/ by Greg Gallinger

Let's be EXCHANGE students

Robert Galston, writing for the Winnipeg Free Press:

These projects indicate it's an exciting time for downtown, but it won't have reached a turning point until small restaurants opening in vacant storefronts on Portage Avenue are something less than newsworthy. If it is to do this, there are lessons to be learned a few blocks north, in the Exchange District around Albert Street and McDermot Avenue, which is quietly transforming itself into an increasingly fashionable commercial district.

I'll consider Downtown a successful neighbourhood when it's no longer just an event destination. Right now it's banking on the fact that Winnipeggers will come downtown on game days, or when there's a sellout concert. What we really need is a consistent base of people who live and work Downtown and frequent the restaurants, bars and shops in the area even when there's nothing special happening.

Unfortunately it's a chicken / egg situation where people won't come Downtown until there's enough interesting businesses to draw people in, and businesses won't thrive until there's enough density to support them.