Revamped space provides serene lookout over Red River and creates more enjoyable experience connecting St. Boniface to The Forks, Upper Fort Garry
Monday, June 24, 2019. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Winnipeg’s Red River walkway is even more of a destination, now that the Saint-Boniface Belvédère is officially open. The project, which also revamped the Taché Promenade between Provencher Boulevard and Despins Street, shored up the riverbank and widened the walkway, creating a more enjoyable visitor experience along the pathway connecting St. Boniface, The Forks, and Upper Fort Garry.
The Belvédère juts out over the riverbank, providing spectacular views of The Forks, the rivers, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the downtown Winnipeg skyline. The structure features a new art installation, Phare Ouest (Far West), by Winnipeg artist Marcel Gosselin.
The initiative, which started in 2012, is a partnership between the City of Winnipeg, The Winnipeg Foundation and the Government of Canada. Driven by a community stakeholder committee with Entreprises Riel, The Forks and the Winnipeg Arts Council, the project brings to life the committee’s vision to “develop a heritage precinct that celebrates and educates the area’s culture, traditions and history, while incorporating powerful elements of compassion, health, healing, spirituality, reconciliation and peace.”
The site is of utmost historical importance to the City. The intersection of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers has been a gathering place for Indigenous populations for more than 6,000 years. Later, the Coureurs des bois and the very first European settlers landed their canoes on the eastern banks of the Red River near this area. Bishop Provencher also welcomed the first four Grey Nuns there in 1844, more than 25 years before Manitoba was to become a province.
“It is fantastic to see the Taché Promenade and Belvédère project finally come to fruition,” says Mayor Brian Bowman. “This new promenade will improve connectivity with St. Boniface and provide a scenic area for walking and cycling, complete with public art. The Belvédère is a beautiful addition to St. Boniface and we’re grateful for the funding contributions from the federal government and The Winnipeg Foundation that helped make this project a reality.”
As part of the overall project, Taché Promenade has been widened and enhanced from Provencher Boulevard to Despins Street and serves as the main access route to the area and the Belvédère. The widening of this popular route, and the beautification of this stretch, was supported by the Government of Canada.
“The renewed Taché Promenade trail, with its beautiful Belvédère Saint-Boniface, has really transformed this riverbank and complements the many other tourist destinations in the area. I am thrilled that the Government of Canada has partnered with The Winnipeg Foundation and the City of Winnipeg on this visionary project that further builds on our links to The Forks and downtown,” says Dan Vandal, MP for Saint-Boniface–Saint Vital.
The Winnipeg Foundation’s Green Spaces Strategy has supported major enhancements in the City’s downtown for the past decade. From the Cube at Old Market Square, to the redevelopment of Central Park, to the Alloway Arch and public art installations at The Forks, The Foundation has made several key investments to help ensure a vibrant City.
“The Winnipeg Foundation is thrilled to support this project and see it come to fruition. It truly celebrates our community’s diversity and creates another destination in our downtown,” says Winnipeg Foundation Board Chair Doneta Brotchie. “Green spaces are critical to our City’s health and wellness, and the many urban parks and greenspaces in our downtown help create ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all’.”
WAC Executive Director Carol Phillips says The Winnipeg Arts Council is pleased to have commissioned Winnipeg-based artist Marcel Gosselin to create Phare Ouest (Far West), an homage to the history of St. Boniface. “His lighthouse-reminiscent public artwork glows as a beacon on the promenade and is underpinned by concepts of coming together, spirituality, refuge and solace,” she adds.
The light within Gosselin’s sculpture recalls how, coming upon the St. Boniface area at 1:00 a.m., the Grey Nuns were guided to the shore of the Red River by the Bishop Provencher and his lantern. The floating plates forming the top of the sculpture represent the eight hands of these Nuns coming together and being instrumental in founding, preserving, and protecting the foundational institutions of St. Boniface. These institutions, represented by the triangular windowed obelisk, rise upward and taper from the base to a vanishing point in the sky.
Entreprises Riel lead the community stakeholder group that helped move this project from a community vision to reality.
“Entreprises Riel were pleased to bring together a number of community stakeholders who saw the potential of linking sites and attractions by reinvesting in the Promenade Taché. As is often the case, The Winnipeg Foundation allowed us to dream by first providing resources to undertake design concepts for the Belvédère, and later became the catalyst who provided significant resources to enhance the non-traditional portion of this public infrastructure,” says Norm Gousseau of Entreprises Riel.
With construction completed earlier this year, the route enjoys a steady stream of visitors – from across the City and from outside Winnipeg. This project is another key investment for The Winnipeg Foundation in a 2.5 km loop winding its way through South Point, The Forks Riverwalk and now the Taché Promenade and Saint-Boniface Belvédère.
The Winnipeg Foundation is For Good. Forever. We help people give back to our shared community by connecting generous donors with causes they care about For Good. We’re are an endowment-based public foundation, so gifts are pooled and invested, and the annual earnings are distributed back to the community Forever. Formed in 1921, we are proud to be the first community foundation in Canada.
LuAnn Lovlin, CFRE
Director of Communications & Marketing, The Winnipeg Foundation
T: 204.944.9474 ext. 232