Build­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences

Ba­toche un­veils view­ing plat­form, fam­ily gar­den

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - PETER LOZINSKI

While the Ba­toche Na­tional His­toric Site has closed for the year, a new pro­ject re­cently com­pleted should of­fer some new ex­pe­ri­ences for view­ers in 2018.

Last week­end, Parks Canada un­veiled a new view­ing plat­form and fam­ily gar­den. The pro­ject, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments from Parks Canada, “Will pro­vide for in­creased Métis cul­tural in­ter­pre­ta­tion and fam­ily gath­er­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, in cel­e­bra­tion of the lo­cal Métis cul­ture.”

The pro­ject was a part of $1.4 mil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment fund­ing, part of the Ba­toche Shared Man­age­ment Vis­i­tor Ex­pe­ri­ence Re­newal. The fund­ing was aimed to cre­ate new in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence in the East Vil­lage area of the site. The fund­ing was an­nounced in May 2016.

The Ba­toche Na­tional His­toric Site dis­plays the re­mains of the vil­lage of Ba­toche, the site of the last ma­jor bat­tle in the North­west Re­sis­tance of 1885.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease, the plat­form and gar­den “will of­fer vis­i­tors new op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence the East Vil­lage and will con­trib­ute to telling the larger Métis story.”

The pro­ject was put to­gether in part­ner­ship with the lo­cal Métis com­mu­nity “to tell more about the story of the Métis peo­ple at Ba­toche in a mean­ing­ful and sig­nif­i­cant way,” the press re­lease said.

“It’s all in the in­ter­est of de­vel­op­ing new and in­no­va­tive ways to al­low peo­ple to con­nect with the his­toric land­scape,” said act­ing man­ager Scott Whit­ing.

“The idea is to of­fer an ar­chi­tec­turally unique ex­pe­ri­ence and give peo­ple a new way to in­ter­act with the his­toric land­scape, the east vil­lage, the Carl­ton Trail and the river lot sys­tem,” he said.

“The fam­ily gar­den is an in­ter­ac­tive play area based on Métis themes. It’s de­signed to have rus­tic el­e­ments and fit in to the his­toric land­scape.”

The new fea­tures are de­signed to let peo­ple ex­plore on their own, though they will be fea­tures as a part of cer­tain site tours.

The new park fea­tures are some of the on­go­ing in­vest­ments on the site to im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

“One of (those in­vest­ments) is a new in­ter­pre­tive trail pro­ject along the foot­path that over­looks the river,” Whit­ing said

“It’s in the devel­op­ment phase right now.”

As with the view­ing plat­form and fam­ily gar­den, the new projects are be­ing de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with the Métis com­mu­nity.

“The goal re­ally is to add op­por­tu­ni­ties for vis­i­tors to en­joy and in­ter­act with the site, but to in­ter­act with the her­itage as well, in­clud­ing some of the hu­man her­itage and the hu­man use of the land­scape over time,” Whit­ing said.

“We’re ex­cited to con­tinue to rein­vest here and to give peo­ple new rea­sons to visit and new was to ex­pe­ri­ence and en­joy the site. We’re cer­tainly look­ing for­ward to 2018.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY PARKS CANADA

Jac­que­line Gaudet and Nor­man Fleury un­veil the new view­ing plat­form.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY PARKS CANADA

(Left photo) Adi­ana Bach­eschi speaks at the open­ing of the east site view­ing plat­form as Scott Whit­ing and Nor­man Fleury look on.

(Right photo) The new ob­ser­va­tion tower re­cently opened at Ba­toche Na­tional His­toric Site is pic­tured. The view­ing plat­form and a fam­ily gar­den are two re­cent ad­di­tions to the site, with new in­ter­pre­tive trails be­ing de­vel­oped as the next stage in $1.4 mil­lion in park im­prove­ments.

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