Celebrating Excellence in Tourism

Algonquin Anishnaabeg Territory (Ottawa, ON) – In a night filled with anticipation and excitement on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, the annual Canadian Tourism Awards, presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), saw Wanuskewin Heritage Park rise to prominence as the recipient of the ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award. This esteemed accolade, presented by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), recognizes outstanding commitment to developing, promoting, and delivering an authentic, innovative, and enriched Indigenous tourism visitor experience.

The Canadian Tourism Awards recognizes the best and brightest in Canada’s tourism industry. From outstanding teams and organizations to individual luminaries who surpass all expectations, exemplifying a commitment to provide nothing short of exceptional tourism experiences from coast to coast to coast.

The ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award honours businesses that showcase a dedication to authentic Indigenous cultural tourism and play a pivotal role in encouraging and promoting tourism growth within their respective region. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a shining example of such dedication, has demonstrated exceptional efforts to provide visitors with an immersive and culturally rich experience beyond expectations.

“Wanuskewin Heritage Park truly exemplifies the spirit of Indigenous tourism, showcasing a commitment to authenticity, innovation, and enriching the visitor experience, and their dedication has undoubtedly contributed to the growth and promotion of tourism in Saskatoon. Moreover, the caliber of all the finalists was exceptionally high, reflecting the vibrant and diverse landscape of Indigenous tourism in Canada. We commend each finalist for their dedication to fostering authentic Indigenous experiences and promoting tourism growth in their regions.”
– Keith Henry, President and CEO, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The other two finalists in the ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award category were:

Klahoose Wilderness Resortqathet Regional District, BC

The resort opened in 2021 and is becoming the most recognized Indigenous eco-resort in Canada. The Klahoose First Nation owns the resort, and it offers Grizzly Bear viewing tours and marine and terrestrial wildlife viewing throughout the traditional lands of the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose) People.

Nk’Mip Cellars Osoyoos, BC

As the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America, Nk’Mip Cellars is inspired to express its culture in everything it does. The Winery is a bold celebration and a strong reflection of its commitment to authenticity and deep respect for its colourful past. 

The association applauds destination management organization partner Firecircle for winning the Innovator of the Year Award, presented by VIA Rail Canada, and other partners, tartanbond and Ottawa Tourism, for their finalists of the Future Leaders Award, presented by Air Canada.

Moreover, congratulations to the other Indigenous tourism operators this year! Han Wi Dinner Series at Wanuskewin Heritage Park for being named a finalist for the Culinary Tourism Experience Award, and to Enoch Cree Nation for their well-deserved recognition as a finalist for the Business Event Award.

The award ceremony took place at The Westin Ottawa during the annual Tourism Congress held by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada on November 22, 2023. The Canadian Tourism Awards serve as a platform to celebrate success, leadership, and innovation within the Canadian tourism industry, recognizing individuals, organizations, and events that go above and beyond to offer superior tourism experiences in Canada.

As ITAC applauds the winners and finalists, the association also celebrates the broader impact these efforts have on showcasing Canada as a premier destination for authentic and enriching Indigenous tourism experiences. Congratulations to TIAC for hosting such an important event to celebrate exceptional tourism experiences from coast to coast to coast. 

Learn more about the 2023 Canadian Tourism Awards here.