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Biggest TV screen city's seen coming soon to Portage Ave.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/1/2009 (3090 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IT will be, without a doubt, the biggest big-screen television in Winnipeg and it could cause the largest fight over the remote control the city has ever seen.

Creswin Properties, a real estate company controlled by the Asper family, has started construction of a 470-square-foot "media panel" at the corner of Portage Avenue and Notre Dame Avenue.

"You don't find something like that in too many living rooms," said John Wintrup, principal planner for the City of Winnipeg, which had to approve the project.

Big screen is shrouded in mystery now.


Big screen is shrouded in mystery now.

Half of what will be shown on the giant screen, which will sit about six metres off the ground, will be provided by Global Television, the television broadcasting arm of the Asper-run Canwest Global Communications. Of the rest, 30 per cent will be paid advertising and 20 per cent will be community programming, including public-service announcements for charities and non-profit groups.

Wintrup said the giant screen will give Winnipeggers a small taste of New York's Times Square or even Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.

"It certainly is beneficial to a city. Dundas and Yonge is an urban plaza that creates some life using signage and animation. There certainly is potential at Notre Dame and Portage for that to happen here. We probably need to see more urban plazas in Winnipeg," he said.

David Asper, Creswin's chairman, agreed. He said the real estate company is always looking for ways to make its Canwest Place property, where Canwest Global leases space, more interesting and vibrant for tenants and other users of the building and concourse.

"We want to participate in enlivening and animating downtown," he said. "It's not only a means for advertising, but to dramatically show images and video of our community and to be reactive to what's happening on a daily basis with news, weather, sports and information."

Construction began several weeks ago and is set for completion next month, in time for a week or two of testing before going live March 1. The work site is currently covered by 40-foot-high scaffolding wrapped in orange tarps.

Bruce Leslie, vice-president of marketing and corporate communications at Creswin, said with 10-millimetre pixels, its video board will have twice the resolution of the few other outdoor screens around town.

He said the price tag isn't being released, but the company's research has shown the screen will be the biggest west of Toronto.

"It's LED (light-emitting diode) technology. It's state of the art in terms of outdoor display panels," he said.

Asper said he hopes the Canwest courtyard will be a place where people gather to hear live bands (simulcast on the screen), watch major international events or take in a sporting event or two. "I fully expect Winnipeggers will be able to gather there to watch the Bombers win the Grey Cup in 2009."





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