Twelve years of planning and construction culminated yesterday in the official opening of Almonte’s Metcalfe Geoheritage Park in its permanent home at the bottom of Bay Hill.
The creation of a geological display at Metcalfe Park was first proposed in 2004 as the ‘Almonte Geoheritage Project.’ It was sparked by a presentation at the Almonte Lectures series by Dr. J. Allan Donaldson, professor emeritus at Carleton University and founder of Friends of Canadian Geoheritage.
Through the efforts of Dr. Donaldson and community volunteers in Almonte, plans for a geological display evolved during subsequent meetings with the Council. Other organizations soon offered their support. With the enthusiastic endorsement of councillors, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, the Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce and relatives of Dr. Metcalfe, Council unanimously approved the proposal in 2008.
Nearly a hundred people turned out for Saturday’s opening. Speakers included Dr. Al Donaldson, Dr. Greg Brooks, Dr. Bill Pearson, Lesley Hymers, Scott Newton and Mayor Shaun McLaughlin.
The Mississippi River Power Corporation has been a key supporter of the project and undertook many of the improvements needed, together with upgrades to Metcalfe Park overall that include paving and curbs, washrooms, and a new boat dock.
This is Canada’s first municipally-run geoheritage park.