Welland’s Historic Fire Station – Beloved by Heritage Advocates Across Niagara, Ontario – Gets New Lease on Life

Some Good News from Nora Reid, Chair of Welland’s Central Station Education Initiative

Posted October 26th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – With a cheer and a toast, the Central Station Education Initiative thanked Welland city councillors for their support.

Welland’s Central Fire Hall, circa 1920, Welland, in the region of Niagara, Ontario.

Last Tuesday, City Council at its regular meeting agreed to lease the Welland Central Fire Station to CSEI for five years at $1 a year.

The not-for-profit volunteer group will oversee the 1920 heritage building and praised councillors for seeing the value in protecting this downtown Welland asset.

At its regular meeting of Thursday, “the Board of the Central Station Education Initiative adopted as its first order of business a motion to thank all members of City Council for their faith in us and for giving us the chance to preserve this wonderful piece of Welland’s heritage,” CSEI said in a letter to city council.

“Our mandate as stated in our incorporation is ‘To preserve and educate about the built, material, and cultural history related to the fire, police, paramedic and other emergency services of the Niagara Region.’

“Our intention is to preserve the built and other heritage aspects of Central Fire Station (Central Fire Hall) as we work to restore it and to make it economically self sustaining.”

A five-year lease is a minimum requirement to qualify for various grants, said CSEI chair Nora Reid.

The group plans to protect and display historic firefighting features still existing in the station at Division Street and Hellems Avenue.

It will create, on the first and part of the second floor, a frozen-in-time display of life in a 20th century fire station.

The Welland Fire and Emergency Services used the three-storey building until the early 2000s. It still has its hose tower, fire poles, city maps, fire-alarm-box monitoring system, offices and fire truck parking.

The second floor contains firefighter sleeping rooms and locker areas. Some of it will be part of the display.

To help fund the heritage centre, CSEI plans to rent part of the second floor as well as the third floor, which firefighters used as a recreation and meeting room.

At its meeting, CSEI members considered the next steps to operate the building as well as membership and fundraising strategies.

They see potential in the building as a attraction for both residents and visitors.

The Central Fire Station will remain a significant downtown landmark along with the Welland Civic Square, Main Street Bridge, City Market, Welland Museum and Welland Recreational Canal.

         Nora Reid, Chair, Central Station Education Initiative

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