Broadway Will Buzz


Broadway will buzz with series of fests
Last year’s Ciclovia grows into multi-event party

By: Bartley Kives

Bike mechanic Matt Mayor of Cycleworks tunes up a rider’s bike for free at Ciclovia last year.

The largest street party to be held downtown since Glen Murray was mayor is coming to Broadway late this summer.

What began as a one-day bike-and-pedestrian festival in 2009 has mushroomed into five events over three days during the second weekend of September, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ plans to announce today.

Ciclovia, a celebration of car-free culture that started out as a pilot project last year, will be back for a second run on Sunday, Sept. 12, said Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown BIZ.

It will be joined by a Saturday-night dance that’s part of Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital of Canada festivities, a two-day wine-and-cheese tasting, a pair of road races and a two-day lighting competition between four firms vying to permanently illuminate the elms along Broadway.

The success of the first Ciclovia, which involves closing a network of city streets to make way for events such as bike demos and a farmers’ market, led the BIZ to consider expanding the event this year, Grande said.

The City of Winnipeg provided $20,000 worth of seed money last year on a one-time basis, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said. That funding will also flow this year, but the intention is for the Broadway events to be self-sustaining, through corporate sponsorships.

The original plan was to hold Ciclovia and the other events over four weekends, said Bruce Rathbone, a promoter who said he helped come up with lighting-competition idea.

“It was supposed to be a lot longer,” said Rathbone, who is not organizing any of the Broadway events. He is the upset the city will not waive a series of charges intended to recover the cost of the street closures.

“As usual, the city is thinking about their coffers and it’s the public that actually gets shafted,” said Rathbone, a former business partner of the mayor’s. “These are events who won’t complain publicly, for fear of offending the city.”

Grande, however, said he is thrilled with the expanded lineup of events. Katz said he, too, supports the idea, but cautioned the city funding is not permanent.

Former mayor Murray was criticized heavily for spending approximately $700,000 in 2001 and 2002 to hold a pair of elaborate street parties called Get Together Downtown.

Street festivals return
Events planned for Broadway during the second weekend of September:

Taste of Downtown Winnipeg (Sept. 10-12): Seven wine-tasting stations and seven higher-end food vendors will set up on Broadway for three days, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Big Dance on Broadway (Sept. 11): The organizers behind Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital of Canada programming are presenting live music on two stages from 4 to 11 p.m. on the Saturday. Performers include the Ron Paley Big Band, Papa Mambo and The Wind-ups.

Lights on Broadway (Sept. 11-12): Four lighting-design firms will illuminate elms on Broadway as part of a contest to determine which company gets to create a permanent display in 2011 on the downtown artery. The lights will go on at sundown on both Saturday and Sunday.

10+10 Road Race (Sept. 12): A pair of road races — one 10 kilometres, the other 10 miles (16 kilometres) — will take place Sunday morning.

Ciclovia (Sept. 12): Winnipeg’s second annual celebration of bike and pedestrian culture will take place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A network of car-free streets will stretch from Assiniboine Park to The Forks. Broadway and other streets will have bike demos, crafts, fitness classes, a farmers’ market and kids’ activities.