Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Portage Place

Ask yourself: When was the last time I shopped at Portage Place?

For the first time in three years, I went into Portage Place to shop.

I snuck by some kids who were playing on the escalator, and hopped on. Walking around the second floor, I remembered why I hadn't visited the mall in such a long time, despite living and attending school near by.

There are stores I would shop at, but not very often. Bargain shops in particular. Not to say there's anything wrong with these stores, except, I don't know how many times I would go in to buy questionable canned goods and cleaning products.

Four security guards ran by me, while two others discussed what was going on. I wish I was making this up. Really.

I probably sound like such a snob. Like maybe I'm too good for bargain shops and for Portage Place in general, but that's not at all true. I love downtown Winnipeg, and try to support it as much as possible, but they aren't making it easy to.

I found this clip from 1988, about how Portage Place tried to make their stores open 24 hours in order to get more customers to come in. According to the clip, it was a big fail. Which means for over 23 years, Portage Place has been trying and failing.


A few months ago, we had a representative from The Forks come speak to our class about what properties that are managed and owned by The Forks. According to the speaker, The Forks owns the IMAX, which LOSES thousands of dollars of revenue every year. The only reason why they continue to keep it open is, and I quote, "because we'd rather loose money than see another bargain store go up (in Portage Place)."

So what can we do to improve it?

Here's what I think:

Portage Place needs to put in a Safeway or IGA or something that sells quality foods in order for people living in the surrounding area to buy fresh produce and not canned cheap foods. There is a Safeway down Main street, and a Superstore down Ellice, but I'm guessing a lot of people who live in the area, (like myself) don't have cars, and bussing is hard with groceries.

Either Portage Place needs to step it up by getting rid of their dumpy stores, and dying movie theatres and put in more quality restaurants (which would be put to good use on nights when the Jets play or when there's a concert). Or maybe add a store that is no where else in Winnipeg, like Urban Outfitters or H&M, which would force girls like me to go there. Or downsize the mall and make it more business person friendly, like the malls in downtown Vancouver.

Here is a fairly accurate representation of what Portage Place is like now... except on warm sunny days, when there usually is lots of people around.

Next time you're near the big PP, picture yourself as a downtown innovator, and ask yourself:
What does this place need?

Maybe you'll be the one to finally save Portage Place.

Side note: comments have told me there are a few close by food store. So I changed my blog post slightly.


  1. Hey Josie, there is an IGA downtown! It's on Donald. The Bay also has a Zellers grocery store in the basement.

  2. Also the forks market is one of the best places in the city to get groceries and that is a fifteen minute walk from PP. And the Superstore is on Sargent, not Ellis.


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