Minister Boissonnault announces federal investments in Alberta’s tourism economy

PrairiesCan funding, of over $17.8 million, will go to 50 organizations to enhance and create new tourism experiences, events and attractions across Alberta

EDMONTON, AB, Feb. 27, 2023 /CNW/ – Alberta is home to remarkable natural landscapes, vibrant communities and passionate storytellers that attract visitors from across Canada and around the world. The tourism industry is a significant economic driver all across Alberta, supporting businesses and high quality jobs. Tourism operators and communities continue to welcome more visitors, and the Government of Canada is making significant investments to enhance and create new experiences to attract regional, national, and international visitors.  

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, announced more than $17.8 million in federal funding for 50 tourism-focused projects across Alberta. This federal investment will attract more people to explore Alberta destinations, bringing economic benefits to communities all across the province. 

Funding will support a wide-range of initiatives for communities, attractions, hospitality businesses, museums and events. Here are just some of the unique projects and experiences receiving PrairiesCan funding:

  • Travel Alberta is receiving $3.25 million to create regional destination development plans focused on increasing visitation to diverse tourism destinations in Alberta that have capacity for more visitors.
  • Métis Crossing in Smoky Lake is receiving $1.45 million to add year-round Sky Watching Domes that complement Indigenous programming and support more choice for visitors looking to stay overnight at Alberta’s first major Métis cultural interpretive destination.
  • TELUS World of Science – Edmonton is receiving $2 million to add new exhibitions dedicated to human health and the Arctic, enhance Indigenous-programming spaces, incorporate new projection equipment into the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium, and other upgrades.
  • National Music Centre in Calgary is receiving $1 million to host musical productions, conferences, and interactive exhibitions that draw visitors to Studio Bell in the city’s downtown core.
  • Alberta Small Brewers Association is receiving $525,000 to build The Alberta Ale Trail, a self-guided tour network that will increase awareness of and visitation to breweries in urban and rural locations across Alberta.
  • The Town of Sylvan Lake is receiving $297,000 to develop a 10-year Destination Management Plan that helps the community and local businesses sustainably grow year-round tourism.

Funding for these projects is provided through PrairiesCan under the Tourism Relief Fund and is expected to help support more than 2,800 jobs across the province.


“A strong tourism industry creates economic opportunity and jobs in communities throughout Alberta. Our government is investing in growing Alberta’s tourism operators and attractions so they can continue sharing the natural beauty, rich culture and unique experiences that Alberta has to offer to visitors from all parts of the world.”
–The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan

“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth. The Government of Canada’s investments in tourism over the last two years focused on the survival of our visitor economy. As we move to revival and the growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses so they can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for all Canadians.”
–The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Today’s announcement is more good news for Alberta’s tourism sector. This new funding augments robust investment that the Alberta Government has already made to support the recovery, growth and long-term prosperity of our visitor economy. Tourism generates jobs for Albertans and economic opportunity throughout province. Support from all levels of government is instrumental in ensuring future success in this area.”
–Hon. Todd Loewen, Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism, Government of Alberta

“It is very encouraging to learn of PrairiesCan’s significant investments into the Edmonton region’s tourism industry. The Edmonton region has a diverse and distinctive cultural, natural and recreational landscape that makes it an optimal destination for tourists, and this funding will help the region grow to its full potential in terms of post-pandemic economic recovery. I look forward to welcoming more tourists to the Edmonton region, to amplifying the incredible opportunities that our region has to offer, and to continuing to diversify our economy in sustainable and vibrant ways in collaboration with PrairiesCan and our government partners.”
–Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor, City of Edmonton

“This co-investment will help us grow the quantity and quality of unique tourism destinations across the province, ensuring all Albertans can realize the economic, social, and cultural benefits of a robust visitor economy.” 
–David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta

“As an Indigenous tourism destination, Métis Crossing is providing our guests with a truly distinctive travel experience that not only provides a variety of unique accommodations and Indigenous culinary offerings, but also resonates with our people by reflecting our history and the experiences of our ancestors. The Métis people’s connection with the land and the sky are at the core of our lived experiences. Our new Sky Watching Domes will help us as we continue to share this story and the Métis experience with a global audience. Métis Crossing thanks the Government of Canada for their support as we continue to build as an Indigenous destination.” 
–Juanita Marois, CEO, Métis Crossing

“We are extremely grateful to receive support from the Federal Government and PrairiesCan. This funding has allowed us to create exceptional new spaces to explore. It will increase both Indigenous and Science focused programming that will attract visitors from across Canada and internationally to discover Edmonton’s Science Centre.”
–Alan Nursall, President and CEO, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton

Quick facts

  • The Tourism Relief Fund helps organizations in the tourism sector adapt operations to meet public health requirements, offer innovative products and services to visitors, and prepare to welcome travelers to Canada. PrairiesCan administers the Fund in the Prairie Provinces.
  • With a budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million for national initiatives, this fund is positioning Canada to be a destination of choice for domestic and international travel.


The Government of Canada is investing $17,828,956 in 50 projects to grow Alberta’s tourism economy and attract more visitors to the province, bringing economic benefits for businesses and communities. 

