Wawanesa Insurance to move North American HQ into True North Square, internal memo suggests

The first tower in True North Square, right, opened in June 2018 and welcomed its first tenant, law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, the next month. Wawanesa is expected to make its move in 2023. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

An email to staff of Wawanesa Insurance indicates the business is consolidating offices and moving its North American headquarters under one roof at True North Square in downtown Winnipeg.

Employees scattered across six other offices downtown will make the switch “to create a more connected work community for our people,” says the internal email obtained by CBC News.

Wawanesa plans to move into a tower at 228 Carlton St. Construction is expected to start at the beginning of 2020 and wrap up in the first six months of 2023, the email says.

“As we continue growing as a diversified North American insurer, we’re proud to write the next chapter of our commitment to Winnipeg by investing in the city’s evolving downtown,” the email reads.

True North Square public plaza, between two towers towers south of Graham Avenue between Hargrave and Carlton streets, opened in September 2018. 

True North finished building its public plaza east of Carlton Street last fall. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The square will be home to four towers in total that will contain retail shops, residential and office space and a hotel. The first tenant to move into the first tower on Hargrave in summer 2018 was law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.

Construction on the third and fourth, the Sutton Place Hotel and Residences at the corner of Carlton and St. Mary Avenue, is projected to finish in 2021.

Wawanesa’s move will focus on sustainability and work toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, the email states.

Wawanesa is the largest mutual insurer in the country. It’s been around since the end of the 19th century and got its start in Wawanesa, Man., about 185 kilometres west of Winnipeg, where its official head office remains, the company email said.

Two towers at True North Square reached their full height in 2018 after crews added the 25th floor to the tower at 225 Carlton St. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

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