The former Place Louis Riel hotel is turning 34 of its suites into apartments and handing over the furnishings to the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute, which will distribute them to Syrian refugees.

With the practiced patter of a pro, John Saad, general manager of the building, which is now known as Antares Luxury Suites, rattled off the list of what's on offer. 

John Saad

John Saad, general manager at Place Louis Riel Suite Hotel in one of suites being emptied of furniture and housewares. The goods will be donated to Syrian refugees via the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute. (Christopher Read)

"We have leather sofas that are also hide-a-beds, there's leather chairs with ottomans. There are coffee tables, end tables. We have table lamps. Dining room tables with dining room chairs. We have fully equipped kitchens - so all the dishes, the pots, the pans, kettles, you name it," he said.

"We figured this would be a great opportunity to help out these newcomers coming to Canada. Offer them a fresh start with some quality furniture to get off to the right start and really show them what Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canadian hospitality is."

Yasmin Ali

Yasmin Ali, president of the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute sits in one of the chairs being donated by Place Louis Riel Suite Hotel. (Christopher Read)

The Canadian Muslim Women's Institute President Yasmin Ali couldn't be happier.

"Oh, I'm just ecstatic. It just shows the spirit of Winnipeg, the community that we have here. While it may be cold outside, it's very warm inside.... I'm so touched by what's happening here," she said. 

 Antares isn't alone in the effort. 

The Crystal Spring Hutterite Colony is moving the truckloads of furnishings out of the hotel.

The Winnipeg Police Service have arranged for a large space to temporarily store it all.

The big move-out started Tuesday morning.