Unless you've been under a rock for the last couple years, you'll have noticed something changing. The inhabitants in this city of ours are asking for more. Well... not only asking, but making. They are the thinkers, the dreamers, and (most importantly) the doers. The people driving the change. This month we look at a couple of my favourite spaces and businesses making all of our experiences in this city that much better.
From my recollection the first real shift, or at the very least what made it’s way onto my radar, was Deer and Almond. Dreamt by Mandel Hitzer. A name that most all Winnipeg now knows, and loves. Mandel, of course, being the brainchild behind our now oh so popular RAW Almond dining experience on one of the frozen rivers that birthed our city. For me that was the beginning, other than the nightclub scene dominated by a select few. (You know who I’m talking about.) A few developed residential buildings such as The Edge on Princess and the Ashdown Warehouse, and the art galleries that had been established years ago. From there things sprouted. More and more businesses started moving in, more and more restaurants and new retail. It was happening, the resurgence, the gentrification, the dreams of the new business leaders and entrepreneurs coming to fruition.
Now you can’t walk the exchange without the proverbial “diamond in the rough” catching your eye. Restaurant and cafes like King+Bannatyne, Parlour Coffee, Choi Sabi and Peasant Cookery. (If you haven’t had the brisket at King+Bannatyne, you are either crazy or vegetarian. *disclaimer* Being vegetarian is not bad, please don’t send me mean emails. Lounges and nightclubs, dreamt up by DJ's and bartenders, and fantastic social events held in well designed social spaces.
This has caught the attention of the larger developers. Streetside Development Corporation for one. Streetside has purchased a number of buildings in the exchange and had begun the phases of redevelopment of these building sometime in the last couple years. (Call me if you’d like to live in one) And more recently, the long vacant Galpern/Porter building at 165 McDermot is being redeveloped into residential rental suites and townhouse units. A grand accompaniment to the now open Forth at 171 McDermot. (See article in my blog). So... its happening. There is so much happening I can barely scratch the surface. It’s exciting, it’s infectious and I’ve caught the bug. A day or eve in the exchange has transformed so much in so little time. We are getting there... but looking to the future, it’s only a drop in the ocean of potential for this little pearl of the prairies... and I can't wait to see what's next.