Kudos … and Nots! by ‘The Stix Man’ – More signage needed to preserve history

Hi folks. It’s “the Stix Man” back at you for another time. This might be only a one more shot but we will see. Hoping there is more but time will tell. Haven’t posted anything since last December. As I told you back then that I was having a complete right shoulder replacement. That happened and went very well. Very happy about it, relieved a lot of pain. I also mentioned about failing eyesight and that has not got any better. It was a tough winter for me to get out because of weather & my shoulder. In the spring, I got out some but incurred some other issues which limited my out n’ about time. Right now, I’m not doing any walking except short distances .

My sweet wife has even got my walker back out.  I’m not going to change my name from Stix Man, cause I’m going to get things straightened out & get the Sticks back into action. Now, let’s get into some good and bad.

Kudos

Last summer, I talked about the pathway going from Port Elgin main beach to the North Shore Park with it going through the boat launch area & also the condition of the path in the park. While I was only down there a couple times early in the summer but there has been major changes. The path has been re-routed around the launch area & has been paved, along with the path in the park. At that time, there were new lamp standards (poles) along the path. There were no lamps installed but maybe there is now. There was landscaping already started. I had also complained about the walk bridge in the park, about the path-bridge edges being trouble for wheelchairs, etc. They fixed that with a new bigger bridge. I noticed that there was a lot more people at the park using the picnic tables & benches. There were people in wheelchairs using the tables. I spoke with them & they said they were so glad to see it done as now they could use the park. Looking nice. Thanks.

– BIG KUDOS to Saugeen Shores

The rail trail is very nice and clean. The new paved area has made for a smooth ride on My Porsche (scooter). I use it going to the Plex.

Kudos

What I have seen of our towns, they have looked clean and inviting. The flowers were pretty and well maintained. I did not see as many of the large white containers.

– Good work to all involved.

I’m glad to see all the new businesses in the plaza where BRUCE Power moved out of.

Congratulations to Jeff and his new venture with the Wismer House. It will be a nice place when it is finished and he has the Craft Beer flowing. Also, I would like to give him and his staff, praise on the job they have done with their flowers it looks really nice. Thanks for sharing them.

Kudos

I hear that there have been a couple of restaurants in Southampton, open up. One a new place and the other is the renovated “Lighthouse Restaurant”.

-Welcome to Saugeen Shores

Now, the main reason for this Kudos. I’ve been working on this since last summer when I was out getting my steps in. I wanted to have it posted in the spring but things did not let that happen. Oh well, the fall can be a good time to get out n’ about too. You have seen me speak several times about “the Gem”, Fairy Lake in Southampton and about my involvement with the Interpretive Sign there and that is what this subject is about, “Interpretive Signage”.

My involvement of this first sign in Saugeen Shores was with George Plante and Mike Myatt. Mike was working for the community at the time and brought the incentive forward. George did most of the research & picture gathering. We met with the supplier and discussed our options. We went with the mostly higher end options & I believe it has paid off. Such things as the 2” thick top & the metal pedestal instead of wood. The one at Fairy Lake has been there 15+ years & you can not tell the difference from newer ones. It appears that the standard has mostly been followed since then.

After the loads of information has been gathered, downsizing of all this information must happen and the pertinent items and most descriptive pictures kept. This downsizing happens several times to work it down to a feasible size. This was a tough job. When this layout is done, it is sent off to the supplier. He then created a sample and it sent back for confirmation. Later, after the approval, the finished product was delivered, ready for installation. Saugeen Shores Works department would pour a concrete pad with the pedestal mounting plate on it. The finished sign and pedestal is then set on and secured. Mike was great to work with and George just ran to gather the information. I watched and tried to put my two cents in, occasionally. There is a lot of work and time that goes into each sign and with their durability, the cost goes up. I’m glad the standard has been upheld.

– Kudos George & Mike & current team.

