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Blog by Ursula Thiessen

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Are You Ready For a Downtown Lifestyle? Article from Bill's February Newsletter

  Sitting outside the Fixx, Bill Thiessen and his clients sip gourmet brews and share laughs in the shade of an Exchange Oak tree.   Everyone is undisturbed by the scruffy looking man who approaches them off the street to ask for change. They don't flinch when a passing motorist repeatedly blows his horn and shouts obscenities at the car in front of him.
Many would probably run for cover. But these clients are part of a growing middle-class population that has fled the manicured lawns and strip malls of Winnipeg’s suburbia for downtown living.

 

“I think what we're seeing now is the beginning of a trend. That's not saying that people are going to stop moving to the suburbs but I think the tide has been stemmed a little bit," real estate broker Bill Thiessen said.

 

Bill’s clients and other ex-suburbanites say city living allows them to escape the humdrum of the burbs and puts them closer to museums, parks, theaters and nightlife.
Vacant lots and abandoned buildings still dot our city's landscape, but are farther and fewer between.
Bill’s efforts to revive Winnipeg’s downtown - dominated by an office district that is usually nearly empty by 6 p.m. each day - began over 6 years ago when Bill joined CentreVentre.  Since then, he decided to join the private sector, knowing he could do more for downtown’s residential issues.  Bill has established himself as downtown’s expert on residential sales and marketing.  He is often heard on CJOB and quoted in the City’s papers about the many misconceptions about downtown.

 

Bill states “Most people, including many realtors, are unaware of amenities in our downtown.  The Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten in the East Exchange, or even the great Chinese supermarkets and grocery stores.
“Most of those moving into downtown are singles or couples.  I would be generalizing to say that no families are moving to the area, but they are a minority”, said Bill. “Others include people relocating from other urban environments and recent college graduates who don't want to move back to their parents' neighborhood.
"The don't want to be out in the suburbs where there are families, they want to be in a more energized environment where they can meet people,"

 

Back at the Fixx, the clients say moving downtown has helped them develop a bond with locals. Among this group, there's no longing to return back to the  green yards of suburbia.
"Every once in a while I have this nostalgia for cutting the grass," said Bill’s clients who is a 50-year-old art gallery owner. "But I sit quietly and it always passes."