Woodland Cultural Centre

Top choice in Southwestern Ontario

This well-conceived indigenous cultural center has a performance space, museum and gallery. Though dated in its presentation, the museum provides an excellent overview of the Iroquoian and Algonquian people, from prehistoric times to the present; the artifacts, some dating as far back as the 16th century, are fascinating. The gallery has rotating exhibits of contemporary art by indigenous artists. A small gift shop sells basketry and jewelry, plus books, ceramics and paintings. Check the website for upcoming events.

Woodland also oversees what was once the Mohawk Institute Residential School, one of many boarding schools set up by the Canadian government to force assimilation upon First Nation children and families. A brutal system, the Mohawk Institute was in operation from 1828 to 1970, one of the longest running in Canada. At the time of research, Woodland was in the process of repairing the building in order to re-open it as an interpretive historical site, sharing the history of the often inhumane treatment so many First Nations children endured here. It is slated to open in the summer of 2020.