'Iconic' public plaza planned for True North Square in downtown Winnipeg

The words "transformative," "world-class" and "iconic" were used repeatedly Monday as officials unveiled plans for a two-acre public plaza at True North Square in downtown Winnipeg.
The words "transformative," "world-class" and "iconic" were used repeatedly Monday as officials unveiled plans for a two-acre public plaza at True North Square in downtown Winnipeg. 2:05

The words "transformative," "world-class" and "iconic" were used repeatedly Monday as officials unveiled plans for a two-acre public plaza at True North Square in downtown Winnipeg.

"Downtown Winnipeg is undergoing a renaissance," Premier Greg Selinger said as he announced the province and City of Winnipeg are combining to invest $17.6 million in creating the plaza.

The province and city announced a 17 million dollar investment in the public plaza for the new True North Square between the MTS Centre and Convention Centre. 2:01

"Whether it's the record-high number of people living downtown or the thousands of Manitobans who flock to Jets and Moose games, our downtown is being transformed. While True North Square will include exciting new private-sector housing and retail spaces, we are committing to build publicly accessible spaces, much like other big city downtown squares."

True North Square is a $400-million mixed-use development being driven by the owners of the Winnipeg Jets. It will include a five-star hotel, office, retail and residential spaces as well public art, terraces, cafe seating, skywalks, specialty lighting, streetscaping, street furniture, a water feature and a parkway along Carlton Street, True North Sports and Entertainment president Jim Ludlow said.

The plaza will include a skating rink, public stage, public seating and green space, the province said.

The development, which is in the early stage of construction, with Phase 1 expected to be completed by mid-2018, is located kitty-corner to the MTS Centre, which is also owned by True North Sports and Entertainment.

True North Sports and Entertainment provided this video for True North Square, a commercial and residential development it has proposed for Carlton Street in downtown Winnipeg. Chairman Mark Chipman claims that Mayor Brian Bowman watched this video in November 2014 and therefore knew about the project. 2:29

'Dynamic change'

Ludlow named several major cities across North America with similar plazas and developments surrounding their sports arenas, saying those projects "resulted in dynamic change."

"Our goal is to reach the highest standard of public space design, creating an urban experience that matches the best in North America," he said, adding the location is ideally located near the convention centre and along the rapid transit bus mall.

"The time to make a game-changing move in Winnipeg is now," Ludlow said.

More details, including new architectural drawings and the names of retail tenants and the hotel brand, will be released on Feb. 23, he said.

"True North Square represents a major redevelopment for our downtown and has the potential to be transformative," said Mayor Brian Bowman. "This investment will help bring more people downtown and continues to build a downtown Winnipeg we can all be proud of."

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