Abegweit First Nation and Parks Canada partner for P.E.I. weddings, events
'People across the nation are starting to recognize Prince Edward Island as an ideal wedding destination'
Parks Canada and Abegweit First Nation are teaming up to offer wedding and event services at P.E.I. National Park and the Island's historic sites.
Tara McNally MacPhee, the visitor experience manager for P.E.I. National Park, said demand has increased in the past few years for weddings and events at Parks Canada sites on the Island.
"We want to connect [people] to P.E.I. National Park and have that lifelong connection," said McNally MacPhee. "However, the demand has grown so much that it got to a point where we really didn't have a whole lot of resources left to manage it effectively."
That's when Abegweit First Nation stepped in.
Through their business — Abegweit Celebrations & Events — Abegweit First Nation will help clients navigate the process of getting the proper permits and approvals to have a wedding at a Parks Canada site in P.E.I.
Running an events service is "a good opportunity for us to build skills and capacity within our community," said Tyler Gould, director of economic development at Abegweit First Nation. "We have a lot of experience organizing and delivering events."
This is a really important part of working together toward reconciliation and contributing toward economic and community development.— Tara McNally MacPhee, Parks Canada
Gould said he sees a lot of potential in the wedding and event industry in P.E.I.
"I think people across the nation are starting to recognize Prince Edward Island as an ideal wedding destination, and we want to be involved in that industry and grow with it."
In the future, Gould said Abegweit Celebrations & Events will provide planning services and they hope to offer clients an "authentic Indigneous experience" for events, which would be fully catered with Mi'kmaw food.
'Working together toward reconciliation'
"We're really excited about this opportunity," said McNally MacPhee. "We've been sitting at the table with First Nations communities on P.E.I. for many years. We have lots of collaborative events and initiatives that we've been working on.
"This is a really important part of working together toward reconciliation and contributing toward economic and community development."
Abegweit Celebrations & Events will be the main point of contact for people looking to hold an event at a Parks Canada site.
"Parks Canada has been a great partner to the First Nations here in Prince Edward Island for quite some time and this is just another testament to just how committed they are to reconciliation," said Gould. "They're putting sort of their actions where their words are.
"We're also stewards of the environment and this relationship just makes sense."
Anyone looking to book an event at a Parks Canada site in P.E.I. can visit the Abegweit First Nation website for information on pricing and services offered.
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With files from Angela Walker