The Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster has become the first tourism business in B.C. to receive funding through the federal Tourism Relief Fund.
Federal tourism minister Randy Boissonnault made the announcement on Thursday (March 10) at the centre. The centre received $150,000 in funding that will go toward the creation of an exhibit on the Indigenous heritage and teachings of the Fraser River. Musqueam First Nation will be leading the development of the exhibit in partnership with the Discovery Centre.
“This support will be key to helping us move forward,” said Lyle Viereck, vice-chair of the Fraser River Discovery Centre board of directors. “The activities and programs we develop and deliver with Musqueam will not only help tell the story of the Fraser River from Indigenous perspectives, they will also help us move forward with reconciliation.”
Long-time Musqueam councillor Nolan Charles, who could not attend the news conference, is a member of the board for the Discovery Centre and will help lead the project to fruition.
The Tourism Relief Fund is administered through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The federal government devoted $500 million to the fund over two years to help tourism businesses across the country recover from COVID-19. A fund of $50 million is dedicated specifically for Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million for national priorities.
Funding for businesses in B.C. is administered through Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan). Boissonnault said PacifiCan is an important step for regional economic development.
“This approach recognizes the importance of B.C.’s economy and the launch of PacifiCan means B.C. businesses and community organizations have a dedicated location to engage with their federal partners.”