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New opportunities being planted with opening of WMS Katherine’s Garden

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Winnipeg Mennonite School (WMS) is literally ‘planting the seeds’ for future learning opportunities with the opening of Katherine’s Garden.

The WMS Foundations for a Lifetime Capital Campaign has completed work on the newest addition to the Katherine Friesen Campus: Katherine’s Garden. Thanks to a generous donation by the Friesen Family Foundation, the newly built garden will be a school and community space for learning, growing, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

“[Katherine’s Garden] will contribute to students’ spiritual and academic growth as they engage with and learn about nature,” Superintendent/CEO Steve Lawrie says about the project.

A wooden arbor leading into Katherine's Garden.

The new space, located on the south side of the building, is outfitted with 9 planted boxes for classrooms to plant, study, and harvest various flowers, vegetables, and shrubs. An outdoor classroom has been incorporated into the design, with a seating area and four-season chalkboard for outdoor learning year-round.

The idea of Katherine’s Garden was initiated by Katherine Friesen’s daughter, Ruth Hastings. In collaboration with WMS staff and Randy Klassen: Speciality Projects, the project was completed in mid-October, giving our students the chance to use it to its full potential this coming spring.

“Students, on average, seem to do better outdoors,” said WMS Katherine Friesen Principal Curt Krahn. “Learning about nature in nature or participating in a creative outdoor mathematics class incorporating the natural environment is a benefit.”

Katherine Friesen, along with her husband, Dr. David Friesen, led a small group of Mennonite community leaders to start Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary School in 1981. Starting with 48 students in a rented wing of Lansdowne School, WMS has grown to have two campuses with more than 360 students. The WMS campus located in Fort Garry was renamed in honour of her work with the school and in the community.



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