The province has announced a dispersal of $50 million from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports Destination Fund. Among the recipient projects in B.C. and the Kootenays is the Cranbrook History Centre, which is getting $1 million for the Centre’s Heritage Railcar Building Phase II.
The sizable sum of money will go towards protecting the centre’s railcar collection. The trains currently reside outside and are subject to wear and tear from the elements.
Phase one project started five years ago, but this new funding boost will give the centre what it needs to finalize it.
“It will help us extend the roof and cover those valuable assets, so we’re not out there covering them with tarps in the winter,” explained Cranbrook History Centre vice president Keith Powell.
The centre is home to one of the largest railcar collections in North America and many of its luxury cars have national significance. It is also known for housing the Cranbrook Archives and for its museum sights such as the paleontology and model train exhibits, Royal Alexandra Hall, and gift store.
The money will be combined with previous grants from the Regional District of East Kootenay, Heritage BC and private donors.
“It really does tell the story of Canada and the development of the railway and tourism. I think it’s really important to preserve that,” said Powell.
Bob Whetham, chair of the board of Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Foundation, stated in a press release that the completion of this project would dovetail nicely with the recently completed Cranbrook Tourism Master Plan.
“Enhancing the external appearance of the museum will contribute to the overall impression of visitors to the city and form a significant element in the goal to strengthen Cranbrook’s position as a tourist destination,” he said.
Of the total $50 million in funding, $20 million is designated for repairing a leaky roof at Vancouver’s Science World, and the $30 million going to other projects around the province, with the goal being to “keep building the province as a world-class tourism destination.”
The Centre is looking for volunteers who can support and contribute to the activities of this important part of Cranbrook. Visit www.cranbrookhistorycentre.com or call 250-489-3918.
-with files from Barry Coulter and Gillian Francis