Canadian Museum of Nature

Canadian Museum of Nature

October 03, 2005 08:00 ET

Board of Trustees for Canadian Museum of Nature to Meet in Thunder Bay

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 3, 2005) - From October 4 to 6, the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), Canada's national natural history and natural science museum, will meet in Thunder Bay. The trustees, who come from across Canada and meet quarterly, convene once a year in the home community of one of their members.

"I am pleased to showcase our region to my colleagues on the Board," says trustee Roy Piovesana, a Thunder Bay resident and archivist/historian with the city's Roman Catholic Diocese. "Each of us is tremendously proud of our communities and the opportunity to guide the Museum and its national projects." Mr. Piovesana has published widely on the history of Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario and is a former head of history at Hammarskjold High School.

A Crown corporation, the CMN's roots date back over 150 years to the early years of the Geological Survey of Canada. Originally the National Museum of Canada and later the National Museum of Natural Sciences, it was created in the late 1800s to safeguard the GSC's collections. A public exhibition facility was built in the early 1900s and the stately Victoria Memorial Museum Building in downtown Ottawa continues to display Canada's natural treasures. The majority of the CMN's collections are preserved in the Museum's Natural Heritage Building in Quebec.

"The Canadian Museum of Nature's President and CEO, Joanne DiCosimo, and I are very pleased to be holding our quarterly board meeting in Thunder Bay. With board members from across the country, this meeting provides a wonderful opportunity for our trustees to explore this beautiful part of Canada," states Ken Armstrong, Chair of the CMN's Board of Trustees.

The CMN houses a collection of more than 10 million earth and life-science specimens, which includes approximately 60 beautiful pieces of Ontario's official gemstone - amethyst - from the Thunder Bay region, renowned for its bountiful deposits of this popular variety of quartz. Ranging in size, the largest specimen is about 50 cm wide - a dark purple mass of crystals - which originated from the Thunder Bay Amethyst mine east of Elbow Lake (now Amethyst Mine Panorama). Some of the CMN's amethysts also came from the Noyes Diamond Willow mine on the north side of Big Pearl Lake.

The flora and fauna of Northwestern Ontario are also significantly represented in the Museum's collections, with almost 12,000 catalogued specimens. These range from 1,400 lichens to more than 800 fish and 870 molluscs from remote lakes and streams, to 4,500 plant specimens carefully preserved in the National Herbarium. Each specimen helps to understand the ecosystems surrounding Thunder Bay, and some show scientists how plants and animals adapt to the conditions of living in urban areas. The collection even includes slide-mounted samples of pollen, which can be used to compare modern plants to ancient fossilized specimens of the same plant Chimaphila umbellata: (Prince's-pine or Pipsissewa; a form of the dwarf shrub Wintergreen).

In addition to attending regular committee and board meetings, the trustees will tour Fort William Historical Park, The Thunder Bay Art Gallery, The Thunder Bay Museum, and the Amethyst Gift Centre. After each event, they expect to meet with guests from a variety of educational, business, and cultural organizations in the region.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Museum of Nature
    Dan Smythe
    Senior Media Relations Officer
    (613) 566-4781 or 1 800-263-4433
    dsmythe@mus-nature.ca