Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Supporting learning Indigenous languages in Kingston

Press Release

From: Infrastructure Canada

Kingston, Ontario, January 19, 2024 — The home of the Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest (KNCLN), a city-owned heritage property, will be retrofitted after an investment of nearly $2.4 million from the federal government. The City of Kingston is contributing $636,854.

Announced by MP Mark Gerretsen, Mayor Bryan Paterson, and Constance Carriere-Prill, Executive Director of KNCLN, the existing building will be renovated, aim for net-zero carbon emissions, and provide a new, accessible, urban space for Indigenous-led language learning and cultural programs.

The renewal of the KNCLN, located at 610 Montreal Street, has been planned with community partners and local Indigenous leaders.

Improvements to the building will assist those with mobility needs and parents of young children by giving them greater independence when using this space. Renovations include universal washrooms, a community kitchen, indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces, and an elevator. Additionally, new insulation, electrified heating systems, LED lighting, and solar panels will aim to significantly reduce the facility’s energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

KNCLN was started in the grassroots by a local group of Indigenous language lovers and learners to champion the urban resurgence of Indigenous languages. It is now a provincially funded Friendship Centre under the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and receives financial support from the City of Kingston.


“The federal government is proud to invest in green and inclusive improvements that support the Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest as it continues to grow and expand its programming. Renovations to this space will give Indigenous communities in the area opportunities to preserve, revitalize, and strengthen their languages and cultures.”

Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“I’m excited about the changes coming to this City-owned heritage building. This new funding will enhance and revitalize an important space dedicated to preserving and celebrating local Indigenous culture. This transformation will help to showcase both our local heritage and sustainability as we build a brighter, more inclusive future for everyone in our community.”

His Worship, Mayor Bryan Paterson, City of Kingston

“We are so very humbled and honoured to receive this support from our local City partners and Infrastructure Canada. There is much work ahead of us to expand our programs and services to meet the needs of our local Indigenous community. Urban Indigenous people, in general, lack access to safe and accessible land and spaces – to gather and to simply connect. Knowing we will have a safe, full-service, beautiful building and property at 610 Montreal as our core educational site to welcome clients and families is exciting beyond measure.”

Constance Carriere-Prill, Executive Director, Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest (KNCLN)

“The funding provides a fantastic opportunity to show how preserving heritage buildings can go hand in hand with creating sustainable and inclusive community spaces. Reaching this milestone has been a collaborative effort and KNCLN has been a great partner at every step.”

Kevin Gibbs, Director Heritage Services, City of Kingston

Quick facts

  • The federal government is investing $2,355,415 to this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (GICB) and the City of Kingston is contributing $636,854.
  • These enhancements are expected to increase the energy efficiency of the existing building and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 16.1 tonnes annually.
  • In 2023, the Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest (KNCLN) joined the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC).
  • As KNCLN expands, 610 Montreal will remain the site of its education and language teaching centre.
  • The GICB program aims to improve the places Canadians work, learn, play, live and come together by cutting pollution, reducing costs, and supporting thousands of good jobs. Through green and other upgrades to existing public community buildings and new builds in underserved communities, the GICB program helps ensure community facilities are inclusive, accessible, and have a long service life, while also helping Canada move towards its net-zero objectives by 2050.
  • At least 10 percent of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.
  • The GICB program was created in support of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. It is supporting the Plan’s first pillar by helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of energy efficiency, and helping places become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  • The GICB program is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades.

Associated links

For more information (media only), please contact:

Micaal Ahmed
Communications Manager
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Web: Infrastructure Canada

City of Kingston
613-546-4291 ext. 2300



NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More