A Prince County development corporation is hoping to bring new life to an old church.
The Borden Area Development Corporation (BADC) recently purchased the former Borden United Church in hopes of turning it into a music hall and cultural centre.
“When what we now call Harbour Hall or ‘the hall’, came on the market, we said we weren’t going to let it slip through our fingers,” said Barb Wood, a member of the BADC.
The church was built in 1948 and officially opened in November two years later.
The community used to have two functioning churches. One was sold a number of years ago to a private buyer.
“With that church already owned by someone else, we didn’t want to lose this hall, too. We wanted to preserve the cultural role the churches had in the community,” said Wood.
Fellow BADC member Laurel Palmer-Thompson agreed.
“The churches were a place for people and the community to come together,” she said, adding when historically important buildings are lost, it’s significant.
“There are a lot of churches disappearing," said Wood. "But they’re part of the cultural landscape."
Palmer-Thompson and Wood also sit as town councillors in Borden-Carleton.
The process to purchase the building began in 2017, when the development corporation members agreed they were interested in the site. It had been earmarked during a tourism master plan the town was creating at the time.
After more than a year of negotiations, the property was purchased by the BADC from the trustees of the Bedeque United Church of Canada in January 2019.
Wood and Palmer-Thompson were not able to comment on the sale value.
Now, transforming the hall is in the starting phase – clean up, some renovations and preparation for an upcoming music event.
The building will be available to rent for those who want to play at the hall, host art showings and hold meetings and weddings.
The long-term vision is to see the hall become a coffee-house, small eating facility and performance hall venue.
“We’ve never really had a cultural hub where you can play music and have social and cultural gatherings," said Wood. "We want to have musicians and artisans involved.”
The BADC is hoping to establish a Friends of Harbour Hall committee to assist in fundraising initiatives, scheduling performances and event recruitment.
Harbour Hall, located at 225 Carleton Street, officially opens to the public on June 21 as they host Scottish band RURA as part of the 2019 installation of the P.E.I. Mutual Festival of Small Halls. Also performing are Shane Pendergast and Brennan Gallant.
For more information about Harbour Hall email email@example.com.
BADC board members:
- Barb Wood
- Laurel Palmer-Thompson
- Sharon Leard
- Eric Stewart
- Stephen Hardy
- Dean Sexton
- Arthur Ranahan