New construction in Osborne Village points to vitality, developer, BIZ director says

A stretch of longstanding buildings in Osborne Village where AAA Antiques and Gags Unlimited once stood will soon be replaced by a new building with commercial and residential spaces — a shift those involved in planning for the area say will be a positive one.

As stretch of buildings comes down, Winnipeg councillor, developer, BIZ director look to the future

Adam Sharfe from Sharfe Developments is building a new multi-use building on the corner of Osborne and Gertrude. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

A stretch of longstanding buildings in Winnipeg's Osborne Village where AAA Antiques and Gags Unlimited once stood has been torn down, soon to be replaced by a new six-storey multi-use building, with a mixture of commercial and residential spaces. 

Developer Adam Sharfe of Sharfe Developments is behind the project. He says he wants to see Osborne Village "brought back to life." 

"Being passionate about the community, I got really excited about the opportunity to be involved with hopefully redeveloping such an amazing neighbourhood," said Sharfe.

Sharfe says he is committed to create a space that respects the look of Osborne Village, meaning the building will be made of brick. 

Originally, Sharfe had planned on building a 10- or 12-storey building, but after talking to the community, he decided a six-storey building would better suit the neighbourhood. 

Even though there are a few spaces for lease in Osborne Village, the Osborne Business Improvement Zone says 20 new businesses have opened on the strip in the last two years. (John Einarson/CBC)

Even though there are a few shuttered buildings along the area's main drag, the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone says the neighbourhood is thriving. 

"We've actually had 20 new businesses open in Osborne Village since March 2020, so we continue to grow," said Lindsay Somers, executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ. 

"Osborne Village is actually on an upswing right now, and we're continuing to grow and are really excited about all these new developments and this new trajectory." 

According to the BIZ, Osborne Village has the densest neighbourhood population in Winnipeg, with 13,000 people living in two square kilometres, meaning there's a need not only for new commercial spaces, but also residential spaces. 

Lindsay Somers, executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ, says the neighbourhood is on an upswing. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

"On paper, Osborne Village is an urban gem. We've got the population … you can walk to basically any service you need, we've got the proximity to downtown," said Somers. 

"When you travel to cities around the world and they're thriving and busy in urban [settings], Osborne Village has all those ingredients, but we haven't had any vision or leadership." 

The city recently committed nearly $30,000 to a new neighbourhood plan, which was developed by Scatliff + Miller + Murray. 

"Osborne Village wants to look at some key projects that might attract investment into the Village, and I was happy to partner with [the Osborne Village BIZ] on that," said Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Coun. Sherri Rollins. 

"There's a lot of energy that's going into Osborne Village."

Plans for construction

Rollins says construction in the Village is only going to make the neighbourhood better, adding there are plans to expand the sidewalks and create more green spaces. 

For Rollins, investing in the Village is about investing in a neighbourhood that means a lot for younger generations. 

Coun. Sherri Rollins says an investment in Osborne Village is an investment for future generations. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

"If you talk to my 18-year-old, that's where she wants to be listening to live music and dancing on a Friday night," said Rollins. 

"It's also a place you could do it all — you can work there, you can shop there, you can live there, you can party there, and that's, in a nutshell … what people like about Osborne Village. They count on that."

Sharfe says he was particularly excited about buying the former AAA Antiques building, because he had so many childhood memories of visiting the building when it was the ice cream shop and restaurant Dutch Maid. 

"It [was] the same when I bought it — they still had the pads where the stools would be and the countertops you used to walk behind," said Sharfe. 

"It's an absolute trip down memory lane." 

He hopes his new building will spark new memories for those from the area. 

"I hope that with the new development, there's going to be a younger generation that could say the same in 20, 30 years time."

WATCH | Breathing new life into Osborne Village:

Breathing new life into Osborne Village

3 months ago
Duration 2:14
A stretch of longstanding buildings in Osborne Village where AAA Antiques and Gags Unlimited once stood has been torn down. In its place, a new six-storey multi-use building will be built, with a mixture of commercial and residential spaces.


Stephanie Cram is a reporter based in Winnipeg. She has worked for the CBC Indigenous Unit, and the CBC radio show Unreserved. She is the host of the podcast Muddied Water: 1870, Homeland of the Métis.


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