Upgrades for Highland Village
Federal funding to help with renovations in the spring
The Highland Village Museum in Iona will receive a $1.2 million investment over three years from the federal government to assist with renovations beginning in the spring of 2018.
Sydney–Victoria MP Mark Eyking made the announcement on Wednesday at the museum on behalf of the Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains.
The federal funding is being allocated through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund, which helps Atlantic communities to develop competitive industry sectors, strengthen infrastructure and create long-term employment and economic growth.
The project will include the construction of a new welcome centre, the renovation of the existing visitor/administration building to create a cultural resource centre, as well as the addition of new interpretive and support structures throughout the property.
Highland Village director Rodney Chaisson said the $1.2 million investment is part of a bigger three-year plan that will see a wide range of improvements to the museum.
“This is part of a $3.6 million project – a site development project we’re looking into over the next three years. What it’s going to do is enable us to enhance our visitor experience and also have the capacity to do more,” he said.
“We’ll be able to better serve our visitors, increase capacity for that kind of stuff and collections management – it will cover a variety of aspects of the operation.”
Chaisson went on to say the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society, which operates the museum will be fundraising a third of funding (roughly $1 million), the County of Victoria will provide $100,000 and the society is currently in talks with the provincial government to provide funding as well.
Bruce Morrison, warden of the Municipality of the County of Victoria, said the funding provided by the county is a good investment because of the popularity of the Highland Village Museum.
“We would consider it a significant amount of money to give to an organization but we certainly see the value in this particular case,” said Morrison, who added that the $1.2 million in funding by the federal government is good for tourism in all of Cape Breton.
“In Cape Breton, we’ve seen an increase in tourism in the last two years and sites such as the Highland Village is the type of experience a lot of tourists are looking for. I think with the improvements being made to the Highland Village, it’s just going to lead to more tourists visiting.”
The investment aims to build on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy.
Eyking said the investment made on Wednesday will strengthen Cape Breton’s culture and be an economic boost to the island.
“Cape Breton Island is world renowned for its culture, history and spectacular scenery. Our government is pleased to support the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society in their efforts to build on these strengths and provide visitors to our region with authentic cultural experiences,” said Eyking.
Chaisson said the first year of the project will focus on completing the new welcome centre and a carriage house starting in the spring of 2018. The project is expected to be finished in the spring of 2021.
The Highland Village Museum in Iona is pictured. The Government of Canada announced Wednesday that it would invest $1.2 million in the museum over a three-year period for renovations