New look for Knowles Centre

December 2, 2019

Find us in The Herald Community Newspaper.

A North Kildonan institution has a new look.

On Dec. 1, the Knowles Centre, located at 2065 Henderson Hwy., launched a new logo. The rebranding is the first step in what chief executive officer Dr. Michael Burdz described as "a major overhaul" of the 112-year-old centre.

"We were originally a male orphanage, but now we are no longer just that," Burdz said. "We're a treatment centre, co-ed, with multiple programs covering a larger age range."

"We're known as Knowles School for Boys, and we're trying to change that," added Ginette Sabourin, manager of development at Knowles Centre Inc. "It's time to build awareness, have the community involved in what we're doing and have them learn about the impact of what we do."

Today, the Knowles Centre operates six core programs for: group care treatment; treatment foster care; supported advancement to independent living (SAIL); a day treatment program; a sexual abuse treatment program; and Moving Forward, a therapeutic counselling program for young people living in care, and their families and caregivers.

The centre also runs four supported programs, including a camp in the Whiteshell; the Biimautaziiwin Indigenous Cultural Program; a culinary arts program; and a recreation program that brings participants to events throughout the city.

The new logo, which Sabourin explained ties the century of work Knowles has done in the community to the work it will do going forward, features a leaf, which represents the ties to natural setting the centre is located on.

"The logo represents everything we do here," Sabourin said.The new logo represents a first step towards launching a capital campaign to pay for major upgrades.

"We have a general contractor to provide us with quotes for what it would take to refurbish our campus," Burdz explained. "We also have, off campus, assets that are older that need improvement."

While the list of improvements is yet to be determined, a number of their programs require equipment upgrades sooner rather than later.

"One immediate need now is for our culinary arts program," she said. "We have an old exhaust system on the verge of going. So to continue to offer that program, we need to upgrade that. We're not quite there yet."

The culinary arts program, which operates in conjunction with John G. Stewart School, provides students with an opportunity to gain work experience while also providing fresh food for the Knowles Centre.

"It provides kids with viable skills that can translate to work in the food service industry and a real chance at getting jobs," Burdz said.

The Knowles Centre's rebrand also acts as an open invitation to the community at large to take an active role in supporting the programming the centre provides.

"One thing that's important to understand is that beyond our government funding, we're a non-profit agency," Sabourin said. "We're trying to run programs as best we can, and it's getting more difficult. Even just to give our kids the opportunities, that funding is just not available. So we're trying to build awareness of who we are, what we do and what our needs are."

As a festive way to raise some funds and awareness, representatives from the Knowles Centre will be at Garden City Shopping Centre in December to wrap gifts in exchange for charitable donations.

"We'd love to have people come out and have their gifts wrapped," Sabourin said.

The Knowles Centre's charitable gift wrapping table will be set up at Garden City Shopping Centre from 3 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 (2019) and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 22. (2019) For more information on the Knowles Centre and its programs, visit


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