8. OTHER PROPOSALS

The plan of course contemplates substantial development other than just the two elements described above. It is expected that the north side of Portage Avenue will also develop with mixed use structures, providing shopping, parking, and entertainment facilities on the lower levels, and apartment accommodation on the upper floors. A pedestrian bridge connection across Portage Avenue between Carlton Street and Edmonton Street would make possible a pedestrian “corridor” extending from Broadway trough to Notre Dame, which has already been discussed as one of the important features of the downtown plan.

In the easterly part of the area of Portage Avenue, the plan visualizes the strengthening and expansion of the existing entertainment enclave. A parking structure is envisaged on the site of the present surface parking lot at Notre Dame and Ellice Avenue, and the linking of this structure by means of weather-protected pedestrian corridors with new hotel, cinema and other entertainment facilities which can be expected to develop in this general location.

Another development contemplated for the area north of Portage is one which is contingent upon the development of the former St. Paul's College site for the expansion of the campus of the University of Winnipeg. If that were to happen, then Vaughan Street between Portage Avenue and Ellice Avenue would become the access route to the University used by a large number of students and staff. The character of this street would undergo a marked change, and it could be expected that the row houses on the east side of the street, between the Y.M.C.A. and the apartment block on Ellice Avenue, would be developed as specialty shops, book stores, gift shops, restaurants, etc. to serve the needs of this new university population.

On the west side of the street is the old Isbister School, used by the Winnipeg School Board as an adult education centre. If a new adult education building is built on this site to replace the obsolete Isbister School, then it, together with the University, the Y.M.C.A., the student and faculty housing and the boutiques suggested above for the east side of Vaughan Street together could comprise an extremely interesting precinct for this part of the Downtown.

A new main branch of the Winnipeg Public Library has been desperately needed for some time now. The present main library on William Avenue is obsolete. As an alternative to the Graham Avenue site now under discussion, the most serious consideration should be given to locating the new library on the site of the old Isbister School, and developing it as part of the new adult education centre suggested above. The functional relationship between these two facilities is so obvious as to require no explanation. But their functional relationship would be paralleled by the physical and visual impact which their combined structures would have, and the great increase in the intensity of use and the vitality and interest which they would bring to the precinct.

South of Portage Avenue, other developments of interest contemplated by the plan are the creation of a Provincial Government precinct in the area west of Edmonton Street, and the creation of parks on the land now owned by the Metropolitan Corporation, and on the bank of the Assiniboine River.

At the present time there does not seem to be any systematic program pursued by the Provincial Government to meet its space needs. Those needs seem to be met on the basis of improvisation and ad hoc acquisitions as the need arises, and seemingly in whatever locations space becomes available. The plan visualizes the adoption by the Province of a program of building construction geared systematically to its long-term requirements and located in the area between Edmonton Street and Memorial Boulevard. Such a program would create a coherently articulated Government precinct in the Downtown which would complement the other developments visualized in the plan.

One of [XMLmind] most important proposals of the plan is the development of a park along the north bank of the Assiniboine River extending from the Legislative Buildings to Main Street. The concept of this park arises out of three very important considerations. Firstly, the extend and quality of the park development in and adjacent to the central area is one of the principal factors in determining the character of a city. Secondly, Winnipeg's Downtown parks are small and not well located. Memorial Park is surrounded by major traffic arteries making access to it inconvenient; and Fort Garry Park, containing all that now remains of Fort Garry, a relic of the greatest historical importance for Winnipeg and Western Canada, is cramped between surrounding development so that its presence is almost unnoticeable. And thirdly, the reclamation of the riverbanks as parks has long been a hope of the people of this city. The intention of the Canadian National Railway to redevelop their east yard opens the prospect of extensive riverbank park on the Red River and at the historic junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The proposal being made here, in the Downtown plan, would link the junction of the rivers with the grounds of the Legislative Building, and would extend a landscaped open space from the river to Fort Garry Gate, opening up that historic monument to full public view and including the site of the first Metropolitan Government.

The Metropolitan Corporation has declared its intention of creating a park on its riverbank property now occupied by the Metro Transit garage at Main Street and Assiniboine Avenue. It is the Corporation's intention to name the park "Bonny castle Park" in honor of Mr. Richard Bonny castle, the Metropolitan Corporation's first chairman. The Corporation also owns the property at 100 Main Street, lying between Assiniboine Avenue and Fort Garry Park. The Corporation's offices are located in this building

It can be expected that in the foreseeable future, the Corporation is going to have to build a new building to house its activities because its operations are even now spread in a makeshift arrangement through a number of buildings which provide inadequate space and working conditions.

The plan visualizes that when the new Metro headquarters is built, it will be located elsewhere, and the premises of 100 Main Street will be demolished, and the site redeveloped as a park. This park will form a link with Bonnycastle Park and Fort Garry Park, and will open up the site of the old Fort Garry Gate in a manner appropriate to its place in Winnipeg's history.

The realization of this concept would surround the southern part of the Downtown on three sides with an unbroken park of green open spaces and quiet landscaped riverbank. The parkland would run from Memorial Park to the Legislative grounds, then along the river to Main Street, and then turn back to Broadway, between Main Street and Fort Street. When the C.N.R.'s plans are carried out, the riverbank section of the park, hopefully, will extend to the junction of the rivers and then along the Red for the full length of the C.N. holding.

Such a park would make an enormous contribution to the general attractiveness and character of the Downtown. But more than that, by opening up and restoring historic sites to their appropriate place in the civic scene, and by linking them with each other and with the seats of government, it would be a civic element of some considerable social and historical significance.

A discussion of the uses and the floor space which would be generated by the implementation of the plan, together with an analysis of its financial implications, is contained in the Implementation section of this report.