Supporting freshwater science and building eco-tourism opportunities in Northwestern Ontario

News release

Government of Canada investment helps with the development of a new world-class science and tourism centre

June 24, 2019 – Kenora, Ontario – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario - FedNor

The International Institute for Sustainable Development - Experimental Lakes Area Inc. (IISD-ELA) is developing a unique knowledge-based, eco-tourism opportunity in the Kenora region thanks to a Government of Canada investment of $40,500. This FedNor funding has enabled the world-renowned IISD-ELA to retain professional architectural services to prepare detailed designs, cost estimates and a work plan to guide the eventual construction of its proposed Water Science Education and Training Centre.

The funding was announced today by the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor.

The Centre’s design will adopt principles of clean energy and green technology, helping to eliminate the IISD-ELA’s diesel footprint, and will reflect Indigenous teachings, culture and values. The building will be a model of leading edge environmental innovation and will be IISD-ELA’s central welcoming facility for its diverse community of researchers, students and guests from across the planet.


“The Government of Canada is proud to invest in strategic initiatives that fuel the economy and accelerate growth in Northern Ontario.  Today’s investment will help support freshwater science and research, promote clean energy and green technology, and help grow Canada’s tourism sector by driving more international visitation to Northwestern Ontario.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor

“Innovation is the driving force behind a modern economy and the Government of Canada is proud to encourage Canadian researchers and help them capitalize on opportunities that lead to business growth and the creation of well-paying middle-class jobs. Projects such as this will help unleash the potential of new technologies for the benefit of all Canadians.”

- The Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora

“IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s premier freshwater laboratory and the only place where scientists can conduct research on whole lakes to determine the impact of human activities and pollutants. The Government of Canada’s support will help maintain our position as a global leader in freshwater science and lake health issues.”

- Jane McDonald, President-CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development

“In a time of increasing population and climate changes, the unique and ground-breaking research at IISD-ELA is more critical than ever. The construction of our Water Science Education and Training Centre will help us further our research and advance our understanding of aquatic ecosystems, while welcoming and educating local communities on the health of fresh water.”

- Matt McCandless, Executive Director, IISD Experimental Lake

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, and enhance business development and growth throughout the region.

  • The Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario outlines the Government of Canada’s approach to ensure the region can fully benefit from the national Innovation and Skills Plan. It is focused on three key economic development areas: supporting innovation; growing companies; and building stronger communities.

  • IISD Experimental Lakes Area, located east of Kenora, is a natural laboratory comprised of 58 lakes and their watersheds. IISD-ELA is the only place in the world where scientists can research on and manipulate real lakes to build a more accurate and complete picture of the impact of human activity on freshwater lakes.

  • Since November 2015, FedNor approved $9,729,677 towards 53 projects in the region of Kenora which leveraged an additional $14,798,947 from other sources.

Associated links


Paul Denis
Communications Officer

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