Tache Promenade gets federal funding boost to link St. Boniface and The Forks

With a $1-million boost from the federal government, the Tache Promenade one step closer to providing a bird's-eye-view boardwalk through historic St. Boniface. 

The Government of Canada's Community Infrastructure Program has invested money into two projects to further link St. Boniface and The Forks as part of Canada 150 Celebrates.

Entreprises Riel received $500,000 for the Tache Promenade Renewal Project and The Forks North Portage Partnership received another $500,000 for The Forks Reconciliation Walk project.

"What we are proposing is to kind of recapture the essence of that strip. It's an important historical area," said Normand Gousseau, chief executive officer of Entreprises Riel.

"I think in the context of Canada's 150th it's important to create those legacies where we can showcase some of Canada's best views and this is one of them," he added.

The promenade planning hit a hurdle when the project didn't receive money it was relying on from the sale of a city yard in 2015. The mayor's executive policy committee voted against providing 25 per cent of the sale of the yard to the promenade's development.

However, the 2017 city budget brought the project back to life with a $5.2 million investment.

The promenade will include a walkway, some public art and a lookout tower built on the St. Boniface side of the Red River, overlooking the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks as well as downtown highrises.

"There are a lot of people that come to the Forks, a lot of people come to St. Boniface but the connections weren't all that great," Gousseau said.

"Now … we are going to tie those two bits together. We will encourage people to come over the bridge and visit St. Boniface and we will be able to tell them a story through this walk as well."

The government's investment will allow for a widening of sidewalks and the addition of an active transportation corridor, Gousseau said.

"The sidewalk, the width of it currently, is not even up to City of Winnipeg standards," he said, adding the riverbank limits the space.

Gousseau said the plan is to branch off into two sidewalks in an area which can't be widened, creating the perfect picture stop for Winnipeggers and those visiting the city.

"It will be the only one like that in the city of Winnipeg where you are basically perched up amongst the trees and looking at the cityscape," he said. "It will be a perfect viewing spot for the city of Winnipeg."

The plan is to have the promenade completed for 2018, the bicentennial of the St. Boniface Cathedral and archdiocese.