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FortWhyte Alive announces $1-million matching donation opportunity for upcoming $35-million Your True Nature campaign

Posted on September 27, 2022

Today, FortWhyte Alive announced a $35-million campaign to expand and renew its expansive campus, providing new opportunities for visitors, students, and adventurers to learn and connect with nature – an essential relationship that forms the foundation of climate action. Winnipeg philanthropist Bob Williams was on hand to announce a matching gift challenge, promising to match all donations made to FortWhyte’s development plans, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million.

Williams said he made this gift to encourage everyone in the community to become involved, invest, and find their true nature at FortWhyte Alive.

Rendering of Buffalo Crossing in summer.

Your True Nature will ensure people will always have access to the profound benefits of being immersed in nature, and that future generations will be able to engage in hands-on learning that will help them meet the environmental and climate challenges that lay ahead.

As announced today, upcoming campaign projects will:

  • Include the development of a new 18,000 square foot climate-resilient building – Buffalo Crossing – accessible via McGillivray Blvd.
  • Increase necessary accessibility to expansive greenspace for central residents through developments to allow for future expansion of  Winnipeg Transit routes to FortWhyte Alive
  • Create a new permanent home for Manitoba’s only Forest School program, allowing for expanded capacity and accessibility.  
  • Revitalize constructed wetlands and pathways, creating a self-directed biodiversity trail, improved drainage and water movement, and additional areas for nature-based learning and outdoor recreation.
  • Maintain critical infrastructure by restoring a major roadway and stabilizing lake shorelines.

“This is an exciting time in the evolution of FortWhyte Alive. We are fortunate to have overwhelming demand for our outdoor and environmental education programs, but it has left us bursting at the seams, limited by our facility conditions and capacity. This revitalization of well-loved existing assets, and the new development of Buffalo Crossing will ensure that FortWhyte is strategically equipped to address the future needs of our community. Buffalo Crossing will allow us to be more accessible, more inclusive, and reach more people, preparing the next generation to meet environmental and climate challenges ahead.”

Liz Wilson, President & CEO  

FortWhyte Alive has completed two major projects at this point in the campaign: a green energy retrofit of its iconic Richardson Interpretive Centre and the development of the new, passive-house style Ben and Rose Puchniak Woodworking Studio at FortWhyte Farms. 

Work has started on wetland restoration, whereby the 10-acre former Waterfowl Garden site will be revitalised to restore important wetland habitats and rejuvenate the trail that winds through them. The expansion of pond areas will create new winter recreation opportunities for skating, snowshoeing and outdoor active living.


5 people stand on patio in front of trees.

“We are so lucky to have this 660-acres of nature within Winnipeg. Every year, thousands of kids get their nature experience right here, and that’s the true value of this place.” said Bob Williams, Your True Nature Matching Donor, “With the new development, FortWhyte will be better than ever and more people will be able to bathe in nature. When you invest in FortWhyte, it's not for me, it's not for you. It's for your grandkids, so they will have a place to come forever.”

Bob Williams, Your True Nature Matching Donor 

But, the organization’s largest undertaking remains: Buffalo Crossing. This stunning new building will transform what has been a seasonal facility into a year-round  hub for environmental education and outdoor recreation. Featuring a pedestrian walkway across Muir Lake, Buffalo Crossing will serve to increase FortWhyte’s capacity to welcome school children, day campers, nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventure seekers year-round. The building will highlight FortWhyte Alive’s dedication to sustainability, by using climate resilient design and achieving Passive House certification, the first commercial building in Manitoba that will have this designation of the highest possible standards of energy efficiency.  

To take advantage of the matching challenge, donations can be made online at

Birdwatchers at dusk with binoculars beneath a Your True Nature logo

Additional Quotes

“I’m so proud to be part of FortWhyte. I was a provincial minister when two community members, Alan Scarth and Sam Fabro, had the idea to convert what was an eyesore of a former cement factory into a beautiful reclaimed urban greenspace that would provide environmental education for generations to come.” said Gary Filmon, FortWhyte Alive Capital Campaign Chair, “That space is what we know FortWhyte Alive to be now, which over the past 50 years, has become a true gathering place teeming with young people and families eager to get outside and reconnect with nature. This renewal is about them, and all of us, and will only be possible by working together – and that’s something we do incredibly well in Manitoba.”
Gary Filmon, Capital Campaign Chair 

Buffalo Crossing represents a huge step for FortWhyte and all of us in reconciliation. This space will educate children, adults, and all visitors on how we can live, work, and learn together in the spirit our ancestors intended under the treaties, providing opportunities for our community to fulfill the visions of our greatest possibilities.” said Niigaan Sinclair, Indigenous Advisor for the Buffalo Crossing Design Team. “I hope all of us, Indigenous peoples and Canadians, get behind this incredible project.”
Niigaan Sinclair, Indigenous Advisor, Buffalo Crossing Design Team

“On behalf of the Fort Whyte Foundation’s Board, I am incredibly energized by this exciting new growth phase here at FortWhyte Alive.” said Jody Langhan, Chair of The Fort Whyte Foundation Board and Executive Chair of Fillmore Riley LLP. “This campaign cements FortWhyte Alive’s place as a leader in environmental education and sustainable building practiceshere at home and across the prairies.”
Jody Langhan, Chair of the Board of Trustees 

For information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Waverley Dovey
Communications Coordinator
FortWhyte Alive

(204) 989-8355 x 220
[email protected]


FortWhyte Alive is dedicated to providing programming, natural settings and facilities for environmental education, outdoor recreation and social enterprise. In doing so, FortWhyte promotes awareness and understanding of the natural world and actions leading to sustainable living.

In the last 50 years, the FortWhyte community has grown tremendously. Our site now offers 660-acres of diverse habitats, seven kilometers of interpretive trails, and an array of facilities that welcome, inspire, and empower over 100,000 of you that visit every year. 

Rendering of Buffalo Point in summer.
Rendering of Buffalo Point in winter with skiers on the frozen water way.
Rendering of Buffalo Point in winter.
Rendering of Buffalo Point in summer from the waterfront
Rendering of Buffalo Point with garden
Rendering of Buffalo Point interior space

Design and rendering provided by Stantec Architecture