Letter: Kudos to Kagawong—an example for other communities

An urgent call to everyone who values history to voice support for the Mindemoya Old School

To the Expositor:

The Township of Billings and the town of Kagawong have got it right! This vibrant little town is making the most of everything that draws and keeps people in the area.

As I walked around the town last week I was struck by the effort being put into preserving the history and heritage of the area.

Kagawong is fortunate enough to have a number of historical buildings and some have already been renovated and put to good use. Others, because of various reasons are either still being worked on or will be worked on in the future. This was clear because of the number of new roofs in place. “A building is only as good as its roof.” It won’t matter if the renovation process takes some time because the building is protected and just waiting to regain its former glory.

I was also impressed by the number of plaques placed around town explaining the history of each building, complete with past and recent photos and sometimes drawings by a local artist.

The Municipality of Central Manitoulin could most certainly learn a few things from this now thriving community. 

Providence Bay is also fast becoming a huge tourist destination and because of the foresight shown by some people, the Mutchmor Building is an important hub for activities. Every year more renovations help showcase this beautiful historic structure.

As someone who grew up in Mindemoya and now spends six months of the year here, I have a vested interest in the subject. I’ve written quite a few letters regarding historical buildings in Central Manitoulin and specifically the Old School building in Mindemoya, but here I go again!

My recent visit to Kagawong made it only more obvious, the need to preserve the Old School building for the benefit of the community into the future. As it is now, everything continues to flounder along while the building sits empty with a deteriorating roof.

It continues to boggle my mind at just how shortsighted our council is. A person would be hard-pressed to think of one town in Ontario that doesn’t have at least one or two historic buildings that have been put to good use, helping to draw tourist dollars. If the school is demolished there would be absolutely no historic buildings left in the Mindemoya area.

It was pointed out at one meeting by a consultant that Mindemoya has thousands of cars pass through every week in the summer months and that the town is not making good use of what we already have. I couldn’t agree more. 

I’m sure that given time, the whole building could be utilized in a way that would draw people to town.

I’m also confident that with money that I know has already been offered to help save the School, and perhaps a fundraising effort, enough could be raised to install a new roof in order to come up with a sustainable plan for the future.

I urge anyone who enjoys and appreciates Manitoulin’s history or history in general, to show your support again by writing to the Central Manitoulin council, the newspaper, the Historical Society and attending any meetings where the issue will be addressed.

Once again, thank you, Kagawong for doing such a great job!

Lynn Quesnel (Connell)

Big Lake