News / Winnipeg

Province pays to pretty up downtown Winnipeg

CentreVenture expects 20 storefronts will be renovated under grant program.

CentreVenture CEO Angela Mathieson announces the extension of two grant programs for local downtown entrepreneurs on Thursday.

Stephanie Taylor/Metro / Metro Order this photo

CentreVenture CEO Angela Mathieson announces the extension of two grant programs for local downtown entrepreneurs on Thursday.

The province wants to help pretty up downtown Winnipeg.

On Thursday, Winnipeg’s downtown development agency announced it's extending two grants programs to help more local entrepreneurs set-up shop in the city's core. 

CentreVenture CEO Angela Mathieson said both the PUSH and Face Forward programs, which have been in place for several years as pilot, will be made permanent thanks to new funding from the provincial government.  

She and Indigenous and Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke made the announcement Thursday. 

Through PUSH, entrepreneurs looking for a downtown location are matched to business owners of vacant storefront properties and then provided administrative help getting their shops off the ground. 

The program also gives them access to subsidies for the first three months. 

The second program, Face Forward, helps businesses breathe new life into their storefronts. 

Property owners are given up to $50,000 to improve the look and feel of their entryways and perform any heritage restorations. 

“We firmly believe that the future for our ground floor spaces are about independent, local Manitoba retailers,” Mathieson told reporters on Thursday. 

She expects 20 storefronts will be updated and nearly $8 million in investments thanks to the new funding.  

Money for the two programs is part of the province’s new four-year initiative to bring more retailers downtown. 

Graham Bargen is the co-owner of Thom Bargen, which opened its second location on the corner of Graham Avenue and Kennedy Street earlier this year. 

The coffee shop’s storefront was renovated with funds from Face Forward. 

Bargen said attractive exteriors are important to promote walkability.  

“We’re excited about the future. We like downtown.”