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Kingston’s Marine Museum move, reopening delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'Pandemic causes delays for Kingston’s Marine Museum of the Great Lakes' Pandemic causes delays for Kingston’s Marine Museum of the Great Lakes
COVID-19 causes Kingston's "Marine Museum of the Great Lakes" to delay moving and reopening – Jun 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on a number of sectors, including tourism.

Officials with Kingston’s “Marine Museum of the Great Lakes” were all smiles after re-acquiring their former property on Ontario Street late last year.

The pandemic, however, has delayed the museum’s move and reopening. While it looks ready to go on the outside, the inside is a different story — empty galleries, damage and no electricity, even the engine house was flooded.

Chris West, the museum’s chair of the board, says they were hoping to open this summer but COVID-19 quickly put a stop to that.

“We were hoping to do some first-step minimal infrastructure repairs so that we could have moved in an office, had one gallery set up with an exhibit and start to re-engage with our members and the community, who are so eager to get back to this historic site and see it flourish again,” West says. “So the idea was to get a small footprint going this season — that’s obviously deferred with the pandemic.”

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Click to play video 'Ontario street property sold to the Marine Museum' Ontario street property sold to the Marine Museum
Ontario street property sold to the Marine Museum – Jul 29, 2019

A national fundraising campaign has also been pushed back. West says a lofty goal of $30 million will certainly take the museum to the next level.

“I hope by this time next year we will be taking delivery of a truly exciting historic ship that will fill the dry dock, we’ll drain the dry dock, set that ship up on blocks, it’s going to be a spectacular site on Ontario Street and a real calling card not only for the museum but for Kingston.”

Click to play video 'Mixed reactions from business owners on closure of some downtown streets' Mixed reactions from business owners on closure of some downtown streets
Mixed reactions from business owners on closure of some downtown streets – Jun 4, 2020

West says restoration of the facility’s waterfront and docks as well as working with the city on a handful of initiatives makes the future extremely bright. The Marine Museum has been a fixture on the Kingston Museum scene for 45 years now.

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