Membertou First Nation takes on tourism and technology improvements

News release

Membertou Band Council undertakes two new projects to attract and retain business clients, visitors

August 20, 2019 – Membertou, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Building progressive and prosperous relationships with Indigenous communities is integral to the economic and social wellbeing of the country. That’s why the Government of Canada is working collaboratively with partners like Membertou Band Council to strengthen community development, enhance cultural experiences and create good jobs.

Membertou is expanding on its existing tourism offerings to take advantage of emerging opportunities in Indigenous tourism. The community will establish a new welcome centre at the Port of Sydney Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion through its Explore Membertou initiative. Membertou will also offer new community-based activities for visitors including snowshoe, skate and bicycle rentals and a new winter tourism tour that will educate visitors on traditional Mi’kmaq winter practices. These additions will enable more visitors to enjoy Mi’kmaq culture year-round.

The community is also upgrading its technology to provide faster connectivity speeds for services such as video conferencing, live event streaming and live interactive training. Enhancements will also include security camera upgrades, data security, data backup and digital signage. The technology upgrades will help Membertou better attract and retain business clients to the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre as well as throughout the community.

Today, the Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney – Victoria, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced Government of Canada support for these projects.

The Government of Canada is making smart investments that will create good, middle-class jobs in our country. It is helping to grow strategic sectors such as tourism and creating the right conditions for Atlantic Canadian communities to grow and prosper.


“These investments will enable Membertou to develop tourism products and experiences to attract more visitors year-round and create jobs in the community. By fostering a diverse landscape that honours mutual respect, shared values, equality and co-operation, we are helping to ensure the community reaps the benefits of the global tourism boom while showcasing Mi’kmaq culture to the world.”

     - The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“Today, we congratulate Membertou First Nation on another exciting step forward on its path to welcoming the world, solidifying its place as one of Canada’s most prominent and successfully diversified Indigenous economies. With expansive business ventures and increased employment in the community, these new projects will ensure more visitors and businesses can enjoy Membertou for years to come.”

     - The Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney – Victoria on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep         Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

"Thanks to the support of ACOA, we will be expanding our tourism offerings in Membertou for the winter season. In doing so, we will be able to showcase traditional practices of the Mi'kmaq while providing new experiences for our community and visitors across the world."

     - Chief Terrance Paul, Membertou Band Council

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada, through ACOA’s Business Development Program, invested two non-repayable contributions totaling $211,822 in these projects, including:

            o    $106,500 for technology upgrades; and,

            o    $105,322 toward the welcome centre and winter tourism offerings.

  • The Business Development Program continues to build on the objectives of the Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

  • The Explore Membertou initiative builds on Destination Membertou’s experiential tourism project. This portion of the project will support an expansion into winter tourism to attract visitors to the community, including through a Mi'kmaq Medicine Walk experience offered year-round, on traditional snowshoes during winter months.

  • Strong leadership and a diversified business portfolio have enabled the Membertou Band Council to become a benchmark for successful Indigenous communities across Canada, as well as the third largest employer in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM).

  • Earlier this year, Membertou became the first Mi’kmaq-led corporation to be designated one of Canada’s best managed companies by Deloitte Inc.

  • In 2014, Membertou Economic Development Corporation was named the inaugural winner of the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) Award.


Chris Brooks
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Kelsea McNeil
Director, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Membertou Corporate 
902-562-6826 ext. 5023 / 902-578-4858 (cell)

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