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McClung Heritage Site receives donation

Lauren MacGill

Back row: Reeve Glenn Shiskoski, Pat Mitchell, Enbridge construction manager Glen Stetsko, Fraser McIntosh, Al Thorleifson, Cassandra Morrow, Dale Baloun and Walter Mueller. Front row, Enbridge's Joanne Bradbury and Riley Handford, Bette Mueller, Enbridge's Mike Jespersen and Robert McLean. (SUPPLIED)

Back row: Reeve Glenn Shiskoski, Pat Mitchell, Enbridge construction manager Glen Stetsko, Fraser McIntosh, Al Thorleifson, Cassandra Morrow, Dale Baloun and Walter Mueller. Front row, Enbridge's Joanne Bradbury and Riley Handford, Bette Mueller, Enbridge's Mike Jespersen and Robert McLean. (SUPPLIED)

MANITOU - 

Nellie McClung’s homes will be undergoing an upgrade thanks to a recent donation.

The Nellie McClung Heritage Site received a $25,000 donation from Enbridge on June 6.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” cochair of the Nellie McClung Heritage Site Bette Mueller said. “It’s something that’s going to be so important to our project because we’ll be able to do things now that might have taken us months or years to do. It was a great surprise that we received that much money and it’s really going to be a game changer.”

The money will be going to a few things, but primarily toward creating a reading room in the upstairs of one of the homes. “We haven’t really finished decorating and getting into shape the upstairs of the house that the McClung’s lived in,” Mueller said. “Over time we’ve collected a lot of information that will be of interest to people and will be good for people studying, whether in high school or university. People can come read out of interest or when they’re studying or learning more.”

“We think Nellie would like that,” she added.

Mueller said reading rooms were common back when the McClung and the suffragists were starting up. “In Manitou for instance, there was a reading room in one of the upstairs apartments,” she said.

The other rooms will also be staged as rooms that the McClungs lived in as they  were at the time. Mueller said the site hopes to get wallpaper in, as the walls have all been painted and period wallpaper can be expensive.

“Rather than having the experience of looking at the rooms and hearing about the people who lived there, people will actually be able to walk through the buildings and then go up and learn more about them,” Mueller said. “On a tour what you learn is a little bit limited generally because of time.”

Mueller said another long-term plan is to incorporate electronic aspects to the site, so visitors can watch video clips and learn as they visit the site.

Mueller said it was encouraging to know companies like Enbridge are behind their vision of preserving McClung’s history. “It’s very exciting and very gratifying,” she said. “This is going to allow us to make [the site] into a little bit deeper of an experience and provide a different layer of study for people.”

The donation came as part of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program fund. In 2017 and 2018, Enbridge is investing a total of $2 million in over 80 communities across the prairies.

“We started that last year in areas where we were active with construction,” senior communications advisor David Coll said. “We recognize that there will be impacts in certain communities and potentially some minor disturbances from construction and traffic. We acknowledge that by making a contribution to community projects.”

This year, the company’s investment with the Line 3 Replacement Program totals about $1.3 million, which will be spread among 55 communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Coll said Enbridge approaches communities in close proximity to the pipeline and ask them about the community projects they would like to see funded. If the project falls into one of their community investment categories (community, environment and safety) Enbridge supports it.

“We did think it was important because gender equality issues are part of Enbridge’s values and we feel that they identified a clear need to renovate those two heritage homes in order to attract more people to the site,” Coll said. “It will enhance the educational value of the facility, which we think is a great thing.”