Decades in the making, and possibly with years of work left to go, a planned museum dedicated to the long and storied military history of Niagara took a small step toward reality Monday.
At Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation and Parks Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to negotiate a lease that will eventually allow the museum to be created.
To be called the Niagara Military Heritage Centre, it will serve as the new home for the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Musuem and a place to honour any Niagara resident who wore the uniform, said Jeff Cairns, chair of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Foundation.
“We will have a hall of honour and we will put out a call for materials,” he said. “If you have a family member who served and you want them honoured, we want to see the medals or documents, or copies of them or other materials.”
The five-acre museum site will be located at the Battle of Fort George property on the rifle range.
“It is an appropriate site,” Cairns said. “This is an historic site and a hallowed military site for Niagara. About 100 people died in that area during the Battle of Fort George, mostly British and First Nations soldiers, and they are still interred under the ground there.”
Once the lease has been settled, Cairns said, the next step will be the start of the architectural designs and eventually exhibit spaces.
If all goes well, the museum could open in late 2017.
St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra said because of the rules that protect Parks Canada lands, it can be tricky to get permission to build on them. In this case, it took an order from the minister of the environment — the ministry Parks Canada falls under — to get the process moving.
By Grant LaFleche, The Standard