Investments are being made through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), administered by PrairiesCan in the Prairie Provinces. The TRF is a $500 million program to support the tourism sector in Canada by:

  • empowering tourism businesses to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors; and
  • helping the tourism sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.

Projects announced today:

  • The Aero-Space Museum Association of Calgary ($316,706)
    Update existing infrastructure to improve accessibility and increase exhibit space at the Hanger Flight Museum and Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. (Calgary
  • Alberta Beer Festivals ($33,767)
    Enabled the hosting of a safe outdoor week-long festival celebrating food and beer in the heart of downtown Banff (Dec. 2021). (Banff)
  • Alberta Small Brewers Association ($525,000)
    Collaborate with Alberta-based breweries and tourism stakeholders to build and promote an Alberta Ale Trail self-guided tour network that increases awareness of local Alberta breweries. (Calgary)
  • Alexander First Nation ($387,500)
    Develop a tourism resort plan that grows the Alexander First Nation’s reputation as a tourism destination and provides business opportunities for band members. (Rivière Qui Barre)
  • Anderseed Farms ($99,975)
    Launch new activities, including gardening experiences and Indigenous programming, to attract visitors to Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm in the shoulder and winter seasons. (Bon Accord)
  • Banff & Lake Louise Tourism ($600,000)
    Develop a tourism destination plan and create a digital trip-planning tool that makes it easier for visitors to find events, attractions, and businesses in the Banff and Lake Louise regions. (Banff)
  • Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park ($434,595)
    Create a new Elder gathering space and improve pathways to increase the accessibility of experiences at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. (Siksika)
  • Bridgeland Distillery ($77,740)
    Improve the visitor experience and learning opportunities at Bridgeland Distillery by enhancing displays, signage, tasting rooms, tours and digital experiences that show the distilling process. (Calgary)
  • Calaway Park ($500,000)
    Modernize park infrastructure with a revamped entrance, new signage, enhanced services, and updated web and app features to improve the guest experience at Calaway Park. (Calgary)
  • Centre Communautaire d’Edmonton ($380,250)
    Develop and implement a francophone tourism strategy and deliver Francophone programming at events in the Edmonton region. (Edmonton)
  • Chinatown and Area Business Association ($45,000)
    Install authentic Chinese lanterns in public spaces throughout Edmonton’s Chinatown and promote cultural events taking place in the district. (Edmonton)
  • Do North Events ($382,545)
    Host the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) Tour event and inaugural PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton (July 2022). (Edmonton)
  • Edmonton Heritage Festival Association ($83,585)
    Deliver World Music Week 2022, an in-person four-day outdoor music event in Edmonton. (Edmonton
  • Edmonton Space and Science Foundation ($2,000,000)
    Modernize infrastructure at TELUS World of Science – Edmonton by adding new exhibitions dedicated to human health and the Arctic, enhancing Indigenous programming spaces, incorporating new projection equipment into the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium, updating the gift shop, upgrading lighting, and implementing a new ticketing system. (Edmonton)
  • Elk Island Retreat ($99,999)
    Expand on-site accommodations with new glamping domes and add a new fully serviced venue space to better facilitate nature based programming and events. (Fort Saskatchewan)
  • Explore Edmonton Corporation ($891,320)
    Deliver a tourism recovery program that includes a winter concert series and provides Edmonton area business with access to training and tools that help them enhance and promote their unique visitor experiences. (Edmonton)
  • Fallentimber Meadery ($99,999)
    Construct a new tasting room, patio and walking trails to increase capacity and extend the operating season for facility tours and product tastings. (Water Valley)
  • Food Bike Tour ($99,999)
    Expand and market electric bicycle and walking food tours in Banff, Calgary, Canmore and Edmonton. (Edmonton)
  • Forage & Farm / Stone Wood and Steel ($99,999)
    Enhance blacksmithing and reception facilities and launch an upgraded online sales platform to improve the visitor experience. (Millarville)
  • Girth Hitch Guiding ($42,563)
    Develop and deliver new summer and winter outdoor climbing experiences that provide a unique visitor experience in the Nordegg area. (Nordegg)
  • Glamping Resorts ($99,999)
    Establish new glamping dome accommodations in Castle Provincial Park. (Pincher Creek)
  • Go East Regional Tourism Organization ($52,688)
    Launch the 2023 Roadtrip Adventure Game and deliver tourism training sessions to increase awareness of and visitation to attractions, experiences, and events in east central Alberta. (Vegreville)
  • Grizzly Regional Economic Alliance Society ($140,000)
    Develop a tourism destination plan, deliver training to tourism operators, and update web content to increase awareness of and visitation to north-central Alberta. (Mayerthorpe)
  • Hinton & District Chamber of Commerce ($65,000)
    Create a tourism destination plan that provides a strategic vision for sustainable growth in tourism in the Hinton area. (Hinton)
