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"Museum Receives Town Grant"

By Wayne Lowrie, Gananoque Reporter
February 2, 2015

The Antique Boat Museum in Gananoque has received a $250,000 grant from the federally funded Thousand Islands Community Development Corporation.

In announcing the grant on Friday, Gord Brown, MP for Leeds-Grenville, said the money would be provided over three years for a mixture of capital and operating expenses.

Tom Russell, executive director of the TICDC, said the grant is the largest ever handed out by his group in its nine years of operation. He said the corporation's board, made up of directors from the community, was unanimous in its desire to support the Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum Trust.

Part of the grant will go toward the capital costs of building the $4.5 million boathouse and dock that will be a centrepiece of the Museum. Another part of the grant would go toward fundraising efforts for the rest of boathouse money.

Susanne Richter of the Boat Museum said the boathouse would be built in two phases: the dock and the building itself. When completed, the boathouse would allow the Museum to show visiting antique boats and other exhibits.

The Boat Museum is expected to be completed in 2016, but it opened on a limited basis in 2014, offering children's activities, an active boat-building and a limited number of exhibits. The official opening is scheduled for this year, with final completion in 2016.

Brown said the Museum will create 12 full- and part-time jobs and employment opportunities for summer students, while generating $500,000 in revenues and creating spin-off activities in tourism.

Mayor Erika Demchuk praised the Museum for deciding to locate and Gananoque and for its work with the local school to get kids involved in making boats for the Museum. The Museum is working with Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School on projects and programming for the Museum.

“The Town of Gananoque just loves this project, and we embrace it very, very well,” she said. “This is going to be a win-win situation for the town, the high school and all of the community.”

Bob Easton, a member of the Museum's board, said the grant is a “crowning moment” to cap the years of hard work to get the Museum going. The Museum was a “dream for many years” and it now becoming a reality.

Joe Pal, also a member of the board, said the grant is an expression of confidence in the Museum. He said he realizes that the $250,000 is meant as startup funds and that there is a lot of hard work to be done but that the Museum is starting to get momentum.

The press conference was bit of a lovefest for Brown, who was praised by MPP Steve Clark, Russell and board members for his work on getting federal funding for the TICDC.


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