HMCS Ojibwa won the prestigious TIAC Brewster Travel Innovator of the Year Award this past Wednesday evening. The award, for Ojibwa's opening season, was announced at the Travel Industry Association of Canada awards gala in Ottawa.
“This is an incredible finish to a great year,” said Ian Raven, Executive Director of the Museum. “We were honoured to be finalists in the company of such amazing competition. Every one of the four finalists should be on every Canadian’s must see list.”
It is the Ojibwa’s second award this month. In Collingwood, Raven was proud to accept the Tourism Innovator of the Year Award for small business, recognizing the 2013 first season of Cold War submarine HMCS Ojibwa.
HMCS OJIBWA, Canada’s first Oberon Class submarine opened for tours in Port Burwell on June 29, 2013. Since that time, almost 50,000 people have taken guided tours of the Cold War submarine.
Ojibwa served Canada and NATO during the dark days of the Cold War. Now it is one of the few museums in Canada that focuses on the years when “Mutually Assured Destruction” was a household term and school children learned to duck, roll and cover.
The Ojibwa’s has been a years-long story of hard work and challenges to bring a world-class attraction to Elgin County. November 28th marks the two-year anniversary of the arrival of HMCS Ojibwa up “Highway 472” to her new home – we pay tribute with a few photos (slideshow below) and entries from our Ojibwa "diary".
May 23, 2012
It was an exciting day in Port Burwell Tuesday as representatives of the Elgin Military Museum and local dignitaries took part in the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Project Ojibwa.
The groundbreaking began with a big bang when Project Coordinator Dan McNeil, Rear Admiral ret’d set off his miniature starter’s cannon to signal the start of the construction program. After all the work and struggles, it came down to a simple shout, “Lets get started”, from a happy McNeil. Construction of the foundation will start next week. “From now on you will see a lot of activity here,” said McNeil.
Nov 18, 2012
"Most Exciting Event Ever" at Lock 3 on Welland Canal as HMCS Ojibwa Passes Through"
HMCS Ojibwa started the final leg of her journey to her permanent home in Port Burwell on Sunday November 18th as she made her way from her makeover stop in Hamilton, through the Welland Canal, arriving in Port Burwell on Thursday November 22.
Lock 3, with viewing areas and a visitor centre became a major observation point for sub-watchers on Sunday morning. They began to gather around 11am to await the sub’s 1:30 arrival. Parking lots were filled and cars lined the road, with St. Catharines residents and visitors from further afield. Rosemary Harper who handles calls at the Welland Canals Centre noted that she had received 205 calls on Saturday and more than 280 Sunday morning with Ojibwa inquiries. “It was probably the busiest day here ever in twenty years, the most exciting event ever!”
Later that day, photographer Mark Girdauskas record Ojibwa's passage through Lock 7.
Nov 20, 2012
Arrival in Port Burwell
Nov 22, 2012
Landing Delay Postponed
Nov 23, 2012
Preparation of the Otter Creek bed continued Friday, hampered Friday afternoon by driving winds and rain. Saturday morning, the barge was moved ahead slightly but it was determined the bed was still not satisfactory
Nov 25, 2012
More Dredging, HMCS Ojibwa Moves to Foot of "Highway 472" Late in Day
Nov 27, 2012
From Larry Jeffery around noon today as Ojibwa wheels are starting to come off the barge. "This was the scene at Port Burwell as of 12 noon today as the Ojibwa is taken off the barge. As you can see, the engineers have about 8 wheels off the ramp (about 40 to go). The wheels will swivel independently as required, and are computerized to remain level. One can see how the next few wheels have risen to allow for the ramp. The ‘Handles’ on the sub were welded on in Hamilton to allow it to be carried by the wheel trains, and (I believe) will be removed later. Watching was slightly more interesting than seeing paint dry. The operation had to be slow because the barge had to have water added to the rear and removed from the front to allow for the weight shift as the sub is removed. I think it will take another hour or two to get it completely off the barge. Unfortunately I had to leave at this point. The sub will eventually be rolled about 4 football fields up a slight hill to it’s final museum destination."
Nov 28, 2012
The Ojibwa was moved into position in her new location!
From Larry Jeffery around noon today: This is the progress of Port Burwell’s submarine/museum as of noon today, Wed. It is about 1/4 the way up the hill to it’s final destination. In the 3rd photo, the workers are laying mats in front of the wheels. They [SPMTs] have 42 axles each with 4 tires per axle.
March 18, 2013
Media was invited for the first time this past Friday to climb inside Ojibwa, tour the massive submarine from bow to stern, and take photos to share with the public. Photos, however, were permitted only in the first two sections of the sub – the Ojibwa Project team has learned that this is a big story and they plan to reveal it in playfully titillating bits.
Those on hand for the tour were enthusiastic and full of questions. The answers to those questions, other details supplied by the team, and most importantly the star herself, Ojibwa, revealed that this project encompasses the drama, intrigue and excitement of a plot within a plot within a plot. It’s a show that’s sure to be a blockbuster hit for Port Burwell and region.
June 27, 2013
The Snowbirds did a flyby of Ojibwa on June 27th. Project Coordinator Dan McNeil, a retired Rear Admiral from the Canadian Navy noted, "It is truly an honour and a thrilling lead-in to our first weekend of public tours."
July 6, 2014
Official opening of HMCS Ojibwa.
Photos Mark Girdauskas, Relish Elgin, Larry Jeffery.