Brandon’s downtown ranked among the coolest in Canada by Expedia travel blog

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With its historic buildings, charming shops and lively pubs, Brandon has landed on a list of Canada’s coolest downtowns.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2017 (1799 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With its historic buildings, charming shops and lively pubs, Brandon has landed on a list of Canada’s coolest downtowns.

The Expedia Canada Travel Blog ranked downtown Brandon No. 5, just behind Winnipeg and ahead of Lunenburg, N.S. Coming in at No. 1 was St. Thomas, Ont.

“We searched high and low for innovative art scenes, top walk scores, and that littleje ne sais quoithat makes a city unforgettable,” writes Carolyn Albee. “We’ve narrowed it down to 10 of Canada’s coolest downtown areas, from up-and-comers to perennial favourites. Put these on your list, downtown lovers.”

Jillian Austin/Brandon Sun) Downtown Brandon recently received praise in a Top 10 ranking by Expedia Travel.

A few local businesses that caught the eye of the writer included Abby Rose boutique, Ten Thousand Villages, The Global Market, Komfort Kitchen and The Dock on Princess.

“I think it’s wonderful that we got a mention. I obviously think that our downtown is awesome, and has a lot of potential,” said Abby Rose owner Sara Grexton, adding she hopes the article helps spread the word about downtown Brandon.

Abby Rose, as described by Grexton, is a luxury consignment boutique, offering quality pre-loved and new ready-to-wear ladies clothing, bags, shoes and accessories.

“Most of our items that are new for our customers would be locally hand made items,” she said, adding they also feature local artists.

Komfort Kitchen owner Derek Woychyshyn says their success is all related to quality and consistency.

“I think just having the recipes and sticking to what we do best,” he said.

Having Brandon included in the Expedia Top 10 list just speaks to the mobile age we’re living in, Woychyshyn said.

“Everyone that goes somewhere, if they’re into it, they’re tagging where they are, leaving pictures, leaving comments and rating,” he said.

Elisabeth Saftiuk, executive director of Brandon Downtown Development Corporation (formerly Renaissance Brandon), was thrilled to see Brandon’s downtown recognized by a travel website with such wide reach.

“I think it’s indicative of the tremendous assets that are truly found in our downtown,” she said. “In terms of the arts and culture scene … the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba offers widely acclaimed gallery exhibitions and arts education in a state-of-the-art facility.”

As revitalization projects continue, restaurants and nightlife are becoming more exciting, she added.

“Downtown staples such as The Dock and Benny’s continue to be popular destinations, and there’s always a wait at the door at Komfort Kitchen for Sunday brunch.”

Jillian Austin/The Brandon Sun Abby Rose boutique on Rosser Avenue is one of Brandon's downtown businesses that was highlighted in a recent Expedia Travel article.

Saftiuk also mentioned the newer, unique destinations of Prairie Firehouse and Fraser Sneath Coffee. Pubs offer entertainment, including live music, billiards and trivia night.

“There’s a lot happening in our downtown that even Brandonites might not necessarily be aware of,” she said. “I think that the inclusion of our downtown in this article is a tremendous opportunity to let Brandonites know how cool our downtown really is, and it’s only getting cooler.”

Downtown Brandon has also had its fair share of setbacks, such as the McKenzie Towers project falling through and the closure of Wildflower Cafe. But Saftiuk noted there is a lot in the works to look forward to.

“I think any downtown will suffer setbacks, but it’s critically important to focus on, first of all, how we can address those setbacks and to encourage investment in our downtown ultimately,” she said.

In early 2018, Chez Angela bakery and Muse Bridal Studio will be opening up downtown. Brandon University is working on its plans for a mixed-use development, that would incorporate residential, commercial and academic uses.

Saftiuk pointed out that there are many smaller-scale projects that have occurred downtown in the past few years, including eight new residential units at Prairie Lofts, Tour Indoor Cycling, Pirhouette Active Wear, to name only a few.

“Vibrant downtowns create smart, healthy cities, and there is so much untapped potential in downtown Brandon,” Saftiuk said.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

» Twitter:@jillianaustin

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