12 bold ideas for the next mayor

What will the City of Winnipeg look like ten years after the new mayor takes the reigns at City Hall?
What will the City of Winnipeg look like ten years after the new mayor takes the reigns at City Hall?
Bold Ideas Dorothy Dobbie
Bold Ideas
Dorothy Dobbie

What the City of Winnipeg needs is a bold new vision that complements the growing optimism Winnipeggers feel about our future. Yes, we need to renew disintegrating infrastructure, fix pot-holed city streets, crumbling curbs, salt-killed boulevards and patched up pavement – that’s a given, or the bare minimum of what the city requires to take hold of a bold new future.
But what we really need are ideas and leadership that will unleash the fissionable energy that lurks just below the shabby surface of our city.
As we head into the mayoralty debates, I will be looking for this energy to be transmitted to the population: Mr./Ms. Candidate, what will our city look like in ten years from your vantage point? Assuming all obstacles could be removed, what would you like to see?
Here are 12 accomplishments in my dream:
1. A “can-do” city. It’s all about attitude. Young people now want to stay here, to build a life here and contribute to the future here.
2. We told the world. A marketing plan was developed under the new mayor to tell the world about what a great place Winnipeg is to live in and raise a family. The mayor let businesses around the world know we are open for business. He shamelessly boasted about our second-to-none cultural scene; our talented and energetic labour force; and our spirit of collaboration which allows us to accomplish more with less.
3. Business and ratepayer advocate/ombudsman and keeping managers accountable. The new mayor created an office that identified where the roadblocks to enterprise were and helped business deal with civic red tape. The office also helps ratepayers solve nitpicking problems.The office reports directly to the mayor and senior jobs hang in the balance when problems were not dealt with. The tail no longer wags the dog in this town.
4. Green city. Neither New York’s Central Park, Tokyo’s Imperial Palace or London’s Royal Park hold a candle to Winnipeg’s green river-side beltway and The Forks. The city finally figured out that green spaces attract people, increase property values and have a civilizing impact on behaviour. The Forks renegotiated a deal with the city that changed their corporate structure to make them less dependent on raising operating funds and allowed them to develop the east side of the river for housing and parking, keeping a ribbon of green for public use and leaving The Forks green with wonderful arboretum across from the museum.
5. Keep it tidy, keep it growing. Tree planting and tree maintenance were stepped up. Boulevards were re-greened (the red dirt is gone). Snow removal contractors are responsible for curb and tree damage. Streets are smooth and pothole-free (we use new, frost-resistant materials to build with) and the main arteries are heated and snow-free most of the winter.
6. Former railway corridors are now livable spaces. The railroads that ran through the centre of town have been replaced with housing surrounded by green space and trees.
7. Business-friendly city. Outdated building codes and business-restricting regulations are gone. Bylaws have been reviewed to co-ordinate and rationalize redundancies. Businesses have been involved in city beautification ideas and plans, and made changes that were accomplished smoothly and without rancour or resentment.
8. Well-planned city. Regulations and guidelines were developed co-operatively to create this beautiful city that people want to invest in. Instead of worrying about nitpicking details as to what kind of doorknobs new houses should have, planners have been concentrating on standards governing signage, commercial frontage, lighting, and so on. The Charleswood Bridge Parkway from Portage to Grant was the model.
9. Accessible city. Pedestrians, cyclists, seniors, the disabled, kids and busy motorists all have their place in a livable city. All Winnipeg sidewalks have curb cutouts and are as ice-free as possible to accommodate seniors and wheelchair users (we have heated sidewalks); cyclists have safe lanes and byways (one side of the street is devoted to them in downtown where traffic is heaviest, new streets have been built with pedestrians and cyclists in mind), traffic lights have been synchronized to ease traffic flow, especially along Portage Avenue where the latest technology now tells motorists and pedestrian how long it will be before the light changes.
10. Safe city. The police, fire and paramedic budgets are now down from over 50 per cent of our civic expenditures to under 40 per cent, but everybody feels safer. These departments were housecleaned, rationalized and trimmed with the goal being to make them work more efficiently and effectively and they do. Morale is up, too!
11. Humane city. Too many people used live to on the streets. The Bell Hotel project showed us what can be done with minimal funding. The city had a dream to end homelessness and now nobody lives on the street. We actually save money and people are happier.
12. Downtown is the place to be. The barriers are gone at Portage and Main and the overhead walkways at The Bay and the MTS Centre have been replaced by underground tunnels to help people negotiate winter. Portage Place has been re-oriented so that the courtyard now faces south to catch the sun. Shop owners have opened streetside doors. The Parking Authority was shut down and new streetside parking has returned a lot of traffic to Portage Avenue. There is a new fashion shopping district on South Main.
Near the Forks, fabulous new hotels have sprung up there to accommodate people coming to the human rights museum and the conventions that the new convention centre addition has attracted.

Social media isn’t just personal, it’s professional

Herzing College has introduced a media coordinator program to respond to growing demand.
Herzing College has introduced a media coordinator program to respond to growing demand.

