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Banook Canoe Club gets approval from heritage committee for makeover

Renovations aim to ensure the building is safe, accessible

3 min read
A man paddling near the Banook Canoe Club building on Wednesday.
caption Dartmouth's Banook Canoe Club is undergoing renovations. The $5-million plan was approved by the city's heritage advisory committee on Wednesday.
Dheif Daniel Yunting

Substantial alterations to the Banook Canoe Club in Dartmouth were approved by Halifax Regional Municipality’s heritage advisory committee on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Cushing, a heritage planner with the municipality, presented the application for alterations of the heritage building located at 17 Banook Ave., in Dartmouth along Lake Banook.

The proposed renovations include replacing the lower and upper decking with precast concrete, constructing a barrier-free deck and replacing the vinyl windows and doors with wood frames.

Two dog owners walk by the heritage building 17 Banook Avenue in Dartmouth, NS
caption The heritage building at Banook Canoe Club in Dartmouth is undergoing major renovations for the first time in 120 years.
Dheif Daniel Yunting

Substantial alterations to a heritage property that affect its “character-defining elements,” require approval from both the heritage committee and regional council, according to the province’s Heritage Property Act.

The first phase of renovations included the demolition of the seniors room, built in 1941, and the breezeway, built in 1985, which happened in mid-September. Both will be reconstructed after the foundation has been replaced.

These initial renovations were completed without the committee and councils’ approval as it did not affect the property’s character-defining elements, according to Cushing.

Front view of the red building at Lake Banook
caption One of Banook Canoe Club’s buildings is on temporary supports. Renovations to the building will install a concrete foundation.
Dheif Daniel Yunting

The $5-million project is set to be completed by next spring. So far, 75 per cent of the funding has been raised via the club’s Paddles Up Capital Campaign.

Approval by the committee is the third step in the process. The final step is for regional council to approve.

Accessibility for all

The Banook Canoe Club was established on April 11, 1903 and the building was originally designed by architect Herbert Elliot Gates. 

More than 5,000 people use the club complex annually. 

A structural investigation found the foundation to be “deteriorated and heavily cracked,” according to a report done earlier this year by engineering consultants WSP.

The renovation ensures the building is in line with current building codes, has more functionality and can accommodate future renovations. 

The last major renovation to the property was made 120 years ago. 

Accessibility is another reason the renovations were needed, said Maureen Woodrow, the club’s volunteer vice-president.

“Over the years we’ve jury-rigged, y’know, ramps and things to allow people to access the facility,” said Woodrow. 

The club was originally built to store boats and had a dance hall above the boat bays. Bathrooms were not installed, so women could not attend the dances, according to Woodrow.

“Now we want to make sure our club is fully accessible,” she said.

Elevators and gender-neutral washrooms will be included so it is also inclusive and accessible by the community.

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About the author

Dheif Daniel Yunting

A Filipino reporter now based in Halifax, N.S. Awarded as one of the outstanding interns at the newspaper outlet 'The Freeman' in 2021. Graduated...

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