The federal government is providing a funding boost to help several Edmonton attractions for residents and visitors to expand and improve.
Federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault announced on Tuesday more than $3.7 million from PrairesCan for City of Edmonton to invest in Fort Edmonton ParkMuttart Conservatory, Edmonton Valley Zoo and Churchill Square.
The federal funding will go to four projects at the heart of Edmonton’s tourism sector.
The Muttart Conservatory reopens after a long construction closure
Muttart Conservatory is receiving $1 million to add new exhibits, install an interactive display and upgrade technology and kitchen facilities.
“We’ve already seen some of the benefits of this funding by bringing a unique exhibit to our feature pyramid during the months of January and February,” said Rhonda Norman, director of Muttart.
“The Gaia exhibit showed NASA images of Earth’s surface to see our planet at this scale, floating in three dimensions.
“We saw the highest attendance in the history of Muttart Conservatory during the months of January and February, with more than 31,000 visitors coming to visit Muttart.”
Norman said the facility’s March show — about pollinators, featuring the work of Edmonton artists — continues to break attendance records.
“Thanks to this generous grant, we will have the best patio in Edmonton starting this spring,” she said. “And we have the best winter terrace.”
Muttart will use the money to improve its center court display, add new interactive pieces and host its exciting LEGO exhibit this summer.
Fort Edmonton Park
Fort Edmonton Park is receiving $1.2 million to develop and deliver year-round immersive experiences – including winter programming, multimedia light displays and exhibits focused on sharing Indigenous stories and cultures.
“Fort Edmonton Park is Canada’s largest open-air museum,” said Darren Dalgleish, president and CEO of Fort Edmonton Management Company. “Without this kind of support, frankly, I don’t think we could accomplish half the things we accomplish. We have big plans.
“After a very long closure and expanded operations, we successfully re-established Fort Edmonton as a world-class tourism offering with the remarkable Indigenous experience, which is internationally award-winning.”
The Aboriginal experience at the heart of Fort Edmonton Park reopens
Edmonton Valley Zoo
The zoo is receiving $1 million to implement tourism and visitor improvements, including new amenities, technological aids and visitor experiences.
“The Edmonton Valley Zoo is one of this city’s busiest attractions, not only for Edmontonians, but Albertans and tourists to the province,” said Tammy Wiebe, executive director of the Valley Zoo Development Society.
She mused that it might be because of its location in the river valley, its educational experiences or its affordable admission price.
But it’s also “the opportunity to spend quality time with your friends and family and animals,” Wiebe said.
City of Edmonton
The city will receive $500,000 to host programming and install interactive art and vibrant decorative lighting in the Churchill Square, City Hall and Arts District areas to attract visitors to downtown Edmonton.
“As we work to achieve the Edmonton region’s post-pandemic economic development goals, it is important that we continue to champion our local tourism industry, which promotes life and joy here in our city,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) helps organizations in the tourism sector adapt to meet public health requirements, expand services and prepare to welcome international visitors. PrairiesCan administers the fund in the prairie provinces.
The TRF has a budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous initiatives and $15 million to national initiatives.
“Our government is positioning additional attractions and events in communities across the Prairies as destinations that draw more visitors, generate economic activity and create good jobs that workers can count on,” said Dan Vandal, federal minister for PrairiesCan.
“Edmonton is an important part of Alberta’s tourism sector, and today’s investments will enable local attractions to provide accessible, unique and memorable experiences for people of all ages and abilities.”
The grants are expected to help support more than 55 jobs in the city, the federal government said.
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