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Government of Canada announces $3.6M for new exhibits at Red Bay National Historic Site

by ahnationtalk on June 10, 202423 Views

From: Parks Canada

June 10, 2024

Parks Canada protects natural and cultural treasures in Canada and is proud to contribute to the country’s world-class tourism destinations. As cornerstones of Canada’s tourism industry, Parks Canada administered places are committed to providing visitors with high quality and meaningful visitor experiences and supporting tourism in communities across the country.

Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs and to the Minister of National Defence (Northern Defence) and Member of Parliament for Labrador, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced funding for a new $3.6 million suite of interpretive offerings and interactive exhibits at Red Bay National Historic Site in Red Bay, Labrador following a community event. Through this federal investment – part of the $557 million in funding announced by the Government of Canada in late 2022 – these experiential offerings will showcase this UNESCO World Heritage Site to visitors from around the globe starting in June 2025.

During the mid-16th century, large numbers of right and bowhead whales drew whalers from the Basque region of Spain and France to the Strait of Belle Isle, where they established a major whaling port at Red Bay. For some 70 years, Basque whalers made the dangerous, month-long journey across the Atlantic to hunt whales and produce the oil that lit the lamps of Europe. With this funding, and in collaboration with Indigenous partners, stakeholders and community members, Parks Canada will create new exhibit and interpretive installations that will transform the visitor experience at Red Bay National Historic Site. These will include interactive exhibits in the newly renovated Visitor Centre; outdoor interpretive elements, including an interpretive circuit on Saddle Island focusing on four interpretive nodes; and a Whaler’s Memorial on Saddle Island. The new exhibits will acknowledge the long history of human occupation of the site, including Indigenous groups who came before and after the Basques.

Parks Canada recognizes the area now designated as Red Bay National Historic Site has been traversed and occupied by many peoples over the centuries. The arrival of the Basques crystallized the historical significance of Red Bay, but the land is of significance to many communities whose past is intrinsically linked to what is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks Canada recognizes the rich exchanges and collaboration with each of these communities, allowing for a project where many voices can express their stories, in their own words, and celebrate the world-renowned significance of Red Bay National Historic Site. Across the country, Parks Canada works in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to develop interpretive materials and activities at Parks Canada administered places with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures and traditions.

As part of Parks Canada’s renewal of Red Bay National Historic Site, in 2019 a project was completed that combined the interpretive facilities at the site, which had been housed in two separate locations. Funded through federal infrastructure investments, the project amalgamated the existing visitor orientation centre with the visitor interpretation centre. With one main visitor centre, the story behind Red Bay’s UNESCO World Heritage status will now be presented as a whole and the site’s environmental footprint has been reduced supporting the Government of Canada’s greening efforts. This past project combined with the funding for the site’s new exhibits represents a total of $6.2 million in federal funding for Red Bay National Historic Site.

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Photo Caption: Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs and to the Minister of National Defence (Northern Defence) and Member of Parliament for Labrador, meets with Parks Canada staff (Rodney Nadeau, Brandon Stone, Billy Nadeau, Philip Bridle, Michael Yetman and Kirby Ryan) at the new Interpretive Boardwalk Circuit on Saddle Island, Red Bay National Historic Site. Photo Credit: Parks Canada

Left Photo Caption: Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs and to the Minister of National Defence (Northern Defence) and Member of Parliament for Labrador, with Parks Canada Heritage Presenter Chris Bridle at Red Bay National Historic Site’s Visitor Centre. Photo Credit: Parks Canada; Right Photo Caption: Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs and to the Minister of National Defence (Northern Defence) and Member of Parliament for Labrador, announces $3.6M in funding for interpretive exhibits during a community open house at Red Bay National Historic Site’s Visitor Centre. Photo Credit: Parks Canada

Quotes

“The Government is committed to investing in local economies and supporting growth in the tourism sector. Through this federal infrastructure investment, Parks Canada is proudly contributing to the country’s world-class tourism offer at Red Bay National Historic Site. These new, interactive signature exhibits will welcome Canadians and visitors from around the world for years to come, providing them with opportunities to learn about the rich natural and cultural heritage of the area, of the Basque whalers who made their livings here, of the Indigenous peoples that lived here for millennia and the community members who have made this UNESCO World Heritage Site their home.”

Yvonne Jones,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs and to the Minister of National Defence (Northern Defence) and Member of Parliament for Labrador

Quick facts

  • Featuring the most complete example of early industrial-scale whaling in the world, Red Bay National Historic Site allows visitors to immerse themselves in the Basque whaling tradition through a remarkable collection of original artifacts, archaeological remains, videos, models, interpretive exhibits and guided tours.
  • Red Bay is the most complete and most extensive example of 16th century Basque whaling stations. It bears exceptional testimony to the Basque whaling tradition overseas. As an outstanding example of a technological ensemble—all the significant components of the industrial process, including exceptionally well-preserved vessels—illustrating early European commercial exploitation of the rich North American natural resources are present, Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is considered by UNESCO to have Outstanding Universal Value.
  • This Government of Canada investment is part of the largest federal infrastructure plan in the history of Parks Canada. Over $180 million in federal funding has been invested in Parks Canada administered places throughout Western Newfoundland and Labrador including Red Bay and Hopedale Mission national historic sites in Labrador, and Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse aux Meadows and Port aux Choix national historic sites in Western Newfoundland.
  • The new interactive exhibits in the Visitor Centre will feature terrestrial and underwater artefacts discovered during excavations at the site, some of which have never been displayed publicly. The exhibits will also include outdoor interpretive elements; key among them an interpretive boardwalk circuit on Saddle Island that will tell visitors about the Indigenous history and communities of Red Bay, the industrial whaling history of the site, the wreck of the San Juan galleon, and the Saddle Island cemetery complex. The final piece of the interpretive offering is a Whaler’s Memorial on Saddle Island.
  • Well-designed exhibits, trails, and interpretive activities that are inclusive and accessible, offer flexibility of use to accommodate the various and evolving needs of visitors. The exhibits will offer engaging ways to learn about Red Bay National Historic Site, enriching current costumed interpretation programming and providing a launching pad for an array of new visitor experiences, including the creation of interpretive structures built to be reminiscent of those used by Basque whalers, including a cooperage and tryworks.

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Contacts
Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

Kate Power
Partnering, Engagement and Communications Officer
Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit
709-458-7039
kate.power@pc.gc.ca

NT6

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