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MBI Business Brief – April 22, 2022

Unsplash/Mahesh Gupta

Winnipeg’s Hudson Bay building gifted to Southern Chiefs

On Friday, Apr. 22 the Hudson’s Bay Company officially announced the gifting of its former flagship downtown Bay store to the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), which represents 34 Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations in southern Manitoba. A symbolic transfer ceremony was held where SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels handed over two beaver pelts and two elk hides to Richard Baker, the governor and executive chairman of the Hudson’s Bay Co. Baker then presented Daniels with a gold coin replica of the original trade currency between the Hudson Bay Co. and First Nations.

The SCO plans to spend $130 million to redevelop the 655,000-square-foot, six-story building on Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard. Named Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn (meaning “it is visible”), the project plans include 300 affordable housing units, office space for Indigenous businesses, health centre, child care facility, art gallery, and two restaurants.

“Today can be another step forward to a brighter future, one that reflects what our ancestors dreamed of. This project is an act of reconciliation and is our vision to revitalize the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown, for the benefit of all, in line with our traditional, holistic approach to sustainable economic development,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization.

Opened in 1926, the Bay store closed in November 2020. The building requires extensive work to bring it up to code while retaining its heritage, with cost estimates at $111 million.

“As we considered the future for the Winnipeg building, it was important to ensure a sustainable plan for the site that also had meaningful purpose for the City of Winnipeg. HBC’s Truth and Reconciliation journey requires actions that demonstrate our commitment to moving forward together with Indigenous communities. We believe SCO is the right steward for this location and can create a new community landmark that will help advance reconciliation,” said Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman at Hudson’s Bay Company.

The project is receiving $35 million from the Government of Manitoba – $10 million to support affordable housing and $25 million through the The Bay Building Fund (administered by The Winnipeg Foundation) to assist with preservation of the building’s heritage.

The Government of Canada will also contribute to the project through the National Housing Strategy’s (NHS) National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF), providing a $55 million forgivable loan and a $10 million low-cost loan.

Protein Industries Canada announces project with Manitoba’s Prairie Fava

On Apr. 21, Protein Industries Canada announced a partnership with Prairie Fava and B.C.-based Big Mountain Foods to create a line of fava-based food products for both consumers and restaurants. In addition, the project will be made at Big Mountain’s “first-ever allergen-free tofu factory in the world, using sustainable processing methods.”

“Prairie Fava is excited to partner with Big Mountain Foods to supply our high protein fava flour and splits and to support new product development through nutritional, functional and sensory data,” said Hailey Jefferies, president and co-founder of Prairie Fava. “The results will lead to the creation of new fava CPG and food service products with higher demand being translated back to fava growers. This project will provide benefits to the entire value-chain as the activities will positively impact fava producers through to Canadian food and ingredient companies who are increasingly interested in using fava in new products.”

Big Mountain Foods will produce the new fava-based products at its allergen and soy free tofu factory—the first in the world. According to the companies, the new allergen-free tofu has better protein content than soy tofu, with the same taste, colour, functionality, and texture as traditional tofu.

“Big Mountain Foods is honoured to be in partnership with Prairie Fava and Protein Industries Canada,” said Jasmine Bryne, president of Big Mountain Foods. “We believe Fava to be the next big thing in plant protein and are working towards bringing more consumer awareness to the benefits of fava including taste, nutrition, and sustainability. At Big Mountain Foods, our goal is to be the leader in alternative tofu products with the capacity to produce 15 million units a year.”

Prairie Fava is based in Glenboro, Man. and was founded in 2015 by Hailey and Cale Jefferies.

New Flyer Industries receives new order from Toronto Transit Commission

NFI Group Inc. announced Apr. 18 that its Winnipeg-based subsidiary New Flyer Industries Canada (New Flyer) has received orders from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for 134 Xcelsior® forty-foot hybrid-electric heavy-duty transit buses, and 68 Xcelsior sixty-foot hybrid-electric buses. As well, the contracts have options for another 263 forty-foot hybrid-electric buses and 100 sixty-foot buses.

“NFI’s leadership in hybrid-electric mobility spans 20 years, supplying more hybrid buses in North America than any other manufacturer,” said Chris Stoddart, president, North American Bus and Coach. “Our partnership with TTC started 55 years ago. Since 1968, we have delivered nearly 1,000 vehicles, including 25 battery-electric buses – making New Flyer the only provider of both hybrid-electric and battery-electric buses to TTC. With these new buses, NFI adds the ability to meet green zone regulations through intermittent zero-emission operation, and ultimately, is helping accelerate TTC’s transition to zero-emission and building a more livable GTA.”

In addition, the forty-foot hybrid-electric heavy-duty transit bus contract also includes 600 options made available to other Ontario-based transit agencies. These agencies can then make their own bus purchases that are often faster than traditional procurement processes.

