The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg Receives 2009 Downtown BIZ Award

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg today received an award from Winnipeg’s Downtown BIZ for Outstanding Long-term Growth and Commitment to the downtown community.

The plaque, presented by Mo Razik, Vice Chair of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Board and Chair of the BIZ Awards Committee, to Lloyd Axworthy, UWinnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor, celebrates downtown businesses and individuals who have demonstrated leadership, creativity and integrity in operating a successful organization downtown.

UWinnipeg was specifically singled out for its continued commitment to downtown and the strides it is taking in transforming the west side of downtown.

“The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ values the role The University of Winnipeg has played in transforming our downtown. With its continued vision and expansion, the university is instrumental in creating the vibrant core all Winnipeggers want to see. We’ve honoured them with this award because of their commitment and dedication to the heart of our city”, said Stefano Grande, Executive Director, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.

“We are honoured to accept this award and the recognition it brings to our campus and community development plan, which is the result of extensive neighbourhood consultations,” said Axworthy. “We envision a holistic approach to downtown renewal that breaks down barriers between the university campus and the community. We are adding environmentally friendly buildings and a host of new services open to the community, such as affordable apartments, quality day care spaces, a bookstore, pub and state-of-the-art fitness facility.”

Nominations for the BIZ awards are solicited from BIZ board members and staff with approximately 50 nominations submitted this year. The BIZ awards committee, made up of board members and staff, selects the finalists.

BACKGROUND: The University of Winnipeg’s Campus and Community Development Plan was released in September 2007: Recent projects include:

McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence

Built on UWinnipeg’s emerging western Furby-Langside Campus, McFeetors Hall provides a home for 176 students, and 25 student families. This SILVER LEED certified building includes leading edge environmental technologies such as geo-thermal heating to foster sustainability and energy efficiency. Construction began in July 2008 and was completed on time and on budget in September 2009.

The ANX – 491 Portage Avenue

Downtown Winnipeg is about to get one of its largest bookstore for students, residents and office workers in a newly-refurbished space in the former Greyhound bus depot. The main floor refurbishment will include other retail activities such as a food and beverage outlet. The new, modern 6,000-square foot bookstore will be the anchor tenant in a retail plaza featuring a new state-of-the-art website for online purchasing. It will be open for business in early 2010.

460 Portage Avenue

Construction began in October 2009 on a new three-storey building at the corner of Portage Avenue and Colony Street, on the former United Army Surplus site. The eco-friendly, three-storey, 37,500-square foot building is designed to accommodate a fourth floor for future development. The building will house UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics, Division of Continuing Education Professional Programs, Global College and Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art. Located next door to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, this addition has the potential to create a new arts precinct downtown. The building is slated to open in late 2010.

New UWSA Day Care Centre

The new University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Day Care Centre is now open next to the McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence on the Furby/Langside campus. It can serve up to 116 preschool, toddler and infant from the university and surrounding neighbourhood. The facility is LEED certified. Construction began in March 2009 and was completed, on schedule, in September 2009, making it one of downtown’s finest child care facilities.

Spence Street Promenade

The Spence Street Promenade, constructed with pedestrian and cycling-friendly paving stones, features new shrubs and trees, a stage with sound capacity for outdoor performances, space for kiosks and room for recreational activities such as ball hockey or basketball as well as low seating walls. The Promenade adds vitality and green space to the campus and downtown and can be used for community street festivals and university events.

Duckworth Centre Expansion/Soma Café

The expansion of Duckworth Centre includes the new state-of-the art Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre and student-run SOMA Café animating Spence Street. The Centre is popular with students, faculty, staff, alumni, nearby office workers and local community residents. The expanded and updated facility was officially opened on February 12, 2008.

The Canwest Centre for Theatre and Film

Extensive renovations have been made to the concourse, main and second floors, including the addition of a two-storey annex on the south side of the building. New facilities include: two new acting studios, film studio, prop shop, six rehearsal rooms, office space, two film editing labs, film equipment check-out and storage, dimmer room, and a state-of-the-art flexible studio theatre that can accommodate 120-180 seats with full green room facilities. The theatre is now a popular Winnipeg Fringe Festival venue. It opened to students in September 2008.


Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: