College opens new Elgin Plaza, providing community greenspace for students downtown

September 1, 2022

Students returning to classes at RRC Polytech’s Exchange District Campus will have a new outdoor space to enjoy while studying and connecting with classmates.

Today, Red River College Polytechnic officially opened the Elgin Plaza, nestled between the new Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building and the existing Roblin Centre. The block of Elgin Avenue between Princess and Adelaide Streets was closed to vehicles, with support from the City of Winnipeg, to create a pedestrian plaza.

“We are proud to work with our partners to create a pedestrian connection between buildings, transforming learning spaces and making it feel like a community campus where genuine connections and shared experiences occur,” says RRC Polytech President Fred Meier (shown above, at centre). “Developments like this allow us to build on our partnerships and strengthen our shared vision to enhance the student experience.”

The space was designed by HTFC Planning and Design, and includes outdoor gardens, seating areas, recreational space, removable bollards that allow access for food trucks, a new projector to showcase student work and create community art, and ping pong tables and power outlets to help host outdoor events from students and community members.

When looking up, anyone standing in the Elgin Plaza will have a stunning view of local artist Jackie Traverse’s ceiling installation, which extends from Manitou a bi Bii daziigae’s fourth floor. The Elgin Plaza also features one of the College’s new rainbow walkways, which were unveiled earlier this week.

“The opening of Elgin Plaza is significant for Winnipeg’s downtown,” says Mayor Brian Bowman (shown above, at left). “The City of Winnipeg and RRC Polytech have a longstanding partnership and spaces like this help to bring people downtown and revitalize Winnipeg’s Exchange District. I’m pleased to see another space like this added in our downtown because spending time outdoors and in greenspaces has a positive impact on the well-being of residents in our community.”

In Fall 2021, RRC Polytech launched a $60-million fundraising campaign dedicated to transforming spaces, enriching student life and amplifying the College’s impact in Manitoba.

The Elgin Plaza is part of RRC Polytech’s priority to invest in the transformation of student spaces, and is generously supported by Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), TD Friends of the Environment, and Wawanesa Insurance.

RRC Polytech is proud to work with its donor community to enhance its learning spaces and create more opportunities for its students.

“Reinventing and re-imagining our outdoor spaces in the downtown helps bring people together, revitalizing downtown Winnipeg and providing economic opportunity to local businesses,” says the Hon. Dan Vandal, MP for St. Boniface–St. Vital and minister for PrairiesCan, Northern Affairs and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

“Investments in outdoor spaces like RRC Polytech’s ensure Manitobans have access to areas they need to stay connected, share experiences and build vibrant communities.”

To mark the occasion, the College and its partners planted two trees in the Elgin Plaza’s garden, signifying new beginnings and a renewed commitment to the Exchange District community. The Elgin Plaza’s gardens also include native and adaptive urban street trees, as well as shade-tolerant foraging plants that serve as resources for Indigenous teachings.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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