Friends of Misery Bay receives $90K in funding from Trillium Foundation

MISERY BAY—The Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) has received $90,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to help complete the construction and installation of interpretive exhibits at the Misery Bay Visitors Centre.

“Yes, I can confirm that we have received funding of $90,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” Gaynor Orford, chair of the FOMB board of directors, told the Recorder on Friday of last week. “This funding will go towards paying the costs of phase two of the exhibit display plan for the Misery Bay Visitors Centre; we had contracted with Science North to complete the first (and second) phase. The first phase is scheduled to be complete by July,” said Ms. Orford.

The first phase of the exhibit centre display includes multi-level audio-visual touch screen displays with a brief overview of the Misery Bay Park; the intent of this is to make visitors more knowledgeable about the park as they use the trails, explained Ms. Orford.

Phase two wil see hands on exhibits, that will physically show-display the features of the park, possibly using models showing the wetlands, alvars and fossils in the park. It will link in with the trail system in the park and there will be more informative markers on the trails, said Ms. Orford. The entire visitor centre exhibits-display will link to the trail system and all the features of the park.

“We are in our seventh year of planning and construction of the display-exhibits, which is ongoing,” said John Diebolt, special projects co-ordinator with FOMB. “Our visitor centre is designed to promote and educate visitors about the park, and why this is a provincial park, primarily because of its wetlands and alvars, and many others things in the park. The exhibits had to represent the whole park so anyone who visits, would in a half hour be able to see what there is in the park and the exhibits had to flow into the park trails.”

“The exhibits are designed to increase interest in the park and trail; that was the focus,” said Ms. Orford. “A master plan had been developed by Don Wilks several years ago. The plan started about five-six years ago and we went from Don’s plan and we contacted Science North, which does this type of work.”

Mr. Diebolt pointed out that through money raised by the FOMB, along with funding support from the Smith Family Foundation and Lafarge, $50,000 was raised for phase one of the project. He said  these donations were instrumental in FOMB receiving Trillium funding.

More fundraising is going to be done by FOMB for the second phase of the project, said Ms. Orford.

“The main thing is that now we have received funding, and are over the moon with this funding support,” said Ms. Orford. “This project has been a long time in the works and it will be nice to see it all come to fruition.”

As for access trails in the park, Ms. Orford pointed out, “we are at the building stage of this project. The plan is to build a gazebo on the shoreline first, along with work on the trails that will make them fully accessible. Work on the trails began this week.”