The tourism industry in the Northwest Territories received a quarter million dollar shot in the arm this week with the announcement of federal funding for three projects.
NWT MP Michael McLeod made the announcement Thursday inside the visitor centre in the basement of Yellowknife City Hall.
“Tourism provides the Northwest Territories with an excellent opportunity to diversify its economy and share its unique experiences with visitors,” McLeod said. “Through this investment with fosters economic development and job creation.”
Among the groups receiving funding is Jackpine Paddle, a kayak and canoe expedition company owned by former Yellowknife city councillor Dan Wong.
He takes tourists on moderately-priced guided adventure tours to the Sahtu region.
His company has a partnership with Sahtu Adventures, a local indigenous owned tour operator to provide boat shuttle services and cultural tours in Tulita as part of canoe trips on the Keele River
“Our goal and our dream is to really give clients a choice to come North and sign up for a paddling expedition with a Northern-owned company,” Wong said. “We want to show clients this beautiful land and spectacular country with guides who are from here, who grew up here and can share the love of this land.”
Also receiving funding was Anthony Foliot, better known as ‘Snowking’ who has been busy building a snow castle and preparing his 24th annual Snowking Winter Festival out on Yellowknife Bay.
He says some of the funding will go towards new attractions this year including guided tours of the castle-making process.
“What we have also used some of the funding for is a brand new visitor’s centre. It’s an eight sided building…and it’s beautifully done. If you are there and you say these shelves look familiar that’s because they are recycled barnboards from the original roof of the Wildcat Café,” said Snowking. “”We’re also going to be investing in new ice cutting equipment.”
Also on hand for the funding announcement was Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty who says that investing in tourism is money well spent.
“Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Yellowknife economy. One of the city’s goals has been economic diversification and as such we are excited to receive funding that will be used to ensure a positive visitor experience in our city,” said Alty.
The funding came from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency or CANOR.
Part of it will also be used for the installation of interactive wayfinding maps across Yellowknife.