WINNIPEG- The federal and Manitoba governments will contribute more than $33 million for the construction of a Metis National Heritage Centre in Winnipeg.
Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, who is a Winnipeg MP, announced $23.1 million in federal funding Saturday during the Annual General Meeting of the Manitoba Metis Federation.
The money is on top of $5.1 million that Ottawa has already contributed to the project, and Premier Heather Stefanson told the Federation’s AGM in a video statement that her government will be contributing $10 million.
The federation and BMO announced in 2020 an agreement for the sale of BMO’s historic building at Portage Ave. and Main St. for the Heritage Centre.
Vandal says in a news release the new centre will showcase Metis history through workshops, artifacts and photos as well as traditional and contemporary arts.
Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand says the centre will teach visitors about how the Red River Metis were instrumental in bringing the west into Canada over 150 years ago.
“The Red River Metis were the economic engine of the west. It is symbolic that when you stand inside our new heritage centre at the corner of Portage and Main and look through the doors, you are facing Northwest into our Homeland,” Chartrand said in the news release.
“This is the corner where all roads westward began.”
The news release notes the $23.1 million of federal money is coming from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program.
It says the project will also facilitate a large reduction in GHG emissions, provide significant energy savings and include extensive accessibility components.
When BMO announced the sale of its bank building, which has been standing since 1913, it noted the Red River Settlement, which is now Winnipeg, was the birthplace of the Metis Nation.
It noted Portage and Main is located at the centre of the settlement and at the joining of two major historic Red River Cart trails.
“The story of our Red River Metis formation, and our contributions to Canada’s Confederation, are an important part of our shared history,” Chartrand said Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15,