SUMMERSIDE – Artifacts of John ‘The Realm’ McNeill are safe and will be on display when the City of Summerside closes a deal with the board of directors of the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for a new location, says the president of the Summerside and area Historical Society.
The situation surrounding the memorabilia of the long tome Journal Pioneer sports columnist was the topic of a recent history circle held by the society.
There were concerns expressed at that meeting that some of the artifacts could be lost if there are long delays in finding a place to display them.
Society president, Councillor Peter Holman, told city council on Monday that all of the artifacts from the McNeill collection are safe and stored away.
“I attended that history circle as president of the Summerside and Area Historical Society,” Holman said. “The history circle was on John ‘The Real’ McNeill and the artifacts that are associated with the collection that was accumulated at the old Cahill Stadium.”
He said there was a room in the old Cahill Stadium that was designated where many of these items were on display.
“When the building was being torn down a lot of those artifacts were taken and are at the MacNaught Centre where they have documented and photographed and very carefully put into storage until such time as an appropriate place can be found for them to be put on permanent display,” Holman said. “We hope that will happen relatively soon and more than likely it will happen in conjunction with our new sports hall of fame.
Some at the history circle said the city should have included space in Credit Union Place for these items but that wasn’t done.
“Some of the comments at the history circle felt that the city was lax in not designing a room in the new complex, Credit Union Place, specifically for this,” Holman said. “There’s a little bit of misunderstanding as to where the artifacts actually are but I did ensure everyone that was present those artifacts are in the MacNaught Centre and are documented and photographed for posterity. I understand there will be additional history circles specifically on this particular topic and just as soon as the city is in a position to be able to display those artifacts, we will certainly do so.”
The majority of those at the history circle said the McNeill artifacts should not be tied in with the ongoing negotiations of a new location of the sports hall of fame. They see the McNeill’s artifacts as a history of Summerside and area sports figures while the sports hall of fame’s focus is province wide.