June 12, 2010
HOPEWELL CAPE (CNB) - The R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre, which celebrates the life and legacy of Canada's 11th prime minister, officially opened today. Bennett was born and raised in the area.
The opening was attended by Premier Shawn Graham, Rob Moore, minister of state (small business and tourism) and Tom Edgett, president of the Albert County Historical Society.
"Today's celebration of the R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre clearly demonstrates that our cultural heritage in New Brunswick is rich," said Graham. "The Albert County Historical Society is to be congratulated for undertaking and completing this outstanding project, which has transformed the significant heritage resources of its community into a vibrant centre of historic commemoration and interpretation. A strong cultural sector is an important element to keep our province moving forward on the journey toward self-sufficiency."
Seven historic properties have been refurbished, including the Hopewell Cape Community Hall, county jail, tax office, records office, court house, Silver Jubilee lodge and library and exhibition hall. An elaborate interpretation program focusing on R.B. Bennett was part of the undertaking.
"Our government is committed to helping communities build on local economic strengths," said Moore. "This investment has helped the Albert County Historical Society establish a unique addition to the tourism assets of the Fundy region that celebrates the global contributions of R.B. Bennett."
Moore was speaking on behalf of National Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield, who is also the minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and minister for the Atlantic Gateway
"The R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre showcases a fascinating chapter of our country's rich cultural heritage through the contributions of Canada's 11th prime minister, the Right Honourable R.B. Bennett, to the development of our country," said James Moore, minister of Canadian heritage and official languages. "Our government understands the importance of culture and heritage for the vitality of our communities, and we are pleased to have invested in this centre, which will give New Brunswickers a better understanding of their history and capture the interest of tourists on their way to the beautiful Bay of Fundy."
The federal government has invested more than $865,000 in the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Canadian Heritage. The provincial government has contributed 375,000, while the Albert County Historical Society has invested $152,218.
"The theme of the centre presents a historic overview of prime minister Bennett's career and personality," said Edgett. "We have enhanced the museum experience with a number of audio-visual presentations, including a remarkable biographical film on Bennett's life. The graphic and artefact displays have been reconfigured to present the history of Albert County in an interesting and thought-provoking way. We expect the centre will generate a greater interest in our local history as well as the national story of a former prime minister."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Macfarlane, Regional Development Corporation, 506-444-4606; Gisèle Savoie, communications, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency - New Brunswick, 506-452-334; Tom Edgett, president, Albert County Historical Society, 506-386-8638.