The old building on the Upper Wharf at the Lake end of Irene Avenue was in really bad shape. It was still useful for storage for various items belonging to the village, but the whole wharf area was deteriorating. In the past the building had played a very important role as being a rain shelter for those waiting for the steamboats, that plied the lakes and which for many years had been the only public means of transport. Since the end of the steamboat era in the early 1930s, after both railways and cars had changed accessibility (Captain Gray, Charlie and Annie Gray’s father, beached his boat “Lintonia” in 1931) the active use of the little upper wharf area came to an end, and the building was not used for more than boat or other storage. However it survived!
The 1903 Council Minutes of the recently incorporated (1899) Village of Sturgeon Point state that the Village built the rain shelter privately, and SPA decided to try to preserve the building as an important part of Ontario’s and Sturgeon Point’s history, and at the same time make the surrounding small park area a pleasant place for residents and visitors to use.
After Village-wide consultation through means of SPA meetings and by a questionnaire, SPA decided to pursue two routes in the short term. The first was to spend a limited amount of money on a temporary refurbishing of the building to enhance its appearance and to help preserve it and the second was to apply to the City of Kawartha Lakes’s LACAC to obtain historic designation for the building.
This year, 2005, the exterior of the building was painted, white and green, organized by SPA Director Kathy Pick, and the site was cleared by volunteers, Hugh and Diane Butler, as a beginning. A ladder was donated by Agatha Twaststjerna so that the dock could more easily be used for swimming. Re-roofing took place over the weekend of September 16, 2005 (see pictures).
Simon Aspinwall masterminded a team of volunteers of Jay Vehrs, Jamie Wisener, Stephanie and Brian Lyster, Peter Howard, Rick Pearson, John Barr James Fleck, with other help from Patty Aspinwall, Kevin Clynch and Chris Marlin. Peter Breyfogle took the photos of the event.
Friday 15th it was raining as the material and dumpster were delivered, but the sun shone on Saturday and Sunday, and although the roofers worked hard for 12 hours both days (!), SPA is thankful that no-one was reported to have got sun stroke or suffered any major injuries.
SPA and the Village are extremely grateful to everyone involved The Rain Shelter is now an historic building with a “presence”, and SPA is waiting for historic designation of the building by the Council of the City of Kawartha Lakes before proceeding any further.
SPA Director, Heritage