The Union Bank Tower at the corner of Main and William has undergone an extreme makeover these past few years, and the 300 students in Red River College’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs will now learn their craft in this modern and breathtaking 50,000-square foot facility. Touring through the state of the art prep kitchens alone (there are separate kitchens for everything from cold foods to beverages, soups, pastries, etc.), one can barely envision the range of culinary delights that will be created.
When the students arrive for classes, starting January 9th, 2013, they’ll find bright, open-concept classrooms and labs equipped with the latest technology. Gas-fired, electric and induction ovens, including tandoor and pizza ovens and a French rotary oven for special baking are all the latest tools to help them hone their skills. And even if you aren’t enrolled as a fulltime student in the Institute’s programs, you can still take part in workshops for industry professionals and culinary enthusiasts, as well as rent the space for special events such as weddings, reunions and receptions.
With world-class instruction and the latest in industry technology at the Institute, students will be prepared to become “the next generation of influencers in the fields of culinary arts, hospitality and tourism management, and professional baking and patisserie, at a facility like no other in Canada”, the college’s promotional material states. There is designated space for an organic herb garden within, two rooftop patios accessible to the public, and the Institute will also feature retail kiosks stocked with student-prepared foods and baked goods for sale.
The ‘jewel in the crown’ of the new facility will be Jane’s Restaurant, ‘treating diners to an new experience in urban upscale, while providing hands-on training for students in hospitality and culinary arts’. The restaurant — scheduled to open in the next few months — is a named tribute to Andrew Paterson’s mother Jane, and occupies the building’s former bank hall, an ornate, architectural centrepiece. Andrew Paterson is president of Paterson GlobalFoods, a lead donor on the redevelopment project.
The Union Bank Tower was Winnipeg’s first skyscraper and an architectural marvel of its time. Built in the early 1900s, the building is believed to be Canada’s oldest surviving steel and concrete-reinforced skyscraper. The tower has also been redeveloped to create RRC’s Exchange District Campus Student Residence, featuring furnished single and double dormitory-style spaces for more than 100 students. Bijou Park, the tree-lined courtyard next to the new facility, was funded in part by a $500,000 grant from The Winnipeg Foundation’s Green Spaces Strategy. This area will support cultural festivals and neighbourhood events and activities, building on the momentum created by the adjacent Old Market Square and other Exchange District venues and events that draw people to the vibrant area of our city.
If you’re still be wondering whether the downtown of our city has been reborn, the new Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College is another sure-fired infusion of energy, creativity and world-class opportunity that is fueling this Winnipeg renewal. Make sure to pay them a visit in the new year and ‘let your culinary spirit soar’.
Thanks to staff at RRC for the informative tour and for the facility details that helped support this post.