Canadian Air and Space Museum gets evicted—cue crying, conspiracy theories and Harrison Ford
We’ve been following the coverage of the Canadian Air and Space Museum’s eviction by Downsview Park on Tuesday for being over $120,000 behind on its rent, and frankly, we’re a little surprised by the inordinate amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth that’s transpired. Curator Rob Godwin argued he and his colleagues were “ambushed” and lied to, victims of a conspiracy to “just kick us out and knock this place down” to make way for an ice rink. Museum CEO Robert Cohen broke down, offering, “I’m camping here. They’re gonna have to throw me out,” while Carol Off berated the park’s chairman for his cruelty on the CBC’s As It Happens and local councillor Maria Augimeri took issue with the “careless” and “callous” eviction in a press release. For its part, the Downsview Park Corporation’s chairman David Soknacki has offered to help pay to move and store the museum’s planes and artifacts, plans to preserve the historic building and says he’s open to having the debtors set up elsewhere on the property. But whether Downsview Park acted shady or not, the museum simply couldn’t pay its bills, even with avid flier Harrison Ford urging people to donate. Unfortunate, sure, but hardly criminal. Read the entire story [National Post] »
5 thoughts on “Canadian Air and Space Museum gets evicted—cue crying, conspiracy theories and Harrison Ford”
Firstly, this museum has been there for over a dozen years and never had a problem paying its bills and maintaining the collection (with nothing but volunteers) until the Park (A Crown corporation) decided to start charging $15,500 a month in rent. They implemented this increase about two years ago, for those who are keeping count that would be right around the time they were approached by the hockey rink people. However, they didn’t tell the museum they had plans to knock the building down and build a hockey rink until the day they evicted us. Secondly they made absolutely NO offer to store artifacts or find another place for the museum or help us move until AFTER the media drew attention to the eviction. As of this moment they STILL haven’t made any such offer directly to the Museum other than in vague comments to the press. (That would be you.) So the Canadian government, is charging a not-for-profit organisation, run by volunteers, $15K in rent on a government building to take care and maintain the community’s history and the building. It’s a great scam, typical government insanity.
It’s good that author Kevin Hamilton has enough of a working knowledge of actor/aviator Harrison Ford to include him in the article on the Canadian Air and Space Museum.
But it’s unfortunate that Hamilton didn’t include a listing of some of the other museum patrons and sponsors.
They’re a “who’s who” of Canadian aerospace history and most of the largest of the current crop of Canadian owned aerospace firms.
The issue isn’t about the museum not being able to pay its bills. The last CASM rent check (including a payment on the principal outstanding from the abrupt rent increasd two years ago) was refused by the Downsview Park corporations as was reported in the articles Hamilton cited. The other tenants of the building were also evicted to pave the way for the hockey rink.
The issue is about preserving a piece of Canadian heritage so that people like Mr. Harrison can learn about more than just American movie actors.
According to the Downsview Park website, “the park reflects Canada’s mosaic brilliance and celebrates its past, present and future accomplishments.”
There’s a lot of empty and unoccupied land at Downsview park. Perhaps the best way for Downsview Park to fulfill it’s stated mandate might just be to build a hockey rink on some of the unoccupied land just down the street from the historic building housing the Canadian Air and Space Museum.
I agree that the museum is without a doubt an integral part of Canada’s rich culture. I also get that governments are trying to find more funds for their respective towns/provinces/country. It is sad that these cornerstones of achievement are the one’s who are getting the ax. I sincerely hope that in time our society’s values can reflect those of the nations past.
Hockey moms and dads support anyone willing to give their little darlings somewhere to play. Hockey moms and dads outnumber vets and war heros at least 100 to one
Where else is the government going to go for VOTES?
I suspect that illegal immigrants could be included with the hockey mums and dads?
Just remember —it was those vets and heros that gave you the right to TRAMPLE THEIR MEMORIES by paying the ultimate sacrifice—so your little “darlings” can prattfall ; and never become an olympic medal winner ,while never being aware of who made it possible for them to fail
Preserving significant and unique examples of our history — real physical examples; not just digital recreations — when done with a bit of vision and a tincture of intelligence, is a shared societal responsibility, one in which we are all honoured to participate, and from which we all ultimately profit — whether we all happen to realize it or not. And despite our ever more attention-span-challenged, 144-characters-or-less world, it remains a trans-generational trust fund we cash in now at our long-term peril, an ultimately rewarding duty which only seems burdensome to the most short-sighted among us. It is not, as some are quick to suggest, an impediment to our future — it is in actuality a smart, ongoing investment in a FAR richer one.
But sadly, it is the “penny-wise; pound-foolish” who often end up acquiring momentary/monetary control over these irreplaceable items, and who then regard themselves as the “I’ll do whatever the !@#$%^&* I please” owners of a simple commodity, its one-and-only exclusive stakeholder, rather than as today’s privileged but still temporary custodian of a unique piece of our collective heritage.
This is not saying that ownership can be ignored or run roughshod over, only that every right also entails a responsibility, and a current owner’s rights do not ALWAYS and instantly trump the legitimate rights and interests of ALL other stakeholders in EVERY single case and for ALL time.
Neither is any reasonable person advocating wasting unlimited public resources to restore and maintain old junk, to arbitrarily try and save anything and everything at any cost simply because it’s “old” and for no other reason. What’s being opposed by people with a sense of perspective in this debate is the wholesale junking our history; the arbitrary, indiscriminate, and near total laying waste to our past — by people whose only lasting legacy will be to have their eagerly-sought and shamefully-unrestrained demolition permits viewed by a future succession of disbelieving eyes and bewildered, shaking heads — and remembered only in an endless echoing chorus of “Wow — why were they so dumb?”.
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