Harriston post office clock tower fundraising campaign kicks off

A fundraising campaign to support the restoration of the historic Harriston post office launched on Dec. 5.

Built in 1912 and last used as a mail outlet in the mid-1980s, the building is under new ownership and will be repurposed as a centre for business and creativity.

“This project began for personal reasons – I wanted to undertake something new that would challenge me, and secure my family’s legacy in the community,” said Michael Hendrick, the building’s new owner and a teacher of the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) at Norwell District Secondary School.

“I didn’t anticipate that renovating this building would have such a profoundly positive impact on our community’s collective psyche,” Hendrick said. “The building has revealed so much to me not just about its historic use, but about people’s lives, and the character of our community. The connections to this building run deep and the stories people have shared are incredible. It’s been quite a remarkable experience.”

While the majority of renovations are being funded with private capital, an estimated $17,500 is needed to support the restoration of the original clock, bell and tower, with plans for the bell and clock to return to working order in summer 2016.

Funds raised will be used for various components of the project, including repair of:

– the original glass and caulking on the clock face;

– the original drive, controller and gears powering the clock and bell to operating condition;

– the brickwork and pointing on the clock tower damaged by insufficient heating to the building (requires a crane and additional heavy equipment);

– the clock tower cap and roof, which has suffered extensive water damage; and

– building a new frame and cage to house the original bell (requires a crane to remove and reinstall the bell).

Contributions to The Old Post clock tower restoration and charitable donation tax receipts are being facilitated through the Minto Arts Council. Individuals and organizations can donate online through the canadahelps.org website (search “Minto Arts Council”), or in person at the Town of Minto office or Harriston Home Hardware.

“This building is a significant landmark in Harriston’s downtown and the Town of Minto is thrilled with the creative direction it is taking,” said Belinda Wick-Graham, business and economic manager for the Town of Minto. “Michael’s vision aligns with the Town’s vision for both this building and our community, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store.”

The Old Post will include office and commercial space on the main and upper levels, providing working space for local businesses and creative professionals. A public space in the clock tower will be a dedicated reading room available to the community. A co-op art gallery and a recording studio are planned for the lower level.

To follow progress on the Old Post restoration visit theoldpost.ca.