Downtown Winnipeg is centred on Portage Avenue and Main Street, and is bounded by the Assiniboine River on the south, Colony and Balmoral Streets on the west, Notre Dame Avenue, Princess Street, and Logan Avenue on the north, and the Red River on the east. It includes the Exchange District, Central Park, The Forks, and Winnipeg's Chinatown. The downtown area is roughly three square kilometres. Portage Avenue is the city's busiest thoroughfare. Winnipeg Square, the MTS Centre, Portage Place, and the flagship store of the Bay are all located on the downtown section of this street.
On Main Street are Winnipeg's City Hall, Union Station, and the Manitoba Centennial Centre, which includes the Manitoba Museum, the Planetarium, the Centennial Concert Hall and the Winnipeg Railway Museum. Although over 60,000 people work downtown, only 12,720 (2001 Census) people actually live in the Downtown area.
There are several residential projects under construction on Waterfront Drive and in the Exchange District, and the residential population of the area is projected to increase substantially in the next few years.
The Downtown Winnipeg Zoning By-Law defines the boundaries of the Downtown planning area, and several sectors within it. The downtown census area is slightly smaller, omitting a three-block extension at the north edge. There is also a significantly larger Downtown community area, used for Community Social Data Strategy for Winnipeg.
The Waterfront District is a newly emerging district located in the northeast corner of downtown Winnipeg. The area runs along the west bank of the Red River along the recently built Waterfront Drive and features Stephen Juba Park.
The Waterfront district has been undergoing a construction boom since 2005.
Sunstone Boutique Hotels has an $11-million plan to build a three-storey, 67-room boutique hotel on what is now a gravel parking lot, along with a new casual-dining restaurant in the one-storey brick former Harbourmaster's building. The plans also involve construction of a public plaza area at the south end of the property.
Central Park is one of Winnipeg's most densely populated neighbourhood with 13,755 people per square km according to Statistics Canada's 2001 Census. 70 per cent of all refugees coming to Winnipeg live downtown, in and around the Central Park area. Central Park includes many different ethnicities including Arabs, Vietnamese, Chinese, Ojibway, Filipinos, and African (more than half being African).
With the increase in the African population, Central Park has been transforming in recent years. It is now the home to the 'Central Market', with more markets planned to come. Many of the markets will sell handmade fashion and imported African crafts.
During warm Saturday nights, live entertainment fills the air, residents enjoy free Sunday movie screenings to enjoy an evening outdoors. The Knox Centre at Knox United Church presents international films in various languages - with English subtitles - every Thursday evening.
The Exchange District is a National Historic Site of Canada. Just one block north of Canada's most famous intersection, Portage and Main, the Exchange District comprises twenty city blocks and approximately 150 heritage buildings, and it is known for its intact turn-of-the-century collection of warehouses, financial institutions, and early terra cotta clad skyscrapers.
Winnipeg's theatre district is located on the east side of the Exchange District, home to the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Centennial Concert Hall which houses the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Manitoba Opera. The west side of the Exchange is home to Cinematheque, a small movie theatre located in the Artspace building on Albert Street.
The Exchange District's Old Market Square annually hosts the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition. Renovations to Old Market Square completed in 2012 added "The Cube", a new $1.5 million stage, with a skin made up of 20,000 aluminum links. The stage contains a built-in lighting system, green room and two performance levels.
Broadway-Assiniboine lies in the southern part of downtown on the north bank of the Assiniboine River. The neighbourhood is one of the more densely populated in Winnipeg, with 14,895 people per square kilometre. It features many notable landmarks such as the Hotel Fort Garry and the Manitoba Legislative Building. Broadway-Assiniboine features the "Assiniboine Riverwalk" and is home to many notable restaurants.
The population of Broadway-Assiniboine was 5,080 as of the 2006 Census. The most common transportation method of the people in South Portage is walking, with 41.1%, more than six and a half times higher than the overall 6.2% for Winnipeg. The average employment income for the area is just $28,818, which is lower than Winnipeg's average employment income of $33,518.
South Portage is the group of blocks located between Portage Avenue, Main Street, Broadway and Memorial Boulevard.
The population of South Portage was 1,860 as of the 2006 Census. The most common transportation method of the people in South Portage is walking, with 34.4%, more than five times higher than the overall 6.2% for Winnipeg. The average employment income for the area is just $24,856, which is lower than Winnipeg's average employment income of $33,518.
South Portage is the home of the main branch of the Winnipeg Public Library system, the four-storey Millennium Library. The area also boasts the Winnipeg Convention Centre which features 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) of meeting, exhibition and banquet space. Opened in 2004, Winnipeg's MTS Centre is located just south of Portage Avenue and is home to the Winnipeg Jets. The area also features the Law Courts, cityplace mall and VJ's Drive Inn. There are numerous office buildings and hotels in this area, including some of Winnipeg's tallest buildings.
Winnipeg's public transit hub is located on the Graham Avenue Transit Mall, as many bus routes converge there.
Winnipeg's Chinatown covers 0.1 square kilometres (0.039 sq mi) northwest of City Hall and is home to about 600 people, of whom 90% are in the Chinese visible minority group. 40.5% of the area's residents speak neither English nor French (as compared to 1% of Winnipeg as a whole), while 71.1% of residents speak some variant of Chinese (including Cantonese, Mandarin and Chinese not otherwise specified).
Winnipeg Walkway System
- "(UD) : 2001 Census". Winnipeg.ca. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
-  2006 Census data
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