The Huron-Wendat Nation hopes to attract more than 100,000 visitors a year to a brand new “international-calibre” immersive nature trail that will open this summer at a cost of $6 million, in Wendake.
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Grand Chef Rémy Vincent confirmed the development of this new tourist attraction on Tuesday. The construction site has also begun in the Saint-Rémy wooded area, located behind the Wendake Sports Complex.
As revealed by Le Journal in April, the indigenous nation located north of Quebec has partnered with the Quebec firm Moment Factory to bring the project called Onhwa’ Lumina to life.
At nightfall, from June to October and from December to April, visitors will be invited to dive into a 1.2 km route against the backdrop of Wendat myths and cultural symbols, embellished with lights, sounds and video projections. The activity will be suitable for families.
“This is a project that is essential to ensure the tourism revival of Wendake, but also for the entire Capitale-Nationale region. By being present 9 to 10 months a year, Onhwa’ Lumina will constantly contribute to the consolidation of the local tourism industry,” said Mr. Vincent.
He hopes that the project will at the same time bring new opportunities for meetings and exchanges to “continue to build bridges with all the communities”.
The Grand Chief tried to reassure residents of Quebec City who live near the wooded area. In order to preserve the starry sky, all lighting will be directed towards the ground. The same goes for the sound effects, which will be isolated so that the eight trail stations do not interfere with each other.
“There is no light or noise pollution for the surrounding people,” said Mr. Vincent, saying that the City of Quebec had been consulted.
Support of $2.9M
The project overseen by the Wendake Tourist Office represents an investment of $6 million by several partners.
During the announcement, the MNA for Chauveau, Sylvain Lévesque, and the Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx, confirmed government support of $2.9 million from the Assistance Program for the Recovery of the Tourism Industry.
This is another major investment in tourism in Wendake, while a modernization and expansion project of at least $7 million is also in the cards for this summer at the hotel-museum of the community," said Mr. Vincent.
With 150,000 annual visitors projected in year 3, the promoter estimates that the multimedia trail will eventually be self-financing thanks to ticketing revenue.
The economic benefits for the greater Quebec City region are estimated at $11.4 million. Onhwa’ Lumina will create or maintain 173 jobs.
"Onhwa'" means "now" in the Huron-Wendat language. "It's this point, this bridge between the past and the future," said Éric Fournier, partner and executive producer for Moment Factory.
"It's an enchanted nocturnal journey to meet the Wendat people," he summed up, seeing in the forest and the night "a universal language."
For the Montreal-based entertainment studio, this is the 14th experience of this type, but the very first in collaboration with an indigenous nation.
The company has signed other experiences in natural places in Europe, Asia and Canada. In Quebec, they are found in Mont-Tremblant, Coaticook, Saint-Félicien and Chandler.
Note that the installation will not be permanent. The project will last “between 6 and 10 years”, specified Mr. Vincent. “This is a temporary project. The land belongs to the Nation, of course, but it is land that is destined for other developments eventually. But, until we can develop the area, well, we have this great project.”
According to the documentation available on the Tourisme Wendake website, the land would be intended to accommodate a new residential development after the end of the project.
The developer undertakes to minimize its footprint on the site, in order to protect the natural appearance of the wooded area.
Tickets have been on sale at https://onhwalumina.ca/ since Tuesday noon. It costs $29 per adult, $21.75 per teenager and $14.50 per child. Admission is free for ages 5 and under. The opening of the site is scheduled for the beginning of the summer.