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Bringing a Building Back To Life

Julie Savard

Have you ever wondered what made up the fabric of small town life? Who were the first settlers to roam the shores and blaze the trails? Why certain areas were more densely populated than others? Well, if it wasn’t for history and the preservation of it, we would always wonder.

Cobourg is a community that promotes the importance of its heritage and takes an active role in recapturing and honouring its past. More than a decade ago, a long narrow building stood sentry on the corner of Durham and Orr Streets. To the community, this mysterious and fascinating building, was known as “the barracks” and reported to be the oldest building in Cobourg. Built sometime during the 19th century, no one knows for sure who built it or why. No record was ever kept of the purpose it served.  By the end of the 20th century, it was abandoned and  on the verge of collapsing. 

Since the formation of the Cobourg Museum Foundation in 1999, board members in collaboration with its foundation members, transformed this once derelict building back to life as a museum. The roof was replaced, the chimneys were rebuilt, doors and windows were repaired, specialty designed shutters were added, walls were supported and an archaeological dig was performed. On June 9, a new tourist attraction for Cobourg, the Sifton Cook Heritage Centre, proudly opened its doors to the public in conjunction with the Town of Cobourg’s 175th celebration. The museum, along with an 1870s cottage moved to the property in 2007 from a nearby location, will focus on telling the story of the development of the community. The Museum name pays homage to the memory of two former Cobourg Museum Foundation board members, Doug Sifton and David Cook.

The Sifton Cook Heritage Centre. A  building brought back to life, where our rich local history can be displayed to help us understand where it all started.

Visit http://northumberlandheritage.ca/ 

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    Julie Savard