Winnipeg's
Downtown
Recovery
Strategy

a framework for action

Winnipeg’s downtown is the city’s heartbeat. It’s the place where Winnipeggers gather to celebrate their cultures, creativity, and pride. COVID-19 impacted the livelihood of downtown more acutely than elsewhere in Winnipeg and disproportionately affected Winnipeggers facing poverty and systemic barriers, many of whom reside downtown.

But we are coming back. Several organizations who care about the future of our downtown have come together to help our downtown recover with the support of all three levels of government. The Downtown Recovery Strategy is an innovative and intensive three-year, coordinated action and investment plan to kick-start downtown recovery post-pandemic.

Download Winnipeg's
downtown recovery Framework
and check back here for
the latest project and program updates.

New marketing plan to help downtown recover

RFP released

August 5, 2022

The Downtown Action Team responsible for implementing the Downtown Recovery Strategy, is seeking a marketing firm/team for the development and implementation of a “Support
Downtown” marketing campaign. Proposals must be submitted by Friday, August 26, 2022 at 3:00PM CDT.

Download the RFP to learn more.

Province of Manitoba invests in downtown recovery

New programs to help businesses set-up and expand in downtown

July 18, 2022

Today the Province of Manitoba announced $2.5 million in support for a new program under the Building Business Stream of the Downtown Recovery Strategy. The program includes business improvement grants, a ground floor incubation strategy to match entrepreneurs with vacant spaces downtown, new market research and marketing campaign. If you’re a business owner interested in the new program, please sign up here for updates.

More information on the Building Business Program and grant applications will be available soon.

New affordable housing program launched

City of Winnipeg targets $20 million for downtown recovery

April 8, 2022

The Affordable Housing Now program launched by the City of Winnipeg, and administered in partnership with CentreVenture, provides capital grants and tax increment financing (TIF) grants for private and non-profit developers building affordable housing in downtown Winnipeg. This new program also enable developers to qualify for federal programs requiring support from another level of government. To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit the program website or reach out to staff at CentreVenture.

Air Canada Park RFP issued

Professional public engagement firm/team sought

June 1, 2022

Air Canada Window Park is a heavily used park in downtown Winnipeg, identified for revitalization through the Downtown Recovery Strategy . This RFP for public engagement services is the first phase of investment in the park funded by the City of Winnipeg. Download the RFP Document to learn more.

Tax increment financing supports downtown recovery

$10 million to be invested in new downtown developments

June 1, 2022

The new City of Winnipeg Heritage and Economic Development Incentive (HEDI) program, administered in partnership with CentreVenture, supports development projects that result in job creation, conservation of heritage buildings, and the redevelopment of downtown surface parking lots. The program provides tax increment financing grants based on program criteria, including minimum thresholds for private capital investment and economic outcomes. To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit the program website or reach out to staff at CentreVenture.

COVID-19 impacts on downtown Winnipeg

New report shows significant challenges post-pandemic

July 21, 2021

The State of the Downtown report captures the quantitative impacts of the pandemic to date, and highlights the impacts on the people behind the numbers, and includes immediate calls to action. This report, along with 20 roundtable discussions, reaching 110 people from various community sectors in the downtown formed the basis for the Downtown Recovery Framework.

Action Areas

  • Prioritize tree planting, sidewalk repair, lighting, and eliminating accessibility barriers on key pedestrian corridors.
  • Invest in high impact infrastructure projects to improve destinations and better connect and sustain downtown’s distinct districts, while encouraging surrounding economic investment.
  • Design and implement a new accessible and inclusive wayfinding strategy for downtown. 
  • Host community clean-up events and develop a rapid-response public space cleanliness strategy or service.

Revitalizing
Places

Energizing
Spaces

Action Areas

  • Create a ‘Downtown Events Fund’ to help existing festivals adapt to hosting large gatherings that ensure public safety and respond to the lasting effects of the pandemic. The fund will also seed new and expanded public events that will fill downtown spaces with Winnipeggers and tourists once again. Initiatives that raise downtown business revenue, advance cultural understanding and reconciliation, and increase winter visitation will be the focus of this fund.
  • Establish a ‘Pop-Up Spaces Program’, that includes moveable and re-useable capital infrastructure, to activate four-season, under-utilized spaces throughout the downtown, creating new reasons to visit and experience downtown.
  • Launch a multi-faceted ‘Spend Downtown’ marketing campaign, providing engaging cross-promotional opportunities to support existing retail, hospitality, and arts and cultural businesses. 

Supporting
People

Action Areas

  • Expand community outreach presence on the streets.
  • Collaborate with existing community partners to develop and secure long-term sustainable funding for low-barrier 24-hour safe spaces and prioritize supporting Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
  • Adopt a harm reduction approach and provide safe amenities such as additional public washrooms and drinking water locations throughout the downtown.
  • Establish connections between downtown businesses and community-based groups that serve Winnipeggers facing poverty to reduce stigma, deepen understanding, and enhance collaboration.

Living
Downtown

Action Areas

  • Initiate 1,500 new mixed-income downtown housing units over the next three years using tax increment financing.
  • Augment affordable housing initiatives to overcome hurdles to developing low-barrier, transitional, and social housing, such as the need for downtown land or building acquisition.
  • Develop and align a marketing plan with downtown’s educational institutions to match students with new downtown living options.
  • Advocate for and support efforts to restart and increase international immigration to Winnipeg.

Building
Business

Action Areas

  • Develop a campaign to support and encourage companies to bring workers back downtown and to attract new companies to locate downtown, including methods for safe return and promotion of the unique amenities and offerings in the downtown.
  • Establish a robust ground floor incubation strategy to mentor and match emerging businesses with empty downtown storefront locations. 
  • Establish a Business Improvement Grant for existing businesses to make interior and exterior improvements and for development to support long term business strategy and growth.
  • Replenish CentreVenture’s gap financing fund in support of challenging revitalization projects, including surface parking lot redevelopment.