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Build 2000


Join Us - Official Opening of Peter Gzowski College and the First Peoples House of Learning -- Saturday, October 16

12:00 noon • Pre-ceremony Tours of Peter Gzowski College and First Peoples House of Learning available until 2:00 pm, and from 3:00 to 4:30 pm

2:00 pm • Official Opening of Peter Gzowski College and the First Peoples House of Learning, in the Enweying Building, lower level

3:00 pm • Tree Planting Ceremony, Peter Gzowski

3:30 pm • Walking tour with Roy Kakegamic of the Native Studies art collection, begins at First Peoples House of Learning Performance Space

This fall, Peter Gzowski College and the First Peoples House of Learning came to life. Despite years of planning and preparation, the building didn't begin to breathe until September 2004, when it was infused with the excitement of hundreds of students, living and learning. 

It is this excitement - the excitement of exploration - that will be enduringly entrenched in its existence. The thoughtfulness and deliberate design of the building, along with the opportunities its array of spaces offer, do indeed help us understand our past and shape our future.

Peter Gzowski College and the First Peoples House of Learning celebrates its ceremonial opening on October 16, as part of Trent University's 40th birthday party, a day that is not only the culmination of a weeklong series of special events, but of four decades of accomplishment.

Under construction since summer 2002, the building has been given an Anishnaabe name, Enweying, meaning 'The Way We Speak Together.' Along with his affinity for Trent's Native Studies program, Mr. Gzowski had the exceptional ability to create vivid imagery with his voice, linking a vast nation through storytelling. In the Anishnaabe language, this notion is embodied in the word Enweying. Canada's First Peoples and their traditions were close to Mr. Gzowski's heart, so it is fitting that the First Peoples House of Learning and the new college are intertwined in this building. The First Peoples House of Learning encompasses ceremonial and gathering spaces, and a specially-designed performance space, among other distinctive Aboriginal elements. The hues of the building, including the ochre-coloured cladding, are derived from the four colours of the medicine wheel: yellow, red, black and white.

To the Symons Campus, Enweying provides an additional 140,000 square feet of academic and residential space and is part of the first major expansion at Trent in decades. True to the founding philosophy of Trent, the building provides a place for students to engage with their academic seniors in small teaching spaces. It encompasses 12 classrooms and lecture halls, 70 faculty offices, 250 single residence rooms and a dining hall, along with the elements of the First Peoples House of Learning that are also accessible to the community at large. The building is also home to the departments of Business Administration, Economics, Mathematics, and Native Studies, and provides a prominent location for the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

The overall design of the building, developed by Dunlop Two Row in association with Erik Wilke Architect, was based on an extensive vision statement developed by the First Peoples House design committee. This statement sees the building as honouring the land, creating a respectful community and acting as a beacon.

Among numerous representative design elements, the ground floor of the building is open to create a sense of sitting gently on the land. The First Peoples House of Learning is also a 'distributed space,' consisting of six distinct elements spread throughout the building. The idea behind the distributed space is to reflect the distribution of Aboriginal Peoples throughout the country and that all Aboriginal Peoples are not in one place. The distributed space is also intended to ensure that the encounter with Aboriginality is everywhere and unexpected, as it is in Canada.


Posted October 14, 2004


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Last Updated October 18, 2004