Volunteer log cabin builders at work in Sarnia’s Canatara Park

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A new log cabin rises near the entrance to the Children’s Animal Farm in Sarnia’s Canatara Park.

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Seaway Kiwanis Club members and volunteers began construction in August, and the cabin is expected to be completed this fall.

It replaces an almost 200-year-old cabin that was dismantled and trucked to the Lambton Heritage Museum in Lambton Shores, where there are plans to restore the structure and incorporate it into an exhibit of historic buildings.

“It took about two years for this to happen,” said Ken Machan, president of the service club that founded the animal farm in 1964 and, over the years, has added several buildings and attractions nearby.

“We decided several years ago that the original cabin was closed to the public due to the condition it was in,” Machan said.

The club’s proposal to build a new cabin was eventually accepted by the city and supported by a $ 35,000 grant from the Judith and Norman Alix Foundation.

Materials for the cabin were ordered about two years ago and were waiting for the project to be ready to go, Machan said.

This allowed the club to “start early” on the building which was originally due to start in September, he said.

Machan said the cabin materials were “primarily manufactured” and included squared hemlock logs from northern Ontario.

“Luckily the weather was nice and we had volunteers lined up, so we got off to a good start in mid-August,” Machan said. “We probably still have about a month to go, but it’s going well. “

The service club was supported by the local construction community with the loan of cranes and equipment, and other assistance.

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Machan said the cabin is expected to cost around $ 110,000.

The funding is in place, but “we’re always looking for volunteers if people have the time and talent to come and help us,” he said.

Information on the Service Club and its Children’s Agricultural Foundation is available online at seawaykiwanis.ca

“We still have a porch to build,” Machan said. “We have the roof to continue and we have windows and doors” to install.

The cabin is the club’s latest addition to the city park animal farm area. Previously, she had built a station, shed, BMX track, pavilion and more.

“We are certainly happy to add this new cabin as part of this attraction,” said Machan.

The new structure is the same size as the original cabin but is not a replica, he said.

A replica was originally considered, but the lack of a roof overhang on the original cabin contributed to the water damage to its log wall, he said.

“We built the cabin to be similar,” Machan said.

In consultation with city officials, the new cabin rises several meters from where the original stood.

Family events leading up to Christmas and Easter are traditions at the animal farm, and there are plans to add the first “Halloween on the Farm” this fall, said Ken Stothers, a club member who is co-chair of the project. cabin with Machan. .

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“This thing is going to be ready for it,” Stothers said.

“When we can have big gatherings again, we can’t wait to bring everyone back here,” Machan said.

The club’s ongoing fundraising and support helps ensure that the children’s farm continues to operate and is open to the public with no entry fees, he said.

Machan said the club never really knew how many people had visited the farm until public health security measures at some point in the pandemic demanded its front door be staffed, allowing a count.

“We were quite surprised to find that even during times of COVID we had 800 a day,” he said. “It’s an incredible attraction.”

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