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New Canatara Park cabin built in true community style

Published on

Cathy Dobson

A new log cabin now stands at the entrance to the Children’s Animal Farm in Canatara Park, thanks to the effort of local volunteers and the business community.

It took three months to build the one-room cabin out of squared hemlock from Northern Ontario, says Ken Stothers, a Seaway Kiwanis member and co-chair of the cabin construction.

“This has been a tremendous project supported by so many people,” he said. “It’s just amazing how people helped out.”

The structure replaces a pioneer log cabin of similar size that was about 180 years old but no longer safe to use.

That cabin was dismantled and sent to the Lambton Heritage Museum in Grand Bend, making way for a replacement able to host public events. It’s hoped the first community use will be this year’s Christmas on the Farm.

The project was kick-started by a $35,000 donation from the Judith and Norman Alix Foundation, and the Seaway Kiwanis raised another $55,000.

The construction was done by many local groups and skilled tradesmen who donated their time, labour and equipment. Two benches placed outside the cabin give special thanks to Dan Abraham for leading the construction and Aluma Safway for assisting.

Old barn-wood furniture has been built by Seaway affiliate Don Ver Beem, and Kiwanian Mark Gagnier is doing the stonework on the fireplace.

Other members and the Northern Key Club pitched in to do landscaping on Oct. 23.

The new cabin is only the latest addition to the popular Children’s Farm spearheaded by the Seaway Kiwanis Club, in conjunction with the city. Over the past 50 years it has also built a train station, pavilion, carriage house and a gazebo, and continues to maintain the barns and outer buildings.

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