29 November 2006
Blending old with new - architecture on Main Street
The Archives and Collections Society and the Canadian Society of Marine Artists have been busy advancing plans for the renovation of the "old" Post Office and Customs House on Main Street, Picton. Discussions continue with the Crown Corporation over points of detail - but the Building Committee is enjoying a good relationship with the Post Office personnel, and Sense of Place's Chuck Slik who is not only brokering the acquisition, but also acting as real estate consultant for the two Societies, is exuberant: "This is exactly the right use for this building, and I'm truly happy to see things coming together. This is one of the best things that is happening to Picton"
The Societies' Architect, Allan Rae, has also been hard at work to make available a rendering of the proposed new look for the building.
The architect comments: "Acquisition of the Post Office by the Archives and Collections Society (ACS) and the Canadian Society of Marine Artists (CSMA) is a 'win-win' situation for the Societies, the Town of Picton and the County.
The building provides an ideal location and environment for the inter-active display, archival and curatorial functions of the ACS and the CSMA.
Restoration of the building reinforces the heart of Main Street, forming a cultural triangle with the Regent Theater, the Armoury and the Library. Design of an extension to the front of the building will recall the facade of the original 1896 building, strengthening the historic character of the Main. A new landscaped forecourt will welcome locals and visitors alike, offering a quiet respite from the activity of the street. A landscaped right-of-way beside of the building and a new, inviting, flight of stairs and ramps will lead pedestrians to the lush green of Benson Park.
Entrance to the building will be at grade, providing barrier free access to and throughout the collections.
Floor areas of the building are ideally suited to accommodate the needs of the ACS and the CSMA. Access will finally be provided to over 10,000 marine documents, books, magazines, charts and other artifacts as well as more than 400 original maritime paintings and limited edition prints. Mechanical systems will be retrofitted and upgraded to meet environmental standards appropriate for display and archival storage. The refurbished and expanded building will become an important resource facility unique in the sailing world. The Youth Group will meet in dedicated accommodations designed in a nautical theme.
Local arts and crafts will be included in the wide range of exhibition activities, opening an exciting, new venue to display the work of County artists and artisans. An area overlooking Benson Park will be set aside for the local horticultural group. A small café adjacent will provide sustenance, while an Internet café will be one of the many activities offered to the public.
The building is ideally suited to house and display the collections. Main Street will be enhanced. The historic fabric of Picton will be reinforced. The County will gain a valuable asset. Interest in and support for these Collections have been expressed locally, nationally and internationally.
All in all, a 'win-win' situation."
The Societies are looking forward to making a difference for the community, a vibrant part of downtown and an important legacy for future generations and as a charity will be encouraging community support as they move forward.
Members are always encouraged to contact us with suggestions as to content - both on our web pages and at our premises in Picton, Ontario.
We are continually expanding our collections - donations would be sincerely welcomed
Copyright © 2004 ACS