Survey shows downtown business may be down – but investment in downtown Winnipeg is up

November 26, 2020 Winnipeg, MB – A survey conducted by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ shows just how challenging it is for downtown businesses right now and while there are still many uncertainties, a new report shows optimism for the future of downtown Winnipeg.

Presented for the first time at Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Annual General Meeting, the 2020 Downtown Snapshot includes data that provides insight into some of the key areas of the neighbourhood. The report includes information about employment fields, residency demographics, amenities, and future development projects. The new data shows growth in capital investments with new projects having a combined construction value of an estimated $1 billion.

While there is reason to be optimistic, it’s clear there are immediate challenges that downtown businesses are facing. Data from a survey conducted Nov. 17-24, 2020 of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ members, indicated that if circumstances don’t change, 47% of small businesses said that they won’t be able to stay in business more than six months. This is up significantly from a survey conducted in September, where 27% of respondents said the same. Businesses also shared their top two concerns right now are not having enough income to stay in business and the safety of their staff and customers.

“We know this year has been a challenge, and we are here to help businesses manage through and recover after the pandemic but they do need increased support right now,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “There’s a long road ahead and we know it’s difficult, but if we look even just one or two years out, there are major investments still underway that will grow our downtown and keep the economic engine going. The snapshot helps us understand where we are at and where the opportunities are so we can set measureable, data-based goals for the future.”

Some highlights from the snapshot include:

  • New capital projects underway in downtown Winnipeg have a combined construction value of an estimated $1 billion.
  • Despite a challenging year, 19 new businesses opened their doors in downtown Winnipeg in 2020.
  • An estimated 16,000 people live downtown, with another 2,000 expected in the next two years.
  • Over 30 nationalities are represented downtown. Indigenous people make up 15% of the downtown population.
  • There are 197 restaurants and 124 places to shop downtown.
  • There are over 20,500 parking spots, 25km of bike lanes and downtown is serviced by 48 bus routes

The full report is published on our website.

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ encourages Winnipeggers to support local, especially headed into the holiday season. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Shop online. Many stores will ship to your home or provide curbside pick-up options. Take advantage of our 15-minute curbside pick-up locations (indicated by a bright pink painted curb).
  • Order delivery or takeout – another opportunity to take advantage of our curbside pick-up locations.
  • Tune in to online classes or virtual gatherings.
  • Share your support! Encourage your friends and family to support and tell them about the downtown businesses you love.


Pamela Hardman, Director of Marketing, Engagement and Communications Cell: 204-806-2506 Email: pamela@downtownwinnipegbiz.com