In 2005, City of Williams Lake received a $1,200,000 grant from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $9,047,810 project. This has been a funding partnership of City of Williams Lake, Northern Development, BC Gaming, Canada / BC Infrastructure Program, Government of Canada, and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
2012- Williams Lake’s extraordinary Tourism Discovery Centre officially opened its doors in October 2006. Designed by Bernard Perreten Architect Inc., the Discovery Centre is more than just a tourism information centre. This building is a “one of a kind” in the province and poses as a gateway to demonstrate the City’s growing industry and economy as well as its rich history and culture. The facility is a 14,596 square foot log and timber frame structure that was built by local log home builders, Pioneer Log Homes and Durfeld Log and Timber, and the interior was finished by local contractor, Sprucelee Construction.
This enormous, beautiful log wood facility welcomes visitors to Williams Lake and the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. If you are just passing through on your way along Highway 97, or heading west to the Chilcotin and Bella Coola Valley, the Tourism Discovery Centre is a must see attraction for local travel tips and an introduction to the history of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
Not your typical tourism visitor centre, this facility was constructed with local timbers and built by local Williams Lake company, Pioneer Log Homes. At the Discovery Center, travellers are offered a wide range of amenities. Free wi-fi and computers are available to connect online, coffee is served throughout the day, and there are friendly volunteers who are happy to answer questions and offer insider tips on great things to do in the region.
Perhaps the best part of the centre is the log cabin inside the massive log building structure! Visitors can experience the coziness of a Cariboo-Chilcotin log cabin right inside the visitors’ centre, with comfy couches, a fireplace, and a 10 minute video that gives a history and tourism overview of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.
Don’t miss the central attraction at the Tourism Discovery Centre – a small car that has been piled high with all the recreational gear you could think of and use in the Cariboo-Chilcotin’s vast wilderness playground.
"Our Tourism Discovery Centre provides a world-class venue that leads thousands of visitors and residents to stop, learn, and experience the amazing activities, places, and people that our City and the Cariboo-Chilcotin region has to offer. Northern Development's investment in the Tourism Discovery Centre was a was a key element in allowing us to make this facility truly world-class. Tens of thousands of visitors from around Canada and the world can now equate Williams Lake and our region with world class visitor experiences, innovative industry and diverse culture."Alan Madrigga, Economic Development Manager, City of Williams Lake
Williams Lake's Tourism Discovery Centre focuses on increasing the exposure of local businesses throughout the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, offering tourists and locals alike advice and information on the hundreds of tourism operators, bed and breakfasts, wilderness resorts, local history, and unending recreational opportunities throughout the region.
The City of Williams Lake has reported that the Tourism Discovery Centre has achieved a tremendous increase in visits since the facility was first opened, providing a sustained positive impact on the local and regional tourism industry.
The centre continues to be an important asset for showcasing the region's log home building industry, sustainable resource management, environment, culture, history and tourism trade.