Architect: LEMAYMICHAUD Architecture Design
Location: Wendake, Québec, Canada
Program: Hotel and Museum
Site area: 15,400 sqm
Building area: 2,000 sqm
Total floor area: 4,850 sqm
Project Year: 2007–2008
Photographs: Pierre Bélanger
This project is a unique alliance between 4-star accommodations and a museum experience that takes visitors on an exceptional voyage through the traditions and contemporary culture of the First Nations and Inuit. Located in an enchanting setting on the Akiawenrahk River, the hotel/museum complex evokes the architecture of the longhouse, traditional dwelling of the Iroquois people, who include the Huron-Wendat Nation. Combining contemporary comfort and cultural experience, the establishment warmly welcomes guests to its 55 4-star rooms and suites, worthy of the legendary hospitality of the Huron-Wendat. The evocative location adds a special cachet to business meetings and receptions, along with the authentic flavours of gourmet cuisine inspired by the First Nations, a 125-seat restaurant with a private dining room and 5 meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 140 people.
The museum shares some common spaces and services with the hotel. Its cone shape is reminiscent of an Algonquin smokehouse and the hospitality of a hearth shared by all nations. The design also symbolically evokes a lowered stockade, a place where peace and harmony reign and where protective defences are no longer necessary. The two buildings therefore symbolize the two great cultural families of the East, the Iroquois and Algonquin. The museum presents a living history and artefacts imbued with a tangible memory. The interactive format displays a collection of rare objects central to the Huron-Wendat culture, exploring themes of territories, memories and knowledge.
More than just a tour, the museum offers visitors a veritable cultural voyage. In addition to the buildings themselves, the surrounding area includes a reclaimed stream, along which thematic gardens reveal the beauty of indigenous flora and the power of medicinal plants. There is also a gift shop featuring exclusive works of art, historical or otherwise, and an interpretation centre of traditional knowledge where artisans demonstrate their respective crafts.
The financial package for the project included $11,265,000 in expenditures for the hotel and another $4,984,175 for the museum for a total budget of $16,249,175. Together, the hotel and museum will generate approximately sixty permanent jobs and revenues of nearly $13,500,000. The tourism development plan’s consolidated contribution (including the hotel/museum) to the region’s gross domestic product is an estimated $90.2 million, of which $86.5 million is in added value. Quebec tax revenues are estimated at $3.3 million per year, with another $2.9 million in indirect taxes. As for the federal government, it collects some $3 million a year in both direct and indirect taxes.
The construction of the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations is part of a broader tourism development plan involving the creation of other complementary components, such as a tourism office, a Tourism Québec bureau, the Huron-Wendat interpretation centre and a 350-seat outdoor amphitheatre for vocal, musical, theatre, dance and drumming performances.
Many buildings in the community echo the same architectural design. The tourism development plan is also an outgrowth of a previous master plan to renew Vieux-Wendake.
This distinctive village features cultural activities highlighting yearly events and held special events to mark its status as host of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City. Wendake was also recognized as a 2007 Cultural Capital of Canada by the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The fulfilment of the tourism development plan required the setting up of three new corporate entities and numerous partnerships with the municipal government and various parapublic, public, private and First Nations institutions.
The fulfilment of the tourism development plan has also led to the creation of an extensive, soon-to-be-implemented labour training plan, with most participants coming from the First Nations, and an arboriculture and horticulture program for outdoor spaces.
They walked the land of our ancestors,
Found respite around our fire,
And then set off again, filled with our spirit.
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