State & Main supports North End Women’s Centre on Mother’s Day

State & Main announced its inaugural For Mom, For Women campaign on Apr. 20, and will donate $10 to The North End Women’s Centre (NEWC) for every fulfilled reservation from May 6 to 8, 2022 at their Winnipeg location.

The campaign will run across their locations in 23 Canadian cities with a goal to raise $25,000 for various local charities that support women.

North End Women’s Centre is extremely grateful to be supported in this way. Having partners in the community who bring awareness of what we do, celebrate our work, and fundraise for us so that we can support the community is critical,” said Cynthia Drebot, NEWC’s executive director. “More than ever, the women and children that we support are in need of crisis and long-term healing, and we could not do this without ongoing financial contributions. Covid has shown that those who were already struggling have been disproportionately impacted during the last two years, and more so will be as we move forward.”

According to State & Main, the For Mom, For Women campaign was created to give back to women-benefiting charities that are local to the communities where State & Main is already operating. The company wanted the campaign to have an impact “at home” and NEWC stood out as an excellent choice for Winnipeg. NEWC is the longest-running women’s resource centre in Winnipeg, providing community and emergency support to women and children.

“Moms are often the quiet heroes in our communities, doing the work behind-the-scenes that makes our lives richer,” said Richard Homer-Dixon, vice president – State & Main brand leader. “We’re really excited about celebrating moms this Mother’s Day with an amazing dine-in experience, while also supporting The North End Women’s Centre in their work to uplift women in our community.”

Delta 9 to launch Canada’s first mobile cannabis store

Winnipeg’s Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. will launch the country’s first cannabis store this year, licensed by the Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA).

Delta 9 will sell cannabis on-site at the 2022 Dauphin Countryfest and the 2022 Rock the Fields Minnedosa music festivals from a self-contained trailer, offering a variety of cannabis products.

“We are excited to be the first cannabis retailer in Canada to develop a mobile store concept and receive temporary licenses from our regulator to participate in these flagship music festivals this summer in Manitoba,” said John Arbuthnot, Delta 9’s CEO. “These festivals are premier country and rock events in Manitoba and this represents a new milestone for cannabis availability in Canada. Our team is also currently exploring additional mobile and seasonal store opportunities in Manitoba and elsewhere.”

The company also announced this week that it has opened its thirty-fifth cannabis store, its thirteenth in Manitoba. The new store is located at 3421 Portage Avenue as part of the Crestview Mall. launches virtual pharmacy

Toronto-based announced the launch of its online pharmacy in Manitoba on Apr. 18. The virtual pharmacy offers online pharmacist consultations and free medication delivery.

“We’re thrilled to serve Manitobans from within Manitoba. This launch is part of our plan to have a national presence across Canada while also serving our patients from where they live. The strategy to have a presence in each province we serve ensures we are able to deliver on our promise of providing a higher level of care, which we believe drives our growth,” said Karim Nassar, Mednow’s CEO.

Mednow’s pharmacy and distribution centre is located on St. Mary’s Road in Winnipeg, and offers free same day prescription delivery in Winnipeg and many surrounding suburban areas and free two day delivery in rural areas.

Workers returning to downtown Winnipeg

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ conducted research with Probe Research on the number of people returning to work in the city’s downtown.

The March 2022 survey found that two-thirds of respondents were back working in the downtown area or would be soon. Sixty-seven per cent of employers surveyed said that they plan to have employees back in the office three to five days a week, with many returning in April and May.

Housing prices keep climbing

Royal LePage’s recent House Price Survey was released on Apr. 19, showing that the aggregate house price for a home in Winnipeg leapt to $387,900 in the first quarter of 2022, the largest increase since Royal LePage began tracking aggregate prices.

“This is the first time Winnipeg has seen the typical single-family home median price surpass $400,000,” said Michael Froese, broker and manager, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate. “Competition remains very tight for buyers. The city is still experiencing a shortage of inventory, which is putting upward pressure on prices, and buyers are feeling the pressure to make a purchase before interest rates go up further. March set a new record with 67 per cent of homes selling for over list price, which is up 14 per cent from March of 2021.”

Demand for condo units remain strong according to the report, which predicts at 8.0 per cent increase to the aggregate price in Q4 2022, up from the same time last year.

The aggregate price of a home in Canada increased 25.1 per cent year-over-year to $856,900 in Q1 2022. This is the highest gain on record since Royal LePage began tracking aggregate prices.

Government of Manitoba adds $10 million for Canada-Manitoba Job Grant

The Government of Manitoba has opened the first intake for the 2022-23 Canada-Manitoba Job Grant. The funding is available for employer workforce training. Companies and organizations can apply for funding up to $10,000 per employee, with an overall maximum of $100,000.

Eligible training must be delivered by a third-party training provider and costs include tuition, student fees, textbooks, software, exam fees and travel costs for individuals in northern and remote communities. A second intake will open in August 2022.

Stay tuned: Lynx Air lands in Winnipeg – story soon.

Coming soon: Hudbay Minerals release Q1 earnings on May 10, 2022.

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MBI Business Brief – April 15, 2022


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