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Build 2000


Trent University Celebrates Opening of Peter Gzowski College – Enweying Building and First Peoples House of Learning


October 16, 2004, Peterborough

The Trent University community gathered today to officially open the new Peter Gzowski College – Enweying building and the First Peoples House of Learning.

The official ceremony was the culmination of a week of celebrations highlighting Trent's 40th anniversary.

Speakers participating in the program included Gillian Howard on behalf of the Gzowski family, Chief Keith Knott, Curve Lake First Nation, the Honourable Peter Adams, MP Peterborough and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, the Honourable Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Jeff Leal, MPP Peterborough and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dr. Roberta Bondar, Chancellor, Trent University, Bonnie Patterson, President and Vice-Chancellor and Prof. David Newhouse, Head, Gzowski College.

Prof. Edna Manitowabi, member of Trent's Native Studies faculty, led the participants in a traditional native prayer. Special performances included the Chippewa Travellers and the Otonaabe Women's Hand Drum Singers. The event concluded with a tree planting ceremony organized by the Peter Gzowski College student cabinet.

Commenting on the importance of Peter Gzowski to Trent, President Patterson noted, "Peter was our eighth Chancellor and the beloved host of CBC Radio's Morningside. He had a knack for making us feel at home. For Canadians, he became that warm, familiar voice that we came to trust. And he knit together a vast nation of people, giving all of us a sense that we shared an abundance of wonderful qualities, simply by virtue of the fact that we were Canadian. Peter would have been thrilled with the college that now bears his name, an exceptionally unique living and learning environment that incorporates several important Aboriginal components."

Prof. David Newhouse emphasized that the opening of Enweying is a time of celebration in Trent's history. "The official opening of Peter Gzowski College and the Enweying building will provide opportunities to create something new within Trent's traditional college system. What is unique about this college is the blending of the college structure with the First Peoples House of Learning and the "dialogue' that will emerge to promote new opportunities for teaching and learning. Our students, faculty and staff look forward to building a new college community in the coming years that will add significant to Trent's traditions."

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For further information, please contact:

Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224 or by cell at (705) 760-5380


Marilyn Burns, Director of Communications, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1303 or by cell at (705) 875-1031

Peter Gzowski – Backgrounder

"From its human scale through its lack of pretension about its own remarkable achievements, and right up to its achingly lovely physical setting, Trent University is as special in the academic community as Canada itself in the wider world. Perhaps more than ever in our history, we need such institutions now, not only to enrich our understanding of our past, but to act as beacons for our future."

Peter Gzowski
Chancellor, Trent University (1999-2002)

Born in Toronto, Peter Gzowski (1934-2002) was one of Canada's best-loved journalists and broadcasters. The popular CBC radio host of Morningside was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of numerous ACTRA and other awards.

Peter was passionate about Canada, both the land and its people, and this fed his interest in Canadian culture, the north, Aboriginal peoples and the environment. These pursuits drew him to Trent University.

Peter was named Trent's Chancellor in 1999, fittingly on July 1 – Canada Day. As Chancellor, he met frequently with students, faculty and staff and visited classes to engage with students. Peter was much loved and respected for his efforts in defence of the liberal arts and sciences in Canada. In 1987 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University. In 1992 he donated his papers to Trent's Archives.

Peter Gzowski College opened to students in September 2004. The building itself bears the name Enweying, which in Anishnaabe means "The Way We Speak Together." Given Peter's work as a public broadcaster, it is a fitting tribute.

Enweying Building

"The Way We Speak Together"

The Enweying building is an integrated facility housing Peter Gzowski College and the First Peoples House of Learning.

Enweying is an Anishnaabe word that means, "The Way We Speak Together."

Peter Gzowski College includes a 250 bed residence, a college office, the Robinson dining hall and a home for a number of academic departments.

The First Peoples House of Learning includes performance space, gathering space, ceremonial space, the atrium, the Morton Owens Lecture Hall -'Bgwasendamowin'(The art of hoping)and the Native Studies department.

First Peoples Vision Statement

Before all other words are said, we extend greetings to all of creation.

We the First Peoples of this land have inherited an ancient trust. As keepers of this land, our sacred obligations continue to guide us to protect our mother the earth and to share the knowledge and wisdom that comes from our ancient traditions of living in kindness, harmony and balance with our environment. We accept the challenge of respecting our obligations and sharing our knowledge in this place of learning and with people who come to it. And we make a commitment to work towards these ends.

