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October 26, 2020

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Park closure leaves restaurant on edge

Doug Stephen is the president of WOW Hospitality Concepts, which owns Prairie’s Edge restaurant in Kildonan Park. He said the business faces permanent closure if the park isn’t re-opened soon.

PHOTO BY SYDNEY HILDEBRANDT

Doug Stephen is the president of WOW Hospitality Concepts, which owns Prairie’s Edge restaurant in Kildonan Park. He said the business faces permanent closure if the park isn’t re-opened soon.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2019 (364 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The future of a local business and its employees is at risk following the closure of Kildonan Park on Oct. 18, due to the aftermath of the snowstorm that hit parts of Manitoba earlier in the month.

The City of Winnipeg issued a news release stating that a number of City-run parks could be closed for weeks because of the potential safety threats posed by damaged trees.

Prairie’s Edge restaurant is located in the Pavilion at Kildonan Park (2015 Main St.). With the park temporarily closed to the public, the business is no longer able to operate or serve customers.

"It’s not a huge money maker, so if this goes on too long we probably would be faced with something more permanent, such as a closure," said Doug Stephen, president of WOW Hospitality Concepts, which owns Prairie’s Edge. "We don’t have the resources to sort of keep propping things up as we’re waiting for decisions."

Stephen said he requested another review of the park from the City, which told him after the second assessment that the park’s condition was still too hazardous to reopen.

Stephen said he then suggested to the City that crews make only the route to the restaurant safe and accessible so the business could continue to operate; the rest of the park could remain closed. He argued that since Kildonan Park is one of the few City-run parks that has a business in it, officials should prioritize rehabilitating the space.

However, clean-up crews are currently focused on clearing streets and will move on to parks once that is finished, said Julie Horbal Dooley, a communications representative for the City, in an email.

The closure has caused uncertainty for the livelihoods of staff at Prairie’s Edge, Stephen said.

"There are 25 lives that are dependent upon us for income."

If a permanent closure at Prairie’s Edge were to happen, Stephen said they would try to disperse staff to other venues within the company.

WOW Hospitality is hosting a pop-up restaurant series at another of its locations, Mon Ami Louis on Esplanade Riel bridge (50 Provencher Blvd.), where employees from Prairie’s Edge can make up for lost hours and wages. Mon Ami Louis closed for the season at the end of September.

An abbreviated menu will be offered Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Additional dates may be set depending on Kildonan Park’s closure.

Prairie’s Edge serves a unique take on Canadian cuisine with a focus on local and regional food.

"We kind of view Prairie’s Edge as a local amenity for Kildonan Park. Our manager Brian over the last number of years has really cultivated a Cheers kind of environment there," Stephen said.

He estimated that more than 40,000 people visit the restaurant every year.

"Lots of people use Kildonan Park and they use us (Prairie’s Edge) as sort of the destination starting or ending point of their visit to the park," he said.

Sydney Hildebrandt

Sydney Hildebrandt
Community Journalist - The Times

Sydney Hildebrandt is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at sydney.hildebrandt@canstarnews.com

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