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.

a framework for action

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


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.


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. 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.


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.


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.


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. 

Applications are now open!

Building Business Grant Program

Funding assistance provided by the Manitoba government.

As a part of the Building Business stream of Winnipeg’s Downtown Recovery Strategy, the Building Business Grant Program has been developed with the following objectives:

  • Create and maintain jobs in downtown Winnipeg.
  • Create and fill visually appealing storefronts, offices, and workspaces, making downtown an attractive destination for individuals and businesses.
  • Support existing businesses and attract new businesses committed to growing our downtown economy.
  • Increase the resilience of downtown businesses by helping them build their skills and capacity.
  • Make downtown safer and more vibrant by increasing the number of people visiting and working here.

This program has been designed with supports for all types of downtown businesses. Whether your business is new to downtown or has been here for many years, this grant is here to help!

For detailed information please review the
Building Business Grant Program Guide

If you are ready to apply visit the
Building Business Grant Program Application Page

If you have questions please contact us at

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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, provides tax increment financing grants for development projects that result in job creation, conservation of heritage buildings, and the redevelopment of downtown surface parking lots. 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.

Download the report here.

latest news

New marketing plan to help downtown recover


Province of Manitoba invests in downtown recovery


New affordable housing program launched


Air Canada Park RFP issued


Tax increment financing supports downtown recovery


COVID-19 impacts on downtown Winnipeg


Downtown Winnipeg is celebrating Culture Days with free art, music, dance, workshops, events, markets, and experiences at featured downtown destinations. From October 1 to 8, enjoy immersive and entertaining family-friendly experiences throughout downtown Winnipeg as we embrace Downtown Culture Days.

Check back as we update the schedules at each location!


At each of the locations, find the street artist creating a floating mural! The mural will only be around for one day at each venue so make sure to catch it!

Take your picture at the Photo Prop Opp set up at each of the featured venues. Share on social media and use #downtownculturedays to be entered to win a gift package!

Central Park

October 1 & 2 noon to 4pm each day

West End BIZ invites the community to come together for entertainment, storytelling, singing, dancing, a community marketplace and more! Get hands-on through assorted workshops including Ukrainian wreath making with the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre Oseredok, button making with Art City, Object Puppetry with Green Kids, sidewalk chalk with Pink Panda, and even more crafting with the Winnipeg Art Gallery.


The Forks

October 2 through to October 7 - 5pm to 7pm

Five days of culture for all - including Winnipeg’s biggest kitchen party, singalongs, concerts and open dance classes – is taking place at The Forks. Head to The Forks for new experiences each night as part of Downtown Culture Days.


Stephen Juba Park

October 6 and 7

Come connect, reflect and celebrate Culture Days in the Exchange District! At Stephen Juba Park, it’s all about reflection as local artists and activities rooted in land and culture are showcased, with music echoing across the Red River and breathing life into installations displayed along the waterfront.



October 6 and 7 (time TBC)

Visit Old Market Square to explore the many ways in which the Exchange District beckons us, with its vibrant history, iconic architecture, world-class art, and above all, its people. Engage with multifaceted installations, film projections, and diverse performances in the Cube and throughout the Square.



October 7 & 8

The Winnipeg Chinese Cultural Centre welcomes everyone to a unique open-air market experience in Winnipeg’s Chinatown. Taking after popular night market themes across Asia, the Winnipeg Chinatown Night Market engages, celebrates, revitalizes and empowers local businesses. The event brings new life to the neighbourhood during this significant cultural time through a multi-sensory day of music, flavours, performance and dance.



October 8

Hargrave St. Market presents a cultural festival that invites you to enjoy some of our city's best musical, culinary, and arts in "Heart of the City" on October 8th. Start the day with family oriented arts and entertainment - design your own "heart of the city" t shirt with FFO while you dance your hearts out at the Wacky Doodle Dance Party (for kids) lead by DJ's Co-Op and K-Chedda. Enjoy performances by local dancers and entertainers all day long! Performances by Cassidy Mann, Fontaine, Sierra Noble, Boogie the Beat, Mariachi Ghost, and Dirty Catfish Hot + Dirty Dance Party! DJs Anthony OKs, Hunnicutt, Zuki, Swift and Dad will keep you dancing all night long!