  • Mahikan Trails ($99,895) Renovate a medicine workshop space and install new cabins to facilitate multi-day workshops and immersive Indigenous experiences year-round. (Sundre)
  • Métis Crossing ($1,450,000)
    Add 10 year-round Sky Watching Domes that allow visitors to comfortably sleep under the stars and compliment Indigenous-themed night sky experiences available at Métis Crossing. (Smoky Lake)
  • Moose Mountain Ventures ($33,875)
    Create new winter tourism experiences, including horse drawn sleigh rides and ice skating opportunities, to increase winter visitation in the Bragg Creek area. (Bragg Creek)
  • National Music Centre ($1,000,000)
    Host musical productions, conferences, and interactive exhibitions that draw visitors to the National Music Centre at Studio Bell in Calgary’s downtown core. (Calgary)
  • The Old School Cheesery ($99,999)
    Enhance interpretive materials, display equipment and facilities to showcase artisanal cheese making and improve the visitor experience. (Vermillion)
  • Pine Creek Retreat ($97,920)
    Complete the development of Pine Creek Retreat including glamping shelters and website development to offer unique visitor experiences along the North Saskatchewan River near Victoria Settlement. (Smoky Lake)
  • Pine Bungalows ($1,000,000)
    Construct two new heated family/group sized cabins that extend the operating season at Pine Bungalows in Jasper National Park. (Jasper)
  • Powwow Times ($122,796)
    Deliver two Indigenous tourism experiences in Red Deer County: the 2021 Red Deer International Powwow and the 2022 Sylvan Lake National Indigenous Day. (Red Deer)
  • Rabbit Hill Recreations Inc. ($99,999)
    Launch a unique summer tubing experience that enables Rabbit Hill Snow Resort to generate revenue and attract visitors in the summer season. (Edmonton)
  • Refuge Bay ($99,999)
    Scale-up operations at Refuge Bay glamping resort with the addition of an all-season luxury modular tiny home, shower facilities and washrooms. (Cherhill)
  • Rig Hand Distillery ($99,999)
    Update the tasting room, add interpretive Indigenous experiences, improve signage, complete a glass recycling system, and upgrade the website to support reservations and virtual tours. (Edmonton
  • Rocky Mountain Motorsports ($500,000)
    Develop a new motorsport park featuring a 3.5 km asphalt racetrack in Carstairs, Alberta (opened fall 2022). (Carstairs)
  • Skyridge Glamping Ltd. ($500,000)
    Launch a brand new year-round dome glamping experience in Kananaskis. (Canmore)
  • Spirit Hills ($99,999)
    Increase visitor capacity and experiences by expanding the tasting room, patio, and other facilities as well as adding an immersive digital wall that shows Spirit Hills’ winemaking process. (Millarville
  • Thanksgiving Ranch ($99,670)
    Upgrade the kitchen, pool and barn areas and add outdoor entertainment spaces to enhance the visitor experience and better support events at Thanksgiving Ranch. (Pincher Creek)
  • Tourism Canmore Kananaskis ($313,368)
    Collaborate with businesses in Canmore and Kananaskis to create a sustainable tourism strategy and online staff training program that increase awareness of and visitation to area experiences, especially in the shoulder and winter seasons. (Canmore)
  • Tourism Jasper ($200,000)
    Establish a new stand-alone Jasper Tourism Visitor Information and Experience Centre in downtown Jasper. (Jasper)
  • Town of Sylvan Lake ($297,000)
    Develop a 10-year Destination Management Plan to sustainably manage and grow year-round tourism in Sylvan Lake. (Sylvan Lake)
  • Travel Alberta ($3,250,000)
    Create regional destination development plans that identify practical strategies and initiatives to increase awareness of and visitation to diverse tourism destinations across Alberta. (Edmonton
  • Travel Lakeland ($265,000)
     Work with regional tourism stakeholders to develop, grow and promote tourism experiences across Alberta’s Lakeland region. (St. Paul)
  • Travel Purposefully Inc. ($99,999)
    Establish new multi-season glamping domes at Onespot Crossing Campground to expand the availability of diverse accommodations in the Bragg Creek area. (Bragg Creek)
  • Trixstar Productions ($99,999)
    Launch Trixstar’s Skip the Line-up technology to support safe ordering and delivery of food and beverages to attendees at COVID-19 adapted outdoor events. (Edmonton)
  • United Riders of Crowsnest Club ($78,333)
    Develop two bike trails and improve trail signage to help establish Crowsnest Pass as a premiere destination for mountain biking. (Blairmore)
  • Urban River Adventures ($99,999)
    Offer new guided tours and upgrade facilities and infrastructure at an existing campground to attract visitors in the shoulder and winter seasons. (Parkland County)
  • Waterton Chamber of Commerce ($99,530)
    Create an e-commerce strategy and digital toolkit to help businesses in Waterton National Park attract visitors year-round. (Waterton)
  • Wild Woods Conservation and Education Centre ($63,348)
    Develop an all-season, off-grid, resort and campground that offers authentic Indigenous experiences in Yellowhead County. (Wildwood)

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SOURCE Prairies Economic Development Canada

For further information: Kyle Allen, Press Secretary and Communication Advisor, Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, [email protected]; Rohit Sandhu, Communications Manager, Prairies Economic Development Canada, [email protected]


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