The Pinnguaq Association’s downtown location will bring science, technology, engineering, art and math to the core of the community with Makerspaces, art studios and more.
Passersby may notice some activity at the former public works building on Peel Street in Lindsay as construction crews transform the space into a world-class STEAM education, entrepreneurship and community hub operated by Pinnguaq Association.
While interior work started in March following Pinnguaq’s purchase of the 12 Peel St. building, the external renovations started Tuesday (Nov. 14) after all necessary permits were obtained. Crews have already been busy removing the ramp from the west side of the building and preparing space for a new ramp to an entrance on the north side. As the hub will be a place for everyone interested in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), accessibility is key in the development of the space.
Whether supporting digital skill development in rural and remote communities to improve workforce development, providing seniors with skills to help them navigate a digital world or offering affordable access to unique STEAM programming for children, Pinnguaq’s efforts depend on having a local, accessible, state-of-the-art facility with the necessary tech and space. They’re bringing that vision to life with the help of O’Neil and Carroll, a Downeyville/Lindsay-based contractor, and Home by Tim + Chris, a Fenelon Falls-based design firm.
“We’re grateful to have such skilled, local partners for the construction and design and are thrilled to be breaking ground on a STEAM hub in Kawartha Lakes,” says Ryan Oliver, CEO of Pinnguaq.
“Renovation is always a complex process full of surprises, permits, planning and replanning but we’re well on our way to creating a space for artists, entrepreneurs and nonprofits to connect and grow. With studios, office spaces, hotdesks and three Makerspaces, our goal is to create a centre for innovation, creation and STEAM education right here in Lindsay,” adds Oliver.
Education is a key component of the Pinnguaq Lifecycle, the organization’s unique approach to supporting individuals and communities through every stage of their learning and growth journey. As Pinnguaq continues its own growth, Oliver says the return to a downtown location has been a long time coming.
The organization’s first office space in Lindsay was near William and Kent streets. They moved to Adelaide Street to open a Makerspace, although Oliver says it was quickly apparent they would need to expand even more.
“Our space on Adelaide Street was a great starting point, but the very first day we hosted programming there for the public, it was sold out in 10 minutes and we had a waiting list that could have filled the place three times,” says Oliver about the current office. “We knew immediately that there was a need for an educational space in the Kawartha Lakes, but we also knew that it needed to be a lot bigger.”
In the Adelaide Street location, there is about 650 square feet open to the public. On Peel Street, that will climb to 4500 square feet, an exciting evolution for Pinnguaq as they look forward to hosting school groups, families and community organizations.
In addition to the Lindsay Makerspace, Pinnguaq operates a Makerspace in Iqaluit, and supports a Makerspace network from Curve Lake First Nation to a growing number across Nunavut, including Cambridge Bay, Pond Inlet and Saniarjak.
“We believe that rural, remote and Indigenous communities – whether in the Kawartha Lakes, or the Arctic Circle – should have the same access to STEAM education and digital skills training that people in urban centres have,” says Oliver. “This building is a giant step in that direction for Lindsay and the surrounding area.”