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Follow along as we work towards systems change and help create better outcomes for kids in our community.

Favourite Moments of 2019

January 06, 2020

It’s time for our annual tradition of recapping our favourite moments of the past year! It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since The Winnipeg Boldness Project began. It seems like just yesterday we were asking ourselves “… what the heck is a social lab?!”

We have accomplished a lot over the years, and 2019 was no different; it was filled with scaling and reporting, and some new prototype development as well! Read on to find out what moments stuck out for our staff members throughout this past year.


Diane Roussin

Launch of the Restoring the Sacred Bond Initiative

We had the opportunity to watch this initiative develop from the ground up, as we worked with Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag (formerly known as the Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative) to support them in running their first training back in 2017. This is a really great opportunity for a community-led initiative to effect systemic change in the child welfare system, and the fact that it’s completely based in Indigenous knowledges is certainly something to be excited about.


Social Innovation Canada – Manitoba Hub


Learning about social innovation and social lab tools was certainly a new experience for our team when The Winnipeg Boldness Project first began. We’re now entering into our seventh year of development and it’s funny because we’re now often looked to for guidance by other labs since we’re now one of the longest running labs, not only in Manitoba but also nationally. Working with Social Innovation Canada to develop a hub in Manitoba for social innovation work has made us feel a lot more connected to our local partners doing similar work to ours, and has helped to build more resources related to this field of work in our city.


SG/PGG Joint Meetings

At the request of our Parent Guide Group, we brought our Stewardship Group (our version of a board of directors) and our Parent Guide Group together for a joint meeting at the beginning of the year. I think both groups really benefitted from having a venue to learn from one another, and it was a learning for our team that there’s great value in creating opportunities for collaborative learning between our stakeholders. We have continued to bring these groups together on a regular basis moving forward.


Jenna Diubaldo

Prototype Document Creation

We continued with the process of documenting our prototype work this year with the help of Galen MacLusky from the Tamarack Institute. He has been instrumental in helping us to synthesize our vast research process into small, digestible documents, which is something that is essential for sharing the impact of our work. We now only have a few more documents to complete, which we’ll look at finishing up in 2020.


Dads Prototype Video

I was asked to help develop a video documenting our supports for dads prototype work by some of the dads that participated, because they wanted to share their stories in order to help other men who might be struggling. It took us about 3 months to complete all the interviews, filming, and editing, but the result was a really powerful message that really resonated with the community. We had a bunch of news outlets contacting us for stories, and the video was shared over 200 times on Facebook. I was really excited about the response that the video got, and I felt very lucky to have played a small part in sharing the mens’ stories in order to bring more awareness to this issue.


Indigenous Learning Circle – Social Enterprise Development

The Indigenous Learning Circle was able to secure a grant from Social Enterprise Manitoba to help them complete some business planning activities, along with business coaching sessions. ILC has long talked about developing a social enterprise model to help make their cultural knowledge work more sustainable, and we were able to take some big steps forward this year including the development of a business model canvas – a framework for the details of our social enterprise activities.


New Winnipeg Boldness Website Launch

We spent about 6+ months in 2018 overhauling our website, including a complete redesign of the functionality, appearance, and organization of information, and we finally launched the new site at the beginning of 2019. I was really excited to share a lot of the new interactive features such as the social media feed on the front page, and the research tool that allows us to upload our research documents for user download. We’ve received a lot of really great feedback about the new site throughout the year, and it’s really helped us to make the project’s work more transparent and accessible.


Lisa Wlasichuk

Engineering Change Lab Workshop

We participated in a workshop hosted by the University of Manitoba in partnership with the Engineering Change Lab about using social lab processes in the engineering technology field. It was really interesting to see the processes we use in our social innovation work applied in an entirely different field. To be part of the conversation around how things like technology and buildings are designed in the every day world was important and a new experience for us.


Pipe Ceremony


We often hold events to allow time for Indigenous ceremony in order to come together with our partners and take care of our spirit. I found this pipe ceremony in particular to be a very emotion-filled event that stood out as one of my most important memories of 2019.


Sage Picking at Spruce Woods

We try to make time for things like sage picking throughout the year, as it helps us stay energized in our work and simultaneously replenishes our stock of medicines that we keep at the office. This was just a lovely day – it’s always nice getting out of the office and picking sage with other women and having laughs.

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.