Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking back

-Ken Zaifman, immigrant lawyer, would-be boutique motel developer, and SRO manager, had a plan to demolish a commercial building for a drive-way off Albert Street. The plan came and came again. While Mr. Zaifman did not bring mud wrestling back to the St. Charles as threatened, he did quietly re-open it as an single-room-occupancy hotel for a number of months.
-Welcome to Winnipeg, you trendy corporate pigs. A chain retailer moved to an existing building on a traditional shopping street for the first time in decades. They were vandalized for their efforts.
-The Friends of Upper Fort Garry and their allies had a busy year. Between contradicting themselves, misleading the public, learning that business people outside the perimeter actually follow contract law, interestingly ignoring the Manitoba Club, and just plain embarrassing themselves, it is understandable they did not have the time to get moving on their World Class Heritage Park. We'll see what next year brings.
-Waverley West, the Manitoba NDP's model suburb of tomorrow, turned out to be yesterday's Linden Woods.
-The City picked up where they left off in the 1960s, and took out a good chunk of Main Street. Lavish tax breaks soon followed. All for a building of which the final "architectural" renderings were too ugly to show the public, and the ultimate outcome was even worse.
(And during this willful desecration of Main Street, the City removed two port-o-potties at Higgins and Main in the name of aesthetic context. Heh.)
-David Asper was in Point Douglas to sell his football stadium snake oil in June. I almost bought it. Almost. But at least Mr. Asper came out to talk with residents when a stadium in Point Douglas was was still an issue.
-A specter began to haunt Ellice Avenue, which thanks to this blog, made local and national headlines. (The Globe & Mail even quoted from this blog AND attributed it. Gee whiz.)
-Winnipeg Centre M.P. and grand-stand afficionado Pat Martin, along with some make-the-inner-city-a-[Zionist-free]Kibbutz activists, began fighting for Canada Post to turn its recently acquired land on Portage and Broadway over to Gordon Bell H.S. for recreation purposes. Could a regulation-sized soccer field even fit that triangular piece of land? Or is that besides the point?
-Who knew? Converting a residential street to one-way traffic for the sake of a handful of obscure express transit routes make for good urbanism according to the founder of the Institute of Urban Studies.
-The Main Street Monstrosity wasn't the only visual abortion thrown up by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in 2008. They also managed to make Portage Avenue look a little more dismal. Can't wait to see their 100,000 square-foot office downtown.
-Merry Christmas, insecure provincials. IKEA is coming, and people can't stop swooning, even though it will take longer to drive there than it will to the one in Minneapolis.
Of course, there were some good and not entirely ridiculous things going on: the sidewalks in the West Exchange District, around Albert Street and McDermot, became increasingly populated, and the area continued to develop as a bona fide retail district; Birk's Jewelers returned downtown--to Main and Lombard; the Black Sheep Diner on Ellice and Langside began serving delightful omelettes (and perhaps the only vegan breakfast in town?); Willows Coffee shop at Sutherland and McFarlane finally got up and running; parts of north Point Douglas continued to clean up, ditto West Broadway it seemed; and the Tallest Poppy and Yuki Sushi on Main Street appeared to continue to do well.

A happy new year to everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a year of insightful commentary Rob. Have a great 09.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No BRT mention? Why so shy about talking transit, Mr. Urban?

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a waste of time and effort to talk about maybe?
i mean its only purpose is to take people out of the core and out to a university built in the suburbs..

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Grammar Nazi said...

Shift+Option+ the hyphen key to do a proper em dash on a Mac OS X keyboard.

2008=Epic Fail! Better luck next year, Winnipeg.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To whoever said "no BRT mention?" I can only point out, "why bother?" To date, the status of BRT is exactly the same as it was under Murray, and exactly the same as a hundred other Winnipeg megaprojects: it's been announced, but not fully financed, with no actual construction underway. So why mention it?

Change isn't merely the scent (or stench) of change.

1:06 PM  

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