Council considers $125,000 for B.C. Canada House 

Torino venue would showcase British Columbia to world during 2006 Games

Whistler council is considering a $125,000 contribution to the B.C. Canada House project in the heart of Torino during the 2006 Games.

The request for the money came on the heels of a presentation from the Lunny Group, the company responsible for the creative design of the house.

"This opportunity is all about selling our province," said Ian Hamilton, spokesperson for the Lunny Group.

The B.C. Canada House will promote trade and investment opportunities in the province and the country and will showcase B.C.’s business, tourism and cultural opportunities from January until March 2006.

The site of the house is four blocks from the International Medals Plaza and three blocks from the broadcast station of NBC Today. It is also directly opposite the site of the unaccredited media centre, where 3,000 to 5,000 foreign journalists will be looking for stories.

The total budget for the project is $7.8 million. The provincial government has kicked in $4 million and it is hoped the federal government will add some funds too.

Council has asked for a staff report at the next meeting which will detail the source of the potential funding as well as information about who the other Whistler partners will be. It is expected Tourism Whistler would match the $125,000 in funds with in-kind donations, such as brochures and staff time.

"We think (this) is a huge marketing and sales opportunity to promote Whistler in conjunction with Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada," said Tourism Whistler President Barrett Fisher. "(We are) very delighted and excited that council has also recognized the importance of such a high profile marketing and sales opportunity."

B.C. Canada House will be a multi-media experience and is expected to draw 1,000 people an hour through its doors for a taste of Canada, B.C., Vancouver and Whistler.

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