The expansion will connect the existing walkway system through to the Winnipeg Convention Centre with an overhead passage from CityPlace Mall to 330 St. Mary, above Hargrave Street, and in front of the Delta Hotel connecting to the existing links at the Convention Centre and 155 Carlton.
I see walkways as a necessary evil. They suck retail and pedestrians from street level making downtown seem emptier than it is. We do, though, live in a winter city and the increased mobility they provide, whether it be an office worker able to walk down to the Paddlewheel for lunch or someone in a wheelchair able to run errands instead of being snowbound for the winter, is a major plus.
Skywalks have been part of Winnipeg's urban landscape for many decades. The earliest example I could find was in 1969 when Eaton's and the neighbouring Somerset building were linked up.
The Convention Centre used them to connect to the Lakeview development next door in the mid 70's
Unfortunately, this new section is going to cut in front of St. Mary's Cathedral blocking the view. We've not always been sympathetic when skywalks and historic buildings come in close proximity.
Scale is important. Many walkways - City Place to the Library, Eatons to the Somerset Building - blend into the urban landscape. The 80's, though, brought about the "in your face" skywalk to the city.
For Portage Avenue, considering the Portage Place lot and most of Portage Avenue were dug up many storeys down, I don't know why an underground crossing was not used. The "boxcars" really destroyed the view down a grand avenue.
So get your 360 looks and shots of St. Mary's now before the skwalk crosses - you'll never get that view again !