When the Grove got its groove on

A group of 150 community volunteers have worked to improve Kenwick-on-the-Lake in Bright’s Grove with a new gazebo and play equipment.

The next phase, which came before city council this week, includes a basketball area, tennis court repairs and more benches on Lakeshore Road.

But before it was a park, Kenwick-on-the-Lake was an open-air pavilion and dance hall with an illustrious history.

In the 1940s the beachside palace served as a Saturday night destination for passengers of the Great Lakes cruise ship the SS Noronic.

Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, Lionel Hampton and Louis Armstrong were among the big band and swing greats who entertained crowds into the early morning hours.

The venue also hosted boxing matches, and in the years before its much-lamented demise in 1971 attracted such rock acts such as Alice Cooper.

The two images presented here were among those gathered by Sarnia’s Centennial Committee for possible inclusion in a soon-to-be published book about the city’s first 100 years as a city.

– George MathewsonHist 3 Kenwick_1