A New Approach

In 2014, with support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Province of Manitoba, The Winnipeg Boldness Project launched a social innovation process to explore new ideas for addressing early childhood outcomes in the neighbourhood of Point Douglas.

Systems Change Through Social Innovation

Put simply, social innovation is the act of developing new ideas to solve complex social issues, such as poverty, homelessness, and racism. In the case of The Winnipeg Boldness Project, we’re using tools and processes from the practice of social innovation to develop community-driven solutions to help children in Point Douglas succeed and thrive.

One of these processes is called a social lab, which brings together diverse stakeholders to problem solve around a complex issue. The social lab process for The Winnipeg Boldness Project is as follows:

  1. Initiation & Preparation

    Situating the project, identifying key stakeholders, and developing strategic partnerships.

  2. Community Action Research & Data Collection

    Exploring and documenting the vast pool of community wisdom that exists in Point Douglas, as well as existing academic publications and reports for any relevant data sets.

  1. Co-Creation & Prototyping

    Generating ideas for change using the data and feedback that was collected and co-creating prototypes to test those ideas.

  2. Pathways to Scaling

    Finding opportunities to embed successful prototypes into existing systems to maximize potential change and ensure sustainability for the future.

What is The Winnipeg Boldness Project?

The Bold Goal (Vision):

Children and families in Point Douglas experience dramatically improved wellbeing in all aspects of community and self: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

The Bold Approach (Mission):

To develop and test community-driven solutions to create better opportunities for children and families in the North End.



The world, systems, communities, and people in it are interconnected and interdependent; when one part is changed, it sends a rippling effect throughout the whole system.


Strength comes from reciprocal love and support of others; when a person is supported, they gain the strength to return that love and support. People find purpose and meaning in relationships with others.


Focusing on strengths gives people energy to grow; regardless of an individual or group’s situation in life, they have strengths. These strengths are valued, respected and nurtured.


Each person knows best what they need and should have the right to determine their own path in life. Having voice and volition to make choices to attend to individual needs leads to recognition of the responsibilities to family and community.


Time and care is taken to develop relationships and build trust with individuals and families; it is the essential foundation required to be effective and respectful in working with all people.


All people are welcomed and respected regardless of situation or circumstance. People are met where they are at: services recognize that people are at different stages in their own journey, face different challenges, and have varied gifts.

Land Acknowledgement

The Winnipeg Boldness Project resides in and works on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), Anishinabewaki (Oji-Cree), Dené, Michif Piyii (Métis), Nêhiyawak (Cree), and Očhéthi Sakowin (Dakota). We recognize that we have benefited from and continue to benefit from colonization on the Treaty 1, Treaty 3, and Treaty 5 Territories.

It is important to also acknowledge how we benefit in this territory at the cost to Indigenous Peoples. Winnipeg has been drinking clean water for over a century via an aqueduct from Shoal Lake. In 1917, 3000 acres of Treaty 3 was declared property of the city of Winnipeg to build the aqueduct. This aqueduct was built over ancestral burial ground, to build these structures, the ancestors were disinterred and reburied. Construction of the aqueduct changed the waters significantly, causing the peninsula to become a man-made island. This now isolated Nation faced many challenges as a direct result from this aqueduct; Necessities like water, groceries, schools, and mail were only accessible via the dangerous trek to the mainland. Lives of adults and children were lost crossing to and from the mainland. Freedom Road, an all-weather road access finally opened summer 2019, over a century after displacement. This road, a testament to the success of Indigenous-led solutions, helps bring materials to build schools and a water treatment plant.

“I always think of it, even when I turn on the tap I’m like this comes from our community and this water probably contains our ancestors and the spirits of our ancestor. I think about the hardships of the people from Shoal Lake 40 who have gone through so many things for the benefit of Winnipeg’s drinking water,” says Angelina McLeod.1

Another benefit we reap in Winnipeg at a cost to Indigenous Peoples and land is the Hydro Electricity Development in Treaty 5. To optimize water movement for greatest power production the Province of Manitoba increased waterflow by creating the Churchill River Diversion in 1976. The modification of the waterflow caused flooding, shoreline erosion, and changes to water quality. This destruction of habitat has caused disruption to waterway travel, fishing, and hunting.

  1. https://www.aptnnews.ca/facetoface/spirits-of-our-ancestor-shoal-lake-40-is-rectifying-a-century-of-hardships/