In 2006, the City of Quesnel received a $14,000 grant from Northern Development through the Feasibility Studies program towards an initial $50,000 phase of this project. Then, in 2008, the City of Quesnel secured an additional $20,000 from Northern Development through the Feasibility Studies program towards this $320,000 phase of the project. This has been a funding partnership of City of Quesnel, Northern Development, Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Community Economic Diversification Initiative, Friends of the Quesnel and District Museum Archives, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, and West Fraser Timber Company
2012- For over 100 years the people of Quesnel have gathered at Lebourdais Park for community celebrations and recreation. From sports days, horse races, and the Willingdon Links golf course in the early twentieth century, through the stock car races in the 1950s to the many festivals of the present day. This park is where you’ll find the Quesnel & District Museum and Archives, as well as the Visitor Information Centre. The City of Quesnel has a rich and colourful history that dates back for hundreds of years, and this museum houses many of the artifacts that tell the story.
In 2008, Northern Development funded a feasibility study that explored the viability of building the Cariboo Culture, Heritage & Visitor Centre to replace the current facility. The museum is very limited in space and as such, the staff are restricted in the historical pieces that they are able to accept and the types of educational programs they can deliver. The proposed facility would allow the City to increase programming and cultural activities that would serve both tourists and area residents. Upon the completion of the feasibility study, the City was provided with detailed plans that included the ideal location for the centre in the park that would allow the current facility to continue operations during construction, a sustainable building design that would feature innovative wood technology and create a landmark, and a detailed strategic exhibit plan that outlines a preliminary storyline with exhibit chapters, floor plans and a selection of inspirational images. The completion of the architectural and exhibit design is a key step toward the construction of a new Museum and Visitor Centre that will be a catalyst for cultural tourism in Quesnel.
"The Northern Development Initiative Trust played an instrumental role in securing funding to undertake a feasibility study for a new facility to house the Visitor Information Center and the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives in Quesnel and to take the next step of developing architectural and exhibit plans for it. Urban Arts have designed a landmark facility using LEEDs certified and Wood First principles which will showcase the rich heritage of this community and innovative, green building technologies. We look forward to the time when this new facility will be contributing to the economic diversity of Quesnel."Elizabeth Hunter, Museum and Heritage Manager, City of Quesnel
"The design plans for Quesnel's proposed Museum and Visitor Centre demonstrate an innovative use of wood products and strong environmental leadership in a building that has the potential to be a major catalyst for tourism based economic development in Quesnel. The new facility will also serve as a vibrant community gathering place that celebrates the culture and heritage of the area. The feasibility plan that was produced under our project is a critical first step in this process and has led to further planning and design work."Jeff Norburn, General Manager, Community Services, City of Quesnel
The new Museum and Visitor Centre's inviting design in a high profile location will appeal to visitors, attracting new tourist dollars to the City of Quesnel. The construction of the facility will stimulate the local economy and create approximately ninety construction or consulting jobs. The facility will serve as a major tourist attraction, increasing the number of overnight stays and further economic spin-off for hotels, restaurants, retail and tour operators. The inclusion of local forest companies in the exhibit development and educational programming will create opportunities for displaced forestry workers.
The operation of the larger facility, with the ability to change museum exhibits and the large community space that is able to host evening events and activities, will both sustain the current positions at the museum and create the opportunity for extra positions to provide all of the support that is necessary. A full-time museum assistant and a seasonal summer student will be required upon completion of the facility, with further positions to be created as the visits increase.