Fort Wellington National Historic Site rehabilitation in Prescott, Ont., nears completion

Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott getting closer to completion of 2 year rehabilitation project.

Not even COVID-19 can stop the preservation of Canadian history.

Almost two years of rehabilitation work is nearing its completion at Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott. A phrase from Parks Canada —”Giving our past a future” — sums up exactly what’s happening at the riverside location.

The wooden defences that help make up the fort have fallen victim to time, the elements and rot. In response, Parks Canada is now giving anything wooden a new lease on life.

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Hugh Ostrom, project manager with Parks Canada, says there was definitely a goal to the $2.6 million undertaking.

“How do we create an environment that protects these wood elements (and) keeps them around as long as possible, but at the same time has that historic look and feel that is the fort around us, so it (doesn’t) look out of place,” Ostrom said.

There were a few keys elements to the rehabilitation: replacing the vertical wood fence, called the palisade, as well as the horizontal wood members that stick out of the front of the earthen ramparts, called the frazing. And on the inside the revetment wall is what would protect soldiers who would be firing on an opponent approaching the fort.

Maybe the best example of a new and innovative way of dealing with the rot problem, according to Ostrom, is what’s happening with the frazing.

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“What we’ve done is we’ve removed the earth and replaced it with concrete and PVC tubing to allow us to sleeve in a single piece of wood, and if it starts to deteriorate we can than remove it rather than having to dig up all the earth to get a large number of elements out,” Ostrom explained.

“So the goal is both sustainability, in that the wood is not in contact with as much earth, the PVC pipe will drain and if the wood does deteriorate we should be able to remove a single piece and replace it, rather than chop off the whole top the fort again.”

The rehabilitation project is in the home stretch, with final touches set for the new year.


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