Background Content

Language and Culture (13-17)

The Palais des congrès de Montréal invites business travellers to discover Indigenous tourism

March 14, 2024

NationTalk: MONTRÉAL – The Palais des congrès de Montréal and Indigenous Tourism Québec unveil QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE (Indigenous Québec), a convivial networking space to discover the tourism offer of Québec’s 11 Indigenous Nations.

For the list of contributors to the project, go to page 4.

The list of installations in the QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE space is available here.

Photographs can be downloaded from this link.

For convention-goers from around the world, QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE responds to the public’s growing interest in Indigenous cultures, and the expectations of a rapidly-changing events industry. Indeed, beyond the content of conventions, business travellers are seeking unique experiences—ones that provide cultural encounters and discoveries. A resolutely innovative demand that is creating bridges between business tourism and leisure tourism.

Inspired by Indigenous Tourism Québec’s powerful theme, “All memorable stories start with an encounter,” QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE captures the Palais des congrès’ desire to transform the convention-goer’s visit into a moment of sharing. For thousands of years, Indigenous Québec has been unique in its cultures that combine ancestral and contemporary traditions. With this thematic space, the Palais des congrès and Indigenous Tourism Québec offer business travellers an informal place of encounter along with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a unique, high-quality and authentic tourism offer.

This new zone is the latest addition to the Palais’ offering of flagship experiences in Québec since 2019, created in close collaboration with Vannoote Design: LE CHALET, transporting visitors to a wooded environment; LA STATION, evoking an après-ski ambience; LE SAINT-LAURENT, an immersion in the marine life of the St. Lawrence River; and LE PANORAMA. Soon to be unveiled, this latest space will plunge visitors into a variety of nature experiences. LA STATION, LE SAINT-LAURENT and LE PANORAMA were designed in collaboration with the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec, as part of a new mandate from the Québec Ministry of Tourism to promote the destination under the brand Bonjour Québec.

Exploring the richness of Indigenous tourism

By combining their know-how, the Palais des congrès de Montréal and Indigenous Tourism Québec, in collaboration with interior designer Gérard Vannoote and several other contributors, developed a space that provides a window on the living heritage of First Nations and Inuit.

This intimate, welcoming space, in the form of a circle, is encompassed by a structure of wooden poles carved by Innu designer and artisan Serge Ashini Goupil. Like the inside of a teepee, it evokes the cycle of life, the circle being an important symbol for Indigenous peoples. On a central table, a 3D map situates the 55 Indigenous communities in Québec. The emblems of each of the 11 Nations adorn the space, along with large-format photographs depicting dancers, members of the Kahnawà:ke community, in their traditional dress. Lastly, a 12-metre (40-foot) wampum belt suspended from the ceiling takes pride of place in the Palais’ Viger Hall. This belt, made of marine shell beads, represents peace and fraternity among peoples—a reminder that this site is a welcoming place for visitors from around the world.

With a dynamic interface, visitors will be able to tangibly discover the Indigenous tourism offer, and some 200 experiences related to art and culture, hunting and fishing, gastronomy, festivities, accommodation, and nature and adventure. A unique and authentic look at the richness of Québec’s Indigenous tourism!

A promising collaboration

To broaden and sustain their partnership, the Palais des congrès de Montréal and Indigenous Tourism Québec will roll out other initiatives in the coming weeks. A thematic menu inspired by Indigenous culinary traditions will be created by Maestro Culinaire, the Palais’ exclusive food service provider. An Awareness-raising workshop on Indigenous realities in a tourism context (“Indigenous tourism: a tool for bringing communities closer together and responding to the population’s desire to learn more about Indigenous history, traditions and realities”) will be offered to the Palais’ team. Lastly, a client Legacy Program will be put in place by the Palais to bring to life the QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE space through various activities and events.

In addition to this space, several events organized by and for Indigenous peoples will be held at the Palais des congrès, including the Assembly of First Nations, from July 9 to 11, 2024, and the International Indigenous Tourism Conference, in February 2025.


“We can’t experience all of Québec’s richness without shining a light on the cultural, heritage and artistic tourism of the 11 Indigenous Nations. It’s an honour for the Palais des congrès de Montréal to offer a place of encounter between people from around the world and the tourism treasures of the peoples who have lived on and protected Québec since the dawn of time.” – Emmanuelle Legault, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal

“The QUÉBEC AUTOCHTONE space will allow thousands of convention-goers from around the world to enjoy a revelatory moment, swept up by the magnificence of the Indigenous tourism offer in Québec. This partnership with the Palais des congrès de Montréal is not only innovative, it’s a great step toward bringing communities closer together. We’re grateful and energized as a sectoral tourism association and proud that this promising initiative is taking root in Montréal.” – Dave Laveau, Executive Director of Indigenous Tourism Québec

About the Palais des congrès de Montréal

A creative solutions centre and a showcase for the city’s spirit and expertise, the Palais des congrès de Montréal has been promoting and hosting large-scale events since 1983. Generating significant economic, social and intellectual benefits, it encourages innovation and acts as a force for progress for both Montréal and Québec. The Palais is firmly committed to sustainability and takes numerous innovative, concrete steps to make it a central component of its business development. With one of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the world, the Palais actively contributes to the international reputation of Montréal, the top host city for international events in America for six years in a row.

About Indigenous Tourism Québec (ITQ)

ITQ is the tourism industry association recognized by the Ministry of Tourism as the official spokesperson for Indigenous tourism, and by the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador as the representative of an exchange and service centre for the development and promotion of the Indigenous tourism offer. Our mission: to guide and propel the success of Indigenous entrepreneurs in tourism markets through our strengths: human-centered relations, expertise, advice, networks and strategies.


We would like to highlight the contribution of our collaborators in bringing this project to fruition. First, we wish to thank the members of the Ideation Committee:

Marie-Pierre Lainé, Development and Partnership Coordinator at Indigenous Tourism Québec, member of the Wendake community of the Huron-Wendat Nation

Élaine Legault, Vice-President, Events and Client Experience at the Palais des congrès de Montréal

Gérard Vannoote, interior designer at gérardvannootedesign

Claudi Néron, Executive Director of La Boite Rouge Vif

Véronique Rankin, Executive Director of Wapikoni Mobile and founding member of the Collectif des arts et de la culture des peuples autochtones au Québec, member of the Pikogan community of the Anishinaabe Nation

We also wish to thank the experts and artists involved:

Serge Ashini Goupil, designer and artisan, member of the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John

Karine Awashish, artist, member of the Obedjiwan community of the Atikamekw First Nation

Jonathan Lainey, Curator, Indigenous Cultures, McCord Stewart Museum, member of the Wendake community of the Huron-Wendat Nation.

For further information: Gaelle Simon, Advisor and Copywriter, Communications and Public Affairs, Palais des congrès de Montréal, 514 871-5849,; Marie-Pierre Lainé, Development and Partnership Coordinator, Indigenous Tourism Québec, 418 717-6780,