Rickford announces almost half a million for museum projects

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford was in Fort Frances yesterday and he doled out some pretty hefty funding which will go towards projects of the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre.

While on site at the museum Rickford had the opportunity to take in Science North’s Indigenous Ingenuity exhibit which is currently showing at the museum.

Rickford also announced that the museum was receiving $84,800 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) Resilient Communities Fund.

“As we continue to attract families to the Northwest, our government understands the importance of supporting organizations with new and emerging technologies and learning opportunities here in Fort Frances,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford was in Fort Frances yesterday to announce funding for projects at the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural centre. One of the projects is a permanent dry dock for The Hallett and its sister boat The Owandem. The Hallett was pulled from the river two years ago when rising water threatened to lift the boat off its cradle. –Allan Bradbury photo

“Through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we are proudly investing in the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre so they can build their capacity and continue serving tourists and residents of all ages.”

The funding will go towards the creation of a strategic plan which will try to lay out the next five years for the museum, which will include developing a plan for technology and other programming.

Museum curator Danielle Marshall says the plan will gauge what community members are hoping to see from the museum.

“This plan is a way to interact and engage with the community to see what they want from us as a museum,” Marshall said.

“And to make sure our vision for the museum is what aligns with what the people in the community actually want.”

A consultant team has already begun the behind the scenes work, Marshall says, residents will see requests for feedback soon.

“They’re doing a whole background investigation onsite of what programs we offer now, what other museums our size offer and how we can make our services go to the next level,” Marshall said.

“There’ll probably be an online survey. We’re still in the development phase of the engagement part, but there’ll be a digital component. So people who might not be able to get out will have an accessible way to participate. And then also they will come to Fort Frances and there will be in-person opportunities to give feedback on what the Museum does now and what people would like to see in the future.”

While making the presentation Rickford also took the opportunity to take in the Science North Exhibit which he had seen before in Sudbury. A group of students from Donald Young School in Emo were present to take in the exhibit as well.

Rickford lauded the work of Science North in the creation of the exhibit and the effort made to bring it around to communities throughout northern Ontario.

After helping the students build an igloo at the museum Rickford moved to the waterfront where he announced funding for the Hallet and Owandem project.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is giving $487,500 to the Town of Fort Frances to create a waterfront tourist attraction featuring the two sister tug boats formerly used in the logging industry in the region.

The town has approved a design for the site which will feature dry dock spaces for both boats on the riverfront near the Sorting Gap Marina. The project is nearing the tender phase with hopes of construction beginning soon.

“The Town will use NOHFC funding to restore the tugboats, design a dry dock to display both boats, and landscape the waterfront. When completed, the exhibit will highlight the importance and history of logging along the Rainy River. The dry dock will also be used as a rentable event space,” said a release from Rickford’s office.

“Thanks to the NOHFC and Minister Rickford’s support, the tugboats’ restoration and the beautification of their surroundings are now a reality,” said Marshall.

“NOHFC funds promise a future where these historic gems thrive, offering a chance for people to explore the vessels that were once a fixture on the Rainy River.”