Young Winnipeggers optimistic about city’s image

Worth A Look, Urbanization, Frontier Centre

WINNIPEG’S image hasn’t improved in the minds of most residents despite the buzz around the MTS Centre and other downtown revitalization projects, according to a new poll.

Of the 602 adult Winnipeggers surveyed in recent weeks, 46 per cent said their image of the city hasn’t changed over the past few years, and 12 per cent of respondents said it has gotten worse. Another 41 per cent said Winnipeg’s image has gotten better.

The second annual survey was commissioned by Destination Winnipeg, a tourism agency that operates at arm’s length from the province and the city.

Stuart Duncan, president of Destination Winnipeg, said the numbers are encouraging, especially when it comes to the attitudes of young Winnipeggers.

“People are becoming bolder and more confident about their home,” he said. “When you look at younger adults, 18 to 34 year olds, it was 49 per cent that think the city’s image is changing for the better. They are pretty optimistic.”

Overall, the results are very similar to last year’s survey.

Which attraction do Winnipeggers like best about their city? The top three were The Forks at 31 per cent, Assiniboine Park at 15 per cent and the MTS Centre at 15 per cent. The rest were spread among other attractions, or said they were unsure.

Of the new construction in Winnipeg, 60 per cent said the MTS Centre has “added the most excitement” to the city. The under-construction Manitoba Hydro building, the revamped downtown library, and the Esplanade Riel footbridge to St. Boniface also made the list.

And there is a reason this province is known as “Friendly Manitoba.”

If asked to describe the best thing about Winnipeg to outsiders, 29 per cent said the friendly people, followed by affordable housing at 14 per cent and multiculturalism at 13 per cent. The rest were spread among other Winnipeg attributes, or said they were unsure.

When asked about Manitoba, 33 per cent said the lakes and cottages are the best thing about this province, followed again by friendly people at 19 per cent, and great outdoor recreation at 11 per cent.

How to make Winnipeg a better city? Fixing infrastructure and highways topped the list at 38 per cent, followed by addressing crime at 23 per cent of respondents and better public transport at 15 per cent.

The survey was conducted by Probe Research using 602 random telephone interviews between Nov. 29 and Dec. 8. With that sample size, the survey has a 95 per cent certainty the results are within a plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Top 3 attractions

31% – Like The Forks the best

15% – Like Assiniboine Park the best

15% – like MTS Centre the best