Inspired by the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program in the U.S., we began in 2011 under the name Inside-Out Canada. In 2014, we established our own autonomous Canadian based program under the name Walls to Bridges (W2B). In 2012, thanks to the generous support of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, the national W2B Hub was established in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, Ontario. The first course at Wilfrid Laurier was offered in partnership with Grand Valley Institution for Women (GVI) by Dr. Shoshana Pollack in 2011. This was a pivotal moment in the Walls to Bridges story, as students from this course (both incarcerated students and MSW students in the Faculty of Social Work) formed a ‘collective’ after the course was over. Within one year of meeting regularly, the W2B GVI Collective established the National W2B Instructor Training Institute, each summer hosting a five-day training for university, college and community educators wishing to learn our pedagogy and establish W2B programs in their own communities.
The Walls to Bridges National Hub was moved to McMaster University in 2022, under the leadership of W2B National Director, Dr. Savage Bear.