A local military buff has asked the town to partner with his organization to create a unique “Military Interest and Learning Centre”.
Allan Cameron, CEO and executive producer of Veterans Voices of Canada, asked the town to provide a building, “basically four walls and a roof” for a 2,500 to 3,000 square foot militarily historical and educational facility.
“Although assistance would be appreciated in many ways, Veterans Voices of Canada will provide all inner workings of the facility,” Cameron said.
The Veterans Voices of Canada Military Interest and Learning Centre would be mostly operated by volunteers, veterans and youth. An interactive facility, it would include such things as a static and changing visual display of military relics; a viewing theatre (to seat 30-35 people) that would show historic and educational veteran interviews, documentaries and movies; a ‘reflecting room’ where pieces of artwork produced by youth and artists across Canada and around the world would be viewed to understand even more the effect of conflict on our society; and an area where ‘drop-in’ veteran interviews could take place.
“As a military memorabilia collector myself, I have accumulated, over many years, a collection of memorabilia that I feel must be displayed,” said Cameron. “Along with that, I have contacted many of my collector friends and their sources who have amazing collections. They all feel this is a great idea and all are willing to add to a static and cycled display that would change … on a monthly basis.”
He noted there are similar facilities in Edmonton and Calgary, but nothing in Central Alberta.
Encouraging youth to volunteer and take part in activities and learn about our history would be appealing, he believes.
The mission of Veterans Voices of Canada, which is based in Sylvan Lake, is to do on-camera documentation of veterans to be donated to schools, museums and libraries, as well as donated to the family as a keepsake.
Over 800 veterans’ stories have been documented so far through the non-profit organization’s efforts. Through social media and an internet website they also spread the stories.
Cameron said documentation and preservation of our Canadian military history is vitally important for us as Canadians to know exactly what our military veterans did, and what they sacrificed for us to keep the freedoms we enjoy today.
He feels the facility would be another great addition to the town, complementing other tourist attractions.
As with other presentations from delegations, councillors deferred discussion on the proposal until a report has been prepared by staff with options and recommendations.