Providence Bay now sports a square

The Providence Bay Village Square initiative is well underway, turning this once vacant lot into a green space and parking area thanks to dedicated community volunteers.

PROVIDENCE BAY—The Providence Bay Village Square initiative is turning the once vacant lot next to the community hall into a much needed parking lot and green space.

“The lot is one of the first things you see when you come into the village so we wanted to combine the parking lot with a green space,” explained project lead Mary-Jo Gordon.

The municipality of Central Manitoulin purchased the lot adjacent to the Providence Bay Community Hall several years ago for extra hall parking. The lot remained ungraded and partially covered in brush until the community approached Central Manitoulin council with the idea of the Providence Bay Village Square project.

The community gathered and held a design input session last spring.

“A nine-year-old in the community even participated in the input and provided a really interesting perspective from a kids point of view,” said Ms. Gordon.

Utilizing her masters in landscape architecture, Ms. Gordon combined the input from the community session into three designs. Each design was then distributed to the community for further input before a final design was selected and approved by the Providence Bay Hall board.

From the board, the design was taken to Central Manitoulin council.

“There weren’t any funds for the project, so the community of Providence Bay did what they do and stepped up to help—that’s just the spirit of the community,” said Ms. Gordon.

Last year volunteers cleaned up the site, clearing brush and removing trees, and a waterline was put in to water the plants. The site was also prepped with crushed stone which has since been laid. Large boulders were placed at the edge of the lot to create a new garden bed.

“All the work has been done thanks to amazing volunteers which includes community members and local contractors,” said Ms. Gordon. “I have really been impressed by the time donated by Taylor Sawmill, Calvin Pearson and Rob Cranston and so many more who have stepped up to help.”

This year, planting is in store as is working on the green space. A large village sign is also in the works with a nautical theme to complement the community known for its beach and fishing. Also, sculpture pads will be installed, with Ms. Gordon in talks with artists to install sculptures next year. Spacers will be put in place in the parking lot section as well.

Volunteers are accepting donations of perennials, shrubs and annuals for the project and can be dropped off at Ms. Gordon’s home (5252 Highway 551) and planted in the bed at the east end of the driveway.

Donations for the project can be made through the Bank of Montreal or donation jars are located at Buie’s Grocery in Spring Bay and at the Providence Bay Post Office.

To learn more about the project, check out the YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH7mj7iEg9o.