Local Heritage Properties Recognized

Vercouteren's property nominated for the People's Choice Award, and winner of the Mayor's Heritage Preservation Award. October 26, 2016. (Photo courtesy Frank Vercouteren)

The winners of this year’s Mayor’s Heritage Preservation Award have been announced, and one of them is Councillor Frank Vercouteren.

The award is to recognize properties in Chatham-Kent which show heritage preservation and restoration.

Vercouteren’s property is a village which showcases antique furniture.

He says he’s happy to receive the award, but that it comes as a shock.

“I wasn’t expecting for anyone to give me a plaque,” says Vercouteren. “It’s quite an honour.”

Vercouteren started working on the village about 35 years ago, which first started as a log cabin.

“And then we got carried away with antiques and I built the country store,” says Vercouteren. “My country store is quite large and all the stuff that’s in there is probably 95% Blenheim items.”

The village later expanded to include a shoemaker shop, a hat shop, and a barber shop.

Vercouteren says the property used to see many people, as his late wife would have children visit for school trips.

“We did this for a number of years – maybe 20,” says Vercouteren. “The schools in Blenheim would automatically get the double-decker bus and come out here and spend a couple hours.”

Other winners receiving the award include the Blenheim Rotary Club with the Ridge Landfill Community Trust, Bob and Betty McCully, David and Margaret Wall, and Larry and Linda Harris.

In addition to winning the Preservation Award, the five winners will also be considered for the People’s Choice Award.

To view photos of the nominated properties and vote on your favorite, click here.

Voting ends November 7, 2016 and the winner will be announced at the council meeting on December 5, 2016.