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CMHR unveils plans for flagship destination restaurant

News release details

WINNIPEG — September 17, 2013 – The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) today announced that Inn at the Forks will operate the Museum's restaurant and catering services, prominently showcasing Manitoba cuisine to international visitors.

"Visitors with an appetite for human rights will also get a taste of Manitoba, in the world's most stunning new travel destination," CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray said at today's news event, held inside the Museum's restaurant space, where guests enjoyed a sampling of fresh, locally sourced food.

"Inn at the Forks knows how to create a memorable visitor experience. The restaurant will be a new offering for Winnipeggers and an enticement to visitors. We are thrilled to partner with a local company that has expertise in the travel-tourism market and a reputation for excellence."

Inn at the Forks general manager Ben Sparrow said the restaurant will support local producers and align with human rights principles such as Fair Trade sourcing and environmental sustainability. Today's announcement follows a rigorous bid and evaluation process by the CMHR.

"We intend to surprise guests by exceeding their expectations of a museum restaurant," Sparrow said. "As a polished, contemporary bistro, we will stand with the top restaurants in Winnipeg – just like the Museum of Modern Art does in New York. But we will also accommodate a variety of tastes and budgets."

Catering to thousands of events in the Museum will be a major part of the operation. The CMHR will attract significant new business to Winnipeg as a location for national and international conferences and other major events. The CMHR will begin accepting bookings in November 2013 for events to be held after the Museum opens in 2014. An opening date is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. More information can be found in the attached backgrounder.

The restaurant – to be located within one of the Museum's massive stone "roots" — is now being designed by Winnipeg's Number TEN Architectural Group. It will incorporate a large, focal-point "Planet Earth" ceiling feature, an open-concept display kitchen, wooden communal tables and warm natural elements, as well as an outdoor patio.

Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., welcomed the announcement as a significant addition to the city's current transformation. "Winnipeg is experiencing an explosion of economic development, including iconic capital projects that are transforming the face of the city – each contributing to the success of the other," she said. "The CMHR's destination restaurant will be an amazing addition to a world-class attraction that will permanently place Winnipeg on the global tourism map."

Opening in 2014 in Winnipeg, the CMHR is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. It is the first national museum to be established in Canada since 1967 and the first outside the National Capital Region. 

Find our more at museumforhumanrights.ca , follow us on Twitter @cmhr_news and like our page at facebook.com/canadianmuseumforhumanrights.

About the companies

Inn at the Forks is owned and operated by Sparrow Hotels, one of Canada's oldest and most reputable hotel management companies, established in 1937. It also owns the Norwood Hotel in St. Boniface and is currently developing a new boutique hotel on Winnipeg's Waterfront Drive. It employs over 300 staff in Winnipeg, generating more than $9 million in annual food and beverage revenue. 

Inn at the Forks was recognized in 2012 by the Green Key Eco-Rating Program for its accomplishments in environmental management and corporate social responsibility. It is also working with Fairtrade Canada, a non-profit certification body, to ensure compliance with ethical sourcing principles.

Number TEN Architectural Group is an integrated practice of architecture, planning, strategic advisory services, interior design and visual communications. The firm is committed to continuous learning, sustainable design and best practices in management and production. Recent projects include the University of Winnipeg's Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex, the Qualico Family Centre at Assiniboine Park and the Winnipeg Humane Society building. Number TEN employs over 80 staff in Winnipeg, Regina and Victoria.

About the restaurant
A "destination restaurant" described as "a fast-casual bistro with a fine-dining influence", the facility includes an outdoor patio and seating for 67. It will be situated in an admission-free "root" of the Museum near the CMHR retail shop with direct access to the grounds of The Forks. It will be fully licenced, with table service suitable for lunch or dinner, and a flexible design allowing easy adaptation for private events. The menu will feature regional produce and Fair Trade purchasing, with a competitive lunch-service price point ($10 to $12 per plate). 

About the catering
A comprehensive banquet and catering package emphasizes fresh, local and ethically sourced ingredients, building on an established reputation. The onsite kitchen is considered large enough to handle all events. However, additional demand could be accommodated at the nearby off-site kitchen at Inn at the Forks.

About the design
The restaurant will feature raw concrete and neutral-tone walls as a backdrop to the colourful, large scaled "Planet Earth" ceiling feature. A glowing, back-lit, white acrylic wine-bottle display is the focus of the bar area. The open-concept display kitchen energizes and activates the dining experience. 

Guests will have a variety of seating options – from long wooden communal tables to smaller group settings – to enhance their unique dining experience. Suspended wood ceilings and clay-coloured concrete flooring create warm natural elements in the space, complementing the Museum's colour scheme and strong lines.

About the CMHR selection process
Seven applications were accepted through a Request for Proposals issued by the CMHR. Evaluation was based on:

Alignment with the Museum's brand promise and visitor experience objectives.
A commitment to human rights principles in all business dealings.
Service provision in both official languages.
Quality, variety and ethical product sourcing for its menu offerings.
Design concept
Projected financial return to the CMHR, supporting ongoing operation of the Museum.
Financial capacity to meet the capital and operational obligations of the project, including capital investment in restaurant design and construction.
Value-added marketing and sales capabilities.
A well-researched, realistic and comprehensive business plan.
Experience and expertise in the Winnipeg market.

For event bookings
To book a function or event inside the Museum, please contact (after November 1, 2013):
Mary Lou McGurran, CMHR Director, Earned Revenue & Visitor services at (204) 289‑2038 or e-mail marylou.mcgurran@museumforhumanrights.ca.
Bookings will be accepted for events to be held after the Museum's 2014 opening date, which is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry