Osborne Village was voted the best neighborhood in Canada by over 200,000 Canadians in the 2012 Canadian Institute of Planners poll and the mixed-use urban neighborhood certainly lives up to the hype. It’s packed with great restaurants, historic buildings and unique shops.
It’s also one of the few Winnipeg neighborhoods where the stores are open on Sundays — an important selling point when you’re an American in town for the weekend — so I set out for a tour of some of my favorite shops on a Sunday afternoon.
This jaunt allows plenty of time for strolling and a stop at Baked Expectations (see the article here) for a midday lunch. The shops are close together so this route is walkable even in winter.
Drive or take bus 16, 18, 39, 58, 60 or 8404 to River Avenue and Osborne Street. Start on the west side of Osborne where it intersects with River and continue south on Osborne until you reach Baked Expectations. Grab something fabulous to snack on, cross the street and continue your shopping as you walk north, back to your vehicle or bus.
There are many more shops that than those I’ve profiled here, but these are some of my favorites. If a trip to Winnipeg isn’t in your immediate future, click on the links or give the stores a call to shop from home. Enjoy!
The tour starts at tharNzie, a new boutique in the lower level of a complex on River that houses two other great shops as well.
Nick, the owner, stocks limited runs by up-and-coming designers — many of whom are from L.A. and Las Vegas — so Winnipeg fashionistas won’t have to worry about showing up to a party in the same dress.
The west coast influence shows in the clothes. Standout selections include body conscious dresses, party wear and statement jewelry.
Since I’m pregnant and body con dresses aren’t in my immediate future, I fell in love with a slouchy linen and viscose blend button down by Nikibiki that looks great with leggings and tall boots for winter and will layer perfectly over dresses and shorts when the weather warms up.
I managed to resist the cocktail rings and doorknocker earrings…this time.
Next, head upstairs to Kustom Kulture for something completely different.
Their website focuses almost entirely on smoking accessories, combustibles and pot culture and about a third of the retail space is dedicated to these items as well.
Since that’s not really my thing, I keep coming back for the clothing (a little bit punk, a little bit rockabilly, a little bit chill), the fantastic knee sock selection (I have both sock aficionados and derby girls in my life), an interesting assortment of books, unusual hats and the weird and occasionally naughty gift and novelty section.
Now go up yet another level to The Closet on River, a treasure trove of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from owner Lorraine Hay.
The store stocks a mixture of new, vintage and consignment items as well as designer denim.
The store is so beautifully and coherently styled that I was shocked to realized it held consignment and vintage items. I’m a consignment fiend — how could I not notice? Maybe the two times I visited were the exceptions to the rule. Or maybe Ms. Hay and staff have compiled the closet we all want, that perfect mix of old and new. Either way, it’s worth a stop.
Then it’s off to Luxe+Charm, another one of Winnipeg’s boutiques for ladies.
They were having a fabulous sale when we stopped in, so naturally, I had to check out every rack.
Their selection is typically trendy and slinky, but they’re leaning a little more towards the romantic this season, with lots of flowy and sheer items layered with warmer, woolen pieces. I will be stealing this unexpected winter look immediately.
I loved that the store’s skull obsession was as pronounced as mine.
Hush & Shout is actually two boutiques in one, both run by owner Melissa Hay.
Hush stocks dresses and separates to take the ladies of Winnipeg from work to dinner, drinks, parties and everything in between, while sister store Shout offers street fashion and T-shirts.
I gravitated towards the more subdued palette, beautiful textures and fabulous leather goods at Hush.
The last stop on my tour is Out of the Blue Clothing, a dress-heavy boutique featuring vaguely vintage inspired clothing and jewelry.
I loved the 70s earth tone color palette — mustard and burnt sienna were everywhere in Winnipeg this year — and the classic pumps and T-strap Mary Jane’s. For a big night out, Out of the Blue stocks a variety of dress styles, from form-fitting cocktail sheaths, to mod and flapper-inspired straight cut looks, to curvy 50’s silhouettes.
The shop gets bonus points for encouraging customers to take holiday photos with a Tom Selleck cut-out. I thought this was fantastic, but my husband didn’t agree. So I held back and ogled these awesome kitty hats instead.
I really should have bought one. Isn’t that striped one fabulous?
What about you? Where do you like to shop in Osborne Village? In Winnipeg in general? What’s your favorite way to explore a new neighborhood? What makes up a good neighborhood, in your opinion? What do you think you can learn about a place from shopping there?
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