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This article was published 21/9/2020 (206 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Five pedestrian bridges across the Seine River underwent a colourful makeover this summer as part of an annual art and advocacy project.
For the third year running, Cool Streets Winnipeg brightened walkways with creative and colourful murals by local artists.
Organizer Stéphane Dorge started the project in 2017 by painting pedestrian crosswalks in the lead-up to the Canada Summer Games.
"That was absolutely a blast — and a lot of work. I definitely enjoyed the advocacy since I got to talk about streets as a public space and how their design could change and evolve to better accommodate everyone," he said.
"I really think Winnipeg would be transformed if we could build a lot more pedestrian bridges. I thought a great way to talk about bridges was to adorn them with art and encourage people to go explore them."
The City granted approval for the project at the end of July, and then the artists dove into their endeavours — including Dorge, who painted a brightly hued rainbow over one bridge.
Other creative contributions came from Lani Zastre with the Seedy design, Jordan Stranger with Union of Love, Alex Plante with The Watermelon Bridge, and Sophie Dumontier with We Will Flourish.
"Every year, the response has been great but it’s noticeably bigger this year. I can’t believe how many photos and videos I’ve seen of families biking over the bridge," he said.
"It’s amazing to see the amount of people constantly tagging us in great photos with our bridges in the background."
For Dorge, his affinity for these bridges has remained close to home throughout his life.
"I’ve been using them since I was a kid, so I grew up seeing the benefit of pedestrian bridges," he said.
"Also, as I’ve expanded my reach by biking around the city on parental leave, I’ve seen the lack of access across the rivers. There are a lot of eight-kilometre bike rides that could be a one-kilometre walk or bike ride if we built a pedestrian bridge."
Dorge extends his gratitude for all the ongoing support he’s received along the way.
"The project would not have happened for the third year without the wonderful support of Ginette Lavack, CEO at Centre culturel franco-manitobain, who helped me to realize the project with complete freedom from start to finish. And I am humbled by the continued support from councillors Brian Mayes, Markus Chambers and Matt Allard, who have equally funded the project," he said.
"Most importantly is that the project could never cover five bridges, with roughly 10,000 square feet of murals, without such an amazing group of artists who worked within our small budgets to make these bridges come to life with their murals. A huge thanks to them and the volunteers who collectively spent hundreds of hours painting on-site."