In an effort to expand tourism opportunities in Kenora and Thunder Bay the province has earmarked $1 million to support Science North’s Northwest Expansion Project.

The money will be funded through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) which will go towards a 4,000 square foot expansion of the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre.

The project will also lead Thunder Bay to receive a 33,750 square foot facility equipped with architectural and visitor experiences.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford was on hand and says this is another step to achieving the province's goal of establishing a permanent presence in the region.

“This expansion would deepen engagement with Indigenous audiences and other communities across the northwest while making a significant economic and tourism impact in the region,” said Rickford.

Rickford couldn’t specify when the expansion will take place at the Discovery Centre but is hoping that within the next calendar year shovels will be in the ground.

Science North is one of a kind in Northwestern Ontario with no similar science-based organizations that offer a similar level of educational programs or exhibits, summer youth programs, and science-based economic development opportunities tailored to youth and the general public.

Jennifer Booth, Interim CEO of Science North noted this investment will build stronger collaborations to help them better understand the needs of the region.

“A permanent Science North presence in Kenora and Thunder Bay will serve over 80,000 people across Northwestern Ontario annually with innovative, unique, and interactive science education experiences. Also, ensure new attractions reflect the region and its heritage and set up these centres for economic and tourism success. We thank the NOHFC and the Ontario government for their continued support of this exciting project.”

Science North is Canada’s second-largest science centre and the largest tourism-based attraction in Northern Ontario. An agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, it has the mandate to deliver a program of science and learning throughout Northern Ontario.

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate growth, job creation, and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $473 million in 4,244 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.5 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 6,600 jobs.