When he nominated Osborne Village as Canada’s greatest neighbourhood, Chris Barker, a local resident, said, “it’s just a great place to hang out.”
Every summer, thousands of Winnipeggers and tourists flock to the “Village” to hang out. On any given day, throngs of people can be seen seated in the many patios lining Osborne Street, either imbibing a thirst-quenching beverage or consuming their favourite food.
Still others walk along the Village’s sidewalks, taking in the variety of sights or visiting the neighbourhood’s plethora of boutiques and shops.
Barker’s faith in his neighbourhood was confirmed when the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) honoured Osborne Village as Canada’s Great Neighbourhood for 2012 on Canada Day. The Canada’s Great Neighbourhood title is awarded each year as part of the CIP’s Great Places Canada contest and the winning neighbourhood is selected by a CIP panel.
“Osborne Village is most deserving of Canada’s Great Neighbourhood title,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “Osborne Village is an example of a neighbourhood that works, as one of Canada’s most densely-populated areas, with an eclectic mix of people and businesses, and a clear identity. This national recognition is truly worth celebrating.”
“What makes it really interesting is the huge cross-section of people living in the Village,” said Barker.
“We have expensive condos and we have squeegee kids; we have yuppie socialites alongside senior citizens.
“If you don’t live here yet,” added Barker, “perhaps it’s time.”
The award plaque was presented by CIP Manitoba representative Donovan Toews, and accepted by Jenny Gerbasi, city councillor for Fort Rouge — East Fort Garry.
“We are thrilled that Osborne Village has been nationally recognized as Canada’s Great Neighbourhood,” said Gerbasi.
“This Great Places Canada award will let people from across the globe know what Winnipeggers have always known — that Osborne Village is a place you just have to visit. With eclectic eateries, funky shops, a vibrant arts scene, and strong sense of community spirit, there is something for everyone in Osborne Village,” she added.
Osborne Village was one of 22 entries for the Canada’s Great Neighbourhood category in this year’s Great Places Canada contest.
“There are so many Great Places in Canada,” said Jill Collison, a masters student at the University of Manitoba with a focus in researching rural regional growth management and a CIP selection panel member. “High-quality entries came from big cities, small towns and all spaces in between. Urban, rural, commercial, residential, green space, historic, modern — there was a bit of everything.”
A permanent Osborne Village location for the plaque to be displayed will be determined in the near future.
(Front-page photo: Osborne Village by Shaila Wise.)