The power of our Building Boats, Changing Lives workshops inspired Maritime Museum staff to dream of creating an exciting new Boat School at the Museum to provide expanded capacity at the Museum to do hands-on boatbuilding and sail training workshops focused primarily on serving kids at risk from the Mi’kmaw community, the African Nova Scotian community, the immigrant and refugee communities and young women.
The Boat School Dream captured the imagination of Museum managers, the Board of our Foundation, and the folks at Develop Nova Scotia. As our Deputy Minister, Justin Huston, put it: “Your dream for this Boat School is golden.” This is the way that a dream becomes a plan.
Develop Nova Scotia helped us to create a concrete visualization of our dream. Support from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and ACOA enabled us to hire consultants to create a feasibility study and business plan for the Boat School: an important step in helping us make our dream a reality.
Our new Boat School will be integrated into the current Maritime Museum site, in the heart of the Halifax Waterfront. We plan to extend the historic “finger wharf” that’s home to CSS Acadia by between 60 and 80 feet, create a small boat marina on the north side of Acadia, and build the new boatshop on the harbour side of the Waterfront Boardwalk. The facilities onboard the newly renovated CSS Acadia, Canada’s first purpose-build hydrographic vessel, will also be integrated into the program of the Boat School.
The Province-wide Impact of the Boat School: Through the Building Boats, Changing Lives program, the Museum has offered workshops to schools and organizations across the province. An important feature of the Boat School project will be to continue and grow this effort. Our vision is that the Boat School will be both a ‘hive’ of boat building and sail training activity on the Halifax Waterfront and also a ‘hub’ through which this programming can be offered on an outreach basis throughout the province.
Community Support: The Foundation in recent months has been joined by over 100 members of our community who believe in what we’re doing. Each one of these generous Founding Patrons has contributed $1,000 to help us build the capacity to raise the funds build the Boat School. (Here’s a link to the list of Our First 100 Patrons.)
Plans for a Capital Campaign: Our Foundation has been preparing a Capital Campaign for the Boat School over the past year. Allan Shaw and John Young will Co-Chair our Campaign: Wayne Myles will be Vice Chair. John Hennigar-Shuh will coordinate the campaign. John Risley and Jim Irving have agreed to join our Campaign as Honourary Co-Chairs. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our plans for a Capital Campaign launch this summer into disarray, as corporate, individual and foundation donors have understandably adjusted their immediate giving priorities to meet the social devastation occasioned by this novel virus. Someday soon, though, we’ll arrive at our new normal and our Campaign plans will take off. Stay tuned.
The Boat School Dream captured the imagination of Museum managers, the Board of our Foundation, and the folks at Develop Nova Scotia. As our Deputy Minister, Justin Huston, put it: “Your dream for this Boat School is golden.”
This is the way that a dream becomes a plan.