Visitors to the Elgin County Railway Museum can now experience more railway heritage! The Museum has re-opened to the public following a major renovation project that replaced the roof over 8,200 square feet in the centre section of the historic building. For more than twelve years, the organization has been unable to realize the full potential of its magnificent facility, because of the deteriorating condition of the century-old concrete paneled roof that is original to the building. Full replacement of the concrete roof with a modern metal system is needed. To make the project and fundraising more manageable, the organization has divided the roof replacement into sections, mirroring the stepped roof-line of the building, and is excited to have the first phase of the project complete.
The Museum has reached it’s $654,250 fundraising goal for the first phase of its roof replacement thanks to contributions from more than 170 individual donors, businesses, service clubs, foundations and levels of government. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund has committed $327,125 in matching funds to the project. According to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, “Cultural spaces like the Elgin County Railway Museum bring people of all backgrounds together. By supporting the renovation of cultural infrastructure, we are creating jobs, strengthening communities, and putting arts and culture within reach of all Canadians.”
The Green Lane Community Trust has also contributed $100,000 towards this project. In appreciation, the Museum is naming the new exhibit space the Green Lane Community Trust Rolling Stock Gallery. “We are grateful for this contribution and the additional exhibit space it helped create. The public and tourists the Museum attracts will benefit from an improved visitor experience”, says Executive Director, Dawn Miskelly, “They will finally get up-close to much of our impressive collection of coaches, cabooses and engines – something so many of them have been asking for.”
The City of St. Thomas has also supported the centre section roof replacement. The Museum has received a Community Grant of $50,000 from the City, dedicated to this project. Other key contributions to help make this project a reality came from The Colchester Fund of the Elgin – St. Thomas Community Foundation that granted $35,000 to the project and The Estate of Alan Farnsworth that made a $25,000 bequest.
The Elgin County Railway Museum held a grand re-opening ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, May 12 to thank and acknowledge all who supported this campaign.