We def­i­nitely do need a new ca­noe mu­seum

The Peterborough Examiner - - OPINION -

Sad when mis­guided opin­ion is pub­lished and wrongly in­forms oth­ers - “Ca­noe Mu­seum move is a costly mis­take,” Let­ters to the Edi­tor, Sept. 26, 2017. To the con­trary, a new mu­seum is an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity!

The com­plainer claims to be a ca­noe trip­per who twice vis­ited the present mu­seum, giv­ing him cre­den­tials to pro­nounce it ad­e­quate, re­quir­ing noth­ing more. Re­ally?

The mu­seum is presently housed in scat­tered old fac­tory build­ings, not un­der one roof. De­crepit when ac­quired 20 years ago, they are far from suit­able de­spite ren­o­va­tions. Costly re­pairs/main­te­nance are on­go­ing - dol­lars which could be put to far bet­ter use in a mod­ern, pur­pose-built struc­ture. It MUST be done. CCM owns the largest col­lec­tion of pad­dled wa­ter­craft in the world; barely 20 per cent is view­able. Vis­i­tors are cheated out of en­joy­ing 80 per cent due to lim­i­ta­tions of this out­dated, un­suit­able struc­ture. Pre­cious arte­facts are jammed to­gether un­der roofs that of­ten leak, and must be hid­den un­der plas­tic. In a new fa­cil­ity, they will be safer, on dis­play.

A ‘Cat­e­gory A’ mu­seum will al­low CCM to re­ceive do­na­tions and ex­hibits from other sources, things it can­not now do. It will en­hance vis­ual plea­sure and ed­u­ca­tion. As for sup­port­ing In­dige­nous cul­ture and rais­ing aware­ness of the con­tri­bu­tions of our First Na­tions to the foun­da­tion of Canada, few in­sti­tu­tions do this with as much suc­cess as CCM. It ex­tols the his­tory of in­no­va­tive ca­noe man­u­fac­tur­ing in Lake­field, Rice Lake, Peter­bor­ough; it cel­e­brates con­tri­bu­tions of Gor­don, English, Her­ald, Strick­land, Stephen­son, who added so much to the growth of our area. Add the late Wal­ter Walker, an­other Lake­field lad; one hopes the de­trac­tor, from Lake­field, would ab­sorb some of this lo­cal pride and be­come more sup­port­ive.

Canada lacked proper na­tional mu­se­ums and gal­leries to house/dis­play ir­re­place­able cul­tural trea­sures: Group of Seven paint­ings lan­guished in damp Ottawa base­ments; iconic, his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­facts were ‘stored’ un­der tar­pau­lins in wooden sheds with leaky, cor­ru­gated steel roofs and walls re­sem­bling Swiss cheese. It was a dis­grace. It was grossly ne­glect­ful. There was no Na­tional Gallery on Ne­pean Point; there was no Mu­seum of His­tory in the fab­u­lous ser­pen­tine ed­i­fice of Dou­glas Car­di­nal, where a de­crepit Eddy Match fac­tory pre­vi­ously stood.

De­trac­tors said we couldn’t af­ford one struc­ture, let alone two. But it got done. Two of this na­tion’s finest build­ings; one on ei­ther side of the Ottawa River - the great­est struc­tural lega­cies left by the Trudeau govern­ment.

In con­cept and project, the pro­posed new ca­noe mu­seum next the Lift Lock ri­vals in beauty and scope what was done there.

Peter­bor­ough de­serves a sim­i­lar re­sult; great ben­e­fits will fol­low. Roger Young Keene

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