Osborne Village ends Canada Day



A Winnipeg tradition for decades, Canada Day celebrations at Osborne Village have been officially canceled, drawing mixed reviews from area businesses.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Osborne Village Business Improvement Area has decided to end the annual street party that dates back to the 1990s.

During the event, which usually took place on June 30 and July 1, a section of Osborne Street was closed to traffic and transformed into a sea of ​​people, vendors and outdoor cafes.

Lindsay Somers, executive director of BIZ, said businesses and residents were no longer benefiting from the event.

“A 300-seat patio on Osborne Street is not indicative of an Osborne Village experience. No one is connecting with business in a meaningful way, or even getting a meal they can come back for,” Somers said. .


MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Lindsay Somers, executive director of Osborne Village BIZ, said she hopes Happy Fridays will attract repeat visitors and become a community staple.

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MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Lindsay Somers, executive director of Osborne Village BIZ, said she hopes Happy Fridays will attract repeat visitors and become a community staple.

The Village, home to approximately 13,000 people, is one of Winnipeg’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. Residents tend to spend their time and money locally not just for convenience — BIZ has 150 businesses — but because they’re invested in the success of the community, Somers explained.

While the celebration can draw tens of thousands of people to the area, many have spent money on lemonade, mini donuts and knick-knacks from outside vendors while ignoring the shops on the street, she said.

Robbie Rousseau, a longtime resident of the Village, puts it more bluntly.

“Nothing more than beer and food carts,” he said. “Many Osborne Village residents would tell you they would be leaving over Canada Day weekend.”

Rousseau has lived in the Village for 28 years; he moved there from Gimli after graduating from high school.

In recent years, he said celebrating Canada Day has become a “much darker” event.

“You add 50,000 drunk people to the street at the weekend and bad things can necessarily happen,” says Rosseau. “We’ve had two years without Canada Day celebrations and it’s a perfect evolution.”

“You add 50,000 drunk people to the streets over the weekend and good things can’t necessarily happen… We’ve had two years without Canada Day celebrations and that’s a perfectly fine development .” –Robbie Rousseau

When Somers became executive director of BIZ last October, she asked 90 companies to participate in a survey of the annual event. Among them, 27 responded. Nearly 80% said Canada Day did little or nothing to boost their sales. Most felt that he was not attracting new customers or returning.

Michelle Arcand and Brent Jackson, owners of Urban Waves and Old Gold Vintage Vinyl, two businesses that share a storefront on Osborne Street, say they didn’t participate in the survey but aren’t surprised by the results.

Urban Waves usually loses money on Canada Day because Arcand needs to hire additional staff. Despite the influx of people on Canada Day, she rarely made enough sales to cover her costs, she said.

“At first, man, it was about culture. It was a smaller event and then something just changed,” Arcand said.

“(It became) a reason for people to just have a beer on Osborne. It turned into this kind of party where businesses like (ours) would kind of suffer,” Jackson added.




<p>MIKE SUDOMA / FREE WINNIPEG PRESS KITS</p>
<p>Brent Jackson of Old Gold Vinyl (left) and Michelle Arcand, owner of Urban Waves.  Jackson and Arcand said they did not participate in the survey but were not surprised by the results.</p>
<p>” width=”1024″ height=”683″  data-srcset=”https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/400*400/NEP482317_web_OldGoldVinyl_MikeSudoma_4.jpg 400w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/600*600 /NEP482317_web_OldGoldVinyl_MikeSudoma_4.jpg 600w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/700*700/NEP482317_web_OldGoldVinyl_MikeSudoma_4.jpg 700w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/800*800/NEP482317_web_OjpgGoldSudoma_40:https://media.winnipegfreepress.w //media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/900*900/NEP482317_web_OldGoldVinyl_MikeSudoma_4.jpg 900w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/1000*1000/NEP482317_web_OldGoldVinyl_MikeSudoma_4.jpg 1000w”/>				</a>								
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<p>MIKE SUDOMA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS KITS</p>
<p>Brent Jackson of Old Gold Vinyl (left) and Michelle Arcand, owner of Urban Waves.  Jackson and Arcand said they weren’t involved in the survey, but weren’t surprised by the results.</p>
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<p>However, not all companies feel the same way.			</p>
<p>The restaurant and bar owner who asked to remain anonymous described the cancellation as a blow to Osborne’s businesses, especially the restaurants.			</p>
<p>“We just came out of a pandemic, and we’ve been forced to have nothing for two years, and the one big party we’ve been waiting for because we’re finally open is closed,” the owner said.  “If you’re a clothing store or something, have a great sale on Canada Day…that really sucks.”			</p>
<p>Evgheni Sipco, general manager of Nu Burger in Osborne Village, agreed.			</p>
<p>“(Canceling the event is) pretty bad for the business because usually we have a lot of people. Especially now we have pretty good weather, the patio is open,” Sipco said.  “We have another location at The Forks… so hopefully they do all the sales there.”			</p>
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“(Canceling the event is) pretty bad for the business because usually we have a lot of people. Especially now we have good weather, the patio is open. – Evgheni Sipco

Instead of celebrating Canada Day, the BIZ will be hosting “Happy Fridays in the Village” all summer long which will include concerts, walking tours and – with the cooperation of retailers – extended shopping hours and sales of street on Fridays throughout the summer.

Additionally, BIZ plans to develop a new patio on Osborne Street designed by RAW architect Almond Joe Kalturnyk, and has commissioned local art group, Cool Streets Winnipeg, to paint a mural on the steeple at the corner of the Osborne Street and Stradbrook Avenue.

Somers said she hopes Happy Fridays will attract repeat visitors and become a community staple.




<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>“A 300-seat patio on Osborne Street is not indicative of an Osborne Village experience. No one connects with a business in a meaningful way, or even gets a meal they can come back for,” said Lindsay Somers , executive director of Osborne Village BIZ.</p>
<p>” width=”1024″ height=”683″  data-srcset=”https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/400*400/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 400w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images /600*600/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 600w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/700*700/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 700w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images /800*800/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 800w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/900*900/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 900w,https://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images /1000*1000/NEP482317_web_220609-Osborne-00056.jpg 1000w”/>				</a>								
<figcaption>
<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p>
<p>“A 300-seat patio on Osborne Street is not indicative of an Osborne Village experience.  No one is connecting with a business in a meaningful way, or even getting a meal they can come back for,” said Lindsay Somers, executive director of Osborne Village BIZ.</p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p>“We seek to engage the neighborhood and build pride and a sense of connection and community,” she said of her vision.  “We can have really nice public spaces…people can come and listen to live music, shop and enjoy a glass of wine.”			</p>
<p>The BIZ will soon present the program of concerts and events.			</p>
<p>Ironically, the first “Happy Friday” is scheduled for Canada Day.			</p>
<p>tyler.searle@freepress.mb.ca			</p>
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