On June 30, the communities of Vanderhoof and Saik’uz First Nation celebrated the grand opening of the new Vanderhoof Cultural Centre, located in Vanderhoof Historical Park. Designed to reflect a pit house, the modern multi-use facility will exhibit art and regalia provided by Saik’uz First Nation and artifacts from Vanderhoof’s history. There is also ample space for community members to gather for public events, workshops, learning and other activities.
Designed in collaboration with Saik’uz First Nation, the District of Vanderhoof worked hard to access funding from multiple sources to support the costs of building. Northern Development approved a $250,000 Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant for the project, alongside funding from the federal and provincial governments and financial and in-kind support from local businesses.
“The Vanderhoof Cultural Centre is a tangible symbol of what the District of Vanderhoof is doing to embrace our local and regional culture, strengthen our relationship with our neighbours, the Saik’uz First Nation, and where visitors can learn more about Vanderhoof,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen, District of Vanderhoof. “Working together to ensure this new facility is where culture, history and art can be shared with members of our communities as well as visitors is an important process. We are very pleased with the result. We thank Northern Development for the financial contribution to see this building become a reality.”
“It has been important for our two communities to work together on shared initiatives that will bring a broad range of collective benefits to each of us while we walk together on the path towards reconciliation,” said Chief and Council, Saik’uz First Nation. “Having members from each of our elective councils collaborate with staff on a beautiful facility that will breathe new life into our shifting regional economy is an act of rebuilding and building new relationships with each other. We are excited to share our resiliency and culturally-rich ingenuity as Yinka Dene (People of the Earth) reflected throughout the infrastructure and through the various programs and services that could be delivered.”
Funding for this project was approved by Northern Development’s board of directors prior to September 2020, when Northern Development launched Trust 2020 and introduced a new suite of community development programs. If the District of Vanderhoof were to have applied for funding after September 2020, the project would have been eligible for a Cultural Infrastructure grant.