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Philanthropists George and Kathy Dembroski donate $500K to new Canadian Canoe Museum

George and Kathy Dembroski have committed $500,000 to the building of a new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.
George and Kathy Dembroski have committed $500,000 to the building of a new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Canadian Canoe Museum

Longtime philanthropists George and Kathy Dembroski have made a $500,000 commitment to the construction of a new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.

The museum made the announcement on Wednesday morning, noting the Toronto-based philanthropists are “eager” to see the new 85,000-square-foot facility alongside the Peterborough Lift Lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway. The project will replace the aging 1960s-era factory building on Monaghan Road, where space prevents all of the museum’s artifacts from being displayed.

READ MORE: Canadian Canoe Museum receives anonymous $1.25M donation for new museum

Museum officials say the new facility’s 9,700-square-foot outdoor terrace, which will run along the east side of the building, will be named in recognition of the Dembroskis.

“We are incredibly pleased to support this exciting project in Peterborough, recognizing its local, provincial and national impact,” Kathy said.

The $65-million project will house the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. Its design will blend into the landscape and contour the waterway.

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“As we learned about the plans for the new museum, we became increasingly interested,” Kathy said. “And we knew we wanted to become involved as soon as we learned about the functionality of the terrace and how it will serve as a connecting space between the indoors and the outdoors. We can envision people gathering there and taking in the views of the Lift Lock and the waterway.”

The new Canadian Canoe Museum will be located next to the Peterborough Lift Lock.
The new Canadian Canoe Museum will be located next to the Peterborough Lift Lock. Canadian Canoe Musem

The couple is well known in Peterborough, having donated $1 million in 2008 for the new Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The hospital’s Dembroski Emergency Department is named in their honour. They also have a cottage north of Peterborough on Stoney Lake.

An artist’s conception of the terrace of the new Canadian Canoe Museum.
An artist’s conception of the terrace of the new Canadian Canoe Museum. Canadian Canoe Museum

“All of the new museum’s outdoor spaces will significantly enhance the visitor experience,” said the museum’s executive director, Carolyn Hyslop.

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“We look very forward to welcoming individuals and families to the terrace to connect with each other and the landscape that surrounds them. The terrace provides us with a flexible, functional gathering space that will offer opportunities that, right now, we can only imagine. This is thanks to the incredible generosity of George and Kathy.”

READ MORE: Relocation of Canadian Canoe Museum aims to make area one-stop tourist attraction

The museum capital campaign has received $4 million in support from the City of Peterborough, $9 million from the province and $1.4 million from the federal government in addition to private investments, including $7.5 million from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Construction on the new museum is expected to begin this spring with an opening sometime in 2021.

WATCH: Virtual tour of proposed new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough

Virtual tour of proposed new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough
Virtual tour of proposed new Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough