Owned by the City of Kenora, and operated by Tourism Kenora, the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre is a multi-purpose building that serves as a visitor information and interpretive centre. An interpretive forest, a key component of the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre, has been created on the Centre’s grounds, and it celebrated its official opening on September 22, 2014.
The Discovery Forest is a unique space in Northwestern Ontario where visitors to the region as well as local residents are able to explore and learn about the area’s overlapping prairie grasslands and boreal and eastern parkland forests and the species that inhabit them. The site is now an important educational resource for the local community, as well as visitors and school groups about the natural environment that surrounds us. The forest will teach visitors how to identify species, as well as educating them on sustainable forestry management and traditional plant uses.
Through the collaboration with the Common Ground Research Forum, Tourism Kenora has worked with students and staff at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba, staff at Bimose Tribal Council, the Keewatin Patricia District School Board, and Wassegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig, as well as area First Nations elders to document and translate traditional Anishinaabe names and usages of plant species that appear in the interpretive forest. This information was used to develop signs, a site map, and a brochure that visitors to the forest may use to guide themselves through the site.
In addition to the Discovery Forest project, Dr. Iain Davidson-Hunt had his students prepared a related guide book for nearby Tunnel Island. Visitors to the Discovery Forest can access this resource to further their explorations of area forests.