Marine Heritage Society brings historical update to Council
by Sandy Lindsay

October 5, 2016

Town Council

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Mike Sterling of Southampton recently presented an update of the volunteer-driven Marine Heritage Society's (MHS) achievements over the years since its inception, originally as the Propeller Club.

Sterling, a volunteer who has won awards such as the Queen's Jubilee Award and the Governor General's Award for volunteerism, told Council that the MHS has been a group that has asked little of Saugeen Shores Town Council except support for the organization's many endeavours.

(L) Mike Sterling and John Rigby - two of Chantry Island restoration project's original members

Sterling, accompanied by John Rigby, are two of the remaining members of the original Propeller Club that restored the Chantry Island Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters, turning the island into a viable, self-sustaining tourist destination. 

Sterling pointed out that there had been several partnerships with MHS over the years that have contributed to the Chantry Island project's success:

  • Town of Saugeen Shores Staff, Police and Fire

  • Bruce County Museum

  • Coast Guard Fisheries and Oceans

  • Birding experts both local and international.

  • Ontario Tourism

  • Bruce County Tourism

  • Bruce Coast Lighthouse Partners

Each of the partners has played an integral role in Marine Heritage Society's and Chantry Island's on-going success.


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Sterling also pointed out that Chantry Island has become a major tourist destination in Saugeen Shores and has had a substantial economic impact on the area.

"There have been more than 20,000 visitors to Chantry Island and, this past summer (2016), has seen near record tours, and sales, to the Island," said Sterling, "that have resulted in $43,000 in sales and tour base gift shop items that contribute to the self-sustainability of MHS."

Today, volunteers of MHS and the Propeller Club, maintain on-going projects such as:  *maintenance of Chantry Island, *McNabb Point Range Light, *two Saugeen River Range Lights and the Stokes Bay Range Light at the County Museum; *retaining the Island Keeper's Quarters and historical artifacts; *maintaining Pioneer Park gardens, cannons, storm signals, etc. and *volunteering at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre Marine Gallery.

*All projects are volunteer

For a pdf copy of the deputation Read More

In the end, Sterling summed up the group's presentation saying that the reason everyone volunteers is ...

"We are leaving part of ourselves for the future ... [by saying] ... We Were Here!"

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Wednesday, October 05, 2016