The stereotypical trappings of urban living do not make downtown—the people, food and buildings do! I began my downtown living journey when I was 19, and I’ve never looked back. Something about downtown caught my interest when I was ready to move from my 130 square foot dormitory into a more grown-up apartment.
As a young adult, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to create a life in an urban or suburban area. The wonderful thing about downtown Winnipeg is that combines the very best parts of Winnipeg into one neighbourhood! As the years advance and I shuffle between different downtown streets, downtown feels more and more like home.
Whether you love parks, museums, music venues or creative attractions, downtown Winnipeg has something to make your heart sing. Downtown really optimizes its space with something interesting to see, eat and/or do around every corner.
A Mixture of Old and New
Downtown mixes the old and the new, showcasing Winnipeg’s attachment to its historical buildings by preserving them, scattered between modernized high rises. The older buildings are comforting and make downtown feel like more than just another concrete jungle. These mature buildings are one of the major reasons why I moved and stayed downtown; they’re full of stories of what Winnipeg used to be like, and how my grandparents and parents lived their lives in these streets.
You’re Never Hungry
Downtown serves as a melting pot, bringing together diverse people into one place—and it really shows through the food! There’s an assortment of eateries, which is great news for foodies like me. You can turn on to any street and be greeted by mom-and-pop bistros, one-of-a-kind cafes, or the familiar chain restaurants you can eat at just about everywhere (which I swear taste better downtown, for some reason). Food and I have a pretty steady relationship, and by living downtown I get the opportunity to experiment with all sorts of flavours!
Small town living has its romance, but urban living creates intense proximity between you and the people around you. It’s a common misconception that people who live in the heart of cities don’t interact with each other, but I beg to differ! You share laughs with the people at the bus stop as you joke about how Winnipeg Transit buses never seem to arrive on time, make small talk with the folks on the bus that you’re sardined against, groan along with people as you wait in the ridiculously long line at Tim’s, and smile at the person who held the elevator door open for you. These small but meaningful interactions make up the connections of downtown dwellers. You feel that connection because frankly, you can’t help it—you’re always in close proximity to someone.
The People Around You
It goes without saying that in some cities, downtown can seem cold and unwelcoming. However, I believe that the benefits of urban living can be seen in each unique neighbourhood. Each neighbourhood tells the story of the people who live there, and my neighbourhood downtown is full of people from all walks of life. In my apartment building, my neighbours include a family from across the pond who made me fresh juice when I moved in, an elderly man who gives everyone a Christmas card each year, and a few male university students who shovel the front walkway every winter without being asked. Maybe I’m lucky to know my neighbours, but with the hustle and bustle of downtown life, these types of people really shine a light on downtown Winnipeg’s unique spirit.
City life is not always relaxing, and you really need to become accustomed to the parades of cars, constant mummers of conversation and the fast-paced environment. But when you look between the lines of it all, you see the beauty of downtown.
Whether you’re a foodie, an art enthusiast, a people-watcher or just someone who loves a fast-paced life, downtown Winnipeg welcomes you. Now you tell us: what about downtown draws you in?