This is a post about the building at 95 Mill Street South, Port Hope Ontario that currently houses the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum. The intent here is to tell the story of this building that will soon be gone forever and is part of the ‘Going, going…’ series of posts the Ranger has recently published.
This quaint old building was built as a multi-bay garage for the Port Hope Works Department (date unknown) and was vacated in the 1980’s for a large site on Cranberry Road and Hwy 401.
Yes, the building is scheduled to be razed as part of the Port Hope Area Initiative waste clean-up within the next two years. What the future holds for the vacant lot will be any ones guess. There is not much historical significance to the building itself, so the story in this post is more about the birth place of the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum currently operating in it.
Opened in 1984, the museum now houses thousands of artifacts from the 1800’s to the present and has now outgrown its current space. The collection features rare photographs, a large collection of fire hydrants, fire call boxes and ten firetrucks. Admission to the museum is free but donations are welcomed.
As there are only small regional fire fighters museums in Canada at this time, this would be very important to Port Hope to host the first national museum of its kind! How does Canada’s National Fire Fighters Museum sound?
One very unusual truck in the museum is a 1935 Ford prison fire truck actually built in the Kingston Ont. Penitentiary. It was designed to operate without a drive train or steering wheel so inmates could never use it to escape. Also on display are a 1926 Godfredson, a 1929 Bickel, 1941 GMC pumper (from Napanee) and a 1952 Seagrave fire truck.
According to the Museum’s Website, a wish list for the new museum would include an educational centre for kids, a restoration area for fire equipment and to be open all year, instead of the five month season at present.
One site for the new museum that has been studied is the current fire station on Ontario Street. This site will be vacated when a new station is built in the near future. The size of this building, limited room for expansion, and parking, leave a lot to be desired.
Another possible location would be in the Port Hope Business Park. This location would seem to have ample room for museum needs and has important Hwy 401 exposure.
The favored site I’m sure most would agree, would be the old Canadian Tire building located at 10 Robertson Street. This building has almost everything needed by the museum and has been vacant now for many years, and like the current site is close to the downtown area.
This store is unlikely ever to be sold by CTC to any type of business that might be in competition with its Cobourg store. As it has been vacant (surplus) for so many years, imagine if CTC would sell this building at a discounted price or donate it to the museum. Think of the priceless publicity that would be generated for the CT Corporation!
A visit to this unique museum building before it is gone forever is highly recommended.