The First Peoples House of Learning honours the land upon which it is built, the ancestors who hold the land and the knowledge that they possess. It celebrates our imaginations, our survival through the centuries, our knowledge developed over generations and our strength to endure. It celebrates the world that is continually being created through the efforts of our minds and spirits. It contributes to the continued development of Aboriginal peoples, cultures and knowledge.

The First Peoples House of Learning is a community of learners who have come together for the purpose of increasing our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world that we live within and to seek peace through the use of our minds. It helps to ensure that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of Aboriginal knowledge, as reflected in traditional and contemporary world views and expressed in practice are articulated, discussed, documented, recognized and experienced.

The First Peoples House of Learning creates a community within the University for the exploration and development of indigenous knowledge. It invites a dialogue with other traditions of learning. The First Peoples House of Learning demonstrates the dignity and respect that the University holds for Aboriginal Peoples and their knowledge. The First Peoples House of Learning embodies Aboriginal ideas of learning that engage and embrace the body, mind, emotion and spirit. It provides a place where individuals can learn in the context of Aboriginal traditions, language and values, enhancing their understanding of both themselves and others.

The First Peoples House of Learning is a celebration of Aboriginal learning and knowledge. It acts as a beacon of hope and opportunity, drawing people together in a spirit of optimism and a sense of innovation and creativity, inviting people of all nations to put their minds and spirits together to see what future can be made for the First Peoples of this land and for all members of creation.


The vision statement guiding the facility's design emphasizes how the building honours the land, creating a respectful community as a beacon. The First Peoples House is distributed through the College reflecting the distribution of Aboriginal Peoples throughout the country. This distribution reminds us that all Aboriginal Peoples are not in one place and ensures that the encounter with aboriginality is everywhere, and unexpected, much as it is in Canada.

The Colours

The colours of the building are derived from the four colours of a medicine wheel: yellow, red, black and white.


Yellow, which is the colour of the east, represents the rising sun, the dawn of a new day and new beginnings, hope.  The yellow cladding on the outside of the building corresponds with floors that house the College residence rooms.


Red, the colour of the south, represents youth, energy and celebration. The gathering space is clad in weathered steel, which will turn red as it rusts. The shape of the gathering space honours the Anishnaabe/Ojibway peoples of this area. The steel cladding was chosen to honour the legacy of the Mohawk/Iroquoian steelworkers in this territory.


Black, the colour of the west, represents growth and maturity. The entire trim of the building is black.


White, the colour of the north, represents spirit and wisdom. The grayish metal of the building represents the white of the medicine wheel.

Architects for the project were Dunlop/Two Row Architects in Joint Venture in Association with Erik Wilke Architect. The Enweying building official opened on October 16, 2004.

Building Features

  • 140,000 square feet of academic and residential space
  • 12 classrooms and lecture halls
  • 70 faculty offices
  • 250 single residence rooms and dining hall
  • Home to: Business Administration, Economics, Mathematics, Native Studies, Office of Research and Graduate Studies
  • Designed by Dunlop Two Row in Association with Erik Wilke Architect.

The design 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 lightly 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.

Donors and Supporters

Trent University wishes to acknowledge the leadership of:

RBC Financial Group
David Morton and Patricia Owens Morton
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough
Gretchen and Donald Ross
Bank of Nova Scotia
Carolyn Sifton Foundation
Phillips, Hager and North Investment Management Ltd.
Placer Dome (CLA) Ltd.
The Bennett Family Foundation
Bryston Inc.

The University has also benefited from the support and vision of a number of First Nations communities, including:

Alderville First Nation
Baagwating Community Association
Curve Lake First Nation
Hiawatha First Nation
Mnjikaning First Nation
Mohawk Territory of Kahnewake
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
Special thanks also go to RBC Financial Group as well as alumni and current parents Robin Quantick '78 and Laurie Davey-Quantick '78, who generously supported the presentation of An Evening with Peter's Friends on October 16, 2004 at Showplace Peterborough.

Trent University acknowledges the financial contribution of the Government of Canada, made possible through the Cultural Spaces Canada Program.

Trent University would also like to thank the Government of Ontario for its financial support of this project as part of its most recent campus expansion.


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Last Updated October 18, 2004