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Historic Wellington store saga could soon end with sale

The years long saga of the historically significant former convenience store downtown Wellington could soon come to a close.

Council, Tuesday night is being asked to officially declare the buildings surplus, so that several offers to purchase that were received at the end of 2020 can be reviewed, and the property sold. (UPDATE: approved.)

The municipality had purchased the buildings and land in 2015 to save money in a project to relign Lane Creek, which flows under a portion of the buildings at 282/284 Wellington Main Street, on the corner of Wharf Street.

Council in 2018 approved realignment around the original convenience store structure and following completion of project, the sale of the property. In 2019, rerouting of the creek was determined to have future long-term implications and a work team was formed to review the project to seek solutions.

That group recommended selling to a purchaser who would “retain and respect as much of the built heritage as possible while developing the parcel”.

The municipality intends to register an easement on the property to provide as required in the future, access to municipal infrastructure. The easement would not extend through the property but would allow for work directly adjacent.

Both buildings are modest and may be considered ‘everyday’ small town buildings, but their authenticity and well used history provide character and continuity to Wellington history.

Although some have thought them better demolished, the municipality states it does not want to ignore the their ‘testimonial value and historical memory’.

“These buildings make it apparent that County heritage is not just about the grand buildings such as the Court House, Town Halls or stately homes, it is also about the smaller, less refined buildings, where personal experiences and interactions are made, and where the community has passed by one another for over 100 years.”

The two-storey building (corner store) is presumed to be built in 1898, as Harriet and Miles Petit, a grocer (earlier tinsmith), mortgaged the property for 500 dollars (mortgage discharged in 1903). The property is thought to have had an earlier building, as the Goads Fire Insurance Map from 1892 depicts a smaller storey and a half building and no adjacent building. It is speculated that the earlier smaller building on the corner was built adjacent to and south of, but not completely over, the creek.

The building has been used as a grocery and also once in part a barber shop, but for most of its history it has been a grocery or convenience store.

Frank Brimley Sr. was long associated with the store and then his son Francis (Frank Jr.) operated it for many years, later as the Lucky Dollar Food Store. Both Brimley men are well remembered by long time residents of the community. Cline Pierson, still a Wellington grocer, also has working links to the building and the Brimley’s. The adjacent building was for many years a butcher shop, and it may have been built with this use in mind. An Edward McMahon, in 1906, may have owned both buildings, and the small building was until 1924 know as McMahons’ Butcher Shop, and then continued as a butcher shop into the 1970s, associated with William Bailey and Ralph MacDonald, then the Bailey brothers Charlie and Ed, and later Harley Aman, a son-in-law to Frank Brimley Jr. It continued with other commercial uses thereafter until purchased by the municipality.

The buildings have been unoccupied for the past five years but most recently 282 Main was a convenience store with a residence above, and 284 was a pizzeria.

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