1. Street Party. Osborne Street is closed to automobiles for 24 hours per year to host thousands in Canada Day celebrations.
2. Saturday Morning Cleanup. Osborne Village evokes a strong sense of ownership in its residents.
3. the heart of the Village. The corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street.
4. Gas Station Theatre. Anchoring the heart of the Village, the Gas Station Theatre hosts live performing arts and a graffiti gallery incorporated into a well used outdoor plaza. In summer months the
5. Cauchon Street. Quiet tree lined streets can be found just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Osborne Street.
6. River and Osborne Plaza. Provides convenient pedestrian connections along with a place to gather and be heard.
7. Roslyn Court Apartments. One of eleven buildings in Osborne Village listed on the City of Winnipeg’s Building Conservation List.
8. Cathy Day. When the neighbourhood's most beloved street presence died, community residents erected a public tribute and held a memorial service at the Gas Station Theatre.
A True Urban Village. Dense, mixed-use, transit accessible, pedestrian oriented urban form.
Osborne Village is many things to many people. This example of “good urbanism” is more than just a neighbourhood; it is a way of life.
Osborne Village is located south of downtown Winnipeg, across the Assiniboine River. The neighbourhood’s boundaries are generally accepted as the river to the north, Donald Street to the east, Confusion Corner and Gertrude Avenue to the south and a bend in the Assiniboine River to the west. Originally subdivided as large river lots in 1875, with further subdivision and development continuing into the early 1900s, Osborne Village became one of Winnipeg’s first street car suburbs. The core urban structure of the neighbourhood was designed for pedestrians with many turn of the century buildings still existing today. Known for its dense, diverse, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented character, “the Village,” as it is affectionately known to Winnipeggers, has evolved and flourished over the past century.
The 2006 Osborne Village Neighbourhood Plan includes policies intended to maintain the long-standing urban character. The plan reports 8000 people living in the 231-acre neighbourhood. The average dwelling size is 1.55 people per household, which is attributed to the large proportion of young singles, couples, and seniors. The gross density is approximately 22 dwelling units per acre. Osborne Village is the densest urban setting in Winnipeg and has been touted as one of the most dense in western Canada.
The neighbourhood supports residential uses in close proximity to a large grocery store, drugstore, liquor store, retail shops, two organic food stores along with many restaurants, bars, coffee shops, personal/healthcare services and offices. The Osborne Village BIZ reports 170 member businesses, mainly situated along Osborne Street, which bisects the neighbourhood. This mix of commercial and residential land uses and dense population contributes to the function of a true urban village.
Osborne Village provides the opportunity for people to live, work, and play all while affording convenient access to transit. The streetcar lines on River Avenue and Osborne Street have long since been removed. However, the neighbourhood's location, walkable urban form, and high population density support more sustainable transportation options. Confusion Corner, a transit hub where five arterial streets converge and the corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street (or the heart of the Village) include 16 bus routes, most of which run with relatively high frequency. Along with transit, many residents walk and cycle to work. Based upon 2006 City of Winnipeg Neighbourhood profiles, over 45% of residents use transit, walk, or cycle to get to work while the overall Winnipeg average is 22%. These more sustainable forms of transportation are being supported by a new rapid transit station near Confusion Corner, a recent pushbutton actuated traffic light crosswalk at a less safe section of Osborne Street, and the addition of cycling lanes to the Osborne Street bridge redevelopment.
Osborne Village is home to a wide cross section of Canadians. All age groups and income levels are represented. Street inhabitants live within a five-minute walk of some of the most expensive condominiums in the city. There are also more modest condos, single-family homes, and a variety of rental apartments. The neighbourhood includes an elementary school and daycare along with three seniors’ residential facilities. There is a single room occupancy hotel and two temporary boarding facilities for rural Aboriginals seeking medical care in Winnipeg. Three well-used plazas and six parks, including public access to a mostly naturalized riverbank, support an interconnected pedestrian network. There are nine places of worship including multiple faiths, a community centre, and the Gas Station Theatre (non-profit performing arts venue).
Area City Councilor since 1998, Jenny Gerbasi has been a champion for city planning and sustainability issues in Winnipeg and in particular, community planning in Osborne Village. She was involved with the creation of the Osborne Village Neighbourhood Plan. She also played a major role in encouraging a large grocery store redevelopment, located near the heart of the Village, to conduct a comprehensive facilitated design process. This prevented the development of an incompatible gas bar and worked toward meeting goals and needs of various community groups. Ms. Gerbasi works closely with the Gas Station Theatre, she is a board member of the Osborne Village BIZ, and her office funds and facilitates an annual neighbourhood spring cleanup day. For all of her efforts, Ms. Gerbasi was awarded the Manitoba Professional Planning Institute’s Friend of Planning Award in 2011.
The qualities that make the Village a great place to live also attract visitors from across Winnipeg. The dense, mixed-use, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented built form offers a uniquely urban experience in Winnipeg. This example of “good urbanism” allows all residents to live in a more sustainable way, and will continue to prove resilient in the face of an uncertain future. With population forecasts in Winnipeg skyrocketing and planning for new rapid transit supportive development, Winnipeg need not look far for smart growth principles, they have existed in Osborne Village for over 100 years.