Parks Canada building first Passive House Plus centre

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CaDCR staff writer

The federal government will award more than $37 million to construct Parks Canada’s first Passive House Plus, net-zero carbon build – for Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area in Nipigon.

The centre will serve as Parks Canada’s primary operations base to ensure the ecologically sustainable use and cultural heritage of this national marine conservation area and share the history of Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in the area. The Administration and Visitor Centre is anticipated to open to the public in 2026.

The net-zero carbon project supports commitments in the Greening Government Strategy to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The construction contract was awarded to Finn Way General Contractor Inc., a Thunder Bay company, following a competitive process. The contract includes initiatives that will promote employment opportunities and use of suppliers and contractors within local Indigenous communities.

Federal funding received for this project comes in part from the $557 million announced by the Government of Canada in late 2022 earmarked for Parks Canada priority projects to focus on climate resiliency, public safety, built heritage, and improved visitor experiences. This project is the most significant federal investment at a Parks Canada administered place in the Northern Ontario region.

It 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.

The building has been designed, and will be constructed, using sustainable practices such as superior thermal storage due to its super-insulated envelope, optimized site orientation, sustainable material selection, and on-site energy generation. By harnessing renewable energy sources, the Administration and Visitor Centre will meet its own energy needs while also reducing long term energy costs.

“Parks Canada has shown leadership by constructing the Lake Superior Administration and Visitor Centre in Nipigon, Ontario and it will create a positive ripple effect in the economy and boost growth across the entire region,” said Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River. “This project is an example of how this government has been able to balance environmental protection and economic growth. Environmental protection is resulting in the creation of good, permanent jobs and long-term positive impacts to communities across Northwestern Ontario.”

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