Some information and pictures on existing signs can be viewed on the community website saugeenshores.ca. I’ve used the website and two other lists that I obtained plus I have been at every sign including the latest one “History of Saugeen Township Agriculture”. I’ve visited most of them several times. I’ve listed them under the towns and the Township (Twp). The town’s are walkable but you will have to drive to the Twp. ones. You will see some ? marks which means I do not have the info. One of the main reasons that I did this spreadsheet is to try and give a more exact location. I hope this helps to get people out to view them. There is a lot of knowledge in them along with the amount of work.

To read the spreadsheet … CLICK HERE

There is no really good route to cover a lot of signs in Port Elgin (PE) but I’m sure it’ll get figured out. In Southampton it is a lot easier, if you don’t mind a little walking. If you start at Saugeen River Harbour and head for the flag on the trail, you can view signs 11, 10, & 3. Then carrying on the boardwalk, heading to Gerry’s Fries, you can view 5, 4 .(these might be reverse order, I forget) and 8 by Gerry’s. If you still have energy, or on another time, leave there and head towards uptown and view 12, 7, (slight detour to 6), 2, 13 & end at 1. That only leaves #9 in Southampton, which can be picked up by the rail trail, just south of Rotary Perkin’s Park at McNabb St.

A few short tours will do the PE signs and a couple of hours’ drive will do Saugeen Twp. signs.

I’ve been interested in the signs for a while as I enjoyed the Fairy Lake process but, when I viewed the sign by the Rail Trail Head train station @ River St. in PE, it tweaked my memories. I wanted to see more. There are a couple of outstanding things to me on this sign.

First on it, it mentions the old train station. I could view it in my mind. I do remember when I was a kid taking the”Dayliner”. I’m not sure why we were on it but it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It had roomy comfy seats with large tinted windows and boy did it go fast. I’m going to guess 40-50 mph, yes miles. Fast way to Toronto. Train service was ended in 1969.

Second, it mentions the feed mill. I had forgotten all about it. This brought a smile to my face. As a kid, we would come to town and back up to the dock at the mill. Father would turn the car off, take the keys out of the ignition and get out of the car, no seatbelts to undo. He would put the key in the trunk lock and unlock it, no FOB’s or remote releases. I was pre-school, I didn’t start until grade 1 as kindergarten wasn’t thought of yet. As I got out the back door to go with father, mother would say to me to “stay off the feed bags”. Well, you can guess it, the first place I went was climbing the mountains of bags piled up. How the imagination soared. When business was completed, I would get a call to leave. I came out looking like a white ghost from all the dust off the bags. Mother would remind me that I’d been told not to climb them. I think there was a little smirk from mother though😇

Something else that I would like to bring your attention to, is on the Saugeen Shores website. If you search under “Walking Tours”, you will find 3 pamphlets there. There has been a lot of work gone into these by the Heritage Committee. The one on Port Elgin has 16 walking stops on it, each with a brief description. The second one is for Southampton with 56 walking stops. The last one is a driving tour in Saugeen Twp. with 6 stops. Even if you do not physically go to them all, read the pamphlets & learn some history.

– Kudos on a job well done

& NOTS😢

I hate to have to say anything negative about the North Shore Park, BUT … unless there have been changes by now, I found that with the nice path going through the park, there were no secondary paths going to the splash pad or the washroom in the park. The washroom is a nice facility and even has a water bottle fill station. The gentleman in the wheelchair at the picnic table, would have a hard time getting to that washroom however.

                                            – Please complete

Again, I hate having to mention this but I am in hope of advancing this Interpretive Signage program. The Heritage Committee of Saugeen Shores are the administration of this program among several other programs . A lot on their plates. You can again find more about them on the community website saugeenshores.ca. They try to do 2 signs a year but that is a lot of work. I have communicated with them and I said that I would personally like to see this sped up.

