Fort McMurray is getting a new museum.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 165 has been undergoing renovations since suffering damage from last year’s flood and decided to use the opportunity to upgrade their front area to display all the artifacts they have available to them.
They officially applied to the Organization of Military Museums of Canada and are now being recognized as the northernmost museum of its kind in Alberta.
Branch President Pat Duggan tells Mix News they’re hoping the display area can be used as an educational tool for today’s younger generations.
“We’re trying to promote remembrance on the sacrifices of Canadians but also what this region itself has done in furtherance of Canada’s safety and sovereignty.”
The main focus is to highlight Wood Buffalo’s rich military history.
This includes artifacts highlighting the role the region played in radio broadcasting in the 1920s and during World War 2.
Duggan says it also includes some interesting tidbits some people may not know about, including about the local airport.
“Where the actual airstrip is, it was initially built by the American military… flushed out properly from a bush pilot landing area.”
Plans are still in place for the Legion to move out of Waterways due to insurance issues and a decline in foot traffic.
Talks are happening between the RMWB and the province about property in Parsons Creek.
Duggan says if this does happen they’ll look to expand their already new museum.
“That will allow us to bring in some vehicles and such, so we’ll be able to expand the visitor’s experience.”
At this time, there isn’t an exact timeline on when or if this will happen.
Meanwhile, the Legion isn’t welcoming any guests at this time due to COVID-19.
Once restrictions start easing, they plan on encouraging residents to view the display area for free and learn more with their museum coordinator, Dale Bendfeld.