New cultural centre opens at Métis Crossing in Alberta

On Sunday, leaders and dignitaries arrived by canoe and cart at the massive 280-hectare site that makes up Métis Crossing for the unveiling of a new cultural centre.

“We’ve hosted weddings, family reunions, we hosted our own annual general assembly, we are a fantastic place for corporate and government retreats,” said Juanita Marios, CEO of Métis Crossing. “There is not a better place to come and spend three days to dig into the Metis culture.”

The new 40-room lodge, located about 120 km northeast of Edmonton, overlooks the North Saskatchewan River where Métis Peoples used to travel and trade.

The Métis Nation of Alberta owns the land and operates the facility.

Métis Crossing
View of the grounds from the upper level of the cultural centre. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN.

The centre will offer Métis cultural learning and a unique place for business events and tourism.

Marios says the two buildings cost about $20 million. The money was provided by the federal and provincial governments and businesses.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to lead this project,” said Marios. “To take all the contributions of our elders and knowledge holders, our artisans, our business people, our youth to put it together into something like this, which is now available to share with the world. It’s really a place of pride for Metis people.”

The centre was completed in December 2019, but the pandemic prevented its use.

Métis Crossing
The cultural centre and new 40-room lodge at Métis Crossing. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN.

Marios said more additions are coming.

A large solar project will be operational by fall 2023.

Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras said now it’s time to celebrate.

“It has been a long time, not that people haven’t tried. Whenever we have functions like this, I think about those leaders of the past because they may not have had anything close to the opportunities we have today,” she said. “But they never gave up, they kept trying.”

Métis National Council President said the new centre pulls Métis history together.

“These spaces, it weaves together so much,” she said. “It weaves together economic development, it weaves culture and education, it weaves together solutions to climate change with the solar projects that are taking place here.

“It’s such an incredible place that we can come together with our elders who have dreamed of a space like this.”

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