December 19, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MILLENNIUM LIBRARY PARK & FESTIVALS, AMONG TOP 10 LIST OF DOWNTOWN ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2012
Downtown Winnipeg – As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped to shape our city in a significant way. Before we ring in the New Year, the BIZ takes a moment to look back on the year that was and what has been accomplished in the heart of our city in 2012.
“We can feel Winnipeg’s urban canvas taking shape, bringing us together, weaving more and more into the fabric of our everyday lives,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown BIZ. “We know what works, we have a plan, we have all of the right tools, and our downtown can become as vibrant as we hope it to be. We need to work together.”
Most Winnipeggers agree that there is much to be proud of in 2012 in our city’s vibrant core. Here is their top 10 list of downtown achievements, as compiled by the Downtown BIZ and responses on Twitter and Facebook:
Top 10 Downtown Achievements in 2012 (in no particular order):
1. The recent completion of Phase One for our city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line demonstrates how our city and our downtown can become more connected and accessible. Now more than ever do we require demonstrated leadership in implementing our vision for transportation – a critical piece in bringing people downtown.
2. Splashes of colour, art, and landscape architecture has animated downtown Winnipeg with the recent opening of Millennium Library Park and four newly added public artworks, Marbles on Portage (by Erica Swendrowski), emptyful (by Bill Pechet), Sentinel of Truth (by Darren Stebeleksi), and North Watch (by Ivan Eyre).
3. Plans for our city’s central entertainment district, the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED) are beginning to unfold as streetscaping improvements and bold, new mixed-used developments will create new opportunities for street-level restaurants and retail – helping create that vibrancy we seek.
4. Winnipeg’s community pride will be forever enshrined in the hearts and minds of Canadians, as the BIZ’s Canada Day Living Flag photo was selected by Canada Post as part of their Canadian Pride stamp series, to be issued January 2013. The chosen photo showcases the participation of more than 3,000 Winnipeggers who stood shoulder to shoulder, adorned in red and white t-shirts and other patriotic attire, to form Canada’s largest living flag.
5. Downtown housing options continue to emerge. The innovative tax policies championed by the BIZ and the $40 million in tax incentives under the Downtown Residential Development Grant (DRDG) Program is helping create over 1,700 new residential units downtown. Three 20+ storey housing projects are underway, such as: Glasshouse Skylofts and D Condos on Assiniboine.
6. A $12.5-million transformation of a 100-year old historical building into the ‘Avenue Building on Portage’, a six-storey, 75-apartment complex, was the talk of the town this year – inviting more and more people to consider the benefits of an urban lifestyle.
7. The long-awaited plans for the Winnipeg Convention Centre expansion were announced this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to see the increased tourism and economic benefits.
8. The newly restored Metropolitan Theatre opened its doors, and will hopefully be frequented en masse by the growing number of downtown residents.
9. Events like ManyFest, Nuit Blanche, Pride Festival, and the Santa Claus Parade, show Canada once again that Winnipeg is the city with the brightest, most vibrant community of people, arts, entertainment, and active living.
10. After years of advocating, the transition of our successful Outreach Program to 10 permanent WPS cadets means sustained delivery of downtown safety services, related to assisting intoxicated people. The addition of 18 new WPS foot patrols this year – with a commitment of more to come – continues to be an area of advocacy for the BIZ.
Some notable downtown statistics:
• Over 38,000 people danced, cycled, and strolled down Broadway for ManyFest
• 3,400 people showed their national pride at the Canada Day Living Flag
• 138,088 visits to the BIZ website annually, up 11% from 2011
• 30 new bike racks on downtown sidewalks, 19 new bike racks at Millennium Library Park
• 8,222 Downtown Spirit riders
• 12 full-time and 2 part-time Metro Enviro-Team members, cleaning downtown weekdays, weekends and evenings
• Raised over $119,000 at 2nd annual CEO Sleepout, in support of homeless employment programs
To read about other downtown achievements this year, visit www.downtownwinnipegbiz.com to view a copy of the BIZ’s 2012 Annual Report.
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For more information, please contact:
Jason Syvixay, Public Relations Coordinator
Ph: (204) 958-4635; Cell: 997-3040