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Fort Macleod group continues work on cultural heritage tourism

The Fort Macleod Historical Association continues its efforts to make the town a cultural heritage tourism destination.
The association’s board, Fort Museum administration, Marty Eberth from Travel Alberta and Gordon MacIvor met recently with Fort Macleod’s new council and municipal manager David Connauton.
“The meeting went very well,” board chairman Mike Bourassa said. “Council was very interested in both presentations and we spent a good hour after answering a variety of questions.”
The association did an internal feasibility study regarding the future of the Fort Museum.
The study identified the present situation of the museum after 57 years of operation.
The study identified the relationship the museum with other historic sites in the town and how it worked co-operatively with other cultural and historic organizations.
As part of the feasibility study, the board examined including the 1884 North West Mounted Police Barracks provincial historic site as an expansion of the interpretive history of Fort Macleod to attract a new generation of visitors.
The historical association recognizes the Fort Museum must look at addition revenue opportunities to be sustainable.
In order to grow its attendance and appeal to the next generation of visitors in a competitive industry, the Fort Museum has to explore the cultural heritage tourism initiative.
The historical association recognizes any such initiative must be shared by the entire community including mayor and council, the Chamber of Commerce and the cultural community of Fort Macleod which includes the Empress Theatre, First Nations and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
While many studies have been completed in and around Fort Macleod on economic sustainability, none have been acted upon due either to financial constraints, or lack of expertise.
The historical association board approached the provincial government about funding a consultant to identify how Fort Macleod could organize all its cultural and heritage assets into a dynamic tourism attraction, and then implement an action plan developed by the community.
Historical association board members have worked with government to develop terms of reference for the project.
The terms of reference and request for proposal document have been approved by the historical association board and shared with the Empress Theatre, Chamber of Commerce, and now needs town council’s support.
The following are the terms of reference
Study goal

  • To provide strategic direction that will establish Fort Macleod as a sustainable, long term competitive cultural heritage tourism destination.
  • Study objectives

  • To determine the organizational foundation, structure and leadership to enable effective collaboration among stakeholders.
  • To determine the most appropriate approach to enable organizational sustainability over the long term.
  • To provide a blueprint that will guide tourism development activities over the short, medium and long-term.
  • To incorporate the rich heritage of Fort Macleod as exemplified by its strong association with the North West Mounted Police.
  • To recommend strategies to the Town of Fort Macleod that will help them identify, evaluate and protect and manage other places within the town that are significant to their history.
  • To identify a priority action plan that outlines projects, activities and requirements needed over the next three years.

A major outcome resulting from implementation of the Fort Macleod Cultural Heritage Tourism Strategy and Plan is to generate economic activity for the town, while conserving the integrity and authenticity of its rich heritage.
Scope of work

  • Situational analysis.
  • Market and trend analysis.
  • Tourism opportunities.
  • Organizational structure.
  • Strategic direction and actions.
  • Deliverables

  • Stakeholder engagement and consultation.
  • Final strategy plan aligned with the goals and objectives of the terms of reference.
  • Action-orientated plan outlining key strategic directions for short, medium and long term objectives.

Contract and project management and reporting is to be determined. The provincial government would need to identify a contract administrator and the project manager.
To learn more, visit The Fort Museum and Head-Smashed-In are featured on Pages 34-35.

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