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The Future of the Exchange District

A planning process for guiding priorities in developing the future of Winnipeg's historic core.

The modern history of the Exchange District is marked by several waves of renewal and investment. It began in the 1970’s with the recognition of the area’s important and unique place in the history of North America as witnessed by its impressive collection of intact architecture from Winnipeg’s boom period of the late 19th and early 20th Century. Each wave was preceded by the development of a common vision and principles to guide the area’s future. In each case, area stakeholders from both the public and private sector, as well as the community that believed in its future, came together to create this vision.

The most recent plan for the area dates back nearly 20 years, with most of its aims complete or in their final stages, with no new unifying vision to succeed it. In recent years, many have noted that several controversial moves in the Exchange District stem from this lack of a current unifying vision and no principles to guide the area’s continuing growth. Working with the City of Winnipeg, the Exchange District BIZ is currently leading the creation of a long-term plan for the area.

Project Aims

Funded by the office of Mayor Brian Bowman with contributions from the City of Winnipeg’s Gail Parvin Hammerquist Fund, and the Province of Manitoba’s Heritage Grants Program, this project aims to create a cohesive vision and plan for the Exchange District that will guide and inform future planning for the area.

The purpose of the plan is to:

  • define the long-range vision for the Exchange District;
  • generate ideas to guide future design and development;
  • identify strategies to attract investment and support the Exchange District’s continued activation;
  • outline programs and tools to protect and enhance the Exchange District’s historic character.

Process Timelines

PHASE 1: SPRING/SUMMER 2020
Background Review and Project Setup

PHASE 2: FALL 2020 TO WINTER 2021
Vision, Ideas, and Parameters

PHASE 3: WINTER TO SPRING 2021
Strategy Development

PHASE 4: SPRING 2021
Exchange District Plan

FALL 2020 TO SPRING 2021 AND BEYOND
Community Engagement

Future Vision Essays

What could the Exchange District look like in 30 years? The Exchange District BIZ asked 5 Winnipeggers to describe their vision for the untapped potential of this unique neighbourhood, and put to paper the possible futures we can look forward to if that potential is unleashed. These essays are intended to spark conversation, imagination and set the stage for the community surveys we will be launching the following week. You can find these essays below in the Plan Updates and Posts section, as they are published.

Community Surveys

Over the course of two weeks, we will seek input through four surveys focused on the themes of Community, Character, Connectivity and Resilience. You will find each of these below as they are published.


Plan Updates and Posts

Survey: Resilience and adaptation

Resilient neighbourhoods are able to adapt to changing conditions and adverse events. How will the Exchange District need to adapt in order to maintain and increase the neighbourhood’s health in the years ahead?

Learn More

Survey: Connectivity and getting around

Tell us about the Exchange District’s “Connectivity”— the way the area interacts with various modes of transportation within and connected to the area.

Learn More

Survey: Character and a sense of place

Many people say the Exchange District’s best quality is its “character.” How do you see its character, and what aspects of it should we focus on in the years ahead?

Learn More

Survey: Becoming a Complete Community

Weigh in on the Exchange District’s potential to become a sustainable neighbourhood.

Learn More

Today We are Believers!

Former Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray imagines celebrating his 93rd birthday on a patio in an Exchange District transformed by innovation.

Learn More

Welcome to Our Home

Longtime Exchange District resident Deborah Zanke describes a thriving neighbourhood in 30 years via a note to those house-sitting her condo for the summer.

Learn More

Project Team

The Exchange District is working in partnership with the City of Winnipeg, and with the support of the following firms:

Planning and Design: Scatliff Miller + Murray

Transportation & Mobility: MORR Transportation Consulting

Heritage and Cultural Planning: EVOQ Strategies