Historic Grand Opening of Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex

Jun 27, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger; Carolyn (Richardson) Hursh, Chairman of the Board of James Richardson & Sons, Limited; MP Bob Sopuck, Daugh Swan River Marquette; UWinnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy.


State-of-the-art education, research building among top facilities in North America 

It was an historic day at The University of Winnipeg as the doors to the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex swung open at 599 Portage Avenue, strengthening science and sustainability education for thousands of students, adding significantly to the scientific research capacity in Manitoba, and helping to rejuvenate Winnipeg’s inner-city and West End neighbourhoods.   

Dignitaries at the Grand Opening included: Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger; MP Bob Sopuck, Daugh Swan River Marquette; Carolyn (Richardson) Hursh, Chairman of the Board of James Richardson & Sons, Limited; Robert Puchniak, Trustee of the Richardson Foundation; University of Winnipeg Foundation Chair H. Sanford Riley; UWinnipeg Chancellor Bob Silver; Board of Regents Chair Craig Lee; and President & Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy.  Other speakers included UWinnipeg Associate Dean of Science James Currie, as well as students.   

The $66.58 million facility, made possible through strong partnerships with the provincial and federal governments and generous private donors, includes more than 30 new teaching and research labs, a vivarium and a 1,127 square foot rooftop greenhouse. The new facility is one of the most energy efficient educational laboratory buildings in North America, and is targeting LEED Gold designation.  

In September 2006, the project was publicly launched with the announcement of a $3.5 million donation from the Richardson Foundation, James Richardson & Sons, Limited and members of the Richardson family. This gift established The Richardson College for the Environment plus a green corridor linking the Furby-Langside campus to the main UWinnipeg campus. Two months later, in November 2006, the Manitoba government announced an unprecedented $25-million capital investment in the University to aid in construction of the Science Complex with a further $7 million gifted for laboratory and vivarium development. In May 2009, the Government of Canada contributed an historic $18,042,000 million infrastructure grant to support the project. Last week, UWinnipeg announced a $1 million donation from Power Corporation of Canada to create the Power Corporation of Canada Atrium, the hub of all life within the building. The Atrium acts as the lungs of the complex with student and public meeting space in a green environment with nine living trees and natural light.  

Premier Selinger

“Manitoba is home to some of the finest colleges and universities anywhere in the world, and The University of Winnipeg is a leader among them,” said Premier Selinger. “This new facility puts Manitoba at the leading edge of science and sustainability education. Our government will continue to ensure first-rate educational opportunities like this remain affordable and accessible to all Manitoba families.” 

The Honourable Steven Fletcher

“Investing in science and research is vital to Canada’s future economic growth,” said the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport). “Our government’s support for new research and academic facilities has created jobs, while giving researchers and students the tools they need to become the best in the world.” 

The Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex is a cutting-edge facility, engaging students and faculty in innovative research and development in natural and social sciences with a focus including the global North, climate change, water stewardship, “green chemistry”, urban sustainability and Indigenous science. 

Starting in September 2011, UWinnipeg’s departments of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Studies will be located in the new facility with approximately 2,000 students passing through its doors every day. 

The third floor of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex  houses the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Science Education and the Canada Research Chair in Inner City Issues and Community Learning and Engagement; the Institute of Urban Studies; the Master’s in Development Practice program; the Indigenous Studies program; the CISCO Centre for Collaborative Technologies which includes a world-class TelePresence system and the endowed Cisco Chair for Collaborative Technology; the University Sustainability Office; the University’s medical isotope initiative; and the UW Community Renewal Corporation. The laboratory of the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology will be on the ground floor of the building. 

In addition, the Richardson Green Corridor, linking the Furby-Langside campus to UWinnipeg’s main campus, improves accessibility, creates new community cycling and green space, and in conjunction with the City of Winnipeg, upgrades an aging sewer system that will benefit neighbourhood residents as well as UWinnipeg’s campus. Sodding and the paved pathway will be completed by September 2011. 

“The Richardson firm, foundation and family are very proud to be partners in the creation of this state-of-the-art facility,” said Carolyn Richardson Hursh, Chairman of James Richardson & Sons, Limited. “The Richardson College for the Environment will bring together world-class instructors and cutting-edge technology to educate generations of students who will be able contribute to solutions for the growing environmental problems we face today in our communities, across our country and around the world.”   

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg

“The tremendous dedication, hard work and cooperation that has resulted in today’s grand opening of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex means that the citizens of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada gain a world-class facility aimed at advancing solutions to the many global challenges facing us today,” said Axworthy. “The University of Winnipeg joins a hub of leading institutions within a few blocks – namely, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium, Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, known internationally as a community for scientific and environmental excellence. Collectively we are strengthening science and sustainability education for the next generations of scholars and advocates.”  

The new facility also strengthens UWinnipeg’s commitment to community learning for inner-city and Aboriginal children and young adults. The building will house the new Digital Learning Lab, an innovative learning space designed to promote engaged learning, teach students applied media skills, and encourage students to complete grade 12 and pursue post-secondary education. The Digital Learning Lab will be used by high school students from The University of Winnipeg Collegiate and Model School, and will be open during the after school hours to all Manitoba high school students.  

Award-winning Diversity Foods will operate a main floor, licensed restaurant called Elements – The Restaurant – serving students (including those on meal plans at McFeetors Hall residence) faculty, staff and the general public. It will open in September 2011.

The main plaza allowing entrance to the complex is today being unveiled as the Terry MacDonald Square, recognizing the contribution of the Development Project Management Team’s generous donation and fundraising efforts towards the Furby-Langside campus. The spouse of Gisele MacDonald, President of Chartier Property Management, Terry MacDonald spent his career as a successful developer and active community member, as both coach and manager of hockey and soccer teams.   

The Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex developers are LTD Ventures and the project team consists of: Manshield Construction LP, Chartier Property Management Inc., Number TEN Architectural Group, Integrated Designs and the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation. The University of Winnipeg continues fundraising for this critically important community asset – for more information, contact http://www.uwinnipegfoundation.ca/  

Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex Fast Facts  


Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg 

P: 204.988.7135, E: [email protected]

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