By Stefanie Cutrona

For many of us, social media has become a way of life. Everyone and their dog has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest account.
According to a recent report from Media Technology Monitor, “two out of three Canadians now use social media in one form or another.” Social media has become part of our daily routine, from posting a status update on Facebook, to Tweeting the latest traffic frustration and Instagramming a photo of our lunch.
Social media can be used to voice your opinion, and to share your experiences with friends and family. It also serves as an incredibly important marketing tool.
Online marketing – social media, websites, and search engine optimization (SEO) has become an integral part of the marketing mix. Over the past five years, businesses and organizations around the world have adopted an online presence, and are being rewarded with results.
They use social media platforms to advertise their product and services, engage with their target audiences, deliver customer responses, and maintain relationships with their existing customers.
Canada ranks high for social media use
Webfuel.ca reports that “Canada ranks in the top three countries from around the world in terms of online engagement, and is a global leader in social networking usage.” BMO Financial Group claims that “57 per cent of small businesses in Canada now use social media.”
Since the change in our communications landscape, companies are recognizing the need to hire skilled individuals to create, manage, and plan their online strategies. This exciting career path can lead to opportunities in organizations of all sizes, across many different industries.
Media coordinator program
Herzing College Winnipeg now offers a nine-month media coordinator program that teaches students the fundamentals of social media and online marketing, advertising, communications and writing for online media, search engine optimization, video production, and graphic design.
Through hands-on training, theory, and internship experience, students of the media coordinator program will gain the skills and knowledge it takes to be successful in career positions such as social media managers, online marketing coordinators or digital marketing managers.
Social media crucial for business
“This course couldn’t be more relevant,” says Winnipeg campus academic dean, Robin Day, citing a report by Social Media Examiner which found that “86 per cent of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business.”
Herzing Winnipeg is now accepting students for this newly introduced program. The program will be offered at multiple points throughout the year, and classes will run 20 hours per week, Monday to Thursday. Interested potential students are encouraged to contact Herzing College and make an appointment to see an admissions advisor, as the program is expected to fill up quickly.

The best (and worst) patio drinks for beach season

Beautiful but deadly - put down that sugary cocktail and go for a nice wine spritzer instead.
Beautiful but deadly – put down that sugary cocktail and go for a nice wine spritzer instead.
Twist Me Toned - Tannis Miller
Twist Me Toned – Tannis Miller

“Let’s hit a patio!” A common thing to do in hot summer months, drinks on a patio. If you were dieting it would be a big challenge, but rest assured, at Twist Me Toned, our realistic approach lets you participate almost guilt-free.
Use these tips and recipes to avoid empty, liquid-calorie overload both at home and at your local bar.
-Always order water as well as your beverage of choice and sip throughout.
-Avoid sugar-laden “fruity” cocktails
-Avoid anything that includes syrups, purees and juices. (These are jam-packed with calories and sugar!)
-Choose light beers, red and white wines, champagne, or spirits such as vodka, gin, rum, tequila, or sake.
-Choose low-calorie mixes like tonic water, light cranberry, and/or add a press of water. Try a drink on the rocks (infused vodka?).
-Dilute drinks with water, sparkling water, or club soda (or even wine!).
Alcohol itself is worth seven calories per gram, higher than both carbohydrates and protein! For the standard type of spirits that’s 64 calories per ounce! Continue reading The best (and worst) patio drinks for beach season

Constance Popp recreates Winnipeg iconography in chocolate

Constance Popp's storefront on Provencher Boulevard.
Constance Popp’s storefront on Provencher Boulevard.

By Tania Moffat

The sign on Provencher Boulevard reads “Chocolatier Constance Popp.” It’s simple and elegant just like the white brick exterior, but as you step through the front door you are transported into a chocolate fantasy world.
A crisp white interior and dark wood floors provide the background for rich chocolate temptations. Stunning three-dimensional chocolate creations peek from behind packaged delicacies in mouth-watering flavours. If you have never been to Constance Popp’s shop, you should go – and if you don’t already love chocolate, you will. Continue reading Constance Popp recreates Winnipeg iconography in chocolate

Portage place could foster local community if we ask for it

Lennard Taylor would love to see lemon trees, local farmers' markets or a grocery store move in to the downtown mall.
Lennard Taylor would love to see lemon trees, local farmers’ markets or a grocery store move in to the downtown mall.

By Lennard Taylor

Portage Place: if we build it, will they come? That’s always been the question with Portage Place. The mall was built to resurrect downtown; it didn’t work then, but is now the time?
I’ve lived downtown for the past seven years, seeing the development and change spanning across downtown, especially the SHED district.
I believe now is the right time to start asking questions about Portage Place. What is it? What would we like to see it become? Can it be the change downtown needs? I think YES is the answer!
I recently was part of the Downtown BIZ’s Launch It! program, a pop-up shop featuring seven young Winnipeg businesses. The idea was to get young entrepreneurs excited about creating a business downtown. I would have never thought to put my retail store in Portage Place, however I experienced good sales with my clothing line (Lennard Taylor). Continue reading Portage place could foster local community if we ask for it