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Port Hardy aims to showcase history with downtown gathering additions

Additions to Port Hardy’s downtown will aim to showcase its Indigenous history and the town’s art scene.

The area in Carrot/Rotary park will feature a Kwakwaka’wakw welcome figure to tell the history of the people. They say welcome figures were used traditionally as markers to welcome people into a territory and often have arms carved in an outwards gesture.

The figure will also have benches on the sides and an interactive digital visitor information kiosk.

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The project is part of a large initiative to revitalize the gathering space in the area’s waterfront park. A washroom will also be put in place, according to the town, and will have a circular design with Indigenous murals.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Melanie Mark says the new additions will bring to community relationships.

“Port Hardy’s new cultural and gathering space is a boost for the community and reconciliation in action,” said Mark. “It shines a light on Indigenous stories and creates an inclusive community to be celebrated by locals and visitors alike.”

The project will be funded by the Island Coastal Economic Trust and Targeted Regional Tourism Development Initiative. They say it provides funding support for up to 100 per cent of costs to promote downtown cores.

North-Island MLA Michele Babchuck says the space will represent residents of the North Island and their personalities.

“People on the North Island are known for being kind and welcoming. It’s one of the things that makes it such a great place to visit,” said Babchuck.

“These upgrades to the community gathering space are a wonderful example of collaboration among First Nations and local government, highlighting the cultural richness of the Kwakwaka’wakw people while welcoming visitors to their traditional territories in a positive and informative way.”

The project is expected to begin soon but no start or finish date was provided.

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