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The Future of our Downtown– Q&A with Loren Remillard

September 19, 2022

3- minute read

In the next two years, tens of millions of dollars will be invested in Winnipeg’s downtown as part of our city’s Downtown Recovery Strategy – but what does this look like?

The future of Winnipeg’s downtown is ours to imagine, contemplate and create.

We sat down with Loren Remillard, our President and CEO, to discuss the upcoming State of the Downtown event, why you should attend and why you should care about the future of our downtown. 

Q: Why should Winnipeg business owners care about the future of our downtown?

Photography by Mike Sudoma

Loren Remillard (LR): Think of every city you’ve ever visited for the first time; your first impressions, and likely your lasting impressions, of that community, start and stop with the downtown.

Downtown is the heart of any urban centre, and its success – or struggle – is our shared responsibility. It doesn’t matter whether your business is located downtown or not, or whether you visit the downtown or not; it matters because you live here. Period.

It’s a fact appreciated by our members, who have placed the state of our downtown at the very top of the issues they want our Chamber to champion during the election and beyond.

Q: What is one area you are most passionate about in the Downtown Recovery Strategy?

LR: I believe everything should flow from a compelling vision, framed by strong values and principles. As such, the three key principles guiding the Downtown Recovery Strategy framework – local small business focus, social inclusion, and the creative sector – hit the mark, especially given their prominence in our Chamber’s values and strategic plan. These principles are in so many ways the story of Winnipeg.

Q: As a leader in the business community, how are you investing in our downtown?

Photography by Mike Sudoma

LR: As an organization, we have been operating out of downtown Winnipeg since 1873. In the 150 years that followed, we have worked with partners such as the BIZs and others to bring attention, energy and ideas to the challenges and opportunities within our city’s centre. The September 27th event – the State of the Downtown – represents yet another initiative The Winnipeg Chamber has initiated in partnership with others.

On the personal side, I believe one’s priorities are reflected in where one spends their time and money. I continue to work in our downtown office daily, ensuring my lunch meetings take place downtown at various restaurants and hotels. In the evenings, my spouse and I enjoy Winnipeg’s theatrical and sports offerings, most notably as a season seat subscriber to RMTC (please get your tickets if you haven’t done so yet!), and the various incredible beverage and food offerings – from Patent 5 Distillery to the Merchant Kitchen and so many others.

Q: Why should people attend this event?

LR: People should attend this event because the future of our downtown is our collective future, regardless of where you live in and around Winnipeg.

At our luncheon, we will hear from one of the truly great Mayors, Mick Cornett, who inspired and transformed his community. Too often I hear, “that might have worked there, but this is Winnipeg.” Oklahoma City shares so many similarities with Winnipeg. And if Oklahoma City – situated in a Republican state through and through – can embrace a purpose-built, people-centred city, Winnipeg can do it and more.

We need all hands on deck, including by being in the audience on September 27th.

We also sat down with our keynote and four-term Oklahoma City Mayor, Mick Cornett, to talk about his journey to becoming mayor, career highlights and why you should attend our State of Downtown event on September 27.

Learn more about our Keynote, Mick Cornett, HERE.

State of Downtown 
Thursday, September 27, 2022
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg
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