A new Probe Research survey conducted for the Winnipeg Free Press suggests Winnipeggers are worried about their downtown and feel government ought to step in to help, even though one-half never visit the downtown and feel there is not much there to attract them.

During this last pandemic year, about one-in-five Winnipeggers visited the downtown often – at least a few times per week. However, another one-half – particularly women and older Winnipeggers – never or rarely visit downtown Winnipeg.

Winnipeggers Downtown Visitation
Winnipeggers Downtown Visitation - Subpop

Two-thirds of Winnipeggers say they are spending less time downtown now than before the pandemic. This is particularly true for parents and those with higher household incomes and educational levels.

Downtown Visitation Pre vs. Post Pandemic

Despite this, there is broad (if somewhat tepid) concern over the future of downtown. Nearly three-quarters of all Manitobans – and eight-in-ten Winnipeggers – are worried about the state of the downtown. Roughly the same proportion feel governments ought to earmark money to help downtown recover from the pandemic.

Despite this somewhat soft support for government intervention, a significant proportion of Winnipeggers and Manitobans do not feel there is much to entice them downtown. Nearly two-thirds feel this way, particularly older people.

Attitudes about Downtown Recovery

About the Probe Research Omnibus

For more than two decades, Probe Research Inc. has undertaken quarterly omnibus surveys of random and representative samples of Manitoba adults. These scientific telephone surveys have provided strategic and proprietary insights to hundreds of public, private and not-for-profit clients on a range of social, cultural and public policy topics. The Probe Research Omnibus Survey is the province’s largest and most trusted general population survey.

Disclosure Statement

Probe Research is a member of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and confirms that this research fully complies with all CRIC Standards including the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements. Learn more at: https://www.canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/por/


Between March 10th and 26th, 2021 Probe Research surveyed a random and representative sampling of 1,000 adults residing in Manitoba.

With a sample of 1,000, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results are within ± 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of Manitoba had been surveyed. The margin of error is higher within each of the survey’s population sub-groups.​

The sample consists of 429 Manitobans randomly recruited via live-agent operator; 321 Manitobans randomly recruited via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and 250 members of Probe Research's online panel. All respondents completed the survey on an online platform.

Modified random digit dialing, including both landline and wireless numbers, ensured all Manitoba adults had an equal opportunity to participate in this Probe Research survey.

Minor statistical weighting has been applied to this sample to ensure that age and gender characteristics properly reflect known attributes of the province’s population. All data analysis was performed using SPSS statistical analysis software.​