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SCO Advancing Economic Reconciliation and the Revitalization of Downtown Winnipeg

May 24, 2024

Note: This is a joint media release shared by the Southern Chiefs’ Organization and the Government of Canada.

May 24, 2024 – Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Government of Canada is investing in the transformational development of the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project at the site of the former Hudson’s Bay Company building in downtown Winnipeg.

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan announced a joint federal investment of more than $31 million. Infrastructure Canada is investing $25 million through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program, while PrairiesCan is investing $6 million through the Community Economic Development and Diversification program. This joint investment will support the Southern Chiefs’ Organization’s Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project as a downtown economic, housing, and cultural hub.

SCO is a First Nations organization representing 34 Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations and more than 87,000 people that works to promote the rights, cultures, and prosperity of its member Nations. The development of the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project will see the creation of new housing, business, and cultural spaces accessible to both First Nations and non-First Nations citizens. One goal is to build community by attracting tourists, students, the downtown business community, and others into the space.

The plan includes affordable housing units, assisted living units for Elders, a childcare centre, a museum and gallery, space for entrepreneurs, two restaurants, and public spaces that honour the land and commemorate residential and day-school Survivors and the children who did not return home. In addition, the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn redevelopment will

include a Governance House for the Chiefs of the southern First Nations in Manitoba.

The PrairiesCan investment for this project includes the development and launch of Miikahnah Connect, a First Nations-focused workforce development app, as well as activities to prepare the former HBC building for redevelopment. It is anticipated that more than 400 people will be hired to work on the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project through the app.

Overall, this investment is expected to provide necessary resources and spaces for First Nations people in downtown Winnipeg.

The Infrastructure Canada funding will support the realization of the bold SCO vision with vital repairs and upgrades to the building. This work will consist of transforming the main floor into a public space that attracts tourism and brings people together in the heart of the city and centre of Turtle Island.

These initiatives demonstrate Canada’s commitment to supporting projects that advance economic and social reconciliation and revitalize downtowns.


“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization acknowledges the support from our federal Treaty partner as we work to revitalize downtown Winnipeg through our Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project. The reimagined HBC building will bring economic reconciliation to the forefront. This project has already inspired new partnerships and hope for the future. As we recover from the intergenerational and ongoing impacts of colonization, it is essential to see investments and strong partnerships that contribute to the healing and wellness of the first peoples of this country we all call home.”

Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization

“A vibrant downtown is vital for a strong economy. The creation of Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn in Winnipeg will revitalize our downtown and move us from promises to action. Congratulations to the Southern Chiefs’ Organization on this project that will stand as an example of reconciliation in action to the entire country. I am pleased that our collaboration will make a positive generational impact.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan

“We couldn’t be prouder of our investment towards transforming Winnipeg’s historic Hudson’s Bay building into a beacon of reconciliation and sustainability. This visionary project will preserve heritage, foster First Nations empowerment, and support Canada’s path to a net-zero future. We will continue to work with partners to create more green, welcoming spaces for community members to gather and acquire the support needed to prosper now and into the future.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities