A Cole Harbour resident thinks the former site of the Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre is an ideal spot for a museum honouring a famous television show that was filmed there.
The site off Bissett Road in Cole Harbour has been declared a municipal park, and last week Halifax Regional Municipality launched the public engagement stage of planning. This first stage involves a survey asking residents what amenities or features they would like to see.
Colin MacEachern, a teacher at Auburn Drive High School, suggests a “small museum” dedicated to the Trailer Park Boys, similar to the World Peace Pavilion in Dartmouth. It’s an outdoor monument on the waterfront with exhibits behind glass.
“It doesn’t have to be anything over the top. Nothing too expensive,” MacEachern said in an interview. Cole Harbour regularly celebrates NHL stars Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, he said, and the stars of the Trailer Park Boys are “just as big, only it’s in the arts.”
The origins of the Rehab Centre, as it was known, date back to 1887 when it was called the Poors’ Farm. The centre operated on the site from 1941 until it was closed in 2002. The abandoned site became a popular spot for film shoots and urban explorers. The building burned down in 2010 and was demolished soon afterwards.
The original run of the Trailer Park Boys, most of which was filmed on the Rehab lands, aired from 2001 until 2008. Created by and starring people from Cole Harbour, the show is an ongoing international success. The franchise has expanded to include spinoffs, three feature films and an animated series.
MacEachern started an online petition and plans to submit it to city staff as part of the public engagement process.
He said his idea is not as offbeat as it may seem. He mentioned Molly’s Reach restaurant from The Beachcombers, another classic Canadian television show that aired on CBC from 1972 until 1990. It was a fictional restaurant in the show but became a real one due to the success of the show. More recently, Goodwood, Ont., became a tourist destination after the success of Schitt’s Creek, which was filmed there.
There are other suggestions for the former Rehab lands listed on the survey. These include a dog park, a request for more bike lanes in the area, and a garden that takes advantage of the view.
Around 16 acres of the 20-acre site has been designated for the park, with the remaining four acres declared surplus. According to the municipality, some of it is already zoned for residential but might be used for other purposes.
This year, the Rehab lands site was again used as a set for a television show. Chapelwaite is based on a Stephen King story and is expected to air sometime next year.
About the author
Preet Bhogal is a journalist in Halifax and has a dog named Cole. He writes about politics, health, and social justice issues.