area. It was opened in 1920 and this is where the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba meets. It is open to the public for self tours or for a guided tour. The copper dome of it can be seen from many places around the downtown area. Each side of the dome features an element – Earth, wind, fire, and air.
The draw to the downtown area for many people is that ability to go shopping. One of the most popular areas is Forks Market. On both sides of Portage though there are many shopping centres. These stores are also connected to the Skywalk which makes shopping even in the cold temperatures fun and inviting. During the winter, ice skating between the Midtown Bridge and the Provencher Bridge is an option.
The area of downtown known as The Forks is a historical and recreational area. It is a common place for cultural events and for live entertainment to take place. The area also offers plenty of water related activities as it is found where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet. There are very few homes in this area. The homes that are found here usually cost about $600,000. The Forks Market is located here with lots of specialty shops. This area also features The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.
The additions and improvements to the downtown part of Winnipeg over the years have also resulted in fewer crimes. Since 2001, the number of crimes has continued to drop in this area. It is considered to be a safe part of Winnipeg to explore both during the day and at night. Some of the areas have higher crime rates including West End, Colony, and Spence. They are better than they used to be though so that is very encouraging.
There are several schools in this area including those for grade school, high school, and college or trade school. This is often an attraction for parents and for college students. They want to be able to get to the source of education without difficulty. Walking and relying on public transportation downtown also makes living here a good choice for someone without a vehicle.
At the very edge of the downtown area is Polo Park. It was established in 1880 and continues to be a significant part of the area in terms of how the overall structure of the government was developing. In the early times, the St. James Church was located on what is now Tylehurst Street.
This resulted in many farmers and fur traders settling in this area.
The Polo Park Race Track is a horse racing entity that offered plenty of exciting sporting events until it closed in 1956. Today, that area is now home to the Polo Park Shopping Centre. It was opened in 1959. In addition to 40 shops, it also has two grocery stores and a bowling centre.
There aren’t very many homes in the downtown area when compared to other parts of Winnipeg. However, there are several residential districts that are currently growing due to new construction of homes. They include the Exchange District and Waterfront Drive. The forecast is that these additions will significantly increase the number of people living in Downtown Winnipeg in the next 5 years. There is a new skyscraper being built that will also include condos.
Here is a look at the various locations to consider living around the Downtown part of Winnipeg:
The area known as Chinatown was established in 1909. There are many shops in this area. It is also a location where Asian grocery stores and herbal product stores are located. There are about 600 people that live in this area. Almost all of them are of Chinese heritage. Almost half of them speak Chinese and don’t know much English or French.
It is believed that the early residents of Chinatown arrived in 1877. By 1885, there were many Chinese coming to the area due to the expansion of the CPR. In fact, by 1919 it ranked #5 in terms of the overall Chinese population of areas in Canada. In 1885 the Chinese immigrants had to pay taxes due to the Chinese Immigration Act.
Beginning in 2009, the annual street festival known as the Chinatown Street Festival has taken place. It is a tribute to the overall culture of the Chinese people. The events include singing, dancing, a food market, great dining, and martial arts. The festival is a two day event. In 2011 a new housing project was introduced that would offer more affordable options. The construction of 47 units in an apartment building along Prince Street and Logan Avenue called the Peace Tower was created.
The Exchange District is located about a block North of Portage Street and Main Street. There are 20 blocks here and over 150 older buildings. This is also an area with lots of skyscrapers, banks, and warehouses. The East part of it offers the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Winnipeg Opera to name a few of the most popular attractions.
This area was the origin of the Canadian grain industry, and that is where the name Exchange District stems from. The grain and other commodities that were exchanged created in this part of Winnipeg took place from 1881 until 1918. A few of them remain currently active.
This is also the area where the Old Market Square is found. This is as place for various annual festivals to take place. Among them are the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition, the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. In 2012, there were numerous renovations to the Old Market Square. This included adding The Cube which features a new stage, seating for 20,000, and a new lighting system.
