Saturday, June 22, 2024

Iconic Sailor’s Rest Building to be relocated to Canso waterfront

  • May 22 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

CANSO — Council for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) has voted to relocate the iconic Sailor’s Rest Building from Canso’s Centre Town Park to its waterfront, where it “would be of much greater value” to municipal revitalization efforts underway there.

According to a briefing note prepared by MODG Director of Public Works Glen Avery on May 1, “Currently, the building is only used 1-2 times per year and is only used because of the availability of power and water. The building is still in very good shape and would be of much greater value at the waterfront. If the building was relocated, then we would maintain a water and power supply in the park.”

Avery noted that the idea to relocate the Sailor’s Rest “at the end of the new boardwalk” near three kiosks for local businesses – the construction of which the MODG funded through a non-repayable contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund in 2022 – first arose during a recent strategic planning session of council.

“As council is aware, the Canso waterfront beautification project has been extremely successful in revitalizing the waterfront. The area is located at the end of Main St. and is between Water St. and the harbour. It also connects with the existing waterfront trail. In addition... the three kiosks [there], picnic area and sidewalks, armour stone, boardwalk, small scale bandstand, lighting upgrades, new boat launch, seating and signage [have] all made a great improvement to the area.”

He added: “As the three kiosks are currently being occupied, we have received additional requests for space at the waterfront. We would like to add the fourth building as we are very confident that it would be occupied very quickly... Staff have also had many conversations with local residents and leaders of community groups... They have all been very supportive and positive. The most common statement was that it would be good to see the building finally being used as it was intended to be used.”

According to a written history of the Sailor’s Rest Building supplied to The Journal by Bill MacMillan, president of the Canso Historical Society, the structure was built in 1891 as “the first undertaking of the newly formed Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. It was used as a place of rest, relaxation and recreation. In the summer of 1912, the Sailor’s Rest had 655 visitors, gave away 804 magazines, 10 books, 428 papers, over 100 bouquets and 30 leaflets.”

In an interview with The Journal earlier this month, Harold Roberts, president of the Canso and Area Development Association said he was pleased with “the contributions the MODG has made to [the area], not just to the waterfront. We believe we have a good rapport with them, and we’re going to try to maintain that because it is in the best interest of everyone.”

Council approved the relocation at its regular meeting on May 15.