River Flood leaves Heritage Village (then Heritage Park) under water.|
All images courtesy of Roseann Davidson
During this period of rebuild and restoration, we faced what we felt were unsurmountable challenges. Ten days after the waters receded, we were allowed back into the site, and what we discovered was complete devastation. Our staff and volunteers’ physical and emotional safety were our primary concerns. Precautions were taken to protect them from debris, mud, mold, and, as much as possible, burnout.
|The landscape and
buildings sustain the worst damage.|
Fourteen of seventeen buildings sustain significant damage
Acquiring proper storage for our collections and archives was particularly difficult as storage was in high demand at this time, and finding the climate controlled conditions that our collection required was next to impossible. Staff worked laborious days assessing our collections for damages, isolating mold infested objects, and cleaning objects with the help of community volunteers.
The local community – including landscaping companies, local forestry rangers, and individual volunteers – offers support.
Because the Village is located in a flood zone, our insurance would not cover the costs to rebuild. We were then challenged with procuring funds to cover what would become a $14 million project. Another of the challenges we faced was finding qualified contractors with knowledge in heritage conservation and preservation.
Emergency work is needed to remove mold and stabilize the historical buildings. The Chateau Gai (Grey Nuns exhibit), which sustained significant damage, is pictured here before and after being restored.
|The Fort McMurray Wildfire is seen from the front steps of Heritage Village.|
Some of this multifaceted history is depicted in the Fort McMurray International Airport: YMM’s wonderful observation area showcases the history of flight in our area. Next time you are flying in or out of Fort McMurray, visit the observation area to view what we are sharing with folks, and how they too can discover our rich heritage and explore our two destinations, Heritage Village and Heritage Shipyard.