UPDATE (Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023):
Earlier this week, Parks Canada announced approximately $12 million over three years for projects related to critical infrastructure improvements at four national historic sites.
A vast majority of the funding, $10,364,100, will be directed to Fort Henry, Parks Canada confirmed in response to Kingstonist inquiries. Those funds will address three specific areas, as follows:
Fort Henry Redoubt Masonry Recapitalization:
Parks Canada will repoint deteriorated mortar, as well as replace and repair damaged stones as required, within the heritage masonry of the Fort Henry Redoubt. This project also includes the improvement of doors and windows and their replacement as needed.
Fort Henry West Branch Ditch Bridge Replacement:
The main operational and visitor access to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Site is provided by a vehicular bridge over the defensible west ditch. The intent of this project is to replace this bridge with a new vehicular timber/steel structure which will incorporate a new timber deck and railing system. Additionally, the access road will be reconstructed to accept the new structure and necessary strengthening/pointing work will be completed to the existing heritage masonry wall which will serve as the bridge’s abutments.
Fort Henry Gravity Sewer Installation:
Department of National Defense (DND) is re-aligning and replacing the sanitary sewer lines and relocating a pumping station for DND-owned properties located in the vicinity of Fort Henry National Historic Site. This DND-led project includes the construction of a new gravity sewer (approximately 400m) dedicated to serving Fort Henry National Historic Site on adjacent Parks Canada-administered property. This project was completed at the end of 2022.
Parks Canada sites in eastern Ontario, Fort Henry, Fort Wellington, Laurier House, and Sir John Johnson House national historic sites, are getting a funding boost to improve their aging infrastructure.
Today, Monday, Jan 23, 2023, Mark Gerretsen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate) and Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced approximately $12 million over three years for projects related to critical infrastructure improvements at these sites.
According to a release from Parks Canada, these upgrades help ensure public safety, quality and reliability in visitor offers, incorporate green technologies and climate resilience, while connecting Canadians with nature and history.
“The Government of Canada supports Canadians knowing, learning and experiencing this country’s rich history, and Parks Canada provides so many valuable sites,” Gerretsen said. “By ensuring the sustainability of Parks Canada administered places, we can support local economies, contribute to the growth of sustainable tourism, and strengthen their appeal as destinations to celebrate our country. These investments in the heritage infrastructure of Fort Henry, Fort Wellington, Laurier House, and Sir John Johnson House national historic sites are essential to ensuring the preservation of cultural resources for the benefit, appreciation, and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
Through this federal investment – part of the $557 million in funding announced by the Government of Canada in late 2022 – Parks Canada said that it will conserve the heritage value of these important cultural resources, ensuring high quality, meaningful visitor experiences and contributing to the country’s world-class tourism offer.
According to the release, the work supported through this investment includes:
- restore deteriorating stone walls, update sanitary systems and replace the main entry bridge at Fort Henry National Historic Site;
- protect Laurier House National Historic Site from the elements with a new roof;
- continue to preserve the battlements of Fort Wellington National Historic Site using the innovative approach that was successfully proven through a first phase of renewal in 2020; and,
- upgrade the fire alarm and protection systems at Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site.
Fort Henry National Historic Site is the centrepiece of the Kingston Fortifications National Historic Site of Canada, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, visited by over 100,000 people each year, Parks Canada stated. Completed in 1836, it was built to defend the Rideau Canal and Kingston’s naval dockyard from American attack. Owned and administered by Parks Canada, a partnership with the Province of Ontario enables the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to continue its internationally renowned programs in this impressive structure.
“The investment into restoring the stone walls and improving the facilities at Fort Henry National Historic Site will help continue its rich tradition of living history. This is an especially meaningful investment as 2023 marks the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Fort Henry Guard,” stated Michael Murphy, President of the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada.
Formed in 1988, the mission of the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada (FHGCC) is to promote and support the Fort Henry Guard, the world-renowned group of dedicated people who have brought history to life at Fort Henry since 1938. The FHGCC consists of Fort Henry Guard alumni, former staff, and friends of Fort Henry.
Kingstonist inquired as to the amount of money that will come to Fort Henry specifically, but received no response by time of publishing.
The network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of memories from coast to coast to coast, according to the release. Investing in these locations helps support the protection of natural heritage and our rich history, increases climate resiliency and creates jobs in local communities, while providing visitors with high-quality, safe and meaningful experiences across the country, Parks Canada noted.
“National historic sites offer countless opportunities for Canadians to connect with history. Fort Wellington National Historic Site may be a small fort, however it played a significant role in ensuring the independence of this country,” said Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. “With each of these infrastructure projects, Parks Canada ensures unique and leading edge techniques are used in the restoration work to conserve the heritage character value and authenticity of these national historic sites. This federal support will allow Parks Canada to continue telling the story of these treasured places and their integral role in Canada’s history for generations to come.”
Parks Canada’s wide-ranging infrastructure portfolio includes more than 18,500 built assets such as highways, bridges, dams and other marine infrastructure, historic buildings and fortifications, water and wastewater treatment facilities, campgrounds, visitor centres and operational buildings and compounds. Since 2015, the federal infrastructure investment program has enabled Parks Canada to improve the condition of approximately 5,000 assets across the country. These upgrades help ensure public safety, quality and reliability in visitor offers, incorporate green technologies and climate resilience, while connecting Canadians with nature and history.
Learn more about Fort Henry on their website.