For as long as we all can remember, the massive grain elevator at the entrance of Collingwood harbor has stood as an area landmark, visible for miles around from land and water. It reminds us of how things used to be, when great lakes’ freighters arrived in Collingwood on a regular basis. We remember the trains that came and went along what is now known as Heritage Way. This was once a very busy place. Now, all is quiet as we wait for whatever is to happen next.
There have been three grain elevators in Collingwood’s history.
The Collingwood Terminals grain elevator was constructed in 1929. The local council of the day had agreed to move forward with building a modern elevator in 1899, but low water levels delayed construction. The town received help from the Federal Government when the it agreed to pay for the dredging of the harbour.
The Collingwood Terminals two million bushel grain elevator has bins 100 feet high and 22 feet in diameter.
Sixty-four years of operation at the Collingwood Terminals ended in 1993.
The Town of Collingwood now owns the site and while there have been many ideas and discussions regarding future redevelopment, no plans have been finalized.
In January of this year, Sara Almas, Clerk – Town of Collingwood, said the Collingwood Terminals property is no longer actively on the real estate market.
“Council agreed to undertake a number of capital asset reviews last year and the Terminals was one of the items. A comprehensive structural study on the facility was commissioned and the results of the study will be available soon for Council’s review and to facilitate the discussion on the future of this iconic facility.”
We have heard about grand ideas from people in the community and developers including a rooftop restaurant, observation deck, mushroom farm, arts centre and condominium development. For now, we wait for the results of the study to find out the state of the historic terminals structure and what can or cannot happen moving forward.
turning back the pages of time we see a shiny new Collingwood Terminals
Collingwood Terminals under construction
Looking BackHere’s an article from January 2008 – CollingwoodLiving.com and collingwood.ca
– This could be your view from your new condo adjacent to the Collingwood Terminals –
Collingwood Council Passes Motion To Investigate The Option Of Selling The Terminals
Collingwood Mayor Terry Geddes says the process to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Fram Building Group (the group moving forward with the massive Shipyards waterfront development) is designed to allow council to work through the process in a transparent fashion. Earlier this year, the Fram Group approached council to consider selling the Collingwood Terminals and the old Connaught Public School, now a fitness centre on Napier Street. The concept would see the Fram Group develop much needed affordable housing at the Napier Street location along with constructing condominiums at the rear of the Collingwood Terminals. In addition, the Fram Group would construct a recreation centre as a part of the Shipyards development.
Council’s passing of the motion to enter into a memorandum of understanding on Monday January 23rd is a way of informing the public that an investigation will take place to determine if the sale of the Terminals and Napier Street properties is in the best interest of Collingwood residents. Mayor Terry Geddes says the process must be totally transparent, adding that council learned its lesson regarding the purchase of the Tremont Hotel property.
Deb Doherty, representing VOTE Collingwood, told council that she feels the public should have their say first. The Vote Collingwood web site says: “The only process that makes sense whenever we talk about selling public assets – be it terminals, parks or public utilities, is to have the discussion first as to what we want as a community. If the community supports the idea of selling an asset, then the property should be re-zoned to its highest and best use, reflecting the needs and desires of the town. If we let the buildings be sold with current zoning in place, as FRAM have proposed, we risk letting the buildings go for substantially less than what they could be worth.”
Here are the artist’s conceptions presented as a part of a powerpoint presentation to council on November 7, 2005 by the Fram Group
The colour artist conception is of the proposed entrance to the condo building
–end of 2008 news story
Posing With Collingwood’s History – An Early Selfie!
Not sure the date of this photo taken on what is now known as Heritage Way with the previous grain elevator in the background – the lady on the right is Gladys Nettleton
What could we do?
Examples of Grain Elevator Conversion Projects
Grünerløkka Student student housing complex in Oslo, Norway
Conversion of a former grain elevator in Johannesburg
Bunbury, Western Australia, wheat silos converted to residential apartments
South Africa’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Or, we can leave everything the way it is (maybe a little paint) and preserve our Heritage.