The Background

Assiniboine Park is a breathtaking attraction located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Established in 1904, Assiniboine Park covers 450 hectares and offers a tranquil green space in the middle of the city. Its northern border is the Assiniboine River, named for the Assiniboine people.

For over a century, the most popular attraction within Assiniboine Park has been its  Zoo.

The Zoo came into being in 1904 when the City of Winnipeg Parks Board purchased some native animals, including deer, bison, and elk. By 1909, the Zoo had grown to 116 animals representing 19 species.

Today, the Assiniboine Park Zoo is home to over 300 animal species.

The Opportunity

After 100 years in operation, the Zoo’s conservators realized that it was essential to modernize and develop enclosures and exhibits that were more humane for the animals and more immersive, entertaining, and educational for its visitors.

In 2012, the Zoo began the first stage of its transformation,  the construction of the magnificent $90 million, 10-hectare Journey to Churchill exhibit.

This exhibit would feature polar bears, arctic foxes, musk ox, snowy owls, seal habitats, an indoor 360-degree movie theatre, underwater viewing tunnels and interactive interpretive exhibits.

Noting the excitement these changes were generating for the Assiniboine Park Zoo and Winnipeggers, the Zoo conservators approached Relish seeking a way to keep visitors and supporters engaged and energized throughout Journey to Churchill’s construction, and for all subsequent stages of the Zoo’s development plans.

The Solution

Relish’s Development team created a downloadable app that included news feeds, newsletter access, and trip-planning tools, including an event and attractions calendar. The app enabled users to contribute to the Imagine a Place capital campaign via a donation portal.

However, the star attraction of the customized app was an immersive and interactive 3D tour of the Journey to Churchill exhibit.

The Zoo posted Journey to Churchill exhibit “target images” throughout the park. When users with the app pointed their phone or tablet’s camera toward the images, a 3D rendering of the soon-to-be-completed exhibit appeared. The user could then move their phone or tablet around the rendering to view details and features of the multi-faceted complex.

When not at the Zoo itself, users could also download and print their own “target images” from the Zoo’s website so that they could explore the Journey of Churchill from home.

Relish’s Zoo app was a success with the Zoo’s visitors and supporters and received additional recognition as a 2014 Webby Award Honouree in the Augmented Reality Category.

Key Services Provided


  • Business Needs Analysis
  • User Flows


  • Prototyping
  • UX Design
  • Interactive Planning and Articulation
  • App Development
  • Interactive Gamification
  • 3D Rendering
  • VR/AR/360º


  • Interactive Map Development