Osborne Village springing back to life

Eras in the Village celebrates neighbourhood’s past and future

Zohreh Gervais (insert) is the executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ.

Daniel Crump

Osborne Village could reclaim its spot as “Canada’s greatest neighbourhood” as the district celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The Canadian Institute of Planners awarded the Village this title in 2012. After a tough decade of business closures, increased crime and a pandemic, Osborne Village BIZ wants to help revitalize Winnipeg’s iconic neighbourhood by launching Eras in the Village this summer.

“We have lots of new businesses and residential spaces opening up in the summertime,” Zohreh Gervais, executive director of Osborne Village BIZ, says of the event’s kismet timing.

Eras in the Village is a celebration of the storied Winnipeg neighbourhood’s bygone days. Starting with the 1910s, each weekend will feature events themed around subsequent eras of its history.

“I really wanted to help all of these establishments on Osborne celebrate the cultural heritage of Winnipeg,” she says.

Free event programming includes weekly live outdoor concerts, vintage cars and costume contests. Gervais says a Canada Day event is also “in the works.”

Art installations, including multimedia window projections featuring local and international artists, will roll out from April onwards.

Participating restaurants will design weekly era-specific cocktails, with plans to host beer gardens next to the outdoor concert venues.

“All of the establishments in the Village can put their own mark on these events,” Gervais says.

New-wave hangout spots like Must Be the Place (formerly Segovia) and a confirmed new venture in the former Basil’s with chefs and restaurateurs Chris Gama and Raya Konrad (Clementine), plus Daly Gyles and Nick Gladu (RAW Almond) are fresh additions to the Village niterie and culinary landscape.

“It’s really cool to see a new generation of chefs from the community taking over these historic sites,” she says.

The BIZ hopes the events will bolster new businesses in the area and attract new energy – and residents – to Osborne.

Two mixed-use developments along Osborne Street will welcome both residential and commercial tenants this summer.

“I’m excited to see what it’ll be like next summer after all these buildings are open and there are more residents in the neigh- bourhood,” Adam Sharfe, president of Sharfe Developments, says.

Sharfe’s complex at the corner of Gertrude and Osborne will see residents taking occupancy of their 90 units on Aug. 1. They currently have a waiting list, with seven commercial units pending.

“Commercial and residential additions to the area are vital to bringing (Osborne) back to what it used to be,” Sharfe says. He hopes the project will reduce the neighbourhood’s carbon footprint by bringing amenities to residents.

At 160 Osborne St., Private Pension Partners (P3) will open The Zü, with 207 residential units ready for June 1 and 5,200 square feet of commercial space available in September.

“This is a new era for Osborne Village,” Gervais says.

The BIZ is also awaiting approval on a proposed pedestrian scramble crossing and slip-lane closure at the intersection of River and Osborne to make foot traffic safer in the neighbourhood.

It’s a step in the right direction. “Now that we’re going to have residences on Osborne, it’s where we need to go,” Gervais says.

She is optimistic about the future of the Village. “It feels like everything is evolv- ing right now, and we’re stepping into the next evolution of the vibe.”

Check osbornevillagebiz.com for schedules and updates on events in the Village or visit @osbornevillagebiz on Instagram.

Published in Volume 78, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 21, 2024)

Related Reads