I know resource people and money have a big bearing on it but I feel now is the time. The generation above me is full of history but they are dying off. I use the example of the Flag man of Southampton, Doug Johnson, who passed a little while ago. There is a small group of my generation that have some good knowledge also but that number is getting smaller as they are passing away also.

I recently joined a couple of FB groups and it is very interesting what info and stories come out of the woodwork. I believe that I read when the new council came in, they wanted more volunteer committees. Would this not be an opportunity for one or more? The money is another question but if approached soon, maybe council would allocate more in the 2020 budget. Maybe, there are Heritage grants? A little later here, I’ll mention another thought about costs.

A prime location in PE for an Interpretive Sign, that I feel, is Coulter Parkette. With all the events including the summer markets, that happen there, what better exposure and to learn what all has been there. I remember when the Canadian Bank of Commerce was there with Mel Hackett as manager.

There was no Loan manager, he was the man. I needed a loan for my first vehicle, a few hundred dollars. The day had come, there was the big white building, we walked in the front door, my father and I, he had to co-sign. On the left was the long wooden counter with several tellers working behind it. I felt they were staring a hole through me. At the end there was a very low wooden wall, we went through the swing gate to Mel’s desk. I think the hellos and chit-chat took longer than the paperwork. What was this 16 yr old stressed about?  The BIA has done a lot for this corner so maybe they would be interested in helping fund it? I mentioned earlier about costs.

Another spot in PE could be at the beautiful strip plaza at corner of Goderich & Gustavus Sts. There have been so many businesses there. There was Seiffert & partner (I can’t remember his name), Hank Smith Esso, Ken Rickerby Ford (I worked there), Rickerby’s pool hall & smoke shop (I worked there also) (I believe Ken Dunlop took it over), Jangles and other restaurant names. Now, the plaza. Some of my info is vague but a resource team would sort that out. I believe the plaza is the makings of Jeff Carver, maybe he would be interested in help funding a sign for here. Prime location again.

Southampton has lots of locations also. Maybe Martin’s Home Hardware. Who remembers Cowlings IGA being there? What about the old movie theater? I have a lot of memories there😊.

Another thought that I mentioned to the committee was that there could be Interpretive Signs mounted to the structures. These signs would not need the pedestal, bases & would only need to be 1” thick. They would be constructed of the same material & include the same quality of great history. Just some prime examples would be the Queen’s, the Arlington & the Wismer. Maybe, these owners would help fund these also. Also, could there be a reduction in cost if more than one was ordered at the same time. These wall mount should be a lot less in money.

Let’s use the Wiz as an example. I’ve known for years about the Wismer House being a birthing location in the 1940’s. On the back of their menu, they already have some history on the subject. I found it interesting that Mr. Wismer, after a busy overcrowded birthing night, served whiskey to the fathers in the lounge while waiting for the event to happen. He went to the clerk’s office the next day and filled out a form and, just like that, it changed from a birthing house to a bar. It would be a lot more complicated and longer time period now to change business interests. I know of several different owners of this place. To me, this would be prime for a mounted sign. Again, maybe Jeff would be interested in helping fund.

Not only would this bring back memories for people but with signage throughout the communities, it would raise the interest that tourists would take in reading about this history.

I don’t want the Heritage Committee to think that I am pushing them but I AM. This is not really meant as a strong ‘Not’ because this committee has done some great work. It is meant to help support their backs to get the process moving faster. From the community website, I would suggest that if anybody has thoughts, resources or input on this, let them know. They are there for us.

I hope that the information here is correct and that name spelling is correct. I’ve worked mostly on memory and it isn’t as good as it used to be. These are my thoughts and only mine😇

– Lets speed up process and enjoy what we already have.

This has taken me a while to do, especially with the location spreadsheet, so if you have read to this point, it has taken you some time also. Thanks for hanging in there. I’ve strong feelings about this signage and feel it is great for our community moving forward.

I’m not sure if there will more of these books or not but time will tell. Enjoy the Fall.

So until the next time, remember “SISS”