Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Someone has to do it

I don't get to the Wagon Wheel Lunch much these days, and so there is not much reason for me to go down Hargrave St. north of Portage. Today I did, as I walked home from school, having noticed a sign saying "Bollywood." Turns out Bollywood is a small place selling pizza by the slice and chicken wings--common fare in the nearby West End, but this place stays open until 5:00 AM seven days a week. Anyone who enjoys late-night walks or bike rides with a flask of something in the back pocket, going to downtown nightclubs, or simply sitting at home bemoaning the city's lack of nightlife, could certainly appreciate this.

Elsewhere in this building, which sits SE corner of Hargrave and Ellice, retail spaces are occupied with a variety of businesses that no doubt lend themselves to the influx of immigrants in the neighborhoods: a hair salon, an Ethiopean restaurant, and a soon-to-be-opened rug store.

The building, completely non-descript and standing only a single storey, is great for its usefulness: full of small commercial spaces; lots of windows and doors. For downtown to be a normal district that people walk in, it needs about 100 more buildings like this--with two to six stories of residential floors atop them--built on surface parking lots.

Albert Street gets all the hype, deservedly so, for being what my wife calls 'the most un-Winnipeg place in Winnipeg,' but there is much to be said for the small immigrant entrepreneurs who waste no time, and wait for no hand-outs, visions, or magic wands, to make something of downtown's forgotten corners.

5 Comments:

Blogger D. Sky Onosson said...

Well said re: downtown buildings and entrepeneurs...

but I always thought Albert Street was quintessentially Winnipeg! I guess it depends on your perspective.

6:30 PM  
Blogger j.mo said...

Fantastic post & thanks for the tip!

8:04 PM  
Blogger ManitobaPost.com said...

Now I know where to get pizza in the wee hours, Winnipeg needs more of this !

9:51 PM  
Blogger average city said...

Ah, that Ethiopian restaurant is fabulous - Kokeb (used to be called Yenat). The previous owner sold it to a relative when he bought the old 7-11 on Sargent to continue to provide a convenience store for the neighbourhood.

Anyway, go at lunch for the $7 all you can eat buffet - it's vegetarian only and beats waiting 2 hours for your food at Massawa.

10:16 AM  
Blogger n3rd said...

I just moved here from Toronto and the first thing I felt Winnipeg needed were the mixed-use buildings like you describe. We need more small store front space. Nothing is more pleasant than to walk down streets full of people browsing the storefronts like Bloor West, Queen West and the like. Let's hope they can do that on Provencher and other places in Saint Boniface.

3:45 PM  

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