Exchange District

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Exchange District
National Historic Site of Canada
Winnipeg Exchange District.jpg
Buildings in Winnipeg's Exchange District
Province Manitoba
Municipality Winnipeg
Established 1881
Website Winnipeg's Exchange District National Historic Site official website

The Exchange District is a National Historic Site of Canada in the downtown area of Winnipeg, Manitoba, 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,[1] and it is known for its intact early 20th century collection of warehouses, financial institutions, and early terra cotta clad skyscrapers.[2]

History[edit]

Entrance to the Grain Exchange building at 167 Lombard Ave

The Exchange District’s name originates from the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, the former centre of the grain industry in Canada, as well as other commodity exchanges which developed in Winnipeg between 1881–1918, some of which are still active today.[3] (see Winnipeg Commodity Exchange)

Winnipeg was one of the fastest growing cities in North America around the turn of the 20th century. The city became known as the Chicago of the North. Much of Winnipeg’s remaining architecture of the late 1800s and early 1900s is heavily influenced by the Chicago style.[3] By 1911, Winnipeg had become the third largest city in Canada. At the time it had more than two dozen rail lines converging near the city center along with over 200 wholesale businesses.[3]

World War I and the opening of the Panama Canal in 1913 slowed Winnipeg's growth, as there was a new route for shipping goods from Eastern Canada and Europe to Western Canada and from East Asia to the larger markets on the Eastern seaboard.[3] After this period much of Winnipeg’s development shifted to Portage Avenue and streets to the south like Broadway and on towards Osborne Village - the stagnant growth of the Exchange District meant that few buildings were demolished in the subsequent decades. As a result, Winnipeg has one of the most historically intact early 20th century commercial districts in North America.[3]

In the early 1980s the streetscaping in the area was improved with the creation of wider sidewalks, historically appropriate street furniture, lighting, and decorative paving patterns and materials.[2]

On September 27, 1997, the Winnipeg Exchange District was declared a National Historic Site by then federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps.[4]

Attractions[edit]

Looking down Bannatyne towards the Red River.

The Exchange District today thrives as one of Winnipeg's commercial and cultural centers, as home to an array of specialty retailers, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, wholesalers, and condos. The Exchange is home to the Manitoba Museum as well as the Planetarium and a Science Gallery.[5] The Exchange District spans two distinct areas, the East Exchange and the West Exchange. The east Exchange area is located between the Disraeli Bridge, Waterfront Dr, William Stephenson Way and Main Street,[6] and the West Exchange is bounded by Adelaide Street, Ross Avenue, Notre Dame Avenue and Main Street.[6]

Theatres[edit]

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.[7]

The Artspace Building on Albert St

The west side of the Exchange is home to Cinematheque, a small movie theatre located in the Artspace building on Albert Street.[8]

Education[edit]

Red River College's Roblin Centre

Red River College's Roblin Centre[9] is a 220,000-square-foot (20,000 m2)[10] building that features the original façades along Princess Street, and incorporates modern green building technology. The Roblin Centre's construction merged five prominent heritage buildings on Princess Street as well as a 1905 warehouse on William Avenue.[11] It is home to approximately 200 staff and 2,000 students.[12] The Centre has a focus on modern media, information technology, and business.[12]

The Paterson Globalfoods Institute is a new addition to Red River College's Exchange District Campus that is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by January 2013.[13] The Institute will be located at the Union Bank Building, an 11 storey building that dates back to 1903,[13] and it will be the new home of the Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management and Professional Baking and Patisserie programs.[14]

Old Market Square[edit]

Old Market Square annually hosts the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition. Its cobblestone streets and friendly pedestrian environment also contribute to The Exchange District's popularity as a period backdrop for the movie industry. Most notably the 2006 film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford starring Brad Pitt, and the 2006 film The Lookout starring Jeff Daniels.

