SMOKY LAKE, ALTA. – The Canadian government is putting up to $3.5 million towards a new cultural gathering centre located at Metis Crossing in Smoky Lake, Alta, the first of its kind in the province.
“Metis Crossing will contribute to the local and provincial economy while showcasing the history of a proud people — the Metis people of Alberta,” said Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan in a statement.
“Through this initiative, visitors from across the province and the country will learn about the importance of the Metis to Alberta and Canada through several exhibits and historical village tours.”
Metis Crossing covers 512 acres and features a historical village, homesteads and nature trails. The new cultural space will contain meeting rooms, classrooms and interpretive spaces.
“The new centre will not only serve as a year-round tourist attraction, it will also act as a social gathering place for the community where residents and visitors can celebrate the unique traditions, art and culture of the Metis,” said federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi.
The Government of Canada’s contribution will be through the Major Infrastructure Component of the Canada Building Fund, and the Government of Alberta will contribute $1 million to the project, with the Metis Nation of Alberta covering remaining project costs.
“Metis Crossing is a place of pride where we not only share culture and tradition, but offer an opportunity for others to learn and experience Metis culture. Our long awaited Cultural Gathering Centre, that has been a dream of Alberta’s Metis people for decades, is finally underway and will open up so many more future possibilities for visitors to enjoy in every season,” said Metis Nation of Alberta president Audrey Poitras.
Construction of the cultural centre is scheduled for completion by late summer of 2019.