History

Prior to 1987, the Museum was simply a┬ádream of Captain M.T.A. (Mike) Calnan. That spring, he met a kindred spirit and co-founder, Captain M.J. (Mark) Hilash. Both men, one a career soldier, the other a citizen soldier, were, and remain, avid collectors of militaria ranging from buttons and badges to artillery and armoured vehicles. With an enormous amount of family support on both sides, a great deal of trepidation and a significant personal commitment of time and money, land was purchased and construction of a building commenced. As their regrettably shallow pockets were the only source of funds, Hilash and Calnan built the building themselves, hiring a few summer students and “gang-pressing” family members into the construction crew.

Over the intervening years, the collections have grown while holidays were sacrificed to the “edifice god”. After two years of seemingly endless paperwork and a great deal of advice from the Charities Division of Revenue Canada, charitable status was granted to the Museum on 1 September 1992.

During the last few years, the Museum has become very active in the local and national scene. Our “Outreach Programme” has seen members and artifacts participating in many parades, including the week long commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day on Parliament Hill in June of 1994 and the 125th Anniversary of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery held in Ottawa in 1996. Other outreach events have included visiting local Legions and schools to speak on military heritage, Peacekeeping and Canadian industrial history.

The Collections

Prior to 1987, the Museum was simply a dream of Captain M.T.A. (Mike) Calnan. That spring, he met a kindred spirit and co-founder, Captain M.J. (Mark) Hilash. Both men, one a career soldier, the other a citizen soldier, were, and remain, avid collectors of militaria ranging from buttons and badges to artillery and armoured vehicles. With an enormous amount of family support on both sides, a great deal of trepidation and a significant personal commitment of time and money, land was purchased and construction of a building commenced. As their regrettably shallow pockets were the only source of funds, Hilash and Calnan built the building themselves, hiring a few summer students and “gang-pressing” family members into the construction crew.

Over the intervening years, the collections have grown while holidays were sacrificed to the “edifice god”. After two years of seemingly endless paperwork and a great deal of advice from the Charities Division of Revenue Canada, charitable status was granted to the Museum on 1 September 1992.

During the last few years, the Museum has become very active in the local and national scene. Our “Outreach Programme” has seen members and artifacts participating in many parades, including the week long commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day on Parliament Hill in June of 1994 and the 125th Anniversary of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery held in Ottawa in 1996. Other outreach events have included visiting local Legions and schools to speak on military heritage, Peacekeeping and Canadian industrial history.

Funding

The Museum is heavily dependant on donations and volunteers. Funding is primarily provided through private donations by organizations and enthusiasts who support the Museum’s role in preserving history. Other sources of funds are being sought from both private and public sector sources however in times of fiscal restraint, money for heritage and cultural programs is limited.

Donations of artifacts or money are gratefully accepted as the Museum supports heritage and related efforts throughout Eastern Ontario.

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