For those looking to escape from home and explore the world of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples in Canada, this summer may well be the best time to do so, as conditions permit. Indigenous Peoples are engaged in a period of cultural reclamation and rejuvenation, leading to a significant and exciting increase in tourism development across the country.
From exquisite new art centres to remote wilderness resorts and fascinating cultural tours, Indigenous communities in Canada are inviting guests and visitors to discover and enjoy new experiences at their doorstep.
Klahoose Wilderness Resort
The Klahoose Nation will operate the new premier Indigenous destination resort of Klahoose Wilderness Resort in British Columbia’s Desolation Sound this summer. The resort will offer an intimate coastal experience, leaving guests transformed by the beauty of the Klahoose Territory, their community’s unique culture, and the region’s exceptional wildlife.
Klahoose Wilderness Resort, formerly known as Homfray Lodge, resides upon scenic Homfray Channel between the Coast Mountain peaks of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and the Northern Islands of the Salish Sea. Access to the resort is by boat transfer from the village of Lund.
The new wilderness resort reflects the Klahoose traditional values and offers an immersive exploration into the pristine region rich in a lush coastal rainforest wilderness. Among the stunning wildlife are orcas, humpback whales, dolphins, and grizzly bears, which can be viewed on tours through nearby Toba Inlet.
Qaumajuq Inuit Art Centre
Qaumajuq, the exciting Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), opened in March. Qaumajuq, which means “It is bright, it is lit”, houses the gallery’s collection of Inuit art in a white granite building whose 22 skylights allow an amazing quality of natural light to stream into the space and illuminate the artwork.
This first-of-its-kind centre is connected to the Winnipeg Art Gallery on all levels, creating a vibrant cultural campus in downtown the city’s downtown. Qaumajuq is intended to be a place that brings all people together through Indigenous art and storytelling, connecting Canada’s north and south.
Home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, the soaring heights of the gallery spaces permit room for wall hangings and textile pieces, while at the entrance, a multi-storied glass vault displays more than 5,000 Inuit carvings.
INUA is the inaugural exhibition of Qaumajuq. Running until December 2021, INUA brings together work created by more than 90 Inuit artists from across northern Canada, the urban South, and a selection of works by circumpolar Indigenous colleagues and collaborators from areas such as Alaska and Greenland.
Talaysay Tours Authentic Cultural and Eco Experiences offers several itineraries that explore beautiful locations in and near Vancouver with an Indigenous guide and cultural ambassador.
The Talking Trees Tour in Stanley Park is led by a Squamish First Nations guide who shares the ecological practices, ancient and contemporary history, stories, legends, and Indigenous ways of living. The guide points out local plants that were harvested by Skwxu7mesh Uxwumixw — Coast Salish people. From the drooping hemlock to the Grandmother cedar, curled ferns, and skunk cabbage, each plant and tree has its own distinct story.
As the tour group winds through Stanley Park and to Beaver Lake, the cultural ambassador highlights how the trees and plants of the Pacific Northwest have been harvested for food, medicine, and technology for thousands of years. You may never look at the forest the same way again.
Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours
Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours provides Indigenous experiences from Campbell River on north-central Vancouver Island and in the Homalco First Nation traditional territory of Bute Inlet.
Known as “the people of the fast running waters,” the Homalco host immersive wildlife tours that are enhanced by an Indigenous perspective that includes grizzly-bear and marine-wildlife viewing with Indigenous culture and history woven in.
The “Great Bears of Bute” is an all-day tour on land and sea that runs in mid-August, when bears journey to creeks and rivers to feast and fatten on spawning salmon and their eggs before hibernation. The “Whales, Wildlife and Culture” tour highlights the marine mammals in the Salish Sea, including orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, and porpoises.
The “Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours” retail location also displays artwork for sale, featuring artists from the Ayajuthem-speaking community (which includes Homalco and the sister nations of Klahoose, Tla’amin, and K’ómoks).
For more information on Indigenous experiences, tours and accommodations, visit the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s website.