Toad Hall Toys

Jen McDonald Blog

As a 40-year staple in the Exchange District, Toad Hall Toys is one of the oldest businesses in the neighbourhood. And it’s not hard to see why this whimsical little gem has stood the test of time. Walking into Toad Hall Toys is like stepping into a magical childhood wonderland of delights whether you’re 3 or 83. If you’re a kid at heart there’s something for you to discover and take joy in. “You don’t know what to expect when you just open this green door. It’s kind of like walking into a different reality, and children are not sure what to do with it. But they know it looks cool, and they’re not finding the things that they would …

Stanley Cup History

Jen McDonald Blog

There was a palpable energy in the air last week as most of Winnipeg sat down to watch game 7 of the series between the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets. Our collective excitement to see our team win and move on to the semi finals to play the Las Vegas Golden Knights is not surprising. This is the farthest the Winnipeg Jets have ever made it in the Stanley Cup playoffs since they joined the NHL in 1976. However, a lesser known fact about our hockey history is that before we became the Winnipeg Jets our city’s then team, the Winnipeg Victorias, won the Stanley Cup three times – in 1896, 1901, and 1902.  We are proud to say …

Tour Season is Here

Jen McDonald Blog

The warm weather is finally here and in the Exchange District that means even more festivals, events, and excitement in the area. It also means tour season! Here in the Exchange District we are lucky to be home to over 100 turn-of-the-century heritage buildings within a 30-block radius. This makes the area a remarkably walkable one filled with inspired arts, culture, shops, restaurants, and pubs. But what gives our area such a special charm are its old buildings with their stunning architecture and the incredible stories. A walk through the Exchange is like a walk back in time and it can tell you so much about our city, from it’s very beginnings to what it is today. This year we …

Handcrafted in the Exchange

Jen McDonald Blog

It all started with a shortage of collared shirts, a hat that was too small, and a laptop without a bag. These were all dilemmas that inspired 4 entrepreneurial spirits on a handcrafted journey that would lead them to working together as friends, coworkers, and creative conspirators in a studio space on the 4th floor of 290 Albert Street. Today that studio houses three independent businesses – Commonwealth, Oldhat, and Wilder Goods. Together in a large, open studio space, these business owners craft their products, sell their goods, and inspire each other to be better craftspeople – all while finding time to debate the latest podcast or issue and enjoy the sense of community among them. Common Wealth Manufacturing Andrew …

Getting Ready for Spring

Jen McDonald Blog

We’ve officially entered spring! And although the weather sometimes takes awhile to get the memo we’ve found some shops around the Exchange that can help you get in the spring spirit. Whether you want to boost your wardrobe with some unique pieces, add a pop of colour to your home, get some fun, fresh patio furniture, or tune up your bike so you’re ready to hop on the moment snow melts – we’ve got some great ideas for you. First stop… Anya Boutique Anya offers customers something a little different with timeless classic clothing that has a unique and stylish edge. This one-of-a-kind shop, with its difficult to miss yellow door, is a great place to get a beautifully crafted …

We are so pleased to welcome Kevin’s Bistro to the neighbourhood! A gourmet mac n’ cheese bistro, created by the owners of the much-loved local restaurant chain, Stella’s, brings a unique twist on a classic dish. The bistro-style restaurant became what it is today in part because of its unique location. Built between two exterior brick walls, the space was a carriage-way back in the late 1800s. That meant the space had challenges that inspired the owners to think creatively. “Based on the size of this space and feel of this space and the fact that there is no opportunity for exhaust or a make-up air system, we had to do a different concept.  So if we wanted the space, we knew …

On International Women’s Day, which celebrate womens’ achievements and acknowledges the challenges they still face, we decided to talk to three successful women right here in the Exchange District. Vicky Ramatanis is a young entrepreneur and the owner of classic-style restaurant, Vicky’s Diner. Nan Campbell is director of the AVEDA Institute and Studio Salon, where she oversees the entire operation, including the shop, salon, and hair school. And Cheryl Oakden is a long-time resident of the Exchange District who has seen her urban design firm grow from a three-person operation to a national organization with over 40 staff. Vicky Ramatanis The restaurant business is in Vicky Ramatanis’ blood. When she was only fourteen her family first opened Vicky’s Drive-in, in St. Anne’s …

Jam pail curling in Old Market Square went to a whole new level today when Mayor Brian Bowman stopped by to play a friendly game with us on the new rink. To say he stacked his team would be a huge understatement. His team consisted of 2018 Olympic gold medal winner Kaitlyn Lawes, Jeff Stoughton – coach of the Canadian Mixed Doubles Olympic Team, Selena Kaatz – Member of the Wild Card Team (Team Einarson) in the 2018 National Scotties tournament of Hearts, Darren Oryniak – member of the Provincial Senior men’s Team, Laurie Macdonell – who curled in the Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts with Lisa Menared, and Craig Baker – Executive Director of Curl Manitoba. “When the Mayor …

This year on February 19th, the National Trust for Canada is celebrating National Heritage Day with the theme “Heritage Stands the Test of Time.” The Exchange District is living proof of that sentiment— the fabric of the area, from its architecture to its cultural institutions are what give the area its distinctive and well appreciated character.We sat down with Heritage Winnipeg’s Cindy Tugwell to learn more about why the Exchange District is so special. So, how does the Exchange District’s built heritage stand the test of time? According to Tugwell, an enthusiastic advocate for Winnipeg’s built and cultural heritage, the ways we excel are endless. Settling in to our chat, she immediately exhibits all the passion of a grass roots activist, together with a boundless knowledge and excitement …

Exchanging Words With BluePrint

Jen McDonald Blog

Blueprint team: Michelle Kuly, Etoile Stewart, Katie Krahn, Tamara Kuly, Brad Muller, Claudine Gervais If there is a problem Michelle Kuly can’t wait to solve it. Her love of complexity and problem solving is what inspired her to start her consulting firm back in 2012. Blueprint provides guided strategy, planning, and engagement services. So, when businesses, organizations, or government leaders are faced with a complex problem or project, the team at Blueprint helps them to understand what stakeholders need, clarify their goals, and arrive at a plan of action. And its this opportunity to help companies figure out the human side of complex problems that really gets Kuly and her team excited. “When it comes to business, policies, big projects, …