Commodores Update: How we built the Legion deck and PCPC boathouse.

Our Port Credit Paddling Club boathouse will be ready this week. It’s been a long paddle to get here with many fine people helping. Some of you have wondered why it’s taken so long.

About seven years ago I wandered over to the Legion to see whether the area under the deck might be a good place to store canoes and kayaks.  It was; I made a mental note.

In 2016 Darryl and I and several others got talking about starting a new club for adults who were interested in a variety of paddling sports. We met in my kitchen and the idea of PCPC was born. A few months later we had approval from Canoe Kayak Canada. The Legion readily agreed to lease us the space under the deck, provided we “shore it up”. That quickly proved impossible but remained necessary. Our resident engineer Darryl supervised the construction of our first boathouse, and what shoring up we could do.

In 2019 Patti got the idea to apply for a Trillium Grant to rebuild the deck. It seemed like a long shot but we went ahead and got endorsements from several prominent people. In late 2019 we got the happy news that we had won a $147,000 grant. We think Trillium liked our emphasis on collaboration with the Legion and focus on getting the community paddling on the Credit River.

Frank Giannone of Fram Building Group helped with initial concept design. Michael Spaziani offered to look after all the architecture and permitting through his firm, Michael Spaziani Architects Inc.  Both Frank and Michael generously donated their time and expertise. It was a long and arduous effort to get the permit—by late 2020 we still did not have it. Michael and I met with city officials to sort out their objections in December. It still took a couple of months to get the permit. We were getting worried we wouldn’t get it it time to spend the Trillium Grant and to open this summer. Our volunteers had already demolished the old boathouse.

Darryl led the process of selecting the builder, True Vision Construction, and supervising construction. It didn’t take them long to build it. But the tempered glass for the railings was unavailable due to material shortages. We could not get the permit closed and the boathouse built until the glass was installed and the finished deck was inspected. Eventually True Vision had to take on their next contract. They came back yesterday. 

In total we raised about $200,000 for the deck. Frank donated the concrete pad and steps down to the dock. The Legion pitched in $25,000. The Port Credit Community Foundation donated $15,000 to help us with sky-high lumber prices. Several people made generous personal donations, including two personal donations of $5,000 from Legion member Lynda Hollyoake. Gord Pfohl donated a sea kayak and Black Feather Wilderness Adventures donated two. And to top it off Patti managed to get another $28,000 Trillium grant to buy new boats. Derek kept track of all the accounting. Too many people helped in one way or another to list them all here. Patti has made a donor recognition plaque that we will display in our new facility.

A Veteran’s group called Warrior Adventures Canada organizes canoe trips to Algonquin for veterans. They are interested in working with us to train vets to paddle before their trips, now that the boathouse is ready. I think it’s a great way to thank veterans and help them out.

There’s lots to celebrate and many people to thank. From one perspective it’s taken longer to get here than I thought it would and that’s been frustrating. But from the perspective of when I first looked under the Legion deck seven years ago, I never thought we would.

Time for a paddle!

Phil Green – Commodore Port Credit Paddling Club