Your Downtown – From Good to Great: Charting a New Course for the Heart of Our City


June 27, 2016


Downtown Winnipeg – Today in the Downtown Urban Lab, an exciting new space for community programming and entrepreneurship incubation, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ announced its plans for public engagement this spring and summer. Business owners and community partners are invited to share their ideas and visions to help shape the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s strategy for the next three years from 2017 to 2019.

With the help of an engaged community, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has gone from simply being promoters and advocates to instigators and innovators. Currently, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is the friendly and hardworking host that improves the perception of downtown by providing a welcoming environment, keeping things clean and safe, and advocating for continuous and positive change. As Winnipeg’s oldest Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has helped make significant strides downtown over the last 27 years. But in this next Strategic Plan, we’ll ask ourselves: how can the BIZ help downtown go from good to great? Does the role of the BIZ need to evolve and change to meet the needs of the larger community?

“The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has played an important role in keeping the value of our downtown up front and centre in the minds and hearts of Winnipeggers,” says Councillor Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge East Fort Garry). “The planning process they’re about to undertake is appreciated as it will help to gather important community feedback about downtown issues and BIZ programs, and hopefully inspire critical actions to keep the ball moving.”

The 2017-2019 Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Strategic Planning process will engage in dialogue with people who live, work, play, learn, and do business in Downtown Winnipeg to refine our strategy for the next three years. We’ll be popping up and popping in. We’ll be touring and surveying. We’ll host interviews with downtown businesses, community partners, and the public, facilitated in various downtown districts such as Chinatown, North Main Street, Portage and Main, Portage Avenue Retail, SHED and Graham Mall, University of Winnipeg, The Forks, and Broadway. The hub for the hubbub is the new Downtown Urban Lab, a pop-up space for community dialogue and various events, which will run June through September in the former Warehouse One space, at the southeast corner of Portage and Carlton. For a list of events in this space, visit:


  • PHASE 1 – Collection and Engagement – April through September
  • PHASE 2 – Assessment and Vision – September
  • PHASE 3 – Strategy and Writing – October through November

The Strategic Plan process will end with a launch party at the end of November, in our Urban Lab, where we will invite all those who provided their feedback with a fun night to celebrate and to review our 2017-2019 plan.

“Every three years, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ undergoes a vigorous consultation exercise with our members, general public, staff, and our Management Board,” says Stefano Grande, Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “This dialogue provides us with a healthy consideration and critique of our strengths, values, and opportunities moving forward. In addition, this self-appraisal helps us re-confirm our vision, re-set our priorities, re-allocate resources and discuss downtown challenges and opportunities like urban sprawl and infill, a growing car culture and importance of integrated transportation options, and the need for focused development in key areas and streets driven by the communities visions and planning framework. While our refreshed Strategic Plan will be a nimble and flexible document, it provides us with a solid base of actions that we believe are integral change agents critical to get us to closer to our shining vision for the heart of our city.”

Grande added: “We measure our results, reassess and continue moving forward. We are passionate, relentless and love our downtown. The only thing we truly fear is not meeting the high expectations of our members and the public. So we need your voice and want you to get involved!”

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has enlisted the support of Hazel Borys of PlaceMakers,, an international city-planning firm, to help with the planning efforts.

Check out the project website,, for key dates/times on BIZ Member conversations, Downtown Urban Lab, downtown events, and the district-by-district conversations that will be happening this summer.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:
Emily Ormonde, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Tel: (204) 958-4626;