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May 17, 2022

City of Winnipeg holds ceremonial opening of downtown permanent public washroom

New washroom named Amoowigamig will soon provide an important amenity and dignity to those who use the facility

Released: 9:12 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Today, the City of Winnipeg held a ceremonial opening for Amoowigamig, a new public washroom facility located downtown at 715 Main Street next to Circle of Life Thunderbird House. Amoowigamig will provide an important amenity and dignity to area residents and members of Winnipeg’s more vulnerable population who will rely on using the facility.

Amoowigamig is expected to be available for public use on Monday, May 30. The City has partnered with Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre to provide staffing and operational support. The facility will be staffed 10 hours a day, from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Staff will be responsible for monitoring the site of the washroom and performing safety checks as needed with those using the facility.

“Every person deserves the right to safe and clean accessible washrooms and not everyone has that,” said Councillor Sherri Rollins, Chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services, and Parks. “This project is about providing that vitally important amenity and it’s also about giving dignity and respect to those who will rely on it. This beautiful facility has been built with safety in mind, with ample lighting and safety-graded glass. I am deeply grateful to our partners at Ma Mawi for their role in operating this facility going forward and helping ensure it remains a safe and welcoming space for the community.”

“One of the most frequent concerns I’ve heard from people in our downtown is the lack of available public washrooms,” said Councillor Vivian Santos, Point Douglas. “The negative consequence of this is both evident and damaging. The temporary washroom program has been a valuable resource in this area, and this new permanent facility will give hope and a sense of pride to people who have no other option.”

“I want to first thank Elder Charlotte Nolin for her prayer and ceremony to start this ceremonial event in a good way,” said Melissa Stone, Coordinator, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. “We are honoured to carry this relationship with Circle of Life Thunderbird House and the City of Winnipeg to fill a much-needed gap for our relatives who are living in the area. We will be supporting individuals through an Indigenous and harm reduction lens for connections to resources, harm reduction supplies, washrooms, foot washing station, and fresh water.”

“The Board of Directors of Whaka Pimadiziiwii Pinaysiiwigamic (Circle of Life Thunderbird House) thank the Mayor, Council, and the City’s administration for prioritizing this important project and to all funding partners for providing the funds to build the new public washroom on our property at Main and Higgins Avenue,” said Damon Johnston, Chairperson, Circle of Life Thunderbird House. “We are also grateful for the seed funding to employ up to five Indigenous persons to staff the facility on a 10 hour per day basis. We are seeking out funding to staff this facility 24/7 as soon as possible. We know that the demand is there for that type of service.”

The Council-approved budget for the project was $874,289. $633,087 of the budget was funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Community Response Fund for Vulnerable Populations. A grant of $241,202 was contributed by Circle of Life Thunderbird House, funded by the Community Foundations of Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada.

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