Sports hall eyes capital stopover

CHRISTOPHER MAUGHAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

More than a year after a plan to move Canada's Sports Hall of Fame to Ottawa fell through, the museum might be moving to the capital after all -- at least temporarily.

Chief operating officer Sharyn Posen said the hall, which has been closed for almost a month, is looking at taking its artifacts on the road and Ottawa has been identified as a potential site for the tour.

"I'd like to have some travelling exhibits," she said. "The nation's capital would always be at the top of the list."

The hall has been officially homeless since it was evicted from its location at the National Exhibition in Toronto on Jan. 31. The old site is being torn down to make room for a $10-million soccer stadium.

Some of the artifacts have been moved to temporary locations across Canada, four are currently on display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. But most of our national sporting treasures are being stored in Toronto at a smaller, interim site that's off-limits to the public.

'GREAT SPORTS TOWN'

Posen said she hopes to have concrete plans for the travelling exhibit in place by the end of March.

"We still need to find more funding," she said.

Tom Deacon, chairman of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, said a travelling exhibit would be successful here.

"This is a great sports town," he said. "It's a good idea. In fact, the concept of moving around is something we've been looking at, too."

Fergie Jenkins, one of the national hall's most high-profile members, said travelling exhibits are a good way to generate interest. "It's something that (the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in) Cooperstown did and it has been working really well for them."

Jenkins also said the federal government needs to make sure Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is properly funded. Former heritage minister Michel Dupuis eliminated federal funding for the hall in 1995 and it's been struggling to get government grants ever since.

Regardless of what lies, Jenkins said he hopes Canadians will have access to its artifacts.

"We don't want to lose an important part of Canadian history," he said.


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