City paying for Canatara cabin to be rebuilt elsewhere

This pioneer cabin in Canatara Park is heading to the Lambton Heritage Musuem in Grand Bend. Journal Photo

Troy Shantz & George Mathewson

Sarnia will spend $56,375 to disassemble and truck to the Lambton Heritage Museum the historic Canatara Park log cabin it deemed too expensive to repair.

Lambton County plans to work with a restoration group to rebuild the cabin and display it with other heritage buildings at the museum near Grand Bend.

The pioneer-style, squared log cabin is estimated to be 180-years-old. It will become the oldest building in the museum’s possession.

City council had already determined restoration was too costly and decided to give it away. Last week, it voted to hire Schouten Excavating to disassemble, catalog, and deliver the cabin’s pieces to the museum by the end of the year, at a cost of $56,375.

The county plans to spend $80,000 restoring the gift. The cabin was allowed to deteriorate over the years in Sarnia’s most popular park, despite having a heritage designation.

Its removal will clear the way for the Seaway Kiwanis Club to build a replica cabin in the same area for education and public events.

The club is covering half the estimated $100,000 cost with the rest coming from the city, Judith and Norman Alix Foundation, and Bluewater Power.

The Canatara cabin spent the first half of its life in the Goderich area, where it was built around 1840.

It was taken apart in the 1930s and floated to Sarnia to become a summer cottage on Lakeshore Road. It’s owner, Maud Hanna, was a philanthropist who gave the city money to buy the land that evolved into Canatara Park.

After the cabin was given to the city by developer and councillor Lorne Hay, it was moved beside the Children’s Animal Farm in the 1970s and used for community events such as Christmas on the Farm.