In the year 2000, a group of friends had an idea... Ron Shano, a former officer with the Beaverbank Volunteer Fire Department; Donald Snider, a retired Administrative Captain with the Halifax Fire Service; Kenneth Meisner, a retired volunteer officer with the Sackville Fire Service; Laurie Campbell, a retired volunteer firefighter with the Beaverbank Volunteer Fire Department; and David Houlihan, saw the need for the history of our heroes to be showcased. Our goal is to provide the Halifax region with a service to enjoy, learn and honour our many emergency services, and the National Defence Fire Department. History is so very prominent in our region that it was felt that firefighters and first responders were not receiving due credit.
This was the beginning of the Regional Firefighters Interpretation Center; a museum collection presented as a tribute to those members who are active, retired and fallen. An Executive Committee was formed with Ron Shano as president.
Over the next few years, many new members were added to the roster:Douglas Wiggington, David Dodsworth, Timothy Smith, Ruben Hatt, Dana Eisan, Wally Tattrie, Larry Varin, Wayne Blackburn, James Lackie, Robert Walsh, James Briggs, and many others!
A new problem plagued our organization... We had no place to call our own.In the beginning, we held our meetings at the historical Teachery House in Bedford and the Fultz House in Lower Sackville. But we were still without a building to house our collection and share it with the public. After several years, the City Transportation/Works Department of the Halifax Regional Municipality allowed us the use of a large garage bay in one of their shops in Lower Sackville. The Cobequid Road location was valuable for storage, working on the apparatus, and our own spot to hold meetings.
In 2004, we were successful in opening a temporary museum in a vacant store front in the Bedford Place Mall in Bedford, Nova Scotia. We were open through the summer closing in the fall, and had over 4000 visitors from all over the world! One particular highlight was a delightful couple visiting from Germany. They wandered through our little collection and found a shoulder patch from their own small town! They were so proud and amazed to see their heritage on display across the ocean!
We found ourselves facing the same problem for many years...
We still did not have a place to display our collection. But we found a friend in Halifax Councillor Barry Dalrymple! Mr. Dalrymple saw our need for a place to call home. He was excited at the prospect of a new and unusual museum for all to enjoy. With his help, the day we all had been waiting for finally arrived!In May of 2012, the former Fire Station #45 located at 3214 Highway #2 in the center of Fall River, Nova Scotia, became the permanent home of the Regional Firefighters Interpretation Center! We had a Grand Opening and began to display our artifacts.
Some of these have included:
1958 LaFrance Pumper, from Etobicoke, Ontairo, donated by the Purdy Family, who moved to Stewiacke, NS. Mr. Purdy retired from the Etobicoke Fire Service.
1971 LaFrance Foam Pumper was donated from Statia Terminals, Point Tupper, NS. This pumper truck was used for fighting fires at an oil refinery.
** EDIT** Both of these trucks have recently found new homes! We now have two “new” truck for the 2021 season!
A 1943 Ford 3/4 tonne Pumper truck called the “Village Queen”, once in service with the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department, and a 1929 Chevrolet Hose Truck belonging to the Dartmouth Fire Department.
Fire helmets; breathing apparatus; fire coats and turnout gear; a jump net; lights, bells, and sirens; dress uniforms; military fire gear and helmets; shoulder patches from all over the world; record books; hand and wheeled fire extinguishers; hose reels; numerous pictures and displays honouring individuals, groups and major events (Halifax Explosion, First all African/Canadian Fire Department).
We are very pleased to offer our guests guided tours and even have a member that will create an experience for those energetic little people we call “Junior Fire Chiefs”! The Fire Service has generously donated fire safety materials and other fun items for our young visitors! (Please ensure ample notice is provided for a group tour for children.)
We would like to thank those who have helped us on our journey:
Mr. Peter Stoffer, MP (former)
Councillor Barry Dalrymple
Retired Chief Bill Moser
Retired Chief Mike Eddy