Capilano River Salmon Hatchery

The Challenge

Capilano River Salmon Hatchery is one of the top tourist destinations on Vancouver’s North Shore. It gets over 200,000 visits a year—but hadn’t seen a refresh to its interpretive exhibits in about 40 years. We were brought on to give it a fresh look—and to take a collaborative approach with Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

The Approach

My role was lead interpretive planner with Double Dare Design. Since the site had virtually no visitor evaluations nor comment cards, I did a qualitative text analysis of over 400 Tripadvisor reviews to identy the site’s strengths and weaknesses. We met repeatedly with First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ingenium, and local government partners to flesh out a full interpretive plan. These partners became intimately involved with identifying the site’s key performance indicators, main themes and storylines, and eventually the interpretive media plan for the entire site. Together we envisioned over 60 new experienced. I then took on the job of analyzing them from the point of view of relevance, potential memorability and impact, capital cost, operating cost, and other criteria. It was a long process but I’m more than pleased with the results.

Lessons Learned

This project showed the value of spending time with partners. Together with them, we visited three west-coast salmon hatcheries; met repeatedly on site; visited the two First Nations a few times, and got together with them remotely whenever meetups weren’t possible.

Weighted word cloud from a planning session
Weighted word cloud from a planning session

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