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Royalty Visits Assiniboine’s North End Branch

Royalty in Winnipeg’s North EndCamilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited Assiniboine Credit Union’s McGregor Branch during her visit to Winnipeg. Branch Manager Brent Differ shares his experience meeting royalty.

Getting the News

The morning of March 31 I received a phone call with information which, if I didn’t know any better ,would be a great set up for an April Fools prank.

Camilla Duchesses of Cornall with Community Members and Assiniboine Credit Union at Assiniboine's North End Branch on McGregor and College.

Participants in the Royal tour of ACU’s McGregor Branch pose with Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall. From left: Julia Anderson, Branch Staff; Ritu Uppal, Branch Staff; Shirley Muir, PR House; Honourable Jennifer Howard, Manitoba’s Minister of Finance; Brent Differ, Branch Manager; Louise Simbandumwe, Director of Asset Building Programs, SEED Winnipeg; Her Royal Highness, Camilla; Cassi Suru, Asset Building Program participant and daughter, Ava; Margaret Day, Chair of the ACU Board; Marilyn MacKinnon, Mami Wi Chi Itata Centre; Kevin Sitka, ACU President & CEO; Rick Frost, CEO, Winnipeg Foundation; David Northcott, Executive Director, Winnipeg Harvest; and Bernie Gunn, Owner, Gunn’s Bakery.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were planning a trip to Winnipeg — and Assiniboine Credit Union was shortlisted for a visit. As it turns out, Her Royal Highness (HRH) has quite an interest in credit unions in the United Kingdom and has heard about the good things Assiniboine does for our communities.  

Preparing for a Visit from the Monarchy

Royal Car Arrives at ACUOver the next several weeks, what started out as a nice idea quickly became an upcoming reality. From several visits with municipal, provincial and federal security officials to go over what we were wishing to show HRH, to meeting with representatives from Scotland Yard, the plans were coming together.

After careful planning and preparation, Assiniboine’s North End branch was chosen for a Royal Visit and having to keep this news under wraps felt like something out of one of my favorite UK exports, James Bond 007!

Greeting HRH with Open Arms and Smiles

Kevin Sitka and Margaret Day discussion with Camilla

Before I knew it the day had arrived. Kevin Sitka, our President and CEO, Margaret Day, Assiniboine’s Board Chair, and a few employees were in attendance, along with a select group of community partners, local businesses and early investors representing our credit union’s partnerships and commitment to community. To a crowd of about 100 people HRH arrived at the branch that afternoon and Kevin and Margaret welcomed her to the North End with open arms and wide smiles.

HRH was a very gracious guest; listening attentively to everything we had to say about what we are working to achieve as an organization. She made sure that she spoke to everyone in attendance and shook all of our hands. Before leaving, a small group of children from Splash Daycare presented HRH with flowers and a framed piece of art. Personally, this was my highlight.Margaret Day and Camilla greeting S.P.L.A.S.H. Daycare

Royal Memories

To me, the most important thing about this visit was the recognition Assiniboine, and our North End branch, received. When the McGregor Branch opened in January of 2012 we made a commitment to this community to bring financial service to those who had previously been under-served.

I’m proud of my staff and my credit union. I’m proud to say that Good Things Happen Here. And it’s being noticed all the way across the pond!

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Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A8

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