Illusuak Cultural Centre Will Celebrate the Culture and Heritage of Labrador Inuit
June 17, 2016 – Nain (Newfoundland and Labrador) – Department of Canadian Heritage
Yvonne Jones, Member of Parliament (Labrador) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, today announced Government of Canada support for a new cultural centre that will honour and share the rich culture, language, traditions, stories and experiences of Labrador Inuit. Ms. Jones was joined by Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe and other Nunatsiavut Government officials.
With the assistance of funding and in-kind support from four federal departments and agencies, the Nunatsiavut Government is constructing the Illusuak Cultural Centre in Nain, where it is scheduled to open in summer 2017.
The Centre will house permanent exhibits and a performing arts space, providing opportunities for Inuit and non-Inuit residents and visitors to enjoy expanded arts and heritage programming.
- Total funding of $8.1 million has been provided by four federal departments and agencies:
- Canadian Heritage ($2.7 million)
- Parks Canada ( $2.4 million: $1.9 million for space rental in the centre and $500,000 for the construction of an exhibit about Torngat Mountains National Park)
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ($2 million)
- Indigenous and Northern Affairs ($1 million)
- The Nunatsiavut Government has committed $7.4 million to the project.
- As the only cultural space in this region of Labrador, the Illusuak Cultural Centre will provide access to professional artistic experiences and heritage interpretation. It will be a space to create, present and appreciate the arts of all kinds.
- Illusuak will give Labrador Inuit a place to come together and strengthen their connections to each other and to their culture. The Centre will encourage increased tourism to Nunatsiavut, offer employment opportunities, and support regional economic growth.
- As a tenant in Illusuak, Parks Canada will provide orientation services for visitors travelling into the Torngat Mountains National Park. Stories of the natural and cultural history of the national park will be told from one of the centre’s exhibits, and a short film will be screened there, allowing visitors the opportunity to experience the breathtaking landscapes of the Torngat Mountains and to understand the significance of this Inuit homeland.
- Funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is through the Innovative Communities Fund and reflects investment in a key piece of community infrastructure that will enable the Nunatsiavut Government to maximize the economic benefit of the region’s developing tourism industry.
- The 12,000‑square‑foot centre has been designed by internationally renowned architect Todd Saunders, who is from Newfoundland and Labrador. The building will include a 90-seat multi-purpose space, as well as a heritage exhibition area with permanent exhibits.
- The second phase of a three-phase construction process is nearing completion; concrete building foundations have been built and the building is weather tight. The third phase will finalize interior work.
“Canadian Heritage is proud to support the Illusuak Cultural Centre, an essential and magnificent addition to the cultural infrastructure in Nunatsiavut. With its opening planned for 2017, the Centre will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the contribution of Labrador Inuit to the diversity of Canada’s culture.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“The Illusuak Cultural Centre will showcase what Nunatsiavut has to offer and is certain to become a hub of activity, bringing people together to celebrate the culture and language of Labrador Inuit through exhibitions, programming and special events. It will help bridge the generation gap between elders and young people, encouraging open dialogue and sharing of traditional knowledge to stimulate pride in this unique culture.”
—Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and Member of Parliament (Labrador)
“Often referred to as the living room of our community, this cultural centre is being built by Labrador Inuit, for Labrador Inuit, to tell stories about Labrador Inuit. With the generous help of our federal funding partners, Illusuak will give our culture a home, bringing generations together to share experiences and expertise. This centre will honour our culture, encouraging all Labrador Inuit to continue our traditions—growing, evolving and carrying our knowledge forward for future generations.”
—Johannes Lampe, President, Nunatsiatvut Government
“Parks Canada protects and presents treasured places, like Torngat Mountains National Park, because they tell stories of who we are, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples. After 10 years of welcoming visitors to Torngat Mountains National Park, Parks Canada is proud of our relationship with the Labrador Inuit, which includes co-operative management as a defining feature. As future tenants of the Illusuak Cultural Centre, we look forward to continuing to share the incredible cultural and natural history of this special place with visitors from across Canada and around the world.”
—The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada
“The government is committed to making strategic investments that support competitive regional advantages and diversification of our communities. Not only will this new Centre showcase Nunatsiavut’s rich cultural history, it will help develop cultural tourism in Northern Labrador and diversify the area’s economy.”
—The Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“Illusuak will be a living proof that working together to renew the Inuit-Crown relationship and celebrate the rich Inuit languages, culture and heritage is in the interest of all Canadians. This cultural centre will be a source of pride for Inuit; it will attract tourists, stimulate the regional economy, create local jobs and contribute to Canada’s prosperity for years to come.”
—The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Regional Communications Manager
Director of Communications