Museum collections are similar to gardens.  They need to be looked after with care, added to judiciously, documented, cleaned, transplanted from time to time and sometimes weeded.

The Collection of the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum is no different. Although we have no permanent home yet in which to show and interpret our collection, much “gardening” work has happened behind the scenes to preserve and enhance it in 2022.

We have accomplished a lot.  Of great significance is the decision by Ingenium, Canada’s National Museums of Science and Technology in Ottawa to select CFFM as the new home for six fire trucks deaccessioned from its collection. These vehicles are surplus to Ingenium’s requirements and they fit holes in our collection. They range from a 1914 American LaFrance Combination truck originally with the Toronto Fire Department to a 1956 Thibault operated by the Val David Fire Department in the Laurentians.  The vehicles will be arriving during the summer and will be held in storage pending their display in due course.

We have also received from a donor in Winnipeg an archival collection featuring the donor’s uncle, a member of the Canadian Corps of Fire Fighters who served in the UK during the Second World War. This material complements other artefacts in the Museum’s collection dealing with this now forgotten chapter in Canadian history.

As reported elsewhere, we have loaned artefacts of great local significance in the last few months, most notably the Weddell Hose Reel Trophy. It is the third Fire Service in Ontario with which CFFM has artefact loans.

The care and maintenance of our Collection over the last few months has involved an inspection of artefacts at the Hub and the Waste Water Treatment Plant courtesy of the Municipality of Port Hope and our various storage locations in the surrounding area.  We were able to clean off the vehicles as we did in 2021 on our last visits, ascertain that no damage had occurred to anything and renew covers over the artefacts as required.

Our largest task was to move our collection of fire hydrants, hoses and chemical carts from one storage facility on private property to another.  This was accomplished over three hours one evening with the impressive assistance of volunteers from the Port Hope Fire Service and the generosity of Henderson Construction. It is calculated that the seven people who did it moved as much as 10 tons of material.  Happily it was accomplished with no injuries to anyone though some of us were stiff the next day!

Apart from preparing to receive the additions to the Collection, we are also doing housekeeping on the Museum’s artefact records as much as circumstances permit.

Our first group of records to be upgraded is that related to the vehicles.  Beyond that we have a database of all of our hydrants compiled by Dennis and the late Janet Waddington that can be added next. This will fill a large hole in our records.  Should anyone reading this be interested in helping us to complete these tasks we would be delighted to hear from you.

Christopher Terry
Chair, Collection Committee

Moving chemical carts, hoses and fire hydrants to new storage on June 20, 2022