The wide spectrum of cultural offerings in the Exchange District make it exciting to visit. There are plenty of clubs, art galleries, restaurants, and retailers. There are also several colleges here including Red River College, In January of 2013; Paerson Gobalfoods Institute was added to the college campus. It offers culinary arts, tourism management, and programs relating to hospitality.
One of the fastest growing areas of the downtown area in Winnipeg is the Waterfront District. There are many condos that continue to be built here in order to keep up with the demand for them. This area is on the West bank of the Red River. The most recent addition was Waterfront Drive which features very expensive homes. This is also the area of the newly built and very impressive Stephen Juba Park.
If you are looking for a very densely populated area of Winnipeg, consider Central park. This area consists of about 70% refugees that come to Winnipeg. The area is very diverse with a mixture of African Americans, Filipinos, Chinese, Arabs, and Vietnamese. This area is home to the Central Market. During the summer months, there are plenty of African crafts sold here. There is also summer entertainment outdoors on the weekends during the summer.
The population of Central Park is very low compared to other parts of Downtown Winnipeg. The population is about 4,200. This is considered to be a lower income part of the area, and it is also one that can have higher crime rates. The median income here is about 3 times less than those that live in the city. The majority of people either rent homes or apartments versus owning them. Homes that are owned here often are in dire need of serious repairs.
Another very densely populated area of the downtown part of Winnipeg is Broadway-Assiniboine. There are less than 5,000 people living here. This is found around the Southern bank of the Assiniboine River. There are various landmarks found in this area including the Hotel Fort Garry. There are many fine restaurants here that attract tourists and that are favorites for those that live in Winnipeg.
This is also the area with the least amount of overall income for those that live in the area. The average price of a home here is about $180,000. Approximately 40% of the people living here don’t have a vehicle. They rely on public transportation or they walk.
Just a few blocks away from Main Street and Portage Avenue is South Portage. This area has an extremely small population – only about 1,900. This is also a lower income area with homes costing much less. This is also an area where people rely heavy upon public transportation or walking. One of the many attractions here is the Millennium Library which features four stories. As of 2004, this is also where the MTS Centre is, home of the Winnipeg Jets.
In 1848, the area known as Armstrong Point was granted to Captain Joseph Hill by the Hudson Bay Company. The area was always a favorite for those that wanted to explore areas of the Red River. This area was home to many of the important families of Winnipeg. Many of them were businessmen, investors, and even politicians.
The area of Daniel McIntyre is named after an inspector for the schools in 1885. He worked hard to develop and improve the schools in this area. This neighbourhood began to grow in the early 1900s. There were many new people arriving to the area every day and not enough homes for them. The majority of the homes found here date between 1900 and 1914.
The area called Wolseley is one that many in the area are familiar with. Many of the homes are older, and some of the oldest homes in all of Winnipeg are found here. However, due to the demand for more housing there have been many additions throughout the years. As a result, there are plenty of styles of homes and various price ranges for them.
The plans to create various subdivisions were put into motion. The area consists of mostly middle class workers. There are some upper class homes in this area that are occupied by lawyers and doctors. The designs include various styles of two story homes. The type of people living here is very diverse, ranging from young adults to business professionals, and the elderly.
The Robert Steen Community Center offers both indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year. Wolseley is well known for the focus being on nature and reducing the impact of humans on Earth. The nickname for this area is The Granola Belt. There is an organic bakery, fair trade coffee shop, and several organic grocery stores. The Wolseley Elm trees that are prominent here. There are approximately 1,800 homes in this part of Downtown Winnipeg.
Along the outer part of Portage Avenue is Portage-Ellice, and it is shaped like a wedge. The area used to be a big part of the early fur trade that occurred around the Upper Fort Garry area. There was a trail that connected it with a main post for the Hudson Bay Company. Today there are plenty of homes here as well as a shopping mall.
Homes around the Downtown part of Winnipeg can significantly vary in price. In the less economic regions they are about $250,000. The average overall is $380,000. In the higher end areas there is a small percentage of homes that can cost up to $1,500,000.