Joseph Brant Museum gets $4.5-million boost
Feds’ cash final piece of funding puzzle for heritage site
After nearly four decades, Joseph Brant Museum’s expansion and redevelopment plans are green-lit thanks to an infusion of $4.5 million from the federal government to the local heritage site.
Friday morning’s announcement, held at the museum, was the final piece of the funding puzzle needed to go ahead with the $10.4million construction plan, which started in 1978.
“It’s going to be a great way to showcase our cultural heritage to the community… (and) be really meaningful in our community for years and decades and hopefully for another 150 years,” said Burlington MP and Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould.
Originally the museum’s board, through the City of Burlington, had requested $5.2 million from the federal Canada Cultural Spaces Fund program, but director of Burlington museums Barbara Teatero said the slightly lower figure wouldn’t impede the project.
“Not at all. We have a foundation that’s ready to step up and do what needs to be done. It won’t impede it all. It won’t change plans at all,” she said Friday outside the 1240 North Shore Blvd. building.
Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon said the province would be giving a $500,000 grant toward the redevelopment project, administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The city has $2.12 million in reserve funds dedicated to the plan, leaving the Burlington Museums Foundation on the hook for the remaining cost.
Despite no start date for construction on the books, the renovation will expand on the current 5,000-square-foot property, city staff say.
“The proposed design will feature a 14,000-square-foot expansion that reflects the architectural integrity of the Joseph Brant house,” said Mayor Rick Goldring.
“The plan preserves the existing Brant house plus provides an expanded modern facility that architecturally and esthetically complements the Joseph Brant house, be environmentally responsible … attract top-tier national exhibitions and add to Burlington’s lustre as one of Canada’s earliest, historically-rich settlements,” Goldring added.
The local heritage museum — named for the famous Mohawk military and political leader Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), who settled in Burlington in the early 1800s — has been closed to the public since July 2, 2016.
It was initially meant to stay that way just for the summer of 2016 to accommodate road construction along Lakeshore Road.
In January, Teatero said the museum’s board decided to keep Joseph Brant closed in anticipation of provincial and federal funding news.
While the public won’t be able to access the museum until its expansion and redevelopment is completed, Teatero said Friday, they will still be able to enjoy the unique artifacts of the museum during Canada’s 150th year.
“Within the next week, there will be a big display at Burlington Mall that will be there for the year … those Joseph Brant artifacts will not be packed up and put in storage, they be on exhibit at the Ireland House or we’ll be taking them out to the community.” she noted.
Joseph Brant Museum’s expansion plans will be boosted by $4.5 million.