Not far from Winnipeg’s original meeting and trading place – The Forks – is The Exchange District, a 30-block area of downtown Winnipeg that is one of the most historically intact early twentieth-century commercial districts in North America. At the turn of the twentieth century, Winnipeg had become a major railway centre and the commercial gateway to western Canada and the north-western States, counting two dozen rail lines converging near the city centre and over 200 wholesale businesses. Earning its name from the Winnipeg Grain Exchange and the many other commodity and financial exchanges that found their homes there at the turn of the century, the Exchange District is known for its turn-of-the-century collection of warehouses, financial institutions and early terra cotta clad skyscrapers. The architecture of the area is predominantly that of the Chicago style of the early 1900s, earning Winnipeg the nickname “Chicago of the North”.
Today, the Exchange District flourishes as Winnipeg’s commercial and cultural nucleus. This thriving and unique neighbourhood is home to an array of specialty retailers, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, wholesalers and Winnipeg’s theatre district. Its cobblestone streets and pedestrian-friendly environment also contribute to the Exchange District’s popularity as a period backdrop for today’s movie industry.
Come and see the breathtaking architecture and hear the stories of a time and a place that catapulted Winnipeg onto the international stage – where it has stayed ever since.