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Federal money to pay for new area at the Calgary Zoo, other city amenities

This undated file photo shows a young bison in Alberta's Elk Island National Park. (AP Photo/Courtesy of American Prairie Foundation, Dennis J. Lingohr) This undated file photo shows a young bison in Alberta's Elk Island National Park. (AP Photo/Courtesy of American Prairie Foundation, Dennis J. Lingohr)
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A huge investment in Calgary by the federal government is expected to help people get back to enjoying many of the venues that make the city great.

The $3.4 million in funding will revitalize a number of community spaces and pay for improvements that will help Calgary recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel Vandal, the federal minister in charge of Prairie Economic Development Canada, speaking from TELUS Spark, one of the organizations receiving a grant, said it is important to invest in these spaces.

"From outdoor parks to rooftop patios to event spaces and venues where visitors can learn about Indigenous culture, the projects we are announcing today will bring community spaces to life," he said.

One of the other facilities receiving federal money in the announcement is the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, which will use it to create a new bison enclosure.

The area, which will be located at the north entrance to the Canadian Wilds, has a total cost of $1.5 million, zoo officials said in a statement to CTV News.

"In 2021 we applied to Prairies Economic Development Canada (formerly Western Economic Diversification) for a grant of $750,000 which was approved," said Alison Archambault, the zoo's director of brand and engagement, in an email.

"This new habitat will give this Prairie icon higher profile/more prominent visibility at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and will include signage and information reflecting the bison's all-important historic role to prairie First Nation life and its ongoing cultural significance."

Construction on the new addition is expected to be complete in late 2023.

The funding comes from the $500 million national infrastructure programs designed to help communities across Canada recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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