Heritage Committee continues to foster Heritage Plaque program

An interested group of people gathered on August 1st (2023) at 160 Clarendon Street in Southampton, as members of the Saugeen Shores Municipal Heritage Committee presented Marian Septer with a Heritage Property Plaque to commemorate the heritage of her Southampton home.

(L) Past-chair & Heritage Committee member Bill Streeter, Chair Councillor Cheryl Grace, home                                 owner Marian Septer and Deputy Mayor Diane Huber


For larger view, Click on Image

Septer’s home was built in 1912 at 160 Clarendon Street in Southampton as a residence for the operator of the Southampton fish hatchery, also built in the same year.

Chair Cheryl Grace explained that,”Considerable research is completed before a home is approved for a Heritage plaque. The committee researches through the Bruce County Museum Archives, the tax roll and other sources.”

Owner, Marian Septer, who has lived in the home for more than three decades, only applied for the Heritage recognition in the past two years. “It was just one of those things that I kept putting off but I am thrilled to finally receive this honour for the home.”

Marian Septer displays her newly acquired heritage plaque to be         mounted at the front door – for larger view click on image

For several years prior to 1912, citizens of Southampton had concerns about the health of lake trout stock in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. A 1910 article from The Beacon of Southampton described a citizens’ petition asking that the government establish a fish hatchery in Southampton.

The basis of the petition was this complaint:

“For some years past the catch of fishermen has gradually been growing less, and the government, in order to save this great natural product, have been issuing more stringent regulations year after year, while they have done very little towards helping the natural increase in the fish.”

According to the article, Colonel Belcher (Mayor of Southampton from 1905-1908) presented the petition to the authorities in Toronto. The petition argued that the commercial fishing operation was suffering and a renewal of fish stock would provide employment to many and benefit the entire economy.

The Federal government quickly agreed to build the fish hatchery, purchasing the property from Nelson B. Zinkan and his wife in 1911, in the name of His Majesty the King, George V. The buildings required for the operation of the fish hatchery were constructed the following year and records in the National Archives show that it cost $1,971.35 to build the hatchery residence.

The Southampton Fish Hatchery was located on Clarendon Street and included five buildings: the hatchery, two garages, a workshop and a residence. It was operated continuously for 41 years from 1913 – 1954 by the Federal and Provincial governments. The Federal government built and operated the station until 1926 when it was turned over to the Ontario Department of Game and Fisheries. In 1954, the station was closed for fish cultural operations due to the lack of an adequate supply of lake trout eggs.

During the period of operation before 1943, the annual production for the station ranged from one to 12 million fish. However, the collection began to decline, dropping sharply in 1945, and continued at this low level until 1953 when the lake trout population in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay all but disappeared. By 1953, the station was operated entirely with stock secured from outside sources, until the operation was discontinued in 1954.

(L) Committee Chair Cheryl Grace and homeowner, Marian Septer – for larger view, Click on Image

“Heritage property plaques in Saugeen Shores follow a format that includes listing the owner on the Land Abstract at the time of building,” explained Committee Chair Cheryl Grace.

“In this case, it became more complex as the Land Abstract and Federal government records show that the owner was, His Majesty the King, George V.  Therefore, according to the Heritage Committee protocol, that was what was to be on the plaque and, as far as we know, it is the only one to read that the King was the owner of the property.”

Grace added that the plaque program for heritage designation is important to maintain the character of the town.  “The plaque program is important as we are always trying to retain the history of the town.”

The property is currently for sale as Septer plans to move to British Columbia to be closer to her grandchildren.  “It’s been a very difficult decision as my children were raised here and played at the back of the house on the foundation of the hatchery that remains.”

                      Remains of the hatchery foundation

For more Information about the Saugeen Shores Municipal Heritage Property Plaque program, visit: https://www.saugeenshores.ca/en/explore-and-play/resources/Documents/Property

Reminder:  On Wednesday, August 9, 2023, from 7-9 PM, the Municipal Heritage Committee will be hosting an Open House to provide information on the provincial heritage designation process, as well as the Saugeen Shores Municipal Heritage Property Plaque program. The session will be held at the Rotary Hall at the Plex.