A new report shows Winnipeg's downtown is heading in the right direction, but it's too early to pop the champagne. In fact, the worst thing that could happen would be for everyone to relax and let events take their course.
A revitalized downtown, particularly in a city like Winnipeg, is not a state of being. It's a goal, one we may never quite achieve, but we must always pursue.
Winnipeg has been talking about downtown revival since the 1960s following the development of suburban shopping centres and new residential subdivisions. The motto then was Downtown or Downhill, even though the district appeared to be strong. As with cities everywhere at that time, the rot had already begun to set in.
The city and its downtown hit bottom by the end of the 1990s, when a determined effort, the latest in a series, was launched.
Since then, several megaprojects have appeared, including the human rights museum, the MTS Centre, the return of the Winnipeg Jets, a spectacular new Manitoba Hydro building and so on.
Since 2005, more than $2 billion has been invested downtown, including new residential units for 1,800 people. And there's more to come, particularly around the MTS Centre.
On the downside, the Bay is hanging on by the skin of its teeth and it will eventually be forced to close unless it receives new investment and new purpose. Social problems don't seem to be getting any better and there still isn't enough pedestrian traffic at night to make people feel safe.
Let's celebrate our progress, but also remember a vibrant downtown must remain a major public-policy priority for governments, business and the community.