Claude Brulé looks on proudly during the grand opening of Algonquin College's new learning centre. Photo credit: Kieran Morgan

Algonquin College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new corporate learning centre in the ByWard Market to celebrate the opening of the facility on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The Algonquin Learning Centre, located at 700 Sussex Dr., will serve not only as a creative inspiration for students in attendance, but as advertising for the college as well.

The event was well attended, with many notable people in attendance including Cheryl Jensen, the former college president, and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

“This is what is needed not only for jobs of today, but also for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Watson before the ribbon-cutting. “Algonquin is seeing that need, and moving on it.”

Before the opening of this new location, the college a different spot downtown. This new 8,800-foot centre promises to help employers and individuals who want to retrain, upkeep or develop new skills. It features a versatile floor plan and walls that slide to separate or open new rooms, allowing for adjustment depending on purpose.

Catered by Algonquin College grad Stephen Beckta of Beckta Dining & Wine, the event also featured a variety of wines, meats, and cheeses served by a professional staff of waiters.

The opening of the space additionally maintained the college’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation of Algonquin land. Six rooms are named after aquatic animals to pay homage to various creation stories. For example, Mikinak, Kigonz and Amik, which translates to Turtle, Fish and Beaver, respectively.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Ron McLester, vice president of truth, reconciliation, and Indigenization, did a land acknowledgement which is a way to recognize that the land utilized for the college’s purpose was Algonquin land originally.

Finally, Jim Watson and Angela Vanikiotis of the Royal Canadian Mint, joined college president Claude Brulé in cutting the ribbon to signify the grand opening. This was met with applause from the crowd.

“Part of the reason we’re doing this is to promote lifelong learning,” said Claude Brulé after cutting the ceremonial ribbon. “We want people to know Algonquin College isn’t just here for those in entry level or first careers.”