The Fight for Clean Water: Canadore College Leads the Way


© Courtesy of Canadore College

Canadore College is taking bold strides in tackling systemic issues surrounding clean drinking water in Indigenous communities. In collaboration with the Government of Canada’s Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), Canadore College recently celebrated the grand opening of its Water Teaching Lodge—a remarkable facility that combines traditional Indigenous teachings, cutting-edge technologies, and land-based research practices to provide sustainable solutions and increase awareness about the importance of water.

Reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Anishinaabe people, the Water Teaching Lodge has been named Mshibizhiwgamig, which translates to Great Lynx Lodge in Anishinaabemowin. Mshibizhiw, the Great Lynx, is regarded as a water protection spirit that resides in lakes and underground rivers and is revered by the Anishinaabe people for its role in providing medicine and protection. The meaning and symbolism behind the name speak to Canadore College’s vision of becoming a catalyst for change in Indigenous water management.

Promoting Sustainable Solutions

Situated at Canadore’s College Drive Campus, the Water Teaching Lodge is intricately connected to The Village, the School of Indigenous Studies, the School of Environmental Studies, and the Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping (iCAMP). Serving as a vital component of the Clean Water Initiative, the Lodge aims to incorporate Indigenous teachings, technologies, and land-based research practices related to water protection.

Judy Manitowabi, the Director of the First Peoples’ Centre at Canadore College, emphasized the Lodge’s significance, stating, “The opportunity to learn and share stories with a focus on the significance of water will remain a priority. Water is life, and is a living being with its own spirit and must be respected.”

The Water Teaching Lodge and the construction of an operational water treatment facility on campus mark a significant shift towards incorporating Indigenous teachings about water and prioritizing them in the pursuit of clean water solutions. The Lodge serves as a space where learners, partners, and Indigenous communities can access educational tools and deepen their understanding of water from an Indigenous worldview.

“Canadore has an obligation to be a centre for teaching and learning that ensures our students are connected with issues in the real world,” said Shawn Chorney, Vice President of Strategic Infrastructure, Indigenous and Learner Services at Canadore College. “The Lodge is a collaboration between Canadore and the private sector to be a catalyst for change. We need to offer new, custom solutions for water so we’re not perpetuating existing challenges."

In keeping with the goal of offering new solutions, the Lodge promotes technological advancements in water treatment and protection in addition to cultural teachings. Canadore College has constructed an operational water treatment facility on campus, showcasing state-of-the-art technologies such as ultrafiltration membranes, cartridge filtration, ultraviolet radiation, chlorination, and pH control. The facility also features a SCADA system that enables real-time remote monitoring of plant operations, providing an immersive learning experience for students and community members.

canadore college
© Courtesy of Canadore College

A Hub for Indigenous Knowledge

Canadore College, renowned for its applied learning, leadership, and innovation, offers over 80 full-time quality programs, attracting students from nearly 400 Canadian communities and 15 international countries. With its dedicated faculty and success services, the college contributes approximately $402.5 million to the Nipissing Parry Sound service area economy. Around 1,000 students graduate each year from Canadore, joining a network of 60,000 alumni who are making a difference worldwide. The college relies on its own innovation, entrepreneurial endeavours, and generous donors, receiving less than half of its traditional funding from the provincial Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

By establishing the Water Teaching Lodge and the Clean Water Initiative, Canadore College not only addresses the pressing challenges faced by Indigenous communities but also fosters a deep understanding and appreciation of water from an Indigenous perspective.

To ensure the project aligns with the needs and values of Indigenous communities, Canadore College has established the Clean Water Initiative Advisory Council (CWIAC). Comprising Indigenous community members, water operators, and Canadore employees, the CWIAC plays a vital role in guiding the initiative, incorporating traditional knowledge, respecting community concerns, and embracing Indigenous values. This collaboration between Canadore College, government entities, tribal councils, and industry partners creates a space for innovation, technical support, and sustainable solutions, and represents a significant step toward addressing systemic challenges in Indigenous water management.

By combining Indigenous teachings, cutting-edge technologies, and community engagement, Canadore College is paving the way for sustainable and equitable access to clean drinking water for all.

Find out more about Canadore College’s programs and initiatives at

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From the time Canadore College opened its doors in 1967, we’ve taken pride in creating the best possible environment for learning and is the college of choice for students from across the province and around the world. 


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