Mu­seum for Mon­tague

East­ern P.E.I. mayor wants the prov­ince to con­sider his town for provin­cial mu­seum

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEVE SHARRATT sshar­ratt@the­guardian.pe.ca

Mon­tague Mayor Richard Collins would like provin­cial mu­seum in his town.

The pend­ing ar­rival of Canada’s 150th birth­day next year is be­ing touted as a “golden op­por­tu­nity” to fi­nally es­tab­lish a provin­cial mu­seum and Mon­tague Mayor Richard Collins says he knows the per­fect spot.

“Per­haps it’s time to con­sider the cre­ation of the provin­cial mu­seum right here in Mon­tague,’’ said Collins. “We’re al­ready blessed with hav­ing the old­est mu­seum in the prov­ince (Gar­den of the Gulf) and we have an ar­ti­fac­tory for the col­lec­tion and stor­age of his­tor­i­cal items, not to men­tion a ge­nealog­i­cal cen­tre that was swamped with peo­ple this year.”

And if that’s not enough, Collins says the 150th birth­day of Canada in 2017 co­in­cides with the 100th birth­day of east­ern P.E.I.’s largest town.

A guest opin­ion from Rose­mary Cur­ley of the Is­land Na­ture Trust and pub­lished by The Guardian in De­cem­ber de­scribed the 2017 cel­e­bra­tions as the “golden op­por­tu­nity” for the prov­ince to break ground for a new provin­cial mu­seum of Hu­man and Nat­u­ral History. Cur­ley praised Green Party leader Peter Be­van-Baker for rais­ing the is­sue in the leg­is­la­ture and said it was high time such a fa­cil­ity was con­structed.

“We have done con­sid­er­able re­struc­tur­ing of our mu­seum, which is the old­est in this prov­ince, and we are con­tin­u­ally work­ing to make our town a des­ti­na­tion cen­tre,” he said. “The last time a provin­cial mu­seum was on the draw­ing board it was to be built in Mur­ray River.”

That was in 1997 when for­mer Premier Pat Binns went to Mur­ray River a year af­ter be­ing elected and pounded the sign into the fu­ture site of a new mu­seum. Ten years later the site re­mained va­cant. Dur­ing his six year term, for­mer Premier Robert Ghiz men­tioned it, but the file did not ad­vance.

Other Is­land com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Char­lot­te­town and Summerside, have also made the pitch for the provin­cial mu­seum.

“Gov­ern­ment has been hold­ing out for years on this is­sue and there’s no rea­son it shouldn’t be right here in Mon­tague,” said Collins. “And I don’t want to hear the crit­ics say we’re too far away from Char­lot­te­town.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has al­ready made a com­mit­ment to spend bil­lions of dol­lars on so­cial in­fra­struc­ture as part of the pend­ing cel­e­bra­tions. Be­vanBaker de­scribed a new provin­cial mu­seum as a “must-visit” fa­cil­ity for ev­ery Is­land school stu­dent, cit­i­zen and vis­i­tor.

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