Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a piece of land that has been a gathering place for 64-hundred years, and it continues to be a gathering place in its newer form as a park and archaeological site which is undergoing expansion and renewal. Development Manager, Tara Janzen, says the Thundering Ahead campaign reached its original goal of $40-million, with $25-million in cash and the rest in land acquisitions, but the cost estimates were in 2013 dollars.
The construction costs were re-evaluated and currently there is about a million dollars left to go for its fundraising goal. Along with more land for a buffalo herd to live on, additions to the main building to bring back exhibit galleries and to include a big meeting space, the playground will undergo renewal as well. Janzen says the structures will be for play, but can be interpreted as other things. For instance, there will be a climbing structure that looks like a beaver dam and a structure that looks like a buffalo rubbing stone.
It’s expected the whole project will be done by June of 2020. Indigenous people were gathering at what is now called Wanuskewin 2-thousand years before the pyramids were built. Along with being a Heritage Park now, it is also a major archaeological site with 2 bison jumps, teepee rings, and the northern most medicine wheel in the Great Plains area. Wanuskewin’s Board of Directors hopes that the park will one day become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
These are renderings of the future playground area.