Visitors can rent glamping cabins at Six Nations Chiefswood Park and immerse themselves in Six Nations history and culture . (Photos by Jim C. Powless)
By Lynda Powless
SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND- Six Nations Grand River Development Corporation’s (SNGRDC) tourism sector is receiving $500,000 in federal Tourism Relief funding to not only help enhance local tourism experiences but aid in the recovery of the industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made the announcement Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 at the Six Nations Gathering Place on the Grand, a community events’ centre.
The funds are part of more than $44 million already going to 180 Indigenous led and focused projects through the pandemic with relief and recovery programming. Ontario has the largest Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, contributing $622 million of gross domestic product, supporting nearly 13,000 jobs and over 550 Indigenous tourism businesses
The announcement is also part of whirlwind tour through Ontario that the saw Minister Tassi, announce a total investment of over $2.7 million for 14 women-led tourism businesses Thursday ( Nov., 17, 2022) . The dollars are available through the government’s $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, and is aimed at developing “unique experiences and enhance their offerings to attract visitors and strengthen their communities.”
She said FED-Dec Ontario is committing 10 per cent or $50 million of tourism relief funding to Indigenous projects and will be accepting Indigenous tourism projects up to March 31, 2023.
FedDev Ontario has delivered nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario so far. Applicants with events and festivals that will be completed by March 31, 2023, can now apply for support through the Tourism Relief Fund in southern Ontario.
Friday’s announcement she said is aimed at Indigenous communities, tourism organizations and bands to help invest in new tourism experiences and to date over 20 Indigenous led projects and communities have benefitted from the funds that are being seen as a “key driver towards a growing an economy that works for everyone”
At Six Nations the funds will help with the development of Chiefswood Park, the Royal Chapel of the Mohawks and the Chiefswood Historical site or home of poetess Pauline Johnson.
The non-repayable investment of more than $500,000 will allow for community infrastructure upgrades to Chiefswood Park and to promote local tourism and knowledge sharing, developing and marketing virtual reality experiences at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks and Chiefswood National Historic Site, through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF). SNGRDC is, in addition, through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), able to make improvements to Chiefswood Park, including renovating washroom and laundry facilities, building a new pavilion and meeting space; installing a new splash pad; and constructing eight glamping units with roof-top solar panels.
SNGRDC CEO and president Matt Jamieson welcomed the $500,000 saying it will be a boost to development of Six Nations Chiefswood Park. He said SNGRDC has spent millions of dollars to change Chiefswood Park into a destination tourism experience to “welcome the world.”
He said Six Nations has a “deep, rich history” and Six Nations tourism is working to share that history. “As we move forward in pursuit of reconciliation, we have the pride and determination to do things on our own terms, ” he said.
With over 200,000 people visiting the community annually, he said the “rich culture and history is something which we need to share and own, and share it in an authentic way because if we do not somebody will share it and it will be incorrect and that is part of the reason we are invested in Chiefswood Park and we are happy to receive this $500,000 in funding from the tourism fund.”
He said the park investment has not only been developing glamping cabins and infrastructure but has invested in programming and creating a virtual experience at the park so visitors can “can take that authentic story and share it.”
He said a new pavilion is being constructed at the park as a multi-purpose venue and is being built by Six Nations people, another investment in Six Nations and a “catalyst to moving forward”.
He said tourism creates job and “a cycle of wealth” for the community.
Six Nations councillor Sherri Lyn Hill said the audio-visual sharing of Six Nations culture “will be amazing to offer.” She said Six Nations history is tied to the Grand River and Chiefswood Park is the only public access point the community has to the river. “So, the amenities built with this money will benefit both our community and visitors”
Minister Filomena Tassi announced Thursday (Nov 17 2022), a $2.7 million in funds for 14 women-led tourism businesses, through the Tourism Relief Fund. The announcement was hosted by Indigenous Experience’s Mādahòkì Farm, which received a non-repayable investment of $750,000 to revitalize, modernize and renovate the farm and gardens. The farm is an Indigenous women-led tourism destination is located on 165 acres in Ottawa’s Greenbelt and provides unique agritourism, farm-to-table culinary experiences, and authentic cultural experiences from an Indigenous perspective. The Mādahòkì Farm will use the funds to construct and install a four-season venue to host agriculture and culinary tourism events, and make improvements so their facilities are more accessible and inclusive. The project will also provide a year-round permanent Indigenous Marketplace for Indigenous artists, creators, and farmers, and a permanent home for endangered Ojibwe Spirit Horses.
For more information about the women-led tourism projects receiving support, please see the backgrounder.
The federal government has allocated a $500-million Tourism Relief Fund to help tourism-oriented businesses and organizations recover from the pandemic and prepare for future growth. A minimum of $50 million of the Fund has been allocated to support Indigenous-led or Indigenous-focused projects. FedDev Ontario has provided nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario. Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested more than $70 million in over 200 Indigenous-led and influenced projects and more than $490 million in over 300 women-led projects, creating over 11,600 jobs and maintaining over 10,500.
Applicants with events and activities happening between November 2022 and March 2023, can now apply for support through the Tourism Relief Fund in southern Ontario.
You can learn more here:
Other recipients are:
|Recipient Name||Project||Funding contribution|
|Aboriginal Experiences Art and Culture (o/a Indigenous Experience’s Mādahòkì Farm)||Revitalize, modernize, and renovate the Indigenous Experiences Mādahòkì Farm located in Ottawa’s Greenbelt.||$750,000|
|Blue Gables Acres Inc.||Enhance outdoor accommodations offerings and Métis tourism programming.||$100,000|
|Culinary Tourism Alliance||Enhance and build on the “Feast On” and “Great Taste of Ontario” events through the marketing and promotion of the gamified “Great Taste” passports.||$450,000|
|Edge of Walton||Enhance user experience, create new features including mountain bike trails, a BMX space and a natural swimming area, upgrade accessibility and weather resiliency.||$500,000|
|From the Farm Cooking School||Modernize and upgrade the facility to create a farm-to-table culinary tourism destination to support activities in summer and shoulder season.||$100,000|
|Harwood Estate Vineyard||Enhance outdoor facilities to extend the outdoor dining season.||$100,000|
|KPP Concerts||Create in-person music concerts at various venues throughout downtown Kingston.||$25,800|
|Maple Leaf Tours Inc.||Develop and launch an Indigenous-focused Residential School tour, including educational and interpretive elements.||$100,000|
|Moonlight on the Bay||Create a visitor experience on the Tyendinaga First Nation, through the addition of overnight accommodations and development of Indigenous tourism offerings.||$100,000|
|Saffron Hub||Deliver the first-ever annual Canadian Immigrant Women Culinary Expo in Belleville.||$190,200|
|The June Motel||Expand the outdoor lobby space with fireplaces and furnishings and create a winter activities program.||$91,500|
|Topsy Farms||Enhance the visitor’s experience through the development of a self-guided smartphone application for the farm in Stella.||$7,500|
|Udderly Ridiculous||Create new and improve existing facilities to extend program offerings, create new events, and safely accommodate an increase in visitors.||$100,000|
|Walton Raceway||Expand event space and improve accessibility to amenities at the Raceway reception building.