TOBERMORY, ONTARIO, August 16, 2006 -- Mr. Larry Miller, Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the official opening of a $7.82 million Visitor Centre for Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada and Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada.
"Parks Canada plays an exemplary leadership role in Environmental Education", said Minister Ambrose. "Visitor Centres like this one will allow Parks Canada to broaden their reach, making their knowledge in Environmental Science and sustainability more accessible to all. Today is a day to celebrate this important step forward".
Located along the Bruce Trail near Tobermory, the new Visitor Centre is a perfect place to plan a hike along the trails or a camping trip in Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada, or a SCUBA diving adventure in Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada. The fully accessible and environmentally friendly Visitor Centre includes a large exhibit hall, a high definition theatre, public reception areas and office space for park staff. The exhibit hall features museum-quality exhibits, which will allow visitors to explore the ecological and cultural significance of both parks. Outside, a 20-meter viewing tower was constructed which offers panoramic views of both parks. Another opportunity to take in spectacular views can be experienced by following a new accessible hiking trail from the Visitor Centre to a viewing platform overlooking Georgian Bay.
"The new Visitor Centre will introduce visitors from across Canada and beyond to these spectacular parks, in a setting that complements the natural beauty of the area", said Mr. Miller. "The centre showcases natural and cultural heritage in a fun, interactive learning environment."
Public Works and Government Services Canada developed the landscaping plans and managed construction of the site on behalf of Parks Canada. The Government of Canada's Federal House in Order initiative provided $224,000 to this project to allow the implementation of innovative greenhouse gas reduction technology. The building was designed by Shore Tilbe Irwin and Partners Architects and Engineers of Toronto, Ontario and built by Allen Hastings Limited of Dyer's Bay, Ontario.
Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada is located at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula, which divides Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. The park will span over 156 square kilometres and is one of the largest protected areas in southern Ontario, offering a tremendous diversity of plant and animal species and forming the core of UNESCO's Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. In the waters off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula is Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada, known as the freshwater SCUBA diving capital of the world. The park offers divers opportunities to explore spectacular underwater cliffs, caves, rock formations and shipwrecks.
"On behalf of the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula", said Mayor Milt McIver, "I would like to extend our thanks to the Federal Government for the amazing new Visitor Centre. The community welcomes this addition, as it will definitely be an economic boost for our area. "
The Federal House in Order, an initiative co-led by Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada, has provided financial incentives to assist departments and agencies in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions through the implementation of showcase demonstration projects in their new, renovated or recommissioned buildings and housing projects.
Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada and Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada are part of a system of national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites that is recognized as one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world. The new Visitor Centre will help Parks Canada fulfill its mandate to present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage to Canadians, today and in the future.
Associate Director and Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Bruce Peninsula National Park
and Fathom Five National Marine Park
(519) 596-2233 ext.237