Government of Canada announces more than $320,000 to enhance Indigenous cultural experiences


COVID-19 had a significant impact on Canadian tourism as travel restrictions, both domestically and internationally, reduced visits to attractions across the country. The Government of Canada created the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) to support tourism businesses and organizations investing their future growth, while safely welcoming visitors once again.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced a total investment of $320,500 to support two projects in Whistler and Brackendale through the TRF.

At the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, an investment of $220,500 will help create a new Indigenous tourism experience showcasing the cultures of the Squamish and Lil’Wat Nations. Visitors are being invited to participate in carving a 30 foot-long cedar canoe that is installed at the Centre for public viewing. This anchor attraction provides the community with a unique and meaningful opportunity to connect visitors to the land and participate in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. In addition to creating and maintaining jobs for the local community, the exhibit is expected to be visited by thousands of domestic and international tourists.

The Cheakamus Foundation for Environmental Learning is receiving $100,000 to enhance year-round Indigenous cultural experiences at Cheakamus Centre, a recognized education and nature-based events facility. The project will allow for upgrades to the Centre, including COVID-19 safety modifications. It will engage Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Knowledge Keepers to ensure respectful integration of new Indigenous programming elements. In addition to educating visitors on the region’s Indigenous heritage and teachings, the project is expected to produce career pathways for local Indigenous youth.

The Government of Canada continues to deliver on its plan for a robust economic recovery, including supporting tourism businesses and community spaces as they resume their activities safely. In British Columbia, the TRF is being delivered by PacifiCan, the Government of Canada’s new regional development agency dedicated to strengthening British Columbia’s economy.