Breathing life into the Home Fire: Indigenous engagement in a rapid housing project
September 28, 2022
Architect David Fortin says translating Indigenous thinking and knowledge into contemporary architectural form is still a relatively new conversation, so when designing for an Indigenous client, he and his team put a lot of emphasis on engagement. The latest project that David is working on with Big Block is the Silver Sage Housing Corporation’s Home Fire building in North Regina. Home Fire will be a transitional place for people in need of immediate housing, and it’s part of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) in order to get those people the housing they need as quickly as possible.
Learn more
Elders’ Lodge features culturally-relevant garden to help improve food security
September 16, 2022
This summer, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister has been enjoying healthy snacks from the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge garden. The community garden at the Lodge is central to the extraordinary shared courtyard and acts as the heart of the building, with the south-facing apartment balconies and indoor community space looking out over it. The garden, along with many other features of the building, were incorporated into the design thanks to early consultations with Elders from the community — a step in the development process that Big Block has found to be crucial to creating purpose-built spaces that will serve communities for generations to come.
Learn more
Rapid Housing Initiative continues to help solve urgent housing crisis
May 19, 2022
Finance Canada and the CMHC estimate 3.5 million homes will have to be built by 2031 to bridge the housing gap and keep up with population growth. This would mean doubling the country’s current rate of 200,000 housing units built per year.Canadians need housing now and the CMHC’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) seeks to address this need by ensuring that the housing being funded is ready no more than 12 months after agreements are signed. 
Learn more
Federal budget a win for affordable housing
April 25, 2022
Solving the housing affordability crisis is our guiding star. A big contributing factor to the erosion of affordability is a serious lack of supply. We want to be part of the solution, so our goal is to build 1,000 affordable housing units in Canada each year by 2025.That’s why we were so excited to hear about all the measures the federal government is taking to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Canada with its latest budget. 
Learn more
MLI Select: A multi-unit mortgage loan insurance product for companies that care
March 29, 2022
A new CMHC financing program provides generous mortgage loan insurance incentives for energy-efficient multi-unit housing. Based on a points system, the best terms are unlocked at 100 points, and Big Block can help our clients achieve that on new construction through energy efficiency alone.
Learn more
Beyond aesthetics: How the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge incorporates Métis traditions
February 2, 2022
When architect David Fortin began envisioning the design for the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge, he knew it had to go beyond simple aesthetics. When he was looking at the traditional homes the Métis were building in Batoche and elsewhere in Saskatchewan, he also looked at how they inhabited those homes, he said. 
Learn more
Reviving the Round Prairie history through community and culture
January 13, 2022
For the Métis people, the New Year’s Day celebration is a special one. Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister says in days gone by, her family would go house to house, visiting family and eating boulettes — meatball soup. All day, they’d visit with relatives, eating boulettes along the way, and then in the evenings they’d gather again for a meal and the adults would jig and dance all night. While some of these traditions have fallen by the wayside, Shirley says she still makes boulettes every year for her family, and her goal with the newly opened Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is to revive some of these traditions.
Learn more
Layers of funding: How non-profit org CUMFI provides rentals 30% below market rates
December 13, 2021
The rent at the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is 30 per cent below market for some of the suites — a feat that was only possible thanks to support from an astounding six funding sources. Because so much funding was secured, the rent is very affordable, and the energy-efficient design will also help Elders save money on utility costs. “It was a tough goal but we knew with the different funding partners that it was possible,” said Shaun Dyck, CUMFI director of housing.
Learn more
Elder says development will be ‘a dream come true’ for residents
September 23, 2021
Kathleen Pruden hopes there will be jigging at the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge when it opens. CUMFI’s Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge is a multi-unit residential building for Métis Elders, and it features gathering space for just such activities as jigging. Other features include accessible suites, a fireplace in the common area, and a garden. All of these features were suggested by the Elders themselves through consultations.
Learn more
The origins of Big Block: How we got to where we are today
July 18, 2021
From 2004-08, the prairies saw huge increases in housing prices and a shortage of housing. There was an affordable housing problem in Saskatoon. The Big Block leadership successfully helped solve that shortage, but we also saw there was a need for affordable housing across Canada.We knew we had the skills and experience to make a bigger difference in the world, but we didn’t yet know how.
Learn more