Government of Canada celebrates ground-breaking for new Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Administration and Visitor Centre


Parks Canada’s first-ever building to seek Passive House Plus certification and net-zero carbon standards.

May 4, 2024                                  Nipigon, ON                                   Parks Canada

Construction is set to begin on the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Administration and Visitor Centre in Nipigon, Ontario. Once complete, this landmark building will serve as Parks Canada’s primary operations base and visitor reception area for Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, gathered with Indigenous and community members to participate in a ground-breaking ceremony to kick off construction of the Administration and Visitor Centre for Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area in Nipigon, Ontario. In January 2024, Minister Hajdu announced $37 million in federal funding for the contract award associated with construction of the centre.

The new Administration and Visitor Centre will be a place for connection and visitor discovery, and Parks Canada’s first Passive House Plus, net-zero carbon build. This eco-conscious project will serve as Parks Canada’s central base for administrative and operational functions for Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, including management, resource conservation, visitor experience, maintenance, and law enforcement. The centre will also welcome Canadians and visitors from around the world, facilitating meaningful visitor experiences by sharing the rich history of Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in the area, along with stories from above and below the surface of Lake Superior.

Construction is anticipated to take two years, with a tentative public opening scheduled for 2026. As part of the day’s events, community members from along Lake Superior’s north shore were able to view conceptual drawings and learn about this net-zero carbon project that supports commitments in the Greening Government Strategy to net-zero emissions by 2050. This project will be the first Parks Canada administered building to be built to Passive House Plus certification and net-zero carbon standards, and will demonstrate innovation and leadership in sustainable building practices. Building to this standard not only contributes to reduced energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced waste, and an increased climate resilience, but also provides a long-term net-benefit through ongoing operational savings for the life of the building.

The construction contract has been formally awarded to Finn Way General Contractor Inc., based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, following a competitive process. The contract includes initiatives that will promote employment opportunities and use of suppliers and contractors within local Indigenous communities. This project is the most significant federal investment at a Parks Canada administered place in the Northern Ontario region.

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