The Exchange District was designated national historic site of Canada in 1997. The 20 block site contains some 150 turn-of-the century buildings, many of which display the Richardsonian Romanesque, Italianate, Beaux-Arts, and Chicago School styles. Most of the buildings are three to seven storeys tall, and have elaborate facades with original large windows and loading bays. Typical construction materials include buff brick, Tyndall stone, terracotta, red brick, granite, and sandstone. ​The Exchange District National Historic Site commemorative plaque describes district's significance as follows:

“This remarkable group of commercial buildings vividly illustrates Winnipeg’s transformation between 1878 and 1913 from a modest pioneer settlement to western Canada’s largest metropolitan centre. The district’s banks, warehouses, and early skyscrapers recall the city’s dominance in the fields of finance, manufacturing, wholesale distribution and the international grain trade. Designed by a number of well known architects, the buildings of the Exchange District reflect an approach to architecture that was innovative, functional and stylish. The First World War and the Great Depression contributed to the end of Winnipeg’s spectacular boom era, leaving the district virtually intact. Through the efforts of dedicated citizens since the 1970s, the Exchange District has been preserved as a distinctive legacy from a formative period in Canada’s economic development.” ​


Over the last decade the neighbourhood has undergone a residential renaissance with warehouse and historic buildings being converted in condominium and rental apartments.  The population of the Exchange District is now estimated to be 2,200, with an active residents' association.  

The neighbourhood has over 60 unique independent shops and over 50 home grown eateries, pubs, coffee shops, and gourmet restaurants. The area is home to antique stores, art studios, book stores, clothiers, cycle shops, furniture makers, jewelers, music stores, accessory boutiques, toy stores, and many other businesses.

It is also a place where the broader community gathers to partake in many of Winnipeg's great festivals. ​These include the Fringe Theatre Festival, the International Jazz Festival, the Architecture and Design Film Festival, New Music Festival, Nuit Banche and many more.


The Market Lands are right in the heart of Winnipeg's cultural district.  Renouned in Canada for its visual and performing arts scene, The Exchange District is home to hundreds of artists, galleries, and performance venues.  Artist run centres such as Artspace and Urban Shaman Gallery attract activity alongside larger insitutions like the Centennial Concert Halland the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.  Artist expression ranges from the experimental in galleries like AceArt to the classics of the Winnipeg Sympony Orchestra or the ballets of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

North of Market Lands is Chinatown and the Chinese Cultural and Community Centre with its traditional Chinese architecture and the tranquil gardens. The Centre itself houses a large multi-purpose room, a library, businesses, banks, and government offices. Martial arts and dance classes are offered here, as well as translation services.

Not only does the district host an abundance of arts studios, galleries, and venues, but it's home to a growing technology and innovation industry, centred on Red River College's Duff Roblin Building.  Innovation Alley, primarily located along Adelaide Street, emphasizes an entrepreneurial spirit in the Exchange District supporting efforts like start-up spaces, shared business resources, and Canada’s largest fabrication lab.