January 5, 2018, Morden MB// It was another record year in 2017 for the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, Manitoba which saw visitation balloon to nearly 13,000 people, a seven percent increase over 2016 and double its 2013 attendance.
In the past 20 years the CFDC has welcomed almost 158,000 visitors to the city of Morden and the Pembina Valley which translates into more than $9 million of tourism revenue injected into the local economy.
“More than 85 percent of our visitors come from outside of the region,” said CFDC executive director Peter Cantelon. “This is a fantastic statistic for a region like ours that wants as many people as possible from outside the area to experience our communities and see what we have to offer.”
The past year saw visitors from 47 countries, 38 American states, every Canadian province and one territory.
“If it were not for the support we receive from residents, business and the city of Morden we would not be able to sustain the growth we have seen in the past 5 years,” Cantelon said. “Based on our market research we know this is the tip of the iceberg, when the market becomes fully aware of us and we are offering the best experience we can, visitation should be closer to 60,000 people per year.”
Many other significant milestones were achieved in 2017 with the newest city roadside attraction having been unveiled – a 2 metre long life-size replica of an Archelon turtle which used to swim the seas that engulfed Morden 80 million years ago.
“After having received hundreds of wonderful suggestions for names a clear winner came to the forefront and we’re pleased to announce that the turtle’s name is Archie the Archelon,” said Cantelon.
The turtle has been very popular with residents and tourists alike and was built by Morden resident and dinosaur sculptor Adolfo Cuetara.
2017 also saw the establishment of the Dr. Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Nicholls Award for Excellence in Palaeontology, the unveiling of a new dinosaur exhibit featuring a seven metre Allosaurus; two new mobile apps – an augmented reality fossil discovery game and a new digital audio guide and additional staff.
“As great as 2017 was 2018 is going to be just as amazing with some spectacular new exhibits planned and more work in the community,” said Cantelon.