Response to True North Real Estate purchase option for Portage Place Mall

March 6, 2023

For Immediate Release Winnipeg (Treaty One): True North Real Estate purchase option goes against the community vision for Portage Place land and mall. 

In 2021, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a community-based research report entitled “What’s Going on With Portage Place” – please see the report and video.

The True North Real Estate purchase option as described in the media does not make mention of the obligations to First Nations for the public land owned by the Forks North Portage, legally and in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation. The land under Portage Place is owned in part by the federal government via the Forks North Portage Partnership.

The community-based vision for Portage Place – as formulated by community leaders who made presentations at City Hall when the offer to purchase was proposed by Starlight, the Portage Place Community Coalition and Portage Place Community Voices Committee – is made up of four key pillars:

1. Portage Place should become a non-profit community centre (that may include for-profit stores offering affordable necessities, as determined by the community) primarily for the people in the neighbourhood, rather than a corporate shopping mall.

2. Hundreds of new rent-geared-to-income social housing units should be built at Portage Place.

3. A real safety plan that centres Indigenous women and girls should replace the current security approach.

4. Indigenous peoples should own Portage Place.

True North Corporation and its subsidiaries have benefited massively from millions public tax credits and incentives for decades. True North Square benefited from Tax Increment Financing on above market rents and is critiqued for gentrification of downtown. True North does not have a track record of serving the local community and is not Indigenous-led. The City of Winnipeg, Government of Manitoba and Federal Government should decline this offer and move forward in meaningful partnership with First Nations, Métis and Indigenous community leadership on the redevelopment of Portage Place.