Dec 5, 2019

Supporting the Renovation of Main Street's New Building - a Look at the Impact of Qualico's Donation

Winnipeg, MB  Each day in Winnipeg, the city’s most vulnerable populations can struggle to access basic things like food, clothing, and shelter.

Main Street Project, a local non-profit organization, aims to provide a range of services to these residents, including emergency shelter and nutrition services, drug and alcohol detoxification, health advocacy and support, and counselling and housing support services.

Main Street Project | Kevin Van | Rick Lees | Building Plans

Kevin Van and Rick Lees, Executive Director, Main Street Project Inc. pose for photos in front of the future plans for Main Street Project.


Identifying a growing need for its services, and for more streamlined and effective service provision, Main Street Project purchased a 112-year-old building in October 2018. The building had housed a local business, Mitchell Fabrics, for 70 years prior to the company putting it up for sale.

Cindy Titus, Communications and Fund Development Coordinator at Main Street Project, explained the organization’s decision to purchase the property.

“Based on the building size,” she said, “as well as location and proximity to Main Street Project’s other building at 661 Main Street, it was a natural fit for us to move forward with the purchase of the building. The intention is to renovate the space into a state-of-the-art service hub and community health centre for people in Winnipeg experiencing homelessness, and mental health and addiction issues.”

As part of a capital campaign to help fund the renovation of the 36,000-sq.-ft. building, Qualico donated $300,000 as a gift-in-kind to Main Street Project in February 2019.

“Although major work on the building hasn’t started yet, the funds provided by Qualico will be incredibly helpful to the renovation process once that starts,” said Cindy. “At this time, we are using the building as-is for our clothing program, meeting space, teaching space, and warming centre.”

Main Street Project | Kevin Van | Rick Lees | Building Plans

Once the renovations have been completed, the newly designed space will be able to accommodate up to 150 beds in designated areas to help keep clients safe. Those who use the facility will have access to a semi-private or private sleep pod – a step up from mats on the floor.

As well, clients will have access to bath and/or shower facilities, secure storage areas for their personal belongings, common areas, and laundry facilities. Access to transitional housing and related supports will also be offered at the new building.

In the new building’s non-residential space, clients will be able to use Main Street Project’s food services and 24-hour cafeteria, gathering and meeting spaces, an Indigenous healing circle space and smudging area, family suites, an art or activity centre, primary care treatment rooms, counselling rooms, and quiet spaces. Office space will also be included in the new building’s design.

Along with the capital campaign for the renovation of the new building, Qualico donated part of its gift to benefit another initiative of the Main Street Project. A gift-in-kind donation of new flooring from The Floor Show was made for the organization’s food service program building, which houses the Rising Hope Bakery, a partnership between Main Street Project and Red River College.

Main Street Project | Building Plans

“The Rising Hope Bakery is a baking and patisserie program for learners who are on a recovery journey,” said Cindy. “The program typically operates out of the Paterson Global Foods Institute as a one-year program, but Red River College modified this program to be a two-year accommodated program for learners on a recovery journey who can later find employment at local bakeries.”

In the same building, Main Street Project operates a food bank and essentials market once a week. It’s set up like a grocery store, instead of a typical food bank, so that clients can shop and select what they want, even though the items are available to them at no cost. The food bank serves over 120 individuals and families per week.

“Main Street Project is very grateful for Qualico’s commitment to and leadership in making Winnipeg a better place through their generous donation to our capital campaign, as well as the donation of the flooring replacement,” Cindy said.

Once the renovation project is complete, Main Street Project will be able to provide even more support to vulnerable persons in Winnipeg.

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