100+ ways Nova Scotia businesses are reshaping the tourism landscape

News release

Government of Canada invests $6.3 million in 53 new tourism projects to enhance offerings for visitors

May 24, 2023 · Kjipuktuk, Mi'kma'ki | Halifax, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Over the past two years, Nova Scotia’s tourism operators have doubled down to build experiences, accommodations, and strategies to strengthen Canada as a destination of choice – spearheading more than 100 projects through the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund. That work continues, and ACOA is here to help businesses as they attract more visitors to the region and grow the industry with fresh approaches to delivering world-class tourism.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced over $6.3 million in Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) support to 53 projects with businesses and organizations across Nova Scotia. This is in addition to the $7.1 million in previously announced TRF support contributions to 52 Nova Scotia businesses since the program launched.

Minister Petitpas Taylor showcased six of the new projects from across the province that demonstrate the TRF’s focus on building, upgrading and diversifying innovative tourism products:

  • $500,000 to Eskasoni First Nation to help Eskasoni Cultural Journeys, an award-winning immersive Indigenous experience, become a year-round destination with new programming.
  • $500,000 to Saltair Nordic Spa & Wellness in Baxter’s Harbour to establish a year-round wellness destination complete with Nordic pools and a trail system.
  • $121,998 to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax to construct a new, long-term exhibit called Pjila'si, meaning "welcome” in Mi'kmaw, celebrating the history and lives of the Mi'kmaq People in Nova Scotia.
  • $100,000 to Kabina in Tatamagouche to develop a six-unit tiny home year-round wilderness accommodation located close to the Wentworth ski hill.
  • $100,000 to the Quarterdeck Resort in Summerville to increase the number of accommodations available to tourists.
  • $41,500 to the Friends of McNabs Island Society in Halifax to develop interpretive and resource materials for the restored Teahouse building which has been converted into an Outdoor Education Centre on McNabs Island.

Launched in July 2021, the TRF has helped organizations in the tourism sector upgrade their products and services, enticing new visitors, and reinvigorating the economy. ACOA, along with Canada’s other regional development agencies, have been delivering the $485 million in TRF support.


“We have so much to be proud of in our beautiful region, and so much to share with visitors. As we launch the tourism season, we are reaffirming the sector’s vital importance to our economy, and our commitment to helping tourism businesses and organizations in Nova Scotia develop the world-class experiences that make Atlantic Canada such a sought-after destination.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“It’s time for Canada’s tourism sector to push past reviving all the way to thriving. Our government’s investments in tourism over the last three years focused on sustaining and rebuilding the tourism ecosystem, promoting what we have and designing for the future. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work to build an economy that works for everyone. Together, we can make sure that Canada’s tourism sector is something that visitors and Canadians alike will celebrate and enjoy for generations to come."
The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Over the past two years, ACOA has stepped up to ensure the Nova Scotia tourism industry could survive the devasting impact of COVID-19. The Nova Scotia tourism economy lost $3.2 billion in revenue during the height of the pandemic, and the Tourism Relief Fund program greatly helped stabilize and mitigate business losses. Going forward, strategic and focused investment in our tourism infrastructure will be a priority, as we rebuild tourism and trade in the region.”
- Darlene Grant Fiander, President, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS)

“Eskasoni First Nation is so excited to launch the new initiatives that we have planned for Cultural Journeys. It has always been our goal to provide a quality experience that is authentic to the Mi’kmaq culture; we want guests to have the opportunity to learn, engage in our tourism product as it allows the visitors to our beautiful Island to be fully immersed and get to enjoy the uniqueness of our Eskasoni all year round.”
- Alyssia Jeddore, Business Development Manager, Eskasoni Corporate Division

“The Annapolis Valley and Nova Scotia were already on the world’s map as naturally memorable and inspirational places to visit and explore. We are thrilled to invest and operate a business that inspires Health and Wellness that will welcome guests from around the world. ACOA’s recognition and initial support of Saltair Nordic Spa as a four-season destination was a key catalyst in raising the funds to put this wellness tourism site in Baxters Harbour on the natural wonder that is the Bay of Fundy. Nature is waiting.”
- June Pardy and Jenny Sinclair, Saltair Nordic Spa & Wellness

Mi’kmaw culture has always been resilient and sustainable, and the Pjila’si gallery celebrates that. Pjila’si creates a safe and reflective space for the public to see, understand and appreciate Mi’kmaw culture.”
- Jeff Gray, General Manager of the Museum of Natural History

“We are very, deeply proud of being from the east coast and it is very rewarding to know we are not only able to advocate for this special place but also facilitate and encourage new travellers to come and experience the area. ACOA has been a game changer for entrepreneurs like us as they not only provide financial support but also executional support. We have felt ACOA has been at the table right next to us from the initial concepts right up until now; they have shown just as much passion for the project as we have and we are all just really excited to get this new venture off the ground, up and running and improving the local experience for travellers.”
- Sawyer Hannay, Director, Kabina

“Our growth strategy included providing a different type of offering – lower priced, family-focused accommodations that are pet friendly. Our vision of transforming a seasonal vacation spot into a year-round world-class resort is unfolding as planned. Our newest project is in line with this vision, which will ultimately help strengthen the economy in Queens County by attracting visitors to the region and providing much needed jobs. This grant has helped us achieve this.”
- Todd Webb, Chief Financial Officer, Quarterdeck Resort

“This funding for the Island’s Teahouse Outdoor Education Centre will enhance the coastal island experience for visitors of all ages. New displays, brochures, maps and interpretive materials will allow visitors to learn more about this historic “Green Jewel” of Halifax Harbour.”
- Catherine McCarthy, President, Friends of McNabs Island Society

Quick facts

  • The Tourism Relief Fund was a $500-million national program to support the tourism sector in Canada, including $485 million for regional priorities administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and $15 million for national priorities administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

  • A minimum of $50 million of the fund’s budget was earmarked for Indigenous tourism projects. Indigenous communities that rely heavily on tourism were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

  • $48.5 million from the Tourism Relief Fund was allocated to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to administer in the Atlantic region.

  • The Tourism Relief Fund ended on March 31, 2023. 


Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Lauren Sinclair
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Darlene Grant Fiander
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS)

Jeff Gray
General Manager
Museum of Natural History

Cathy McCarthy
Friends of McNabs Island Society

Todd Webb
Chief Financial Officer
Quarterdeck Resort

Alyssia Jeddore
Business Development Manager
Eskasoni Corporate Division

June Pardy
Saltair Nordic Spa & Wellness

Sawyer Hannay

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