IROQUOIS – South Dundas is home to the Doran Bay Resort and Model Ship Museum which houses one of the finest private collections of historic model ships in the world.
Last week, the museum literally welcomed a boat load of tourists to view the collection, as the passengers from a St. Lawrence Cruise Line tour were bused to the museum for a tour.
The more than 50 tourists enjoyed not only the collection which traces the history of sail around the world, but also owner Bert Cunningham’s enthusiasm and in depth historical knowledge related to the handmade models in his collection.
The collection features famous Canadian and U.S. ships including a unique collection of American and British Warships from the War of 1812.
Before the tour group arrived, Cunningham told The Leader that both the model ship museum and resort are on the cusp of a major expansion.
Currently housed in the home located on the property, the museum will soon be getting a new home in a separate building. Cunningham explained that a 20×80 building will be constructed on the property just west of the house which will allow the entire collection to be properly displayed.
“Right now, we have limited space and can only display about half of the collection,” said Cunningham.
Also, the new building will then mean that Cunningham will also be able to accept donations from other collections that will add to display, which is something that isn’t presently feasible in their current quarters which take up the downstairs of the house.
Once the collection is moved to its new building Cunningham is planning an expansion to the house and to convert the space the museum currently occupies into a spa.
The expansion plans don’t stop there.
He is also planning to expand the resort side of the business by adding to the nine cottage rentals by building on-site a luxury RV site, which will be able to accommodate up to about fifty high-end RVs. He also foresees a marina along the property’s shoreline.
“This is probably the biggest tourism project taking place in SD&G,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham expects this project to take place over the next three years, starting first with the museum building and then the spa.