Old Market Square originated in 1889, initially as a public market building. Originally located in what is now the Public Safety Building, it was the centre of Winnipeg's early commercial trade. In 1964 to 1965, the original building as well as several nearby were razed to make room for the current Civic Centre. In 1970, an "Old Market Square Association" was created to lobby for the preservation and improvement of the site.[15]

In 1976 the Heritage Canada Trust, announced a $500,000 grant to towards the purchase and restoration of significant buildings in the Old Market Square area, with a focus on Albert Street and what was then known as "Albert Street Park". The park became the venue for a farmer's market which brought momentum to the rejuvenation of the area. In 1990 a permanent stage was built in the park.[15]

Begun in 2008 and completed in 2012,[16] a revitalization program began that improved landscaping, drainage, sod and lighting.[15] Developed by Scatliff+Miller+Murray, the new area features a performance space, a sunken event lawn, serpentine seating wall and seating planters encircling elm trees.[17] The focal point of the renovation was "The Cube", a new $1.5 million stage, with a skin made up of 20,000 aluminum links. Designed by 5468796 Architecture, the stage contains a built-in lighting system, green room and two performance levels,[15] and was funded by the Winnipeg Foundation, CentreVenture and several levels of government.[18] The 28-foot (8.5 m) by 28-foot (8.5 m) cube is composed of a flexible curtain of diamond extrusions strung together. The curtain can be drawn back to reveal the stage within.[16]

The cube has not functioned properly since it was opened in 2010.[19] In summer 2012, the Cube was closed due to concerns about supports for the metal curtain. Repairs for the structure are planned for the spring of 2013 and are expected to include fixes for faulty lights and cooling fans, additional railings and handrails, alterations to the rear of the stage and accessibility improvements.[20]

Proposed Pedestrian Mall[edit]

Albert Street, in the Exchange District

A pedestrian mall was proposed for the area in August 2010 by local architect Brent Bellamy. The proposed pedestrian mall would be located along 2 blocks of Albert Street to the Old Market Square and closed to automobile traffic. The hope of the mall would be to accentuate the uniqueness of the neighbourhood, attract workers from Portage and Main, and be sustained over the long-term with residential development in the area.[21]

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2006 census, the Exchange District has only approximately 0.06% of Winnipeg's population with 420 people, up from 350 people at the time of the 2001 census.[22] The Exchange District makes up 0.1% of the city's total land area.[22]

Nearly 17% of people living in the Exchange District are between 35 and 39 years of age.[22] The district has a lower proportion of visible minorities, with only 6%, as compared to 16.3% for the whole of Winnipeg.[22] Over 50% of respondents in the district reported as "Never married (single)", as compared to 35.5% of Winnipeg.[22] The district lends itself to pedestrian travel: over 51% of employed respondents stated walking as their primary mode of transportation, significantly higher than the 6.2% reported for the entire city.[22] The average employment income in the Exchange District is $56,105, as compared to $33,518 for Winnipeg as a whole.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Historic Exchange". Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The Exchange District A National Historic Site Heritage Interpretation Strategy". The Exchange District Heritage Partnership. July 1999. p. 12. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Exchange District". Heritage Winnipeg. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
  5. ^ "Directions to TMM". The Manitoba Museum. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Exchange District". Tourism Winnipeg. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Theatres". The Exchange District. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Cinematheque". Cinematheque. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Roblin Centre". Red River College. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Red River College Princess Street Campus, Winnipeg, Manitoba". GF Shymko & Associates Inc. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Red River College". Cibinel Architects. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "The Roblin Centre". Red River College. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  13. ^ a b McNabb, Lauren (27 April 2012). "Breathing new life into historic Exchange District building". Global Winnipeg. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "A Peek Inside Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at RRC". Red River College. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Old Market Square". Winnipeg Downtown Places. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "The Cube". The Exchange District. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Old Market Square". Scatliff+Miller+Murray. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  18. ^ Kives, Bartley (28 May 2010). "New Exchange stage interacts with passersby". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Kives, Bartley (29 April 2013). "City withholding payment over The Cube flaws". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Repairs coming to Cube". Winnipeg Free Press. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  21. ^ Brent Bellamy (16 August 2010). "Pedestrian mall? Groovy, man". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "2006 Census Data - Exchange District". City of Winnipeg. p. 17. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°53′55″N 97°08′25″W / 49.8985°N 97.1403°W / 49.8985; -97.1403