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RRC Polytech honoured for heritage preservation of historic Scott Fruit Building

March 29, 2022

RRC Polytech proudly accepted a Heritage Conservation Award for its recently opened Manitou a bi Bii daziigae space at Heritage Winnipeg’s 36th annual Preservation Awards last Thursday. The award was received in partnership with Number TEN Architectural Group and recognizes the project team’s special effort to protect, conserve and reuse the historically designated Scott Fruit Building in its transformation of the Exchange District Campus.

“This award celebrates the spirit of innovation that bonds education and industry, leading to progress in any era,” says Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, Vice-President Finance and Administration at the College. “RRC Polytech is proud to extend the legacy of such an historic site, knowing its modernization will keep its entrepreneurial spirit alive while allowing us to achieve our commitments to constantly transform our learning model, strengthen academic pathways for students and deepen community partnerships.”

Located on Elgin Avenue, the 100,000-sq. ft. Manitou a bi Bii daziigae (shown above, under construction) was designed to look to the future while respecting the past. Adapting and upgrading the nearly 110-year-old Scott Fruit Building included restoration of the original wood and steel windows, the cleaning and repointing of the brick façade and incorporating historic elements in the interior design of the new space.

“The Scott Fruit Building’s longevity is a testament to the value of innovation,” says Zapshala-Kelln. “By protecting and celebrating its heritage status, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae provides our students and staff with a tangible link to our community’s rich history of visionary thinkers, who serve as their role models as they shape the next century of advancement.”

Built using the latest construction technology of concrete and steel in 1914, the Scott Fruit Warehouse was considered cutting-edge in architecture and appliance capability at the time, helping Winnipeg become the wholesale centre of Western Canada.

Designed and built by the J. McDiarmid Company, the traditional simple form warehouse outlasted many of its contemporaries thanks to its external integrity and internal structural support system. While minimal in ornamentation, it featured numerous multi-paned, industrial-style steel windows, with concrete accents and brick corbelling that remain to this day.

Manitou a bi Bii daziigae mirrors the innovative approach of its ancestorial tenant. Number TEN Architectural Group worked in joint venture with Diamond Schmitt Architects on the project, and describe it as one of the most advanced and forward-thinking buildings in Canada. Targeting net zero energy, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae will emit little to no net carbon emissions by employing state-of-art technology, including a skin comprised of photovoltaic glass along the new portion, and more than 100 rooftop panels above Scott Fruit.

The connections are more than physical. Born from a young businessman’s dream of success in a blossoming city, the building is once again a hub of activity filled with students striving to become the next generation of successful business leaders. A centre for technology, collaboration and community, the Scott Fruit portion of the building includes meeting spaces, classrooms and testing rooms for the College’s Language Training Centre and ACE (Applied Computer Education) Project Space — creating more opportunities for a connected learning experience between staff, students and industry mentors, in an atmosphere of discovery and development.

The award-winning Manitou a bi Bii daziigae at RRC Polytech welcomed its first students in Fall 2021 and is anticipated to provide an economic boost to downtown Winnipeg and the surrounding Exchange District, just as the Scott Fruit Company did in 1914.

Since 1985, Heritage Winnipeg, a non-profit, charitable organization established in 1978, has celebrated the Annual Preservation Awards, which seek to recognize those people and/or building projects dedicated to the protection, restoration and conservation of Winnipeg’s built heritage.