Parliamentary Secretary Sean Casey making the funding announcement in Wanuskewin.  Photo by Joel Willick

Wanuskewin’s bid to become a World Heritage Site has received a financial boost from the federal government.

Ottawa committed over 2 and a half million dollars to help in the renewal efforts at the heritage site north of Saskatoon. The donation of $2,525,415 was made through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.

Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Culture and Heritage, was at Wanuskewin Wednesday morning to make the announcement.

He says the government was happy to invest in this project and has been very impressed by his first visit to the heritage site.

“Honestly I was even more struck by the passion of the people when I came through the doors,” said Casey. “To see this place and the history behind it as well as the passion of the people involved is something that is very striking.”

The fundraising campaign has been raising funds on the renewal project for a few years now. Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas is apart of the fundraising board and he says they are now on the “home stretch.”

“Of course 2 and a half million dollars is a significant amount for our total campaign, but more importantly (the federal government) are now an active partner to help us in achieving our designation for Wanuskewin as a World Heritage Site,” said Chief Thomas.

To date, Chief Thomas says they have raised over $40 million, which has exceeded their financial goal. He says they are now looking for active partners to help the final push for the UNESCO designation.

The renewal efforts at Wanuskewin would see the expansion of the interpretive centre, construction of a great hall and the re-introduction of a bison herd to the area.