The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) reached out to us to let us know about some new experiences and happenings that all Canadian travellers will want to know about. We’re excited to share them with you!
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada recently released some of their new and noteworthy developments in the Indigenous Tourism Industry that we wanted to ensure that we passed along to our readership.
It’s worth noting that, rightfully, indigenous tourism in Canada is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. If you’re looking for some experiences to engage in yourself, here are some of experiences to consider.
What’s New in Canadian Indigenous Tourism?
Aiming for Self Sufficiency at Klahoose
Owned by the Klahoose First Nation, Klahoose Wilderness Resort, will begin a new project in which it will use water coming down from the mountain to generate power for the lodge. Currently, they’re using diesel generators and this innovation will make the lodge completely self-sufficient. Klahoose Wilderness Resort opened in 2021 and are primarily led by Klahoose guides who are trained to share legends, stories, language, and songs. Learn more here.
New Boats at Homalco
For the last two decades, Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours has guided groups through the Bute Inlet and along the Orford River. They offer wildlife experiences like bear-watching tours, whale watching, and cultural tours. More recently, Homalco has added new boats just in time for their new tour called “The People, Water and Land Cultural Tour (PWLT)”. This experience includes a more intimate immersion into the Xwémalhkwu way of life. Learn more here.
Mamattuk Set to Open Its Doors
The Nunacor Development Corporation announced that it is set to open a new restaurant, named Mamattuk, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in June of 2023. The restaurant will be dynamic in its offerings, serving guests as a restaurant, coffee bar and lounge throughout the day, celebrating Labrador with elevated comfort food featuring local ingredients. Learn more here.
Salmon n’ Bannock Now at YVR
Vancouver’s only Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant, Salmon n’ Bannock is known for using traditional ingredients that were used for generations to create delicious modern dishes. Now travellers flying in and out of Vancouver International Airport will get a chance to get a taste before their next flight. The restaurant opened its second location at YVR and will be the first Indigenous restaurant at the airport. Learn more here.
Métis artisan at Borealis Beading, Melanie Gamache, shares Métis culture and history through the art of beading. Prior to beading, Melanie’s other interests included dogsledding and kicksledding and even volunteered as a dog handler for a musher for several seasons and ran in several kicksledding races. Two years later, her friend introduced her to beading, which she used as meditative therapy. Recently, Melanie has expanded her experiences that now include how to bead all while storytelling in her own yurt. Learn more here.
Expansions and Renovations at Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations
This summer book a getaway to Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations, a 4-star boutique hotel with First Nations inspired architecture surrounded by thematic gardens and hiking trails. Enjoy a spa day with treatments in the outdoor Nordic baths and end your day with an evening with traditional stories inside the longhouse. The Indigenous-inspired hotel has invested $10M into its expansion and renovations, which will include a lobby bar, 24 new rooms, remodelled restaurants with additional seating, and an Indigenous wine cellar. This is expected to be completed just in time for summer 2023. Learn more here.
A New Immersive Multimedia Experience
Five-minutes from the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations in Wendake, meet the Huron-Wendat People through a new immersive multimedia experience, which opened in June 2022. Onhwa’ Lumina is a 1.2-km immersive multimedia nature trail inspired by Wendat myths and cultural symbols. This experience will transport you to a magical world that reveals the rich history of the Huron-Wendat Nation. Learn more here.
After a terrible fire burnt down the Sagamité restaurant in Wendake, they moved their location to Old Quebec while reconstructing their original location. After recently reopening, visitors now have two locations available to them as plans to keep both have been confirmed. Additionally, the business has also purchased two hotels, which will undergo remodelling with Indigenous decor. Learn more here.
Reconnect with Nature at Nemiah Valley Lodge
Disconnect to reconnect at Nemiah Valley Lodge, an Indigenous wilderness escape. The lodge sits in the heart of the traditional territory of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in beautiful Nemiah Valley. It is Indigenous-owned and operated by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation. Explore through immersive experiences like: learning how to drum, dance and sing Tsilhqot’in, a traditional cleansing ceremony, kayak on Chilko Lake, taking a hike to visit unique columnar basalt formations, or meet with a Xeni Gwet’in Knowledge Keeper who will share one of their traditional skills. Learn more here.
Shearwater Resort Showcasing Heiltsuk Culture
At this newly acquired Indigenous wilderness resort deep in the heart of the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world – the pristine Great Bear Rainforest – guests are immersed in the traditions and culture of the Heiltsuk People. Coming in 2023, guests at Shearwater Resort can experience eco-tours that tell the story of the Heiltsuk Peoples’ long history with the land and sea, and immerse themselves in an authentic and unique adventure designed for those who want to learn and share. Learn more here.
Ahous Adventures Opening
The official opening of Ahous Adventures will be on May 1, 2023. Ahous Adventures is an eco and cultural adventure tour company owned and operated by the Ahousaht Nation that will offer an exciting variety of excursions within Ahousaht haḥuułii (territorial lands, waters and culture) including hot springs tours, whale watching, and bear watching. Ahous Adventures invites visitors to explore Ahousaht territories through the lens of the people who have lived on and stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial. Learn more here.
Wikwemikong Tourism’s Newly Constructed Culinary Space
Plan a visit to Wikwemikong Tourism where you will enjoy a hands-on culinary experience led by Anishinaabe Cultural Guides. See their newly constructed outdoor culinary space and kitchen at the Bebamikawe Memorial Trail where you can participate in preparing traditional foods made specifically with your taste buds in mind. Choose from three different authentic pre-colonial cooking experiences: Stone Cooked Venison & Tea, Clay Baked Trout & Tea or Cedar Plank Georgian Bay Trout & Tea. Learn more here.
For more experiences and to see what’s happening in Canadian Indigenous tourism, you can head to DestinationIndigenous.ca – “For millennia, Indigenous Peoples have called these lands home. Destination Indigenous invites you to see the beauty of nature through our eyes, experience the best of our legendary hospitality, and feel a deep connection through our shared traditions and storied history. Join Indigenous guides on a transformative journey on their traditional territories, and enjoy the wit and wisdom of storytelling handed down through generations. Indigenous tourism awaits.”
Christopher Mitchell is a Co-founder of We Explore Canada. He’s visited over 80 countries and has lived on 4 continents, but now has his eyes set squarely on exploring this incredible country and helping others do the same.