Sylvan Lake will soon be home to a History Interest and Learning Centre, unlocking a doorway to veteran lives and sacrifices with military-themed displays underway by Veterans Voices of Canada. The centre located at Cobb’s Building’s second floor will also serve as the new office space for the organization starting Feb. 1, and soon after be available for the public to visit.
“For now, we will call it a micro museum, and it will be packed full of history for all to appreciate. This will be a true learning centre, where we will be offering much to the public,” said Allan Cameron, Veterans Voices of Canada founder. “On-site will be true artifacts from all historical representations. This is our way of preserving history…by education and exposing young and not so young Canadians to it. All persons who appreciate history know why this is so important. A majority of the artifacts and displays will be military-themed, whether it be from locals or from general collections,” he added.
Sylvan Lake-based Veterans Voices of Canada, founded in 2005, works to interview and document Canadian military veterans for history and education. Setting up the centre has been a project that Cameron envisioned for years that has finally come to fruition.
“We hope Sylvan Lakers understand just how much of an important gem this first step for History Interest and Learning Centre will be for Sylvan Lake. This community has much to offer as a tourist destination, and we believe this will encourage another demographic of visitors to our community. In turn, it will also bring more patronage to other businesses in the area,” said Cameron.
The micro museum will consist of a wide range of historical artifacts, uniforms, veteran videos, and much more.
“We will make available some of the over 2000 on-camera veteran interviews with the military and historical artifacts, much donated from veterans we’ve interviewed along the way, will be on permanent display. We will cycle our displays to ensure there is always something fresh, interesting, and new to see.
“Examples of what we will have on display include the Second World War era leather flight jacket of past Veterans Voices of Canada Patron and fighter ace, Lt. General (Ret.) Don Laubman. He wore this jacket while flying with 402 Squadron in Europe during DDay, also while gaining his 15 accredited German aircraft shot down. This was also the jacket he wore while he himself was shot down at the end of the war.
“We will also have on display many helmets, but one, in particular, is a MKII helmet (with a bullet hole) that is claimed by the past veteran owner to be a piece of Nuremberg War Trial evidence.
“Propaganda posters, uniforms, and many other items of historical interest will also be on display.
The centre is anticipated to stay open on most if not all days of a week, said Cameron.
Veterans Voices of Canada hopes to encourage support through A Minute in History community newsletter, consisting of organization updates, tidbits of veteran interviews, and other historical facts. Cameron hopes to receive support from local businesses advertising in the newsletter.
Veterans Voices of Canada continues to accept Plaque of Honour sponsorships. Visit vetvoicecan.org to donate and sign up for the newsletter.
“We at Veterans Voices of Canada hope our local community, as well as those from our neighbouring communities, help support us through our general donation and fundraising drives, as well as through volunteerism,” said Cameron, adding, “In the end, the mission of Veterans Voices of Canada is to honour our past and present veterans and first responders through educational on-camera interviews, tributes, and displays across Canada throughout the year. We cannot do all of this without your support. We look forward to your visit.”