Prairie Architect INC. 
Company Profile
Written for Red River College Website
March, 2013

Founded in 1981 by Dudley Thompson, Prairie Architects INC. (Prairie) is a Winnipeg company that’s done work on many different buildings across Manitoba. Although they do have a strong focus on architecture, sustainable design is one of their main specialties.

“When I founded the company sustainability wasn’t common in the architectural field, but was something I was really interested in so I wanted to have great focus on that,” says Thompson.

Sustainable buildings are designed in ways that aren’t harmful to the environment, or which don’t detract any natural resources. Some sustainable Winnipeg buildings Prairie was responsible for include Mountain Equipment Co-op, Aboriginal Student Centre, and the Manitoba Hydro Place building, a client Prairie has been working closely with for the past 12 years.

In 1979 Prairie received their first national sustainable design award – the Low Energy Building Design Award from the Government of Canada for the Roseau Children’s Centre. Since 1979 they have received many different awards and distinctions from all over North America, celebrating their achievements in a variety of areas within architecture and design.

Prairie comes across each new design account while keeping in mind the context and the history of the new project, simultaneously thinking about the building’s opportunities for something new. To develop a product best suited to client needs, all members of the Prairie design team come together to come up with creative ideas, as all 25 staff members come from similar professional and creative backgrounds which work cohesively within the company. Prairie’s integrated design concept brings together not only the design team, but the client group, construction manager, and consultants.

The new Pattison Global Foods building at the Red River College (RRC) Exchange District Campus is one of Prairie’s latest projects. Prairie does a lot of work for different post-secondary institutes and was excited to be a part of RRC’s downtown expansion.

“This building was especially fun and unique to work on as it encompassed so many different things. There was sustainability, urban, mixed use, and residential; so many different elements that were enjoyable and exciting to put together.”

Although Prairie has done a lot of work on building exteriors, many clients request services that focus on interior architecture. Prairie’s designed a number of different interior spaces that include commercial offices, retailers, and institutional spaces. Something important to Prairie and most of its clients is the ability for natural sunlight to stream into the created spaces, yielding an element of happiness and calmness for those spending a fair amount of time in those buildings.

Prairie is excited to announce they’re currently working on four new schools within Manitoba. Right now they’re in various stages of design and construction and are enthusiastic for the opportunity to be working on these projects.


Banville & Jones Wine Co.
Company Profile
Written for Red River College Website

March, 2013

Banville & Jones Wine Co. (Banville & Jones) started in 1999 when two sisters decided to turn their family’s passion for fine wines into something they can share across Manitoba. Lia Banville and Tina Jones grew up in a proud Italian family who had a hand in the winery business for decades.

“My dad (Pierluigi Tolaini) grew up in Tuscany, Italy and was always surrounded by different wines. About 15-20 years ago he went back to get into the winery business again and it became such a huge project,” said Tina Jones, president of Banville & Jones.

“When my dad went back he created four different flavours of wine and two of them are the top two wines in Italy.”

Before Banville & Jones was officially created, Lia Banville worked in the wine distribution business for the family’s wine that was being sold in New York. After working in New York for a few years, Lia and Tina decided to create Banville & Jones as a way of bringing about something new and innovative for Winnipeg consumers; their main goal was to provide a new wine experience for Manitoba in the retail sector. With years of experience, a passion for the product, and over 30 employees, Banville & Jones is the largest private wine seller in Manitoba, and was voted one of the top 50 wine retailers in Canada by Wine Access Magazine.

“We’ve taken a seemingly stuffy and pretentious wine environment and brought it back to a unique shopping experience where our experts help people find the wine that best suits their needs,” said Tina.

Banville & Jones have a large variety of wine that consumers won’t see in any store in Canada. Their experts go all around the world to find the best of the best. Their experts are trained to learn and interpret how wines are made and to recognize the value to the consumer; quality prices for quality wine. Banville & Jones have invested in the best people, making it easier to transfer knowledge and experiences. By being in tune with consumer needs, they’ve created a lot of confidence and trust in their store and in their brand.

Not only does Banville & Jones take the time to carefully train their employees, but they have a wine school that’s been developed since 2000. The Banville & Jones Wine Institute teaches three courses: Wine Specialist 100, Wine Steward 200, and a Professional Sommelier Program.

Aside from a strong passion for fine wines, Banville & Jones have an interest in philanthropic initiatives. The company proudly supports over 100 of different charities which include United Way, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and a number of women’s and children’s charities.

“Winnipeg is a centre of excellence; we’re fortunate to be in a great city like this as there are so many positive things about Winnipeg.”


Andrea Pelletier – Clothing Designer
Professional Profile
Written for Red Dress Blog
October 2012

Andrea Pelletier’s love for fashion design started years ago when she was trying to find something unique in the mass market. She taught herself how to sew 15 years ago, and began her creations by purchasing garments from different thrifts stores, and altering those pieces to something more representative of her style.

Through experimenting with different fabrics and designs, Andrea became a skilled designer, and started to produce a lot of formal wear for her clients. Although she likes creating garments of all types, Andrea wanted to steer away from working with mostly satin and decided to delve into costume design. The costumes she makes are often for dance performances, Halloween, or special themed events. One of the most interesting costumes Andrea has been asked to make was a Princess Daisy costume from the Super Mario video game.

Andrea describes her style as bold, colourful, and quirky, and tends to shy away from pastels. Although her own personal style is a bit tamer, Andrea appreciates the creativity behind Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, and admires couture fashion such as Comme des Garcons.

Aside from clothing design, Andrea has a strong passion for tattoo art. Tattoos are a big part of her life as she co-owns Rebel Waltz Tattoo with her husband Don. Her husband is the closest creative force in her life, and she finds herself not only inspired by his work, but by tattoo art in general. There are tangible connections between clothing and tattoos which Andrea often thinks about. Both use needles, design, colour, and shape to adorn a body. While tattoos are permanent, clothes you can change every day. She strives to make clothes the wearer will love, something that is expressive, that fits, and is suited to the individual who wears it.

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