Sioux Narrows - Nestor Falls, Ontario, Canada
Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls
The Sioux Narrows - Nestor Falls (SNNF) area is a natural tourist attraction located on the eastern shores of Lake of the Woods. The forest, lakes, rivers, and wildlife bring people from all over the region and beyond to the township to live work and play. In recent years, SNNF has worked to broaden its tourist audience with events such as a 4-day playwright residency program, Book Trading Posts community workshops, events celebrating National Aboriginal Day, and of course the Moose n’ Fiddle Music Festival. ‘Living the Lake Life’ is at the heart of the experience of the region.
The creation of the Bridge + Falls Studios and Residences would reinforce Sioux Narrows - Nestor Falls as a cultural destination. In June 2015, the township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls engaged Prairie Architects to facilitate a community consultation process, conceptual design and pricing, to determine the feasibility of a pod-like village of artists’ studios and an arts centre that acts as an incubator space for arts, culture, and heritage activities in the township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls. Prairie Architects worked with the municipality to prepare a feasibility study for the project. Through 2 community consultations, a project booklet was created to provide the guiding principals for the project based on the community member feedback. The community consultation process was an opportunity for all in the community to discuss goals and preferences for the project. It was also an opportunity for us to hear opinions first hand how a project like this could benefit the community.
Once the Collective Design Process was completed, the information was tabulated and compiled into a composite booklet. A series of “Patterns,” or qualitative design parameters were found that illustrate the collective preferences of the group and were returned to Council for review and confirmation. The majority of feedback was in support for the idea, and discussion on how to implement it to best serve the community residents, businesses and visitors were had. This document was then used as the basis for design to conceptually explore what an artist pod may be.
Prairie then developed 3 conceptual designs that looked at potential sites within the community and highlighted 3 aspects of the region; the lake, the forest, and on the move, highlighting the unique nature of the layout of the communities that are at the heart of the region. Sioux Narrows is located to the North symbolized by the wooden truss bridge over Lake of the Woods, and Nestor Falls to the south where the community gets its name, thus the third pod was on the move! At the completion of our work, we recommended that the community work with design students, local builders, and trade schools, to complete the project. ‘On the Water’ was built by Carpentry Students from the dual-credit program at Confederation College, and local high schools. The community has since partnered with other local architects and design students from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba to develop additional concepts.
For more information please visit: The Sioux Narrows - Nestor Falls Arts and Culture website.