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Maritime Centre guilty of being framed

Andrew Leong Lew Penny, past president of Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society, shares a laugh with Steve Lawrence and Gord Macdonald of Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Framing Ltd. during Cowichan Bay
Andrew Leong Lew Penny, past president of Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society, shares a laugh with Steve Lawrence and Gord Macdonald of Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Framing Ltd. during Cowichan Bay's timber framing dedication ceremony June 3 at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Awestruck.

That was the general feeling of the 100 Cowichanians who showed up to Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre’s timber frame dedication ceremony last week.

“Everybody was in really good moods, and quite a few in awe of the timber frame itself,” Maritime’s executive director Suzan Lagrove said.

The June 3 ceremony was part of a string of fundraising and dedication ceremonies hosted by the Maritime Centre and the Wooden Boat Society to revamp its headquarters.

On hand were framers Gord Macdonald and Steve Lawrence of Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Framing.

The local contractors M&L have been on board with the reno project dubbed Ahoy! since day one.

Friday’s barn-raising party, blue grass tunes, local food and bevies and all, was a tribute to times past.

“Common place in earlier times, dedication ceremonies, following the raising of a timber frame, bring communities together to pay respect to the materials used and offer a blessing to the new owners,” a Maritime press release said.

“Today’s dedication ceremonies are rare and a unique experience steeped in tradition and embraced by close-knit communities such as Cowichan Bay.”

The Government of Canada is providing the Maritime Centre with a $210,000 grant through the West Coast Community Adjustment Program (WestCCAP).

The Maritimers had to come up with $140,000 on their own and were able to fork it out through existing reserves, contractor donations and a CVRD grant.

Several participants paid to drive the pegs Friday.

They also got a chance to write messages on the metal before they drove it in, Lagrove explained.

The event included a ‘wetting bush’ poetic tribute, including bagpipes.

And expect more fundraising events, Lagrove said, as Maritimers need more dough, about $100,000, to complete Phase 1 and will soon be drumming up more support for Phase 2.

Already received funds have gone toward the timber-frame extension to the centre’s existing building.

When all is said and done, the new area will house a marine library, member lounge and meeting room, public washrooms and new retail space, appropriately named The Boatique.

Phase 2 includes replacing the aging piers and roofs of the viewing galleries on the facility’s 82-metre dock.

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