Nova Scotia

Baddeck lobbies for longer Bell museum hours

The Alexander Graham Bell museum — Baddeck's biggest attraction — will stay open later than expected thanks to lobbying efforts by the community.

The Alexander Graham Bell museum — Baddeck's biggest attraction — will stay open later than expected thanks to lobbying efforts by the community.

Parks Canada had planned to close the museum on Mondays and Tuesdays starting in September, despite a 35 per cent increase in the number of visitors this summer.

But after meeting with tourism operators and community representatives, officials decided to stick with regular hours until the end of the Celtic Colours festival in October.

Chip Bird, field unit superintendent in Cape Breton, said the museum will partner with the community to determine whether they can find ways to keep visitor numbers up into the fall.

"Our cost to operate, just from a staff perspective per day is about $800. That's a lot of visitors, but by working together, we're hoping we'll be able to generate that kind of revenue," he said.

Cathy Lamey, president of the Baddeck and Area Business and Tourism Association, said she'll rally the business community.

"If we are all as concerned as we all state, then we should do our part to help move bodies through the door. You know, we can help market and motivate visitors to take the time to visit the Bell museum," she said.

Bird said this would be a pilot project.

He said he'll measure the results by comparing the revenue and cost of this fall season to last year, when the museum was closed two days a week.

The arrival of the Silver Dart replica is credited with boosting tourism this year.

The original Silver Dart aircraft flew over Baddeck on Feb. 23, 1909. It was the first powered flight in the British Empire. The replica was built to mark the 100th anniversary in 2009.

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