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WAG’S dining and event services revitalized as Inuit Art Centre takes shape

New café and catering services will celebrate art

Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 11, 2020: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) and Sparrow Hotels are breathing new life into the WAG’s dining and event services with elevated catering and a new restaurant in the eagerly anticipated Inuit Art Centre, which will showcase the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

WAG Director & CEO Dr. Stephen Borys announced today that Sparrow Hotels submitted the winning proposal to manage all food services throughout the Gallery.

The agreement includes catering for all weddings, concerts, conferences and meetings held in the unique modernist Gallery, as well as operation of the new café scheduled to open this fall on the ground level of the Inuit Art Centre which will connect to the WAG on all levels. Now under construction at the corner of St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, the new building is already receiving international attention for its innovative design by Michael Maltzan Architecture, in collaboration with Cibinel Architecture, which echoes the form and light of Arctic landscapes.

Quick Facts:

  • Sparrow Hotels is the local business behind a growing range of successful Winnipeg ventures, including Inn at the Forks, SMITH restaurant, Mere Hotel and the venerated Norwood Hotel, which the Sparrow family has owned since 1937.
  • Under this new agreement, all restaurant and catering services at the WAG will be managed by Sparrow Hotels’ new catering company, which has a similar arrangement with ERA Bistro and Catering at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
  • As plans for the Inuit Art Centre take shape, the Sparrow team is focusing its attention on enhancing the WAG’s catering services, which the company has operated since November. Sparrow is aiming to make the catering as distinctive as the surroundings. The partnership fits in well with long-term plans for the company’s events business, which will focus on elevated entertainment experiences in unusual settings.
  • Sparrow’s agreement with the WAG follows a series of expansions and improvements that have been raising the bar for hospitality in Winnipeg. The company’s latest major project was a total renovation of the Norwood’s food and beverage venues in 2019.
  • For Winnipeggers wishing to sample Sparrow Hotels’ cuisine, SMITH is holding a pop-up at the WAG for Valentine’s Day. The next edition of FEAST, the WAG’s signature dinner-and-tour program takes place Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15 from 6 to 9pm with a three-course amuse bouche and a love-themed exploration of artwork in the galleries. Tickets available at



“Our new café will be one of downtown Winnipeg’s most unique, art-infused eateries. The welcoming indoor space and summer and fall patio and will provide a new year-round gathering place for our community. We are thrilled to partner with Ben Sparrow and Sparrow Hotels to serve delicious and nourishing food at special events and for all those who host events at the WAG to experience elevated local cuisine.”

—Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery

“The team is excited to be operating at the WAG, an iconic one-of-a-kind space. A leading Canadian art museum like the WAG deserves nothing less than the best. Our goal is to provide guests with the kind of quality and style they would experience in the leading arts venues of Toronto and New York. While all of our ventures have their own distinct personality, they share one common thread – our desire to exceed expectations. We want to consistently delight the people we serve, whether they come to us for a casual meal or to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

—Ben Sparrow, CEO of Sparrow Hotels


Associated Links

Inuit Art Centre
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Sparrow Hotels

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Amber O’Reilly
Engagement Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Joel Waterman
General Manager, Inn at the Forks

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Opening in 2020, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit

Sparrow Hotels is one of Canada’s oldest and most reputable hotel management companies. The business was established in 1937, when Merle Sparrow bought the Norwood Hotel in St. Boniface. Today the company also operates Inn at the Forks, SMITH restaurant, Mere Hotel on Waterfront Drive and ERA Bistro and Catering at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The company employs more than 400 staff in Winnipeg.



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