A portage through history

Posted April 23, 2012  by Niagara This Week Source

Museum fundraiser to trace original Queenston to Chippawa route

Hauling a canoe on your shoulders and those of a few friends can help lighten the load for families and individuals struggling to put food on the table.

Project SHARE will be one of the beneficiaries along with the Niagara Falls Museums Legacy Project when teams of erstwhile voyageurs tackle a five-kilometre portage route in Niagara Falls.

Dubbed The Great Niagara Portage Adventure, the event is a fundraiser for the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield Legacy Project, a plan to build a visitors centre for the Lundy’s Lane battlefield just up the street from the museum.

“It will be a lot of hard work but it will also be a lot of fun,” said Niagara Falls Museums fundraising chair Don Jackson, who had donned the uniform of an early 19th century general and had just “portaged” up Ferry Street in front of the museum, helped out by several colleagues in costume.

Thursday’s media event was a kickoff to draw attention to the June 9 fundraiser. On that day, teams of between four and eight people will set off on a five-kilometre trek that begins and ends in Oakes Park also takes in part of the original Queenston to Chippawa portage route along Portage Road between Morrison Street and Thorold Stone Road. Each member of a team will also be required to carry a knapsack or bags of non-perishable food items for Project SHARE. Items requested include two tins of tuna, pasta sauce, one bag of dry pasta, a jar of peanut butter, one can of fruit, one package of juice boxes, two boxes of packaged snacks and a toiletry item such as toothpaste or soap.

“We encourage you to carry a real canoe.” Jackson said, adding that time home made variety will be OK, too.

“But it’s got to look like a real canoe, it has to have pointy ends and be fairly large he said with a chuckle.”

He encouraged community groups to sign up teams for the event, something Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said may be considered by council.

“I’m going to see if council will be interested. We’ll definitely look at putting together a team.”

Project SHARE Community Development Coordinator Pam Sharp was happy the social service agency was brought on board.

“We’re extremely happy to partner with the museum committee for the planning of this event,” Sharp said. We’re fortunate to have their support.”

Teams wishing to take part in the event are required to raise a minimum of $500. As well, each team member is required to pack a bag with the items for Project SHARE. Participants are welcome to pack their bags with additional items. The minimum weight of the required items will be about 18-20 pounds, according to statistics from the agency.

Prizes will be awarded for top fundraiser, the heaviest food carried, the best 1812 costumed team, best team spirit and fastest to complete the course.

For more information or to register call Heidi Werner at the CAA Winter Festival of Lights, 905-374-1616, ext. 22.