Building on a solid foundation

Construction of Leatherdale Hall, Tony’s Canteen starts in spring

Exterior or the future Leatherdale Hall behind Wesley Hall.

Supplied photo

The University of Winnipeg is expanding in 2016 and says construction of Leatherdale Hall and the reconstruction of Tony’s canteen will bring students and community together.

The campus will start its expansion this spring. After the relocation of the Bike Lab and the Physical Plant, the square between Wesley Hall and the main university building will become a construction site for the new building, named Leatherdale Hall.

The new building will become a shared space for University of Winnipeg (U of W) students and U of W Collegiate students. The addition will be 5877 square-feet and will include additional academic and community spaces, such as a lecture hall, reception area and break-out room for conferences.

Rob Bend, dean of the Collegiate, says there are multiple reasons to begin construction on a new hall.

“The project is important on a number of levels. This facility is going to serve a number of different learning communities,” Bend says. “This facility is all about sharing and all about providing people places to talk about their education.”

Leatherdale Hall will extend the use of Convocation Hall and make it more attractive for different groups using Convocation Hall for presentation, debates and other events, Bend says.

The hall is being named after the late Dr. Douglas Leatherdale, a U of W alumni and one of institution’s major donors. 

Prior to his passing on Dec. 6, The Uniter interviewed Leatherdale who said the new facility will become a great addition not only to the university, but to the city of Winnipeg.

“We’ve had an opportunity to do something that the school needed. It’s important that students and faculty have a proper space,” Leatherdale said. “It is an important facility to the community and the university itself.” 

The well-known philanthropist donated $2.5 million to the project.

Another great addition within the new hall is the return of an old favourite – Tony’s Canteen. 

Opened in 1936, Tony’s Canteen used to be a central place at the former United College where students, faculty and members of community met and shared their passion for knowledge. 

”I remember sitting in Tony’s with students, having lunch with students, talking to students. I remember classes going to Tony’s as seminars. It was very special,” Bend says. 

The area was changed to an arts studio for the Collegiate in 2006, but the idea of rebuilding the canteen never disappeared.

“It was always a thought that we have to have a Tony’s somewhere,” Bend says. “It’s a special place for people to come together and that’s kind of what education is all about.”

Building Leatherdale Hall will cost an estimated $4.75 million, but no money will come from the university’s operating funds, according to Bend. The university aims to have the whole project sponsored by donations. 

The U of W Foundation has begun a $1.5 million-dollar fundraising campaign in support of the initiative and has already raised $500,000.

Like most of the other food outlets on campus – Pangea’s Kitchen, The Malecon and Cafe Bodhi – Tony’s Canteen will be run by the Diversity Food Services.

The university hopes to have construction on Leatherdale Hall completed by early 2017.

Published in Volume 70, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 7, 2016)

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