We definitely do need a new canoe museum
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 Visitors are cheated out of enjoying 80 per cent due to limitations of this outdated, unsuitable structure.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