Quick Poll: Tell us how we are doing

Community is the summary of how we exist at The Forks

March 3, 2024

With our upcoming March Luncheon happening in the next couple of weeks, we wanted to chat more with our Keynote speaker, Sara Stasiuk, CEO, The Forks, about what to expect for her upcoming luncheon.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I love Winnipeg, I love downtown, I love The Forks – I have my whole life, aside from a short blip after graduating as a CPA when I thought I might need to set up shop on Bay St.

I grew up in the North End, and as a teen, downtown is where I learned about the music scene and The Forks is where I came to hang out with my friends at the skate park.

Professionally, I spent years in the music industry putting local artists in front of crowds at The Forks through collaborations with Manitoba Music and Interstellar Rodeo.

Not a lot has changed: I still hang out at The Forks making things happen for people and artists. Striking a balance between community, art, sustainability, and economic impact is what community development is, and it’s what we’re doing here all the time.

I’m also a real governance nerd, and you can find me serving on the boards of the National Gallery of Canada, Travel Manitoba, and the Manitoba Arts Council, along with other hobbies – skiing, kayaking, checking out art in all of its forms, travelling sometimes for leisure and often for inspiration.

2. What does community mean to you?

Community is the summary of how we exist at The Forks – it’s the culmination of all our values.

The Forks exists for you, the people who visit and use this space in all the ways you use and love it, and we exist because you use and love it. Our business model and shareholder agreement ensures every dollar of revenue is reinvested back into The Forks. And we take a lot of pride and responsibility in being open minded, collaborative, and innovative in the way we use those funds to offer a place for people to spend their time,

Whether they choose to also spend money here or not. It’s about operating from a place of accessibility, generosity, and responsiveness and truly investing in building wealth – jobs, pride, place – in our community.

3. Was there someone in your life who has been an inspiration for you?

Artists. Life without the vibrancy of artists creating is boring. So, I design my life and the things I touch to capture the energy that defines a place and makes it rich.

4. You and your team at The Forks are heavily focused on the revitalization of our downtown. Can you share a few highlights of some of the initiatives and projects you’re working on and why you are excited about them?

It’s been in our mission statement since the 80s to act as a catalyst for revitalization and development in the downtown – we’re no strangers to a gradual build in collaboration with and response to the needs of our communities. The Forks site as we know it today – generating upwards of $200M in economic impact was nothing but stagnant brownfield for decades until we came on the scene just over 30 years ago.

The Forks as a mixed-use development including residential was noted in our mission statement since back in the day too. We completed the underground work for the Railside development in fall 2023 with developers ready to break ground this summer. It’s an extension of The Forks in every way: high-quality public spaces, accessible, Target Zero sustainably focused, super collaborative, and for the first time ever, offering community living at The Forks.

There’s lots happening downtown near and in our North Portage mandate area too: we’re continuing to work alongside our partners at the West End and Downtown BIZ’s with initiatives like programming in Central Park and the development of the Pitikwe skatepark inside Portage Place. And our role as catalyst for development and revitalization continues to evolve, especially with the potential sale of Portage Place in the mix.

What can attendees expect to hear from you at the luncheon?

I’m very excited to share a full update on the Railside project breaking ground this summer. The story showcases so many collaborators: governments, developers, architects, artists, businesses of all sizes, social enterprises, housing advocates and you, the people who love and visit The Forks nearly 4 million times each year.

Be sure to register for our upcoming luncheon to hear more from Sara.

Revitalizing the Core: Embracing Development and Change
Thursday, March 21, 2024  |  11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
RBC Convention Centre, North Building, 1st Floor


Discounted Member Rate: $68.75 +GST
Regular Rate: $137.50 +GST
Tables of 8 and 10 available for purchase

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