© Guardian photo by Steve Sharratt
Montague Town Hall
MONTAGUE - The pending arrival of Canada’s 150th birthday next year is being touted as a “golden opportunity” to finally establish a provincial museum and Montague Mayor Richard Collins says he knows the perfect spot.
“Perhaps it’s time to consider the creation of the provincial museum right here in Montague,’’ said Collins. “We’re already blessed with having the oldest museum in the province (Garden of the Gulf) and we have an artifactory for the collection and storage of historical items, not to mention a genealogical centre that was swamped with people this year.”
And if that’s not enough, Collins says the 150th birthday of Canada in 2017 coincides with the 100th birthday of eastern P.E.I.’s largest town.
A guest opinion from Rosemary Curley of the Island Nature Trust and published by The Guardian in December described the 2017 celebrations as the “golden opportunity” for the province to break ground for a new provincial museum of Human and Natural History.
Curley praised Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker for raising the issue in the legislature and said it was high time such a facility was constructed.
“We have done considerable restructuring of our museum, which is the oldest in this province, and we are continually working to make our town a destination centre,” he said. “The last time a provincial museum was on the drawing board it was to be built in Murray River.”
Government has been holding out for years on this issue and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be right here in Montague Montague Mayor Richard Collins
That was in 1997 when former Premier Pat Binns went to Murray River a year after being elected and pounded the sign into the future site of a new museum.
Ten years later the site remained vacant.
During his six year term, former Premier Robert Ghiz mentioned it, but the file did not advance.
Other Island communities, including Charlottetown and Summerside, have also made the pitch for the provincial museum.
“Government has been holding out for years on this issue and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be right here in Montague,” said Collins. “And I don’t want to hear the critics say we’re too far away from Charlottetown.”
The federal government has already made a commitment to spend billions of dollars on social infrastructure as part of the pending celebrations.
Bevan-Baker described a new provincial museum as a “must-visit” facility for every Island school student, citizen and visitor.