Quick Poll: Tell us how we are doing

Somebody’s Choice

November 30, 2023

4 minute read
Post Contributed by Janet Hamel
Manager of Development and Communications, Knowles Centre
Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2023-2024

The health of a city is reflected in its downtown. And a thriving downtown is built through intentional choices.

As many of the presenters at this session pointed out, there have been extraordinary investments in our downtown, each representing a decision that has led to changes.

Jino Distasio’s presentation highlighted questions I have also wondered about as I personally witness these changes impact downtown: who speaks for downtown, particularly through these changes? Who is the champion of downtown? Who leads for it and against it? Who holds the reins of decision-making?

Is it a scenario reminiscent of the classic tale of ‘Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody’? A situation where an important task needs to be done, and Everybody assumes Somebody else will do it, leaving it for Anybody to handle, yet in the end, Nobody steps up.

Contrary to this narrative, the passionate presenters made it clear that Winnipeg is not caught in this scenario. Instead, there are a lot of ‘Somebodies’ doing the vital task of being champions of downtown. These individuals and organizations collaboratively make choices impacting Anybody and Everybody living, working in, and visiting downtown.

These Somebodies include the YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg, which is choosing to advance the future of the downtown by re-committing to its long-time space while tailoring programs and services to the community it is located in. The Downtown Biz is Somebody, leading with inclusive events and opportunities for the residents and visitors of downtown. The Downtown Community Safety Partnership chooses to serve as a champion for the people of downtown who need the most help through connection and service through the numerous programs they offer. End Homelessness Winnipeg is Somebody choosing to lead for downtown with person-centered support, connections and advocacy before, during and after the loss of 600 homes when so many occupancy hotels closed. And yes, True North Sports and Entertainment is Somebody choosing to bring thousands of people downtown to events that create fun, unique and meaningful memories of our downtown.

All of these choices collectively speak for the downtown area. They usher in changes full of hope for our downtown through conscious choices to be a part of downtown as a supporter, a participant and yes, a champion.

Yet, the narrative does not end with these ‘Somebodies.’ It does extend to Everybody and Anybody -that’s you and me! Winnipeggers and Manitobans alike. We, too, can be Somebodies.

But why should we step up if Somebody is already doing it?

Kate Fenske of The Downtown Biz pointed out that downtown is profoundly important. As cities become more alike, the downtown areas stand out as destination spaces and unique places people remember. It is the responsibility of Everybody and Anybody to step up, be a ‘Somebody,’ and actively make choices that support our downtown. We can all be somewhere, but we have chosen to be here in Winnipeg. Let’s aspire to be Somebody and make a positive change through our choices to be a part of downtown.

After all, Nobody wins if Downtown loses.

Skip to content