Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, has officially announced on Friday the official opening of a new accessible Visitor Centre and an interpretive exhibit at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site (Ontario).
The Federal Infrastructure Investment Program financed the $4 million project, according to a news release.
The project includes a new visitor experience within the renovated Blacksmith’s Shop and Stores Building. To celebrate the occasion, a community celebration was organized with Parks Canada and partners, Batchewana First Nation, and Metis Nation of Ontario.
The new Visitor Centre and exhibit area, which officially opened to visitors on June 6, 2022, includes interpretive elements that explain the effects of the canal’s construction on communities of the First Nation as well as Metis Nation communities.
It includes interactive exhibits, interpretive panels, historical photographs, impressive artifacts, and a hand-built birch bark canoe on loan from Batchewana First Nation.
A new interactive touch screen map will support visitors in planning their visit to the canal, providing them with information on various points of interest, walking the trails, or guiding themselves to visit one of the many historic structures on site. The technical innovations of the canal are demonstrated through a newly designed interactive lock model.
Parks Canada worked closely with Batchewana First Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, and other local organizations to ensure that the exhibit’s materials reflect the varied perspectives and histories of the people from Sault Ste. Marie and Northern Ontario.
The Sault Ste aided the work of archival photography. Marie Library and the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, with the museum assisting with exhibit installation.
Throughout Canada, Parks Canada is honored to collaborate with Indigenous peoples to create interpretive materials and activities for national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures, and traditions.
Through infrastructure investments, the Government of Canada is protecting and conserving national treasures, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector. National historic sites reflect Canada’s rich and varied heritage and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.
Parks Canada is responsible for protecting nationally significant examples of natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places, including Indigenous peoples’ histories, cultures, and contributions.
As cornerstones of Canada’s tourism industry, Parks Canada administered places are committed to providing visitors with high-quality and meaningful visitor experiences and supporting tourism in communities across the country.