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Historic Tiny home demolished, but, hey, there could soon be a plaque

Online heritage page for historic ‘Loup au Lafontaine’ house goes unnoticed by council and public, featuring documentary of 4 Potato Court
2021-11-03 IMG_3725 côté (1)
A side view of the historic Théophile Brunelle home.

Gone is the demolished homestead of the historic “Loup au Lafontaine” house at 4 Potato Court, but it will not be forgotten thanks to a short documentary video, 3D rendering and upcoming commemorative plaque by Tiny Township.

Once belonging to the protagonist (Théophile Brunelle) from the legend of the “Loup au Lafontaine” story, the 1870 two-storey house was approved for delisting from the municipal heritage register in 2021 after falling into a state of deep disrepair; demolition of the structure occurred in September.

Attempts were made to chronicle as much of the building’s history prior to demolition, following public outcries of preservation and a council commitment to commemorate the dwelling through various means and partnerships.

At the recent committee of the whole meeting, a request by the heritage committee for council to approve $6,500 out of the heritage reserve fund for the plaque was addressed.

Coun. Dave Brunelle, the council representative for the heritage advisory committee, replied to a question by Coun. Steffen Walma on the plaque’s change of funding; Walma was the sole returning council member from the previous term when the preservation initiatives were approved.

Through exchanges between the heritage advisory committee and the Ontario Heritage Trust, it became known to the township that the province wouldn’t fund a heritage plaque for a building that was removed.

“Because the building is demolished,” Brunelle explained, “we’re still going to keep trying but it’s going to come to a point where it looks like the likelihood of putting a plaque from the Ontario (Heritage) Trust is not going to happen.

“In lieu of that, what the recommendation here is that: if it doesn’t come from the province, can council approve that those monies go to toward a plaque we put up ourselves, similar to the ones on the Tiny trails, which will be less than $6,500?”

Members of the committee of the whole were in approval. Walma restated his curiosity on the commemoration efforts as nothing had come across council’s table with results to his knowledge.

Brunelle informed Walma that information on 4 Potato Court had been compiled and put on the points of historic interest page of the Tiny Township website for public viewing.

These included the history of the designated site from 1870, 3D renderings and architectural sketches of the home of Théophile Brunelle, and a six-minute documentary featuring drone footage and a walk-through and discussion inside the house; the unlisted video posted in August had just 11 views as of the publication of this article.

Regarding the plaque, Mayor Dave Evans asked where it would be located for the public to see. Brunelle replied that because 4 Potato Court was private property, a nearby area of municipal land was located in close proximity which, in tandem with the website, would provide the public with information on the homestead.

Said Evans: “On Concession 17 West by Thunder Beach Road, there’s a cross and something that’s already been put in place. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to have somewhere you can stop and see – even if it doesn’t pertain exactly to that particular area – to be able to have a sign, something that designates a historical designation or interest.”

Approved by the committee of the whole was that $6,500 be taken from the heritage reserve to fund a township-owned bilingual commemorative plaque.

The heritage advisory committee resolution for reallocation of funds can be viewed on the agenda page on the Township of Tiny website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on the township’s YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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