Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn Receives Global Recognition as ‘Best World-Changing Idea, North America’ in Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards

May 16, 2023

Toronto ON and Winnipeg MB, [May 16, 2023] — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) and Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) are pleased to announce that Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn has been chosen as Best World-Changing Idea, North America, in the annual World Changing Ideas Awards presented by Fast Company magazine. The Awards honour sustainable designs, innovative products, bold social initiatives, and other creative projects that are changing the way we work, live, and interact with the world.

In April 2022, the organizations together unveiled SCO’s visionary plan to turn the former HBC building, which was gifted to SCO, into a space for economic and social reconciliation. The project’s working title – Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn, or ‘it is visible’ – will transform the building to include approx. 300 housing units, child care, a health and healing centre, museum and art gallery, office space, retail, restaurants and a place of reflection to honour residential and day school Survivors and the children who did not make it home.

This year’s World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 45 winners, 216 finalists, and more than 300 honourable mentions—with health, climate, energy, and AI among the most popular categories. A panel of Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 2,200 entries across urban design, education, nature, politics, technology, corporate social responsibility, and more. The 2023 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Italy to Singapore to New Zealand.

“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is pleased the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project is
recognized as a World Changing Idea,” stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “Our
relationship with the Hudson’s Bay Company has enabled the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project to come to life. This project is going to empower and positively impact the lives of countless numbers of citizens in Manitoba and in Canada. It will be a gathering and healing space for First Nations citizens, as it sheds light on the need for concrete, bold steps towards reconciliation.”

“When we began this journey with Southern Chiefs’ Organization, we hoped it would signal to corporate Canada the opportunity and responsibility we all have to advance reconciliation,” says Richard Baker, Governor, Executive Chairman and CEO of HBC. “We are honoured to receive this recognition and hope this spotlight helps to build relationships and create change.”

“It’s thrilling to see the creativity and innovation that are so abundant among this year’s honorees,” says Fast Company editor-in-chief Brendan Vaughan. “While it’s easy to feel discouraged by the state of the world, the entrepreneurs, companies, and nonprofits featured in this package show the limitless potential to address society’s most urgent problems. Our journalists have highlighted some of the most exciting and impactful work being done today—from housing to equity to sustainability—and we look forward to seeing not only how these projects evolve but how they inspire others to develop solutions of their own.”


About SCO

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 83,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.

About HBC
HBC is a holding company of investments and businesses at the intersection of technology, retail operations, and real estate. It is the majority owner of iconic e-commerce companies: Saks, a leading online destination for luxury fashion; The Bay, a Canadian e-commerce marketplace; and Saks OFF 5TH, a premier luxury off-price e-commerce company offering top brands at the best prices. These businesses were established as separate operating companies in 2021. HBC also wholly owns Hudson’s Bay, the operating company for Hudson’s Bay’s brick-and-mortar stores, as well as SFA, the entity that operates Saks Fifth Avenue’s physical locations, and O5, the operating company for Saks OFF 5TH stores.

With assets spanning top markets and prime locations across North America, HBC owns or controls—either entirely or with joint venture partners—approximately 42 million square feet of gross leasable area. HBC Properties and Investments, the company’s real estate and investments portfolio business manages these assets along with additional real estate offerings, including Streetworks Development, its property development division.

Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s longest continually operating company and is headquartered in New York and Toronto. For more information visit: www.hbc.com.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards: World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

Media inquiries:
Southern Chiefs’ Organization

Tiffany Bourré
DVP | Communications, PR and Heritage
Hudson’s Bay