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History of River-Osborne

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River-Osborne was part of the City of Winnipeg when it amalgamated with the surrounding municipalities to form the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

River-Osborne is one of the best known neighbourhoods in Winnipeg in the Fort Rouge area, established in the early 1880s after the construction of the first Osborne Street Bridge, giving the region its second permanent river crossing. Growth for the City of Winnipeg meant an expanded tax revenue base but also a need to borrow heavily to finance the expansion of its own infrastructure. To ensure its own future, Winnipeg was given provincial approval to annex surrounding communities, including the suburb of Fort Rouge in 1882, which became Ward 1 of Winnipeg's new six ward set-up.

Development in the area in the late-1890s was generally up-scale; many of Winnipeg's well-to-do families chose the "rural" suburb of Fort Rouge to build their mansions. Judges, bankers, engineers and major business owners were among those who settled along the river. Electric streetcars came very early to Fort Rouge, fostering more expansion. And as business and industry moved into the area, so too did its workers, who built modest homes along its many newly laid out streets and avenues. This process intensified during the first decade of the 20th century as Winnipeg again experienced a population and economic boom that lasted to World War I. And one of Fort Rouge's main thoroughfares, Osborne Street, evolved from a mainly residential street into a commercial centre for the area, with multi-level business/residential blocks replacing older residential property and storefront additions to other homes, most of the activity occurring between River and Stradbrook avenues, some of these structures are still extant. It was this area that, in the 1950s, was transformed into Osborne Village, with its boutiques, shops and restaurants.