Saigon Park – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2022 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Saigon Park (Mississauga, ON, Canada).
The Indigenous Peoples Experience within Fort Edmonton Park is a first-of-its-kind, immersive exhibit developed in collaboration with Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation (MOU) Partners, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, alongside Elders and community members, Fort Edmonton Management Company, and the City of Edmonton. This transformative experience is a result of years of partnership, cooperation, and deeper understanding between all parties.
Fort Edmonton Park is located along the North Saskatchewan River valley in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and provides guests the opportunity to experience life in four historical periods between 1846 and 1929. The Indigenous Peoples Experience expands beyond these four periods by integrating pre-contact and post-contact stories of Indigenous Peoples with respect and accuracy in a living museum. The exhibit explores the rich cultures of local First Nations and Métis Peoples while encouraging guests to seek out truths lived by Indigenous Peoples before and after Canada’s founding. This opportunity to uplift Indigenous communities comes at a critical time in Canada’s reconciliation with Indigenous people. The Experience features a new 32,000sqft facility containing a walkthrough experience, classrooms, and event space, within a 7-acre site that includes lush native plant discovery trails, animal sculptures, tipi camps, gathering places, arbors, and open-ended opportunities for interpretive programming and events.
The initial concept objective was connecting people to the region’s Indigenous histories and cultures by offering respectful, engaging, and authentic experiences. From the earliest stages of development, engaging with local Indigenous communities and empowering them to tell their story in their own voice was key to the project’s vision and success. This approach side-steps traditional museum narrative and emphasizes first-person quotes to represent the local community and highlight the Indigenous tradition of oral storytelling.