The Winnipeg Foundation unveiled a new structure at The Forks on Tuesday that is steeped in history, symbolizing the community foundation movement in Canada.
About 250 guests were on hand to witness the special ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Alloway Arch and adjoining Widow’s Mite Fountain pay tribute to the generosity that has shaped and continues to define our community. The striking public amenity is made from the facade of the historic Alloway and Champion Bank building, which has been in storage for decades, and once stood at the front of 362 Main Street.
The archway and fountain have been installed in the Railside Lot, just east of the Via Rail Station, on a pathway leading to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
“We are honoured to use this important public space,” says Richard Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation.
“For centuries, the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers have been a meeting place. Today, it’s where Winnipeggers come for community celebration, to enjoy the beauty of our city in all seasons, and – thanks to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – it’s also a place for learning, reflection and hope.”
Elder Clarence Nepinak performed a tobacco ceremony at the site before construction began in June and Barbara Nepinak was on hand yesterday to bless the completed structures.
The Honourable Janice Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, attended the grand opening.
“The strong and solid foundation that is The Winnipeg Foundation has supported nearly a century of community projects of all kinds and is the idea behind that gift,” says Filmon. “It’s the deeply held conviction that we all have it in us to give something to our community.”
In its heyday, Alloway and Champion was the largest private bank in Western Canada and one of its owners, William Forbes Alloway, went on to establish The Winnipeg Foundation in 1921, making it the first community foundation in Canada.
The Arch represents Mr. Alloway’s investment in our community while the adjacent fountain symbolizes the pooling of gifts made by people from all walks of life to build The Winnipeg Foundation.