Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Grey County Historical Society presents . . .

Photo Doug Shouldice, Grey County Historical Society President, Tom Cole and Rob Shouldice.

On May 20, 2009, the Grey County Historical Society presented its first Heritage Certificate of Recognition to Robert and Douglas Shouldice for their significant contribution to the preservation of Grey County's history through their restoration of the former King Edward Hotel in Shallow Lake, Ontario.

The contract to build the King Edward Hotel was dated July 15, 1900 and made out to Thomas Joynt of Shallow Lake by contractor, W. F. Miller for the then hefty sum of $2,999.30. The two men jointly designed the castle like structure, with its angular walls knowing that this style of wall gave stronger support than straight walls.

The King Edward Hotel’s short life as a prestigious temperance hotel was affected by the cement industry, the First World War and the growth of the automobile industry. It was first operated by Messrs. Foster Smith, Joynt and Finch and built because it was situated in a hub, welcoming businessmen and travelers. As its hotel use declined, it served many other purposes over the years, including a post office, general store, barber shop, rental apartments, a dance hall, a pool hall, a bingo hall, and a venue for various other community events.

From 1962 to 2006, the building was home to the local Legion Branch. Over time, the building fell into disrepair.

Inheriting their father Bev’s love of history and having their own affectionate memories of when the hotel was an active part of the community, Rob and Doug purchased the building and accepted the challenge to re-create the King Edward Hotel and make it look like it had originally over 100 years before. They admit, “It was a labour of love as the potential financial reward was simply not there.”

After much work, the King Edward Condos opened in the fall of 2008. As you enter the transformed King Edward Hotel, a display of nostalgic photographs of early Shallow Lake, its Cement Works and the hotel line the walls and reminds you that you are entering the former King Edward Hotel that once greeted visitors with welcoming rural hospitality.

Rob and Doug Shouldice have met the challenge to make what once was, a reality again. The King Edward Condominium radiates building pride to everyone who passes by and is a lasting legacy to the Shouldice Family for centuries to come.

In the fall, watch for information on the award and how to nominate, a person or organization who has made a significant contribution to preserving and promoting the history of Grey County.

text - by Paula Niall and Janet Iles from the brochure distributed at the dinner. Photo courtesy Peter Chepil.

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