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Three northern Ont. communities to run provincial park


The Ontario government has announced a partnership with three northern Ontario communities to operate a provincial park near Elliot Lake.

The goal of the partnership is to include the history of the park’s long-standing Indigenous heritage.

In a statement, Chief Bob Chiblow of Mississauga First Nation said those who visit the park will “gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the Anishinaabe culture when they leave.”

Chief Brent Bissaillon of Serpent River First Nation said there are a number of historical sites in the park.

“We’re looking increasing the awareness and the awareness of the Indigenous communities that live in those areas and the history behind that,” said Bissaillon.

The partnership is through the Mississagi Park Foundation, which includes the City of Elliot Lake, Mississauga First Nation and Serpent River First Nation.

On Tuesday, leaders from each group gathered at the Mississagi Cultural Centre to honour the partnership with a traditional pipe ceremony.

Bissaillon said the moment was meaningful.

“The province came forward and they brought their staff and various other people so it was beautiful,” he said.

“People came down from Elliot Lake, too, so it was special. This does mean a lot to Indigenous people and the people of Elliot Lake, too.”

Mississagi Provincial Park, formally established in 1965, was previously run by the City of Elliot Lake. The city’s acting mayor, Andrew Wannan, said the park is important to the community.

Wannan said sharing the responsibility of the park is an essential part of ongoing cooperation among the communities. He said the park is an essential piece of the puzzle to boost tourism in the north.

“I’m hopeful for other communities to maybe look at and get inspiration from this process,” Wannan said.

David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, said he hopes future generations will learn about the park’s history.

“I think this is exciting for us as a province and exciting for the many girls and boys, next generation, who will go and visit,” Piccini said.

“Learn from the teachings of the foundation, the Indigenous leadership in this pristine 12,000 acres of wilderness.”

Bissaillon said while discussions are ongoing, the goal is to include signs, medicine trails and more information about the park’s